4 Jan 2023 3:58 PM GMT
Weeks after Gauhati High Court slammed Assam Police for demolishing houses of some accused persons with bulldozers, the State has told the court that a Committee headed by the Chief Secretary is enquiring into the incident and appropriate action will be taken against the erring officers within a period of 15 days.While closing the suo motu proceedings that had been initiated by the court in...
Weeks after Gauhati High Court slammed Assam Police for demolishing houses of some accused persons with bulldozers, the State has told the court that a Committee headed by the Chief Secretary is enquiring into the incident and appropriate action will be taken against the erring officers within a period of 15 days.
While closing the suo motu proceedings that had been initiated by the court in July last year, the division bench of Chief Justice R. M. Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saika in an order passed on Tuesday said, "upon such assurance and in view of the fact that the State is now seized of the matter, it is expected that the State shall also take appropriate decision for compensating the persons affected by the illegal action of the officer. Report of the same shall be produced before this Court in this proceeding".
The court clarified that the proceedings can be revived "merely by filing a note" and directed Advocate H.K. Das, the counsel representing the high court, to look into the matter.
In a hearing on November 17 last year, the court had questioned the actions of the Superintendent of Police and said: "Show me from any criminal jurisprudence that for investigating a crime, the police without any order, can uproot a person and apply a bulldozer."
"For this you require permission. You may be the SP of any district. Even IG, DIG, or whoever may be the highest authority has to pass through the gamut of law. Only because they head the police department they cannot wreck anybody's house. Nobody is safe in this country then if that is permitted," the court had observed.
Chief Justice Chayya had also observed that: "With my limited career here in bar, I have not come across any police officer using bulldozer by way of a search warrant".
The Court had compared the police excesses with action scenes of Hindi movies.
"In lighter vein, I have not seen this even in a Hindi movie of Shetty. Send this story of your SP. Rohit Shetty can make a film on this. What is this? Is this a gang war or a police operation? One can understand that in a gang war this happens that one person of one gang uproots the house with a bulldozer," the court had said.
Expressing dismay over the lack of procedure and permission, the court had further said: "Tomorrow if somebody forcefully enters the courtroom and sits in the courtroom, even your police authorities will remove these chairs under the guise of investigation? What type of investigation you are doing?"
"… I forgot the name of the movie … Ajay Devgn's. For that also he had to show the order. You should have waited for the magistrate. You have to apply for that. This is not the manner in which you control the law and order. You please put it to the notice of the higher ups in the Home Department. You can prosecute a person for whatever offences he has committed, but who gave the power to your SP to bulldoze the house," the Chief Justice had said.
The suo motu case had been initiated in relation to the bulldozing of the houses of five men in Nagaon district who were accused of setting fire to the Batadrava Police Station in May 2022.
Case Title: In Re State of Assam and others, PIL(Suo Moto)/3/2022
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Gau) 1
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