Supreme Court stays Himachal Pradesh High Court order transferring Kangra SP Shalini Agnihotri : The Tribune India

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Supreme Court stays Himachal Pradesh High Court order transferring Kangra SP Shalini Agnihotri

The High Court had earlier refused to recall its order to transfer Agnihotri and state DGP Sanjay Kundu

Supreme Court stays Himachal Pradesh High Court order transferring Kangra SP Shalini Agnihotri

Kangra SP Shalini Agnihotri



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, April 20

The Supreme Court has stayed the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s order transferring Kangra district Superintendent of Police Shalini Agnihotri.

“We direct that pending the disposal of the proceedings before the High Court, the order dated 9 January 2024 in relation to the petitioner (Agnihotri) shall remain stayed,” a Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud ordered on Friday.

However, in view of the apprehension expressed by complainant Nishant Sharma that in the guise of security, his movements could be restrained, the Bench directed that the monitoring of the security arrangements to be provided to him shall be exclusively within the domain of Himachal Pradesh Additional General of Police.

“In other words, the petitioner (Agnohotri), who is posted as Superintendent of Police, Kangra, shall not have any role in relation to the security to be provided to Nishant Sharma,” the Bench clarified, allaying his fear that his security was being monitored by the Superintendent of Police, Kangra.

On behalf of the State of Himachal Pradesh, Advocate-General assured the court that there was no intention to restrict Sharma’s free movement under the guise of providing security to him. Agnihotri was represented by senior counsel Siddhartha Dave.

Noting that the High Court was still seized of the main proceedings, the top court ordered that “All the submissions of Nishant Sharma, the newly added respondent, may be placed before the High Court so that his grievances can be duly considered in the course of the main proceedings which are pending before the High Court.”

It said Sharma would be at liberty to file further affidavit before the High Court holding his grievances and such of the documents that he wished to place on the record so that his grievances can be duly considered.

The High Court had earlier refused to recall its order to transfer Agnihotri and state DGP Sanjay Kundu.

However, the top court had in January set aside the High Court’s order transferring Sanjay Kundu from the post of state DGP on the allegation that he was interfering with the fair investigation of the present case filed by the complainant.

In a major relief to Kundu, the Supreme Court on January 12 set aside the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s order removing him from the post of the state’s Director General of Police, saying it went against principles of natural justice as he was not heard.

It had disapproved of the manner in which the High Court passed the initial ex-parte order for Kundu’s transfer and then refused to recall it when it got an opportunity to reconsider it following the top court’s directions.

”The consequences of shifting out an IPS officer as DGP are serious. Such an order for transfer could not have been passed without an opportunity for the petitioner to contest the proceedings against him and let him file his response,” it had said.

The January 12 order had come on Kundu’s petition challenging the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s January 9 order dismissing the petitions filed by Kundu and Kangra SP Shalini Agnihotri seeking recall of its December 26, 2023 order to the state government to transfer them to ensure that they didn’t influence the probe into the case.

The high court’s order was passed in a suo motu proceeding initiated on a complaint by one Nishant Sharma alleging a threat to his life by a former IPS officer and a practising lawyer. Sharma had alleged that Agnihotri failed to act efficiently in registering an FIR—which was lodged only after the high court’s intervention.

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