Police reforms not possible unless police officials recognize citizens as their masters: Kerala High Court

Single-judge Justice Devan Ramachandran underscored that simply passing orders or circulars to police officers to mend their ways will not serve any purpose.
Kerala HC, police
Kerala HC, police

Reformation in the conduct and behaviour of police officers cannot be achieved unless the officers are inculcated with the culture of recognizing the citizens as their masters and accepting that they have a social commitment, the Kerala High Court observed on Thursday [Anil JS v. State of Kerala & Ors.].

Single-judge Justice Devan Ramachandran underscored that simply passing orders or circulars to police officers to mend their ways will not serve any purpose.

"Unless the officers are inculcated with the culture of recognizing that the citizens are their masters and that they have a social commitment in their actions, a real change may not be possible. Mere in terrorem orders or circulars would not really serve purpose, until such time as the officers are made to understand that misbehaviour and violence in their actions - particularly, which is not warranted as per their duties - will not be tolerated and unacceptable, in a civilised culture," the Court said.

Unless the Officers are inculcated with the culture of recognizing that the citizens are their masters and that they have a social commitment in their actions, a real change may not be possible.
Kerala High Court

These observations were made by the court while considering a petition, filed through advocate Ansu Sara Mathew, accusing certain police officers of harassing the petitioner and verbally abusing his daughter.

The court had earlier passed a detailed judgment pulling up the police force for using derogatory terms while addressing citizens and had also directed the State Police Chief to instruct all officers to treat citizens with respect and file a report regarding the steps taken in this regard.

On Thursday, the Senior Government pleader brought to the notice of the Court, proceedings by the Inspector General of Police, Thiruvananthapuram, with respect to a particular incident that happened in the recent past, involving an allegation of torture and violence in a Police Station.

Justice Ramachandran said that such incidents happen when police officers assume a sense of impunity, due to the power they enjoy, oblivious of the fact that it is held by them in trust on behalf of people.

"The culture of Police certainly will have to now undergo a change and the orders and judgments of this Court are only a step in that beginning. It is certainly for the Supervising Authorities in the Police Department to ensure that such a change is brought out meaningfully and effectively," the judge said.

Thereafter the court opined that it would not be possible for this Court to close the case at this stage until further evaluation of the impact of the judgment of this Court and thus, posted the case for consideration next on December 12, 2022.

[Read Order]

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