NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought an explanation from a senior police officer on why he had made a constable perform front rolls in full public view at the Patiala House court complex the previous day.
The court was informed about the incident by a lawyer, R K Saini, who sought initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against additional deputy commissioner Seju P Kuruvilla for "scandalizing" the court by his method of punishment. According to some accounts, Kuruvilla had allegedly punished the constable for talking on his cellphone while on duty at a gate and for failing to properly frisk visitors.
"We issue notice to the Delhi police commissioner as well as to the additional DCP concerned. We also direct the Police Commissioner to file a status report on February 15," a bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said, seeking a response from Kuruvilla by February 15.
Saini told the court that Kuruvilla punished the constable for not saluting him, even tearing away his badge and snatching his phone. Citing various news reports on the incident, lawyer R K Saini alleged before the HC that the order of the district judge of the Patiala House courts in the matter was "inappropriate as he has simply forwarded the complaint of some lawyers to the police chief for taking action".
"The police officer, who himself was not in uniform, took exception to the behaviour of the constable who did not salute him. The police officer tore the badge and snatched his mobile phone and awarded inhuman and indecent punishment for a non-existing offence," Saini alleged, citing reports to support his plea.
According to the complaint lodged, by some lawyers, after making the constable do front rolls, Addl DCP Seju P Kuruvilla tore off the badge from the constable's uniform, snatched his cell and used abusive language. These lawyers said they were protesting as they were ashamed by the act. Some lawyer had also filmed the entire drama on camera.
Earlier, acting on their complaint, the district judge of Patiala House courts had directed the city police commissioner to "proceed as per law" against an "erring" additional DCP. In their complaint filed before Judge H S Sharma, the lawyers had said Kuruvilla had compelled constable Dinesh Kumar, who was on duty at gate number 6 of the court, to crawl on the ground in uniform. The judge also saw a video clipping of the alleged incident and asked the complainants to preserve it. The city police chief has asked the Jt CP of Crime Branch to conduct an inquiry. A senior cop said the Joint CP will record the statement of both parties and submit report at the earliest.