The Kerala High Court has recently directed the Kerala Police to publish on its official website the details of police officers who have been found guilty of corruption or human rights violations.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan further added that the direction has to comply within 30 days from March 20. The court ruled that the Police cannot shield the names of officers who have been found guilty or dismissed from service on charges of corruption or human rights violations.
The above pronouncement was made in a plea moved by the Information Officer challenging an Order of the State Information Commission (SIC) which required police to publish details of corrupt officers found guilty in a court of law or dismissed from service on charges of corruption and human rights violations. Additionally, the SIC had also directed the information authorities to upload on the police website the names of the officers against whom charges of corruption or human rights violations were established after an investigation.
The court, thus, disposed of the petition filed by the State Public Information Officer of the Crime Records Bureau (Deputy Superintendent of Police, Thiruvananthapuram).
After considering the submissions made by both the parties, the Court ultimately upheld the ruling of the SIC and ruled that names of officers convicted on corruption or human rights violations such as wrongful confinement, sexual abuse, rape, and use of abusive language and were removed from services after a due process of inquiry would necessarily have to be published on the website.
“The petitioners will not be justified in shielding the names of such officers and will be bound to publish the same, notwithstanding the fact that Section 4 does not oblige them to publish such information,” asserted the bench.
The Court clarified, however, that the details of officers against whom the offenses had been established on the investigation, but a conclusive finding has not been arrived at by a court of law need not be published.
Section 4 lists information that a public authority is mandated to publish under provisions of the Act.