The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged manhandling of a government doctor by police in Visakhapatnam last week.
Taking serious note of the May 16 incident, the high court directed that a case be booked against the policemen involved. It asked the CBI to submit its report to the court in eight weeks.
The court delivered its judgment after taking into account the statement of doctor K Sudhakar Rao.
The court had on Wednesday directed the Visakhapatnam sessions judge to personally visit the Government Hospital for Mental Health where Sudhakar Rao is admitted and record his statement.
The court passed the orders on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking probe into inhuman treatment of the doctor.
Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader V Anita had also written a letter to the court seeking a probe into the doctor’s manhandling, arrest and admission to a mental hospital. The court treated her letter as a petition.
Sudhakar Rao, civil assistant surgeon, Area Hospital, Narsipatnam, was suspended two months ago after he publicly criticised the government for failing to provide N95 masks to the doctors treating Covid-19 patients.
He was arrested by the police in Visakhapatnam on May 16 for allegedly creating nuisance on the road at Akkayapalem.
The policemen allegedly manhandled the doctor, who was seen shirtless to the waist, dragged him and bundled him into an autorickshaw. He was shifted to the King George Hospital, where doctors found him in an inebriated condition. He was subsequently referred to the Government Hospital for Mental Health, where he was under treatment for acute and transient psychosis.
The police booked the doctor under the Indian Penal Code sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50).
Police said the doctor behaved rudely with a traffic head constable, snatched his mobile phone and threw it away. He allegedly behaved aggressively with an autorickshaw driver and others and caused a traffic jam.
Police claimed that as the doctor could have endangered his own life, he was taken into custody and since he was in an inebriated condition, he was shifted to the KGH for an alcohol test.
The video clips of police tying the doctor’s hands behind him, dragging and manhandling him triggered outrage with the opposition parties, doctors’ associations and Dalit groups condemning the police action.
Former Chief Minister and leader of opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the YSR Congress Party government treated the doctor with vengeance for criticising it over not supplying masks to the doctors.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has lodged a protest with the Andhra Pradesh government over the police inappropriately handling Sudhakar, an anesthetist.
“There were certainly civilised ways of handling the situation by a civilian government. That he was under suspension for allegedly raising safety issues in the hospital was all the more reason for sensitive handling of the issue,” the IMA headquarters said in a letter to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.