SC fines 6 Maha cops for illegal detention, demolition of rented premises without court order

A cumulative cost of Rs 12 lakh was imposed on the policemen for their role in abetting illegal detention of three persons and demolition of their rented premises without any judicial order

A file photo of the Supreme Court of India (Photo: National Herald archives)
A file photo of the Supreme Court of India (Photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

The Supreme Court has imposed a cumulative cost of Rs 12 lakh on six Maharashtra policemen after taking a serious note of abetting illegal detention of their rented premises without any judicial order.

According to the peculiar facts of the case, the six policemen of Jalgaon called three tenants including Vijaykumar Vishwanath Dhawale and Vinod Dodhu Chaudhary to a police station on March 9, 2022 and kept them under detention for 24 hours.

And, in the meantime, the rented premises of the detenue were demolished by relatives of former owner and the tenants were also forced to sign some documents, apparently giving their consent of vacating the premises, a bench of justices Vikram Nath and Satish Chandra Sharma said in its judgement delivered on January 30.

The bench took note of the fact that the subsequent purchasers of the property paid Rs 10 lakh each to the evicted tenants which led to a settlement of the dispute between the tenants and 13 accused, including former owners and the six policemen.

The top court decided to close the ongoing litigation related to the demolition of the rented properties and subsequent criminal case between tenants and the former owners and “conspiring” policemen.

“However, what we are not satisfied with is why the police personnel have been allowed to go scot-free in a case where they had an apparent role in conspiring and in abetting the crime of the illegal detention of the tenants, coercing them to sign the document against their will, and getting the premises in question demolished without any order from a competent court,” the bench said.

“We, accordingly, direct that the six police personnel will suffer a cost of Rs 6 lakh for each of the two complainants,” the bench said and quantified the sums to be paid by three constables, one head constable, a sub-inspector and one Inspector as their contribution towards the cost.

“This amount shall be deposited in account No…of the Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund, Canara Bank, Branch South Block, Defence Headquarters, within four weeks from today.

“After depositing the said amount in the aforesaid fund, they shall file proof of deposit with the registry of this court within six weeks and also before the magistrate and the high court. Upon deposit of the said amount, the proceedings of the two complaint cases shall stand quashed and closed,” the bench said.

The court, however, made clear that its observations and the direction asking the policemen to pay compensation to the tenants will not be treated as “adverse to their interest in consideration of their promotions etc. that is to say that this order may not be kept in their service records”.

“It is further made clear that if the proof of deposit is not filed within the stipulated time, these petitions filed by the police personnel would stand dismissed,” it said.

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