The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Madurai Commissioner of Police to probe into a 2012 incident where the image of a youth was wrongly used in signboards to caution the devotees of thieves during the Chithirai festival.

Hearing the appeal filed by the youth, A Division Bench of Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and S. Kannammal directed the Police Commissioner to take appropriate action against the erring police personnel.

The youth preferred an appeal against a single bench order that dismissed his plea for compensation and appropriate action against the erring police personnel. He said that he was booked by the police after he was involved in a scuffle with his college mates. He claimed that the police had foisted a case against him. He was arrested, remanded in police custody and released on the same day on bail in 2011. Under these circumstances, the police used his photograph in the signboards to caution the devotees of thieves.

Subsequently, the youth was acquitted by the trial court.

The judges observed that as per the Police Standing Order, the provisions speak of habitual offenders and convicted persons. The appellant was not a habitual offender but was an undertrial at that time.

There was foul play in the act of the officials and the erring police officials responsible cannot be let scot-free, the court said. The judges ordered a probe into the incident and directed the Commissioner of Police to complete the probe in 12 weeks and file a report to the court. The case was posted for reporting compliance on July 9.

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