The Supreme Court has expressed displeasure over the illegal detention of a woman in Maharashtra despite being granted interim protection and two weeks by the apex court to surrender and apply for regular bail in a case, and asked the police officers concerned to compensate her.
While terming the incident “very blatant”, a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A Amanullah noted the woman, who was an accused in a criminal case, had got the interim protection on November 17, 2021 and the top court had granted her two weeks’ time to surrender and apply for regular bail.
“We had given interim protection to the petitioner and despite the same, the petitioner was taken into custody. It is the case of the petitioner that the order of this court was also shown. The petitioner was bailed out the next day, i.e. remained in custody for twenty four hours,” the bench noted in its order passed on Monday.
The top court, which was dealing with a contempt plea filed by the woman against two police officers, had in its January 5, 2023 order noted the submission of the petitioner’s counsel that despite its November 17, 2021 order, within two days the police had arrested her from a hospital where she was working as a nurse.
“The respondents (two police officers) have filed their affidavit seeking to express an unconditional apology. To say the least, we don’t expect the police officers to behave in this manner and that too in the teeth of the order of this court,” the bench said in its Monday order.
During the hearing, the bench told the counsel appearing for the police officers, “You (respondents) have to pay compensation from your pocket.”
The apex court noted that the counsel, on instructions, stated that respondents were willing to compensate the petitioner from their own pocket for her illegal one-day detention.
“The petitioner will be compensated with the amount of Rs 15,000 for the illegal detention for one day which will be shared by both the respondents and the payment to be made within a period of two weeks from today,” the bench ordered.
While disposing of the contempt petition, the bench cautioned the two police officers to be careful in future.
In its January 5, 2023, the bench had noted the woman was arrested by the police from the hospital.
“On the prosecution claiming remand, orders were passed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate 9th court Bandra, Mumbai, on November 20, 2021 refusing remand and recording that the arrest of the petitioner was not justified,” it had noted in its order while issuing notice to the respondents on the contempt plea.
Earlier in 2021, the woman had approached the top court against the August 2021 order of the Bombay High Court rejecting her plea for anticipatory bail in the case.
“After some arguments, counsel for the petitioner seeks to withdraw the petition but requests for some time for the petitioner to surrender. The special leave petition is dismissed as withdrawn. The petitioner to surrender within two weeks and apply for regular bail which would be considered expeditiously,” the apex court had said in its November 17, 2021 order.