Orissa HC | Alleged for subjecting a tribal boy to excessive police force; OHRC’s Order for recovering interim compensation from police officer’s salary kept on hold

Orissa High Court: Mohammad Rafiq, CJ while addressing a petition non-effectuated the Odisha Human Rights Commission’s Order of payment of an interim compensation for subjecting a tribal boy to brutal behaviour at Patna Police Station and the same to be recovered from petitioners salary.

Petitioner aggrieved by the Order of Odisha Human Rights Commission wherein Principal Secretary of Government, Home Department and Director General of Police, Odisha, Cuttack recommended to pay sum of Rs 10,000 as an interim compensation to the victim alleged to have been subjected to brutal behaviour by use of excessive force by a police officer at Patna Police Station in the District of Keonjhar, Odisha.

Victim who has subjected to brutal behaviour by police force was a tribal boy.

As per the visual shown in the electronic media, the victim was beaten up by baton and kicked by the police officer and at that point of time, a lady in civil dress was trying to take away the baton from the police officer. The incident took place inside the police station in presence of three to four persons.

Petitioner’s counsel had submitted that by an interim order, Commission had given a finding that was adverse to the petitioner and required an amount of interim compensation to be paid to the victim by the State and the same to be recovered from petitioners’ salary.

According to clause 26 of Odisha Human Rights Commission (Procedure) Regulations, 2003, the Commission may in its discretion afford a personal hearing to the petitioner or any other person on his behalf.

Had the Commission given the petitioner an opportunity to present her case, she would have explained her position to the Commission. But the Commission had passed ex parte order without an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner relying on an e-mail based on an unverified news paper report.

Decision of the Court

Even though, the order has been described recommendatory in nature, asking the Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department and the Director General of Police, Odisha, Cuttack to pay a sum of Rs. 10,000 as an interim compensation to the victim and recover the same from the salary of the petitioner, but in the opinion of this Court, the Commission considering the spirit of Clause-26 of the Regulation ought to have been heard the petitioner prior to passing such order as it is bound to affect service career of the petitioner who is a lady police officer serving as Inspector of Police.

One of the cardinal principles of natural justice that any order which is likely to adversely affect a person ought to be passed only after providing opportunity of hearing to the person concerned.

Thus, Court not interfering with the impugned order of the Commission directed the petitioner to submit an appropriate application before the Commission itself which is yet to make final recommendation and further directed that till such final recommendation of the Commission is made, in as far as that part of the impugned order, by which an amount of Rs 10,000 had been ordered to be recovered from the salary of the petitioner, shall not be given effect to.

Petition was disposed of in view of the above terms. [Sandhyarani Jena v. State of Odisha, WP (C) No. 12656 of 2020, decided on 28-05-2020]

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