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Police cannot claim protection under Section 197 CrPC in case of legal detention

Police cannot claim protection under Section 197 CrPC in case of legal detention

The Karnataka HC in the recently concluded case of S. Shivkumar v. State of Karnataka has held that illegal detention of innocent person and subsequent custodial violence or torture to which such a person has been subjected to by the police officers cannot be considered as discharge of public duty.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice H.P. Sandesh decided to quash the petition filed by seven police officers under Section 482 of CrPC which implored the court to quash proceedings before the Principal District and Sessions Judge in Chikballapur where they were accused of crimes under sections 167, 330, 342. 348 , 307 read with section 149 of IPC.

In the current case the accused policeman along with some constables approaches the complainant at his home and orders him to come to police station with his son to probe a gold -snatching case.

The complainant decides to comply with police order and brings his son to the police station where he gets abused and assaulted by the police personnel.

The complainant files a complaint against the police personnel however no decisive action is taken. Therefore, the complainant files a petition before the Principle District and Sessions Judge.

The magistrate takes cognizance of the complaint and allows it.
Aggrieved by the decision of the magistrate the said 7 policemen file a petition to quash proceedings of the magistrate.

They rely on Section 167 of CrPC which makes it mandatory for court to obtain government sanction before proceeding against public servants discharging public duty.

The court decides that Section 167 does not apply in the current case as the acts committed by the policemen are of a nature which are not otherwise permitted by law.

The court clearly said that departmental inquiry clearly shows excess of powers by the police and decides to quash the petition.

By Team SLC

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