Police expected to behave in a dignified manner with the common citizens and ensure their protection: Orissa High Court reprimands police

Title: Jagannath Panda & Anr. v. State of Odisha & Ors.

Date of Order: October 9, 2023

Citation: WP(CRL)No.177 of 2022

Coram: Justice S.K. Sahoo and Justice Chittaranjan Dash


The High Court of the Orissa made the observation that the police has the responsibility and duty to ensure protection and dignity of the common citizens. They should respond to the calls of duty in an efficacious manner. The division bench consisting of Justice S.K. Sahoo and Justice Chittaranjan Dash reprimanded the Inspector in-charge of Town P.S., Phulbani for behaving in an indignified manner with the parents of a kidnapped minor girl. Further the bench directed the Inspector in-charge to provide with all kinds of assistance and support to rescue the minor girl.

Facts of the case

The Counsel, appearing on behalf of the State produced a status report received from the Inspector in-charge of Town P.S., Phulbani with some documents regarding steps taken by the I.O. to rescue the victim girl. The accused’s name was mentioned in the F.I.R, however, the family members of the accused did not disclose anything in their examination. Further, their house was found to be locked and their phones switched-off.

When the worried parents of the kidnapped minor girl approached the police in order to know the whereabouts of their daughter, the Inspector in-charge started misbehaving with them.

Court’s observation and analysis

The Orissa High Court reprimanded the police for their misbehaviour towards the parents of the minor girl. The court further went on to call this behaviour of the police as an “unfortunate state of affairs”. Reprimanding the police, the court stated that the insensitive behaviour on the part of police personnel is not at all acceptable, especially when a minor girl is suspected to have been kidnapped. The mental maladies of guardians must not be thwarted by police officials in such callous manner.

The Orissa High Court referred to the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgement of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon v. State of Maharashtra reported in (2013) 13 Supreme Court Cases 1, wherein the role of police officers under our constitutional set-up was explained:

The Constitution of our country has entrusted substantial duty to the impartial Police Department for safeguarding and upholding rule of law; whose essential duty is to preserve peace and maintain order in the society. The police officials are the foundation for the existence of the rule of law; if they collapse the whole system indeed breaks down.

The division bench consisting of Justice S.K. Sahoo and Justice Chittaranjan Dash made the observation that the police department are the immediate protectors of common citizens. They have the responsibility to fulfill their duty in an efficient manner, failing which the entire society would be rendered dysfunctional.

The division bench further stated that the Inspector in-charge ought to have behaved in a dignified manner with the parents of the victim minor girl and provide them with assistance in this regard. The police should also provide them with the information regarding the steps that have been taken by the police in order to rescue the victim girl.

Further, The Inspector in-charge was directed to present an up to date case diary and instruction regarding the steps taken after 29.08.2023 to rescue the victim girl, when he appears on the next date.


The criticism of the police department’s behaviour with the parents of the victim minor girl, by the Orissa High Court comes as a guiding principle of the duties of police towards the common citizen. The police has the duty and responsibility to protect the interests of the common citizen and behave in a dignified manner with them. They are empowered with various powers and functions by law in order to prevent unlawful activities in the society. The failure to perform their duty will not only result in inconvenience to the victims but would also render the entire society dysfunctional.

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Written by- Amrita Rout

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