New Delhi, March 17
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order to Punjab Police to register an FIR and set up an SIT to probe the alleged kidnapping of a dentist by four policemen to prevent him from appearing in a court.
Acting on a petition filed by the Chandigarh Administration challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order, a Bench led by Justice AS Bopanna also issued notice to the dentist on whose petition the high court had passed the impugned order. It also agreed to consider the impleadment application of Punjab Police.
“This case will need to be considered at length. That’s why we are issuing a stay now,” said the Bench – which also included Justice Hima Kohli.
Directing Chandigarh Police to retain and preserve the records, including CCTV footage, CDR and electronic records relating to the case, the top court posted the matter for further hearing after five weeks.
“How can the high court, while hearing an anticipatory bail plea, direct a special investigation team to be constituted? This is not at all permissible. It’s totally without jurisdiction,” Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj contended.
Terming it as one of the worst cases of police excesses, Bhushan – who represented dentist Mohit Dhawan – said his client had filed a recovery suit against a woman from Nairobi on account of her treatment. He said Dhawan incurred the wrath of a senior police officer who falsely implicated him in several complaints about alleged improper treatment provided by him.
“This case shows very starkly what happens to a citizen of this country if he incurs the wrath of a senior police officer,” Bhushan submitted.
Mohit Dhawan, a Chandigarh-based dentist, had contended before the high court that the conduct of the police officers and their seniors -- who filed affidavits in this case on different occasions -- lacked fairness.
The high court had said the Special Investigation Team probe would be headed by an officer not below the SSP’s rank outside the UT. Justice Harkesh Manuja had on March 3 asked the Punjab DGP to constitute the SIT within a week. The SIT would be assisted by some technical experts in the telecom domain.
“Considering the fact that this case not only has the potential to shake the confidence of the common man in the administration of justice; but if incidents, as alleged by the petitioner, are found to be true, the conduct of police officers would amount to subverting the course of justice by causing interference in the implementation of orders passed by the courts,” the HC had said.
“Exceptional circumstances of this case warrant investigation to be carried out by constituting an SIT headed by an officer not below the rank of SSP outside UT Chandigarh, after registration of an FIR on the basis of representation submitted by the petitioner on February 3, 2022, including the conducts of arresting team,” the high court had said in its order.
Maintaining that Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion, the high court had said the statutory authorities entrusted with the administration of justice have to stand on a higher pedestal with sterling integrity so as to dispel any doubt regarding their conduct.
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