Somnath vs State Of Maharashtra 2024 INSC 232 – High Handed Acts By Police – Art. 226 Constitution – Power To Award Compensation

Summary: In this case, the accused was allegedly taken out of the lock-up in handcuffs and paraded half-naked with garland of footwear around his neck and is said to have been verbally abused with reference to his caste as also physically assaulted – Disposing appeal against HC judgment that ordered compensation to accused, SC directed: the appeal stands disposed of by upholding the Judgment, with the modification that the respondent is held liable to pay a further sum of Rs.1,00,000/ to the appellant- Direction : Police forces in all States and Union Territories as also all agencies endowed with the power of arrest and custody directed to scrupulously adhere to all Constitutional and statutory safeguards and the additional guidelines laid down in SC Judgments when a person is arrested by them and/or remanded to their custody – A zero-tolerance approach towards high-handed acts needs to be adopted as such acts, committed by persons in power against an ordinary citizen, who is in a non-bargaining position, bring shame to the entire justice delivery system – Referred to D K Basu v State of West Bengal, (1997) 1 SCC 416 and Sube Singh v State of Haryana, (2006) 3 SCC 178.

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 226 –The power of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to award compensation is undoubtable – Referred to Nilabati Behera v State of Orissa, (1993) 2 SCC 746.

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