Punjab and Haryana High Court raps police for acting beyond jurisdiction

Imposes Rs1 lakh costs on Jalandhar Commissioner of Police

Punjab and Haryana High Court raps police for acting beyond jurisdiction

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26

Rapping the police for overreaching the powers of a civil court in a property dispute between brothers, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Jalandhar Commissioner of Police to pay Rs 1 lakh costs to the one of the brothers for unnecessarily dragging him into litigation.

“The petitioner shall be entitled to costs of Rs 1 lakh to be paid by the Commissioner of Police, Jalandhar…. It will be open for him to recover the cost from erring police officers, after conducting an inquiry in accordance with the law,” Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan asserted, while admonishing the civil court for its casual approach.

Justice Sangwan asserted it appeared that even the court was not deciding two suits pending since 2014, though the same could have been decided in an expeditious manner to avoid financial loss.

The assertion came in a case where a police official, in the garb of maintaining law and order regarding a property — subject matter of two pending civil suits — put his own lock before handing over the keys to the munshi/moharrar of a police station to await the decision of the civil court.

Justice Sangwan asserted the police authorities, in colourable exercise of the powers, put their own lock on the shop in dispute without any order of the court or authority just to help the respondent-brother. “Thus, action of the police clearly amounts to overreaching the powers of the court, which needs to be condemned strongly”.

Justice Sangwan added surprisingly the inquiry report submitted by the Commissioner of Police stated that property was locked with effect from May 2015 by the respondent-brother, although ASI Simarjit Singh had put the lock in July 2017.

It was surprising as to how this finding was recorded by the inquiry officer, especially when all four witnesses in clear words had deposed that the petitioner-brother had demolished and reconstructed the shop.

Referring to an order passed in July 2015 by the civil court in the suit filed by respondent-brother, Justice Sangwan asserted it was noticed that parties were in agreement that possession was of the petitioner-brother. “Therefore, there was no authority with any of the police official to put its own lock and direct the parties to await the decision of the civil court”.

Directing the removal of the locks, Justice Sangwan added the zeal and zest shown by the police authorities to out of the way help the private respondents by exceeding their power and even by overreaching the power and jurisdiction of civil court was apparent on record.

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