Telangana: In an unprecedented development, Telangana High Court sentenced Commissioner of Police, Karimnagar, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Station House Officer, Karimnagar Rural PS to six months imprisonment along with fine of Rs 2,000 and exemplary costs of Rs 10,000 each in a contempt case.
Justice PV Sanjay Kumar imposed this punishment on Friday while hearing the contempt case filed by Pushpanjali Country Resort at Teegala Gutta Palli near Karimnagar. Those sentenced to prison by the High Court are Karimnagar Police Commissioner Kamalasan Reddy, Assistant Commissioner Tirupathi, and Station House Officer (SHO) Shashidhar Reddy for repeatedly raiding the resort despite a restraining order from the court.
Pushpanjali Country Resort filed a Writ petition in November 2015 seeking the protection of the High Court against Karimnagar Police which was repeatedly interfering their functioning. The police have been ostensibly making raids to prevent people from playing cards there. Justice Sanjay Kumar gave a direction to the Karimnagar police not to interfere with the playing of Rummy (13 card game), whatever be the stakes. He cited that a Division Bench of the High Court had ruled that the playing of this game need not be penalised. The judge mandated that resort management must install video cameras. The recordings must be preserved for a period of at least 15 days so that police can check it to see that this game does not degrade into gambling. It was also ordered that the feed from the cameras must be connected to the local PS and SP office for monitoring.
Even after the court made its decision on November 2015, the police continued their raids on the resort. This led the Acting President of the Resort V Jagapathi Rao to file a case of contempt in the High Court. During the hearing on February 2019, Justice Sanjay Kumar became furious at the police. The officials raided the resort four times after the judgment, always with a huge posse of police officers, including plainclothes personnel. They terrorised customers, despite clear directions of the court not to harass. The arrest of everyone present in the resort was also decried. The Justice had directed the Advocate General to assist the court in this case.
Finally, on Friday Justice Sanjay Kumar passed orders in this contempt case, sentencing three police officers to six months imprisonment. However, he stayed the operation of the order for four weeks to give these officers an opportunity of filing an appeal.