Retaliation of policeman for disgraceful act done by citizen is not proper

Delhi High Court: After taking a suo-motu cognizance of a very recent incident where a women was hit with a brick by a constable for breaking the traffic rules, a division bench of G. Rohini CJ and R.S. Endlaw J., expressed anguish over the rise in the incidents of ‘road rage’ and said that “such a situation, if remain unchecked, will snowball into a ‘jungle raj’ with only the physically fittest amongst us surviving.

Concerned with the larger implications which has acquired alarming proportions, the Court took a suo-motu cognizance of the matter after Ms Shweta, Proxy Counsel for the respondent handed a status report with respect to the said incident, reporting that the traffic constable responsible for the incident was arrested, dismissed from the service and a criminal case has been registered against him.

The Court stated that everyone on the road appears to be on a short fuse, and the recent incident clearly reveals that citizens have no faith or respect for the police personnel and instead of treating them as an ally or a friend or as someone to turn to in case of need, treat them as a foe and fear them, and no solution for the same has been proposed till now. The Court observed that the video clips of the present incident shows that before the traffic policeman hurled the brick at women, she hurled a brick at the traffic policeman’s motorcycle, which is presumed to qualify as “public property”. The Court relied on Ramlila Maidan Incident v. UOI, (2012) 5 SCC 1 where the apex court observed that even if action of Police was wrong, it gave no right to others to commit any offence. The Court further stated that the governmental agencies and governmental employees alone are not responsible for maintaining peace and sanity on road, but the citizens too should perform their duties as enshrined in Article 51A of the Constitution.

The Court also relied on Bhim Singh v. State of J&K, (1985) 4 SCC 677 and noted that even if the behaviour on the part of the citizen was disgraceful, the same ought not to have elicited a retaliation from the concerned traffic policeman. The Court directed the respondents to respond to the views taken by the Court and place on record the measures to address the malady. The Court also directed the respondents to look into the need to provide training and counseling to police personnel, considering constrains and difficulties under which the police has to perform. Court on its own motion v. Union of India, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 9449, decided on 13.05.2015

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