The Delhi High Court Wednesday refused to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Seju P. Kuruvilla for ordering a constable to do front-rolls in the Patiala House court complex as a punishment Feb 7.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.S. Endlaw said: “We are of the opinion that prima facie it is not a contempt of court act, and we are not inclined to initiate any criminal contempt proceedings.”
The court was critical of the punishment given to constable Dinesh Kumar, who is in his 30s. “It is inhuman in nature. Furthermore, awarding such punishment in court was not appropriate.”
The court disposed of a lawyer’s plea seeking contempt proceedings against Kuruvilla and asked the city police commissioner to look into the matter. It also directed the officer not to give such inhuman punishment to his subordinates in future at public place.
Kuruvilla Feb 7 allegedly scolded Dinesh Kumar for talking on his cell phone and not frisking people who were entering the court complex while he was on duty, and as a punishment made him do front-rolls within the court complex.
The court also slammed the constable for not performing his duty in the high security area in central Delhi. “It is expected from police to remain alert and discharge his duties,” the bench said.
“So far as security is concerned the constable was at fault,” the court said.
Advocate M.S. Vinayak, appearing for Kuruvilla, told the court that front-rolls were a common practice and part of policemen’s drills. “It is a minor and normal punishment, it is a part of fitness training and drill.”
Lawyer R.K. Saini had sought initiation of criminal contempt proceeding against Kuruvilla for scandalising the court and its proceedings.
He alleged that the judge in-charge of the Patiala House court complex was inappropriate in his action as he simply forwarded a complaint by some lawyers over the issue to Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta.
Saini urged the initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Kuruvilla, who was also present in the high court, and alleged that the inhuman act of beating the constable in the court premises amount to contempt.
“The police officer took exception to the behaviour of the constable who did not salute him. Not only that, the police officer tore the constable’s badge and snatched his mobile phone and awarded inhuman and indecent punishment,” Saini said.