The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday took suo motu cognizance of the thrashing, disrobing and dragging of a senior doctor across the road in Visakhapatnam by the police in full public view. It directed the Chief Secretary of the state to appear personally in court on Wednesday to give the state’s response to the matter.
Taking up the beating of Doctor K. Sudhakar as a PIL, a division bench headed by Justice Rakesh Kumar, on Monday, described the incident as “highly deplorable” and stated that the court was “inwardly shocked”. It is pertinent to mention that Dr Sudhakar was suspended from service by the Y. Jagan Mohan Reddy government last month after he allegedly complained about the shortage of PPEs and masks in government hospitals.
This has been mentioned in the court order, a copy of which is available with The Daily Guardian. In the videos of the incident that went viral on social media, Dr Sudhakar is seen shirtless, with his hands tied behind his back, being beaten by the police. The police justified the beating by stating that he was drunk and was creating public nuisance.
In its order, the division bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice K. Suresh Reddy said the court wanted to hear from the state government what steps were being taken against the policemen and the officers concerned. The court expressed regret that Dr Sudhakar’s mother was not being allowed to meet him in police custody on the orders of the Police Commissioner.
The court asked the Chief Secretary to explain this action too in his response. Justice Rakesh Kumar, while asking the Chief Secretary to file the affidavit personally and appear in court on Wednesday, ordered that Dr Sudhakar too should be brought before court for examination on the allegations levelled by him. According to the order sheet, the court appointed a senior lawyer, P. Veera Reddy as amicus curiae to assist the court.
“During Covid 19 period, while doctors and health workers, taking risks of their lives, are rendering services to the society, such misbehaviour with a doctor appears to be deplorable and such action requires to be deprecated. It is common knowledge that during the Covid period the entire society is treating doctors as substitute to gods. IAF helicopters are showering flower petals on them in recognition to their services.
In such a situation a video showing thrashing of a doctor publicly by government machinery certainly preeks (sic) the conscience of everyone, including us”, the order reads. Justice Rakesh Kumar was transferred to Andhra Pradesh last year for his order in which he had condemned his brother judges and then Chief Justice of Patna High Court for “corrupting high court judicature at Patna and protecting the corrupt”.