A Karnataka court on Tuesday denied anticipatory bail for police Sub-Inspector Arjun Gowda, accused of attacking a Dalit man and forcing him to lick urine while in custody last month. A special judge in the Chikkamagaluru court observed that the "alleged nature of the incident is most heinous in nature." The district court stated, "The alleged nature of the incident is most heinous in nature. Not only was the victim urinated upon, but he has been made to lick the urine from the floor. Such an act of atrocity destroys the personal dignity of any person," as per a report by LiveLaw.
The police official had filed anticipatory bail in connection with a case registered against him on May 22 in the Gonibeedu police station in Chikkamagaluru. He was accused of attacking Punith KL, a 22-year-old resident of Kiranguda in the district, when he was in custody. Arjun allegedly forced another inmate to urinate and then forced Punith to lick drops of the urine off the floor. The complainant Punith said that the incident occurred when he asked for water.
The district court noted that Section 197 of the CrPC (prior sanction from a competent officer needed to prosecute a government servant for alleged criminal act done in discharge of his official duty) does not protect the police officer since this was admittedly illegal detention and involved custodial torture. The court also stated that there was no issue in the delay of 12 days in filing the complaint since the accused is a police officer and the complainant is a common citizen from a marginalised community.
Arjun was charged with wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, causing insult, causing hurt, torture, wrongful confinement to extort a confession, along with provisions under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The case came to light when Punith wrote to Chikkamagaluru Superintendent of Police (SP) Akshay M Hakay and other senior police officers