HC raps police for failure to protect Kottayam private bus owner; slap on court, says judge

bus owner protest
Despite the High Court's protection order, the CITU personnel attacked Mohan, and the police did not intervene in the same. Photo: Manorama News

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday slammed the Kottayam police for their failure to protect a private bus owner, despite the court giving a ruling in favour of him amid protests by CITU members for a wage hike.

Claiming the bus owner's refusal to raise wages, workers of Raj Mohan's bus staged a protest against him at Thiruvarppu in Kottayam. CITU had erected protest flags in front of his bus, following which the latter obtained a protection order from the HC, allowing him to resume operations.

However, it is alleged that despite the protection order, the CITU personnel attacked Mohan, and the police did not intervene in the same, following which the Court initiated suo motu contempt in the matter.

Mohan also alleged that a senior CITU leader also slapped him on his face when he attempted to operate the service.

The single judge bench of Justice N Nagaresh observed that events sent a wrong message to the public. "...Despite High Court's protection order, there are powerful sources who can manhandle you and nothing will happen".

"The slap was not on the cheek of the petitioner; that slap was on the High Court," the court said.

"It is the habit of trade unions in Kerala, when they fail, they come and (attack)...so there was every likelihood this man will be attacked...you should have anticipated...you are police, you are not ordinary citizen," the Court orally noted, adding that it portrayed an instance of wilful neglect.

The Court directed the SHO concerned and the DySP to file their affidavits concerning the investigation of the incident.

The matter was posted on July 18.

(With inputs from Live Law)

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