Kerala HC grants Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to eight-year-old girl harassed by police

Kerala HC grants Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to eight-year-old girl harassed by police
In a video that went viral on social media, the officer and her colleague were seen harassing the father and the daughter and even frisking him. The girl broke down amid their harassment.

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to an eight-year-old girl who, along with her father, were harassed by a police officer in a public road, casting accusations of theft on the duo.

The High Court also directed that disciplinary action should be initiated against the concerned pink police officer while clarifying that this does not mean she should be removed from her employment. Pink police is a special women protection squad of Kerala police.

“We cannot let our daughters grow up in anger; immediate remedial steps should be taken. No one can dispute that her Fundamental Right under Article 21 to lead a dignified and full life was violated,”  Justice Devan Ramachandran said.

While delivering the judgment, Justice Ramachandran placed reliance on the decision of Nilabati Behera v. State Of Orissa where it was held unequivocally that compensation under public law is an acknowledged remedy, and noted that this salutary principle had stood the march of time.

The High Court also pointed out that the Apex Court had granted a hefty compensation amounting to Rs. 1 crore to Nambi Narayan on the very same principle, Live Law reported.

“It is not in contest that the event has traumatised her. It doesn’t matter if she (the officer) acted vindictively, viciously or deliberately, the fact that little Devipriya went through a harrowing experience that could leave a scar on psychological well-being is ipso facto sufficient to grant her reparation under public law remedy,” Justice Ramachandran said.

Meanwhile, Kerala’s left government in the High Court said that there was no material on record to show that the girl was restrained or humiliated by the pink police officer so as to violate her fundamental rights or entitle her to any damages under the public law remedy.

Earlier, the court said that the state was claiming there was no violation of any fundamental rights “as they do not recognise any fundamental rights”.

Incident

The incident occurred on 27 August when Jayachandran reached Moonumukku with his eight-year-old daughter Devipriya who wanted to watch the movement of a massive cargo to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thumba.

Rajitha, the woman Pink police officer, was deployed to assist in traffic regulation and she accused the duo of stealing her mobile phone that was kept in the police vehicle.

In a video that went viral on social media, the officer and her colleague were seen harassing the father and the daughter and even frisking him. The girl broke down amid their harassment.

However, when an onlooker dialed the number of the officer, the mobile phone was found in the police vehicle, following which the police team left the scene without even tendering an apology to the father and the daughter.