New Delhi, Feb 8: The Delhi High Court today sought responses from the police commissioner and a senior IPS officer, who had allegedly misbehaved with a constable and punished him by making him crawl for not saluting the officer at Patiala House district courts complex here.
Additional DCP Seju P Kurvila had allgedly punished the constable who was said to be talking talking on his mobile phone while on duty at a gate of the court premises.
"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 about the incident on February 15," a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.
The court's direction came on oral submissions of lawyer R K Saini, seeking initiation of criminal contempt proceeding against Kurvila for "delowering" and "scandalising" the court and its proceedings.
Citing various news reports on the incident which hogged the limelight, Saini alleged that the order of the District judge of the Patiala House courts was "inappropriate as he has simply forwarded the complaint of some lawyers to the police chief for taking action as per the law".
"The police officer, who himself was not in uniform, took exception to the behaviour of the constable who did not salute him. Not only that, the police officer tore the badge and snatched his mobile phone and awarded the inhuman and indecent punishment for a non-existing offence," Saini alleged and cited various judgement to support his plea.
Additional DCP Seju P. Kuruvilla of Delhi Police on Tuesday was furious when he found a police constable busy talking on his cellphone and not saluting him at the Patiala House courts complex.
The next thing that Kuruvilla did was to snatch the cellphone from him, abused him and ordered him to do forward rolls on the ground as punishment.
All this happeed in front of lawyers and litigants who watched the scene with amusement, and one of the lawyers snapped the scene on his cellphone.
Lawyers who captured a video of the constable's alleged punishment on cellphone filed a complaint against the officer, additional DCP Seju P Kuruvilla, in the court.
District judge H S Sharma then directed the commissioner of Delhi Police to “proceed as per law against the erring official”, and “report about the outcome... within one month”.
Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta said, “We will look into this.”
“He made him to do somersaults for 200-250 yards in the court complex as everybody watched. A sub-inspector pointed out the officer in charge, and we later found out that it was Addl DCP Kuruvilla. The humiliated constable was in tears,” lawyer S N Sharma said.
“All the lawyers present there pleaded with the officer to stop,” Sharma said. He added that he and his colleagues called police control room but the officers refused to act against a superior.
Other lawyers gave differing versions on how far Kumar was ordered to roll.
B B Tyagi, a lawyer who was in his chamber next to gate 6, said bystanders were stunned by the incident.
“To do such an act on the court premises, with the High Court, the Supreme Court and the NHRC nearby, is unbelievable. The constable did not salute Kuruvilla as he was in civilian clothes. He didn't recognise him. To make him do this in front of everybody was inhuman,” Tyagi said.
Tyagi and Sharma were among four advocates who complained against Kuruvilla to the judge.
“This act was so humiliating that all advocates gathered there felt ashamed and raised protest on which the Addl DCP misbehaved with the lawyers also... We would like you to intervene into the matter considering the same to be a serious, inhuman, derrogatory act,” said the complaint.
The advocates also showed the court the video clip of the alleged incident, which the judge ordered “preserved”.
“Advocates have been told that the mobile phone wherein the alleged illegal act of the erring official had been recorded, be preserved so that the same could be shown to the authorities. The advocates are also at liberty to get CD of the video clipping prepared,” the court said.
Lawyers who saw the incident said the constable, Dinesh Kumar, was talking on a mobile phone at his post at the court's gate no. 6, and neglecting to frisk those who passed through.
He failed to recognise Kuruvilla, who arrived in plain clothes, and neither saluted the officer nor got off the phone.