HC imposes cost on advocate for ‘frivolous’ plea alleging police atrocities

Observing that the police are risking their lives by religiously attending to their duties despite the pandemic when general public are asked to stay indoors for safety, the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday imposed cost on an advocate for filling a “frivolous” PIL petition making “baseless” allegation that the State police committed atrocities to enforce COVID-19 lockdown.

A vacation Division Bench comprising Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order while rejecting the petition filed by S. Balakrishnan, a trade unionist and social worker besides being an advocate practising before the High Court. The Bench directed the petitioner to pay ₹1,000 to the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority as cost for filing the “frivolous” petition.

The Bench said that it cannot order a roving enquiry into the allegation made in the petition citing a few stray instances while pointing out that the petitioner wanted a roving enquiry based on unsubstantiated allegations. Except making bald allegation, no material has been placed on record by the petitioner on allegation of atrocities by the police, the Bench said. Pointing out that hundreds of police personnel, who are frontline workers, doctors and paramedical staff have lost lives in Karnataka while discharging their duties while assisting citizens during the pandemic, the Bench said it cannot be said that the police indulged in violence to enforce law.

Justice Sharma orally told the petitioner that the Karnataka police are “most disciplined” going by his experience, while pointing out that he had not found them misbehaving with him or the public when he goes to buy milk every morning without disclosing his identity as a judge of the High Court. He also said that during his morning walk, he had interacted with police personnel posted on duty in front of the Chief Minister’s house and found that many of them had left their families in their villages, and were discharging duties during these difficult times.

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