Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Supreme Court Grants Interim Protection To Govt Servant Who Alleged Illegal Surveillance & Hounding By Chhattisgarh Government

Sohini Chowdhury
1 Oct 2022 7:37 AM GMT
Supreme Court Grants Interim Protection To Govt Servant Who Alleged Illegal Surveillance & Hounding By Chhattisgarh Government
x

The Supreme Court, on Friday, issued notice in a petition filed by a Government servant seeking directions to the State of Chhattisgarh to stop the continuous search and surveillance carried out at his residence in violation of his right to privacy. A Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kolhi, granted the petitioner, who was allegedly hounded by the State of...

The Supreme Court, on Friday, issued notice in a petition filed by a Government servant seeking directions to the State of Chhattisgarh to stop the continuous search and surveillance carried out at his residence in violation of his right to privacy.

A Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kolhi, granted the petitioner, who was allegedly hounded by the State of Chhattisgarh, protection from any coercive steps, till the next date of hearing.

"Till the next date of listing, no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioners in pursuance of the FIR bearing No 133/2022 (Annexure P-4) registered at PS Civil Lines, Raipur."

At the outset, Justice Chandrachud had noted that the petitioner is essentially seeking quashing of FIR. In view of the same, he asked the petitioner to approach the Chhattisgarh High Court

"You have now remedies before the High Court. You are seeking for quashing of FIR, go before the Chhattisgarh High Court."

Senior Advocate, Mr. Mukul Rohatgi appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that his client has already filed 18 petitions before the High Court, and has been protected in most of the cases. It was pointed out that the petitioner was being harassed by the present political dispensation in Chhattisgarh solely on the basis of the allegation hat he is a sympathiser of the opposition.

"I have filed 18 petitions in the High Court, the High Court has protected me in most of them. There is a diary against me from the office of the CM. I am a lowly Government servant. It is alleged by members of the governing party that I am a sympathiser of the opposition and this is on record."

Justice Chandrachud was concerned that if a present writ petition which is essentially a quashing petition under Section 482 CrPC be allowed then it would open floodgates and litigants would bypass the High Courts and file similar writ petitions before the Apex Court.

"We saw the allegation, but if we start entertaining essentially a 482 here there would be no end to it."

In order to demonstrate the malafide intention of the State in tormenting the petitioner, Mr. Rohatgi apprised the Bench that the petitioner's residence is under surveillance; his bank accounts have been frozen for the past 2 years; searches are being conducted at his residence without any warrant.

"There is surveillance, there is search in my house, bank accounts were frozen for 2 years. They are searching without a warrant…"

He added that the petitioner was neither named in the FIR nor in the chargesheet. Subsequently, the State police had said that they have information that the petitioner was behind the crime alleged in the impugned FIR.

"I am not named in the FIR, in the charge sheet also I am not named. Now they are saying that we have received information 2-3 months ago that you have been behind the web-portal in question…"

In 2001, the petitioner was recruited as a public servant. At present he is posted as a Joint Commissioner, Department of Panchayat and Rural Development. The petition alleges that in 2018, after the Congress Government took over, there was a consensus amongst the highest functionaries of the State Government to remove the petitioner from his post by accusing him of "saffronisation" in the state. As per the petition, there is a note-sheet signed by the Chief Minister of the State directing removal of petition from his post. All the communications seeking/directing his removal have been challenged before the High Court. As a counter blast, the State, the petition claims, has initiated frivolous enquiries and registered multiple FIRs against him under Prevention of Corruption Act. The action of the Government to harass the petitioner was challenged before the High Court in numerous petitions. Finally, it granted absolute stay and interim relief in the form of no coercive action. The present petition submits that the same did not deter the State Government and it continued hounding the petitioner and eventually his wife. On 02.03.2022, the impugned FIR was registered for offences under Section 504, 505(1)(b) and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 67(A) of the IT Act and Section 4 & 5 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. On 26.04.2022, chargesheet was filed where the petitioner was not mentioned. Subsequently, an illegal search operation was conducted at his residence. The petitioner complained about the same to the concerned authority. The petitioner also seems to be under surveillance in violation of his right to privacy. The illegal searches and surveillance continued. On 05.09.2022, the petitioner moved a leave application citing medical reasons. On the same day, he filed an anticipatory bail application, which was eventually rejected by the Trial Court. Thereafter, another anticipatory bail application was filed before the High Court.

The present petition has been filed through Advocate-on-Record, Mr. Abhinav Shrivastava.

[Case Status: Asok Chaturvedi And Anr. v. State of Chhattisgarh And Ors.]

Click Here To Read/Download Order


Next Story