The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) on Monday ordered suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against Thoothukudi Additional Superintendent of Police, DSP and a constable for not cooperating with a judicial inquiry into the recent custodial deaths of a father and son that has drawn global outrage. The constable Maharajan had even disparagingly told the judicial magistrate, "You can't do anything".
The court directed the contemnors to appear before it on Tuesday. "We are of the view that unless the State Government intervenes immediately to transfer the Additional Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin, and other policement in in Sathankulam police station, it will be very difficult for a free and fair investigation and enquiry," a bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi held.
Soon after the order, all police personnel of the station were transferred with immediate effect. However, the ASP and DSP continued in their positions.
Earlier taking cognisance of the non-cooperation of the police, the court directed the Thoothukudi Collector to depute Revenue Officials to take control over the Sathankulam Police Station, for preserving evidence in the case. The court directed the Assistant Director of the Mobile Forensic Science Laboratory, Thoothukudi to immediately go to the station to collect the evidence materials and assist the Judicial Magistrate, Kovilpatti in his ongoing inquiry.
As for the State's decision to transfer the case to the CBI, the court said to transfer or not to transfer the case to the CBI was the policy decision of the State Government and such a transfer was governed by the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.