Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the Union Territory of Daman and Diu to pay a compensation of Rs four lakh to a journalist who was handcuffed by the police and paraded on the streets after he was arrested on the charge of extortion in 2009.
"The Administration of the Union Territory has violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution by illegally handcuffing and parading him on 2 July, 2009," said the High Court in its ruling on 22 December.
A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and AA Sayed directed the Union Territory to pay the compensation to Satish Sharma within two months. Sharma had moved the HC questioning police's action of handcuffing and parading him. It was illegal and violated the right to personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, he said.
Maintaining that he was an honest journalist and the whole episode had tarnished his reputation, Sharma demanded a compensation of Rs five crore.
The HC said that while it was ordering the administration to pay Sharma Rs four lakh, he was free to file another suit to demand additional compensation. The Administrator of the Union Territory can take steps for recovery of the compensation amount from the erring officers through a due process of law, the judges said.
The court also ordered the Union Territory to pay an additional Rs 25,000 to Sharma towards litigation cost. Further, the Administrator of the UT shall initiate inquiry for fixing the responsibility for the illegal action of police, the court said.
Sharma, editor of the daily Savera India Times, was arrested by the police in Daman after a case of extortion and criminal intimidation was filed against him.
He alleged it was a vindictive action as his newspaper had exposed misdeeds of the then Administrator of the Union Territory, other officials and the police. The Administrator had filed a police complaint against him.
Sharma was arrested in Diu, brought to Daman by police in a bus, and forced to walk while handcuffed to the police station through a crowded market, according to the petition.
The Press Council of India had ordered an inquiry by a sessions judge into Sharma's allegations. The judge confirmed that he was indeed handcuffed and paraded by the police.
Advocate MK Kocharekar, petitioner's lawyer, cited several Supreme Court decisions to argue that handcuffing was illegal and amounted to a gross violation of fundamental rights.
Updated Date: Dec 26, 2016 20:49:37 IST