The Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered two police sub-inspectors to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to a man they illegally detained for half an hour in September 2022, Bar and Bench reported

The amount will be recovered from the salaries of sub-inspectors Rajeev Gautam and Shamim Khan who detained the petitioner, Pankaj Kumar Sharma.

The incident took place on September 2, 2022, when a woman came to the Sharma’s shop and said that she had been stabbed by a vegetable seller. Sharma called the police. The two police sub-inspectors arrived at the spot and picked Sharma before putting him in the lock-up, without registering a first information report.

On Thursday, Justice Subramonium Prasad said that even though the petitioner was put in the lock-up only for a short period of time, his liberty, a right protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, had been deprived.

“This court is deeply troubled by the fact that the petitioner was not even arrested,” Prasad said. “He was simply picked up from the spot, brought to the police station and placed inside the lock-up for no rhyme or reason. The highhanded way in which the police authorities have acted, throwing to winds the constitutional and fundamental rights of a citizen, is appalling.”

The court was informed that the police authorities had conducted an inquiry and a punishment of censure had been imposed on the two police officers.

But the court said that the punishment of censure was inadequate.

“A punishment of censure which is not likely to have any effect on the career of the police officers will not be a sufficient deterrent to the officer,” the court said. “The censure should be of such nature that other officers too must not emulate such actions in future. This court is of the opinion that a meaningful message must be sent to the authorities that police officers cannot be law unto themselves.”