1996 Drug Planting Case: SC Issues Notice On Ex-IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s Wife’s Plea Challenging Custody Order [Read Order]
The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the State of Gujarat on a petition filed by Ms. Shweta Bhatt, wife of former IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt, alleging that Mr. Bhatt is not being allowed to execute Vakalatnama to move the Supreme Court.
Mr. Bhatt has been in the custody of Gujarat CID since September 5, in a 22-year-old drug planting case. The Gujarat High Court had also, earlier this month, allowed Gujarat police’s revision application for taking him into 10 days police custody in the case.
While the petition primarily challenges the High Court order, the Bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha on Monday emphasized on the gravity of the allegation made by Ms. Bhatt, asserting that it raises the issue of great and substantial importance as it involves the State virtually preventing citizens from approaching the Supreme Court.
“We have taken the above view as, according to us, the issue raised by the averments made in paragraph 3 of the application for permission to file Special Leave Petition raises issue of great and substantial importance as it pertains to allegations made against the State in virtually preventing citizens from approaching this Court,” it observed.
The court then directed the State to file its response before September 28 and directed the matter to be listed on October 4.
In her petition, Ms. Bhatt submits that the Rajasthan Police has already investigated the drug planting allegations, with the charge sheet having been filed and trial going on in the case. Taking him into custody for the same offence by the Gujarat police has therefore been termed by her as a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
She, in fact, points out that her husband has been on anticipatory bail in respect of the same offences, and hence, the High Court could not have remanded him to any kind of custody without having cancelled this bail first.
“…the grounds of remand in the remand application have been all investigated and answered by the Rajasthan Police in their charge-sheet. The papers of investigation of the Gujarat Police from registration of FIR till the filing of closure were recovered and it forms part of charge-sheet filed by the Rajasthan Police therefore for the documents which are already recovered and which is before a competent court in the form of a criminal case, the High Court could not have granted police custody of the Petitioner’s husband,” she contends.
In her application for permission to file the petition, she finally alleges that her husband was not being allowed to execute the Vakalatnama, and hence, it was her who had now approached the court.
“That petitioner’s husband has been taken into custody in the most arbitrary manner and he has also been taken on Police Custody Remand. The petitioner’s husband is not allowed to execute Vakalatnama and any other documents required mandatorily to file the present Special Leave Petition,” the application states.
Read the Order Here