BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday dismissed petitions by 165 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) seeking compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each from the State Government for wrongful arrest and illegal confinement.
The court, however, levied costs of Rs. 50,000 on the State Government for arresting the PFI members without following the procedures set out under the law.
Justice B.S. Patil passed the order on petitions by Mohammad Waseem and 164 others.
According to the petitioners, they had decided to organise a jail bharo programme at Fountain Circle in Mysore on July 9, 2008, to protest against certain atrocities perpetuated by the Government.
They said the police and the district administration had acted in an arbitrary manner and arrested them. The petitioners said many of them were sent to the Central Jail in Belgaum. They said a habeas corpus petition seeking their release was filed before the Karnataka High Court. A Division Bench of Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Jawed Rahim had allowed the petitions and ordered their release. The Bench had also come down heavily on the authorities for not following the provisions of the law while carrying out arrests.
They said human rights had been violated and they demanded compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each.
On its part, the State opposed the petitions. It said the PFI had given a call its members to assemble and stage a protest when curfew was imposed. It said the members themselves had faced arrests.
Justice B.S. Patil observed that the State could hold an inquiry into the incident and pin responsibility on the police officer guilty of arresting people without following the law. The amount could be recovered from such an officer.