Telangana high court
Telangana high court
Litigation News

No need to ‘use the lathis' to check the presence of Coronavirus: Telangana HC to Police [Read Order]

While perusing a counter filed by Anjani Kumar IPS, the Court was surprised to note that the police had submitted while checking two-wheelers, the police had used lathis "to see whether coronavirus was present or not."

Meera Emmanuel

The Telangana High Court on Wednesday raised eyebrows over submissions made by the State Police to justify their use of lathis (batons) while checking vehicles to "see whether coronavirus was present or not."

The Court was dealing with a PIL moved raising grievance over police excesses committed under the guise of monitoring the compliance of restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 (Sheela Sara Mathews v. State of Telangana and ors).

While perusing a counter-affidavit filed by Anjani Kumar IPS, the Court was surprised to note that while checking two-wheelers parked outside a house, the police had used lathis to see whether coronavirus was present or not.

The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and B Vijaysen Reddy responded,

“This explanation by the police is, indeed, surprising. For, in order to check the presence of coronavirus, there is no need to ‘use the lathies.” Therefore, the complete report with regard to the alleged incident needs to be submitted by the Police before this Court.”
Telangana High Court

The Court also took critical note over various other discrepancies noted in the counter filed for the police.

While denying claims that the police had assaulted certain people, it was submitted that these people had fallen on their own and injured themselves while running away from the police. In some cases, the police also submitted that the injured had been taken to the hospitals afterwards.

However, the Court pointed out that injury reports and medical reports to substantiate these police claims were absent.

In one case, an allegation was made that the police had injured a handicapped person.

"Yet the Police claims that he is a regular violator of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and as many as thirteen Traffic Challans are there against him", the Court noted, further adding that, "none of these Traffic Challans have been submitted along with the counter affidavit.

Whereas it had been submitted departmental action had been initiated against certain delinquent police officers, the Court noted that the submissions on the final outcome of these actions were incomplete.

In one case, a viral video is said to have shown a police officer abusing local persons who had stepped out for groceries. Neither the name of the delinquent police personnel was revealed, nor the final outcome of the departmental enquiry initiated mentioned, the Court noted.

In another case, a man was stated to have received 35 stitches on his face after an altercation with the police for having driven on a two-wheeler without a helmet or a facemask.

The police claimed that he had been accidentally hit by a lathi. The Court, however, observed that “Obviously, a single injury to right eye cannot cause an injury requiring thirty five stitches and a hairline fracture.”
“Thus it is obvious that the correct facts have not been mentioned in the counter-affidavit.”
the Court added.

In this backdrop, the Bench has now asked the authorities to submit another report, detailing the following aspects

  • the injury reports of the injured persons and their statements, if any recorded by the police

  • the progess made in the departmental enquiries, which have been initiated against the delinquent police personnel.

This report is to be filed by June 29. The matter will be taken up next on June 30.

Read the Order:

Sheela Sara Mathews v. State of Telangana and ors - June 17 order.pdf
Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news