The Kerala High Court recently criticised the state police for using derogatory words while dealing with citizens. The court asked the state police chief to direct all officers to treat citizens respectfully and file a report detailing the steps taken towards ensuring the matter, Bar and Bench reported on Thursday.

Justice Devan Ramachandran remarked that the use of such words to address citizens were contrary to “constitutional morality and the conscience of the country”.

The court was hearing a petition by a resident of Thrissur city, Anil JS. The petitioner alleged that a police sub-inspector verbally abused his minor daughter during a routine traffic check, according to the Hindustan Times. He alleged that the behaviour of the police official was uncivilised and improper.

Anil JS also accused the sub-inspector of harassing him by lodging various complaints against him.

During the hearing, government pleader EC Bineesh said that the petitioner and his daughter were seen violating coronavirus protocols on multiple occasions, due to which penalties were imposed on them. He noted that two “action taken reports” filed by the district police chief found that the officials were justified in imposing the penalties.

The court, however, said that the police cannot make the citizens comply with the protocols “in violation of civilized behaviour and in contravention of the requirements of decency and civility”.

The court also said that derogatory words were “anathema to a civilised and cultured force and are the relic of the colonial subjugatory tactics,” Live Law reported.

“Certainly, they have no place in a free country marching in pace with the needs and requirements of the 21st century,” the court said.

The judge also noted that it was often difficult for citizens to prove that a police officer addressed them in a derogatory manner as such allegations were investigated by the police themselves.