The Karnataka High Court while dealing with a petition filed by a 23-year-old Advocate who was manhandled by the police observed that when the people fear the State or its agents, there is tyranny.

The Court also directed the State to pay a compensation of Rs. 3 lakhs to the petitioner within two weeks.

A Single Bench of Justice M. Nagaprasanna said, “When the State or its agents fear the people there is LIBERTY; when the people fear the State or its agents, there is TYRANNY”.

The Bench further said that no arrest can be made because it is lawful for the Police to do so.

“If an Advocate could be treated in the manner of what he has been meted out in the case at hand, a common man will not be able to bear the brunt of repetition of such treatment. It is, therefore, the perpetrators of such illegality and violators of law, as is laid down by the Apex Court, cannot be left off the hook. They must be proceeded against both in a departmental inquiry, to fix accountability, and under the criminal law to deter any such iteration as, “injustice anywhere; is a threat to justice everywhere” - MLK Jr..”, the Court asserted.

Senior Advocate P.P. Hegde appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Additional Government Advocate Vinod Kumar.M. appeared for the respondents.

Facts of the Case –

The petitioner owned certain agricultural property that got obstructed by his neighbours who attempted to erect a permanent gate with the intention to prevent him and his family from making use of the road that led to his property. The Police however did not take any action to protect his property even after he secured a temporary injunction order from the lower Court.

The police closed the complaint holding it to be a land dispute and thereafter, a case was registered against the petitioner for the offences punishable under Sections 447 and 379 of the IPC. Even before the FIR could be registered, the Inspector of Police entered the house of the petitioner, caught hold of his neck, dragged him and took him to the police station and registered an FIR against him. The petitioner alleged that his personal liberty was taken away completely contrary to the law.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of both counsel observed, “The existence of power to arrest is one thing and justification for the said exercise is another. No arrest should be made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the genuineness and bonafides of the complaint/information, as any arrest would deny a person of his liberty, which is a very serious matter, as arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and casts a scar forever.”

It was further noted by the Court that the petitioner was illegally detained and assaulted, even after bringing it to the notice of the police that he is an Advocate.

“The State shall pay a compensation of Rs.3,00,000/- (Rupees Three lakhs only) to the petitioner within two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. The Director General and Inspector General of Police shall initiate a departmental enquiry against the 4th respondent and his cohorts or any other officer, after identifying those officers who have indulged in the act of illegal arrest and alleged assault on the petitioner”, the Court ordered.

The Court also directed that the departmental enquiry shall be initiated within two weeks and that if already initiated, it shall be concluded within three months.

The Court further ordered, “The Superintendent of Police, Mangaluru is directed to supervise the investigation to be conducted in Crime No.1 of 2023 registered before Punjalkatte Police Station.”

Accordingly, the Court partly allowed the plea.

Cause Title- Kuldeep v. The State of Karnataka & Ors.

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