The Bombay High Court on Monday quashed two FIRs against Congress worker Sandeep Kudale, who was arrested by Kothrud police for allegedly making objectionable comments about State Minister for Higher Education Chandrakant Patil on social media, and imposed a cost of ₹25,000 on the State to be recovered from the salary of the police officer for wrongful arrest.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Prithviraj Chavan observed that the police had failed to follow proper procedure as prescribed under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before arresting Kudale.
Section 41A lays down that a notice shall be issued first to a person named as accused in a case and s/he shall be arrested only when required.
Why was Sandeep Kudale arrested?
Kudale was arrested on December 11, 2022 by the Pune Police for the social media post after ink was thrown on Patil the previous day for his comments regarding Dr BR Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule.
He was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for promoting enmity between different groups. The FIR further alleged that Kudale filmed a video standing outside Patil's house and the posts created an atmosphere of contempt against Patil.
He had got pre-arrest bail in the second FIR registered against him.
Kudale alleged cases 'politically motivated'
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Kudale seeking quashing of the FIRs alleging that the cases were “politically motivated”.
Advocate General Birendra Saraf opposed the imposition of costs and sought time to argue. He said there were several judgments against recovering money from a police officer’s salary.
However, the court observed there was a defiance of the court’s orders and police officers should know the consequences of their actions. “Officers should learn to say no,” said Justice Dere.
The court had remarked that the police are expected to uphold procedure before taking a ‘drastic step’ of arrest.
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