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Karnataka High Court Issues Guidelines For Making Or Continuing Entries In Rowdy Register /History Sheets In Light Of 'Privacy Jurisprudence'

Mustafa Plumber
6 May 2022 8:15 AM GMT
Karnataka High Court Issues Guidelines For Making Or Continuing Entries In Rowdy Register /History Sheets In Light Of Privacy Jurisprudence

The Karnataka High Court recently issued guidelines to be followed by the police before entering the name of an individual to the Register of Rowdies, which is maintained by every police station.

A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit said,

"The implications of the name of an individual being entered, and indefinitely continued in the 'Register of Rowdies' are far reaching. There are discernible consequences adverse to the interest of the individual concerned who may not be an accused. Therefore, there has to be a due procedure put in place for making or continuing entries in the rowdy register/history sheets. There also has to be evolved a proper Grievance Redressal Mechanism against a wrongful registration of names & their continuation, regardless of the request of the aggrieved for deletion."

It added, "The existing provisions of the Manual as interpreted by the Courts hitherto supposedly prove inadequate in the light of Puttaswamy jurisprudence which has expanded the content & contours of privacy and autonomy of individuals."

The bench while disposing of a batch of petition filed by persons whose names have been included in the register of rowdies, said, "While the State has a legitimate interest in the protection of its citizenry, there is also a duty resting on its shoulders for protecting the individuals as well. In matters of history sheeting and rowdy sheeting, because of their implications, the Police should critically examine & adjust the boundaries between the societal interest and liberties of the individual concerned. Therefore, arguably, there is a need for a comprehensive legislation concerning the subject matter post Puttaswamy."

It added, "Until that is done, the commoners cannot be asked to put up with the legal regime now obtaining, unsatisfactorily."

Accordingly it issued the following guidelines for supplementing the existing position of law relating to Rowdy Sheeting & History Sheeting:

i. Before entering the name of an individual to the Register of Rowdies, the jurisdictional police shall collect and collate the material information concerning him and frame the proposal for registration on that basis.

ii. A brief proposal notice shall be sent to the individual concerned in a sealed cover with an option to submit his representation within two weeks as to why his name should not be registered as a rowdy. However, there is no need to afford a personal hearing. In exceptional cases notice may be dispensed with for reasons to be recorded in the Register of Rowdies.

iii. In terms of Clause (5), Order 1059 of the Manual, the Superintendent of Police or the Sub – Divisional Police Officer shall not accord approval for entering the name of an individual concerned to the Register of Rowdies without calling for records and objectively considering the same. He shall briefly record his reasons for according the approval and mark a copy thereof to the individual forthwith, with a mention that he may petition the Police Complaints Authority, against the same.

iv.The jurisdictional Police shall compulsorily once in two years undertake a periodic review of entries in the Register of Rowdies suo motu, as provided under Clause (2), Order 1057 of the Manual. However, it is open to the aggrieved, to make a representation at any time after one year of registration, seeking deletion of name from the Rowdy Register on the basis of changed circumstances such as rectitude, good conduct, social/community service, etc.

v. The representation for review shall be considered by the jurisdictional Police at the initial level within a period of 30 days, during which necessary inputs may be obtained through the available sources as to the merits of the claim. The recommendation shall be sent to the jurisdictional Superintendent of Police or the Sub – Divisional Police Officer, within 15 days along with the representation & the material collected thereon. Such recommendation along with the result of consideration of the representation shall be communicated to the individual concerned within the next 15 days.

vi. Any individual aggrieved by the rejection of his representation or continuation of his name in the Register may petition to the Police Complaints Authority ordinarily within 30 days. However, no personal hearing shall avail. The petition shall be disposed of by recording reasons within an outer limit of 60 days, after considering the material on record or the fresh inputs that may be requisitioned, by the authority.

vii. The entire process of Rowdy/History Sheeting from the stage of issuance of proposal notice as specified above, up to the issuance of the orders on the petition if any to the Police Complaints Authority, shall be done only in a sealed cover procedure and that nothing therein shall be disclosed nor made available to anyone, except to the aggrieved, nor any Right To Information (RTI) application shall be entertained in this regard.

viii. The violation of these guidelines shall constitute a major misconduct and an adverse entry on proof thereof shall be made by the Disciplinary Authority in the Service Register of the erring official after hearing him and a copy thereof shall be marked to the victim of Rowdy Register/History Sheet, without brooking any delay.

ix. Whatever guidelines herein above laid down shall be applicable to the case of History Sheeters as well, mutatis mutandis and subject to the provisions of Karnataka Police Manual, 1965.

Case title: B S PRAKASH versus THE STATE OF KARNATAKA AND ORS., and connected matters

Case No: W.P.NO.4504/2021

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 150

Date of Order: 22ND DAY OF APRIL, 2022


Click Here To Read/Download Order

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