The Allahabad High Court has expressed displeasure at the laxity of police against Shia leader Dr Syed Kalbe Sibtain alias Noori in the matter of nuisance and damage to public property in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
A Single-Judge Lucknow Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh on Thursday directed the Commissioner of Police, Lucknow, to personally remain present before the Court on the next date fixed. The Court passed this order on a Criminal Miscellaneous Anticipatory Bail Application filed under Section 438 CrPC filed by Dr Sibtain.
The application sought anticipatory bail in FIR under Sections 147, 148, 149, 152, 323, 504, 506, 333, 427, 436, 307, 353, 188, 120B, 395 and 145 of IPC, besides Section 7 of Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, Section 3/4 of Prevention of Damages to Public Property Act, and Section 5 of Explosive Substances Act, registered at Thakurganj Police Station in Lucknow district.
The FIR has been filed against 27 named accused and 2000-2100 unknown persons. All the accused have been charged for the offence of rioting and damaging the public property in Lucknow city.
On July 13, 2021, the co-ordinate Bench of the Court granted interim protection to Sibtain and time for obtaining instructions regarding CCTV footage was also provided to the Additional Government Advocate appearing for the state.
After two days (July 15), the Bench extended the interim protection granted earlier, and gave time to the state to file a detailed objection/counter affidavit and procure the CCTV footage.
The Court said that as per the aforesaid direction(s) of the coordinate Bench of this Court, the CCTV footage, which is required for proper adjudication and establishing the involvement of the accused, has not been made available yet and due to inaction on part of the authority concerned, the applicant is enjoying the interim protection.
The Court further said that when the matter is taken up for final hearing and when a specific query is put forth before the Additional Government Advocate as to why in spite of specific direction of the Court on different occasions and granting time for filing objection/counter affidavit and procuring the CCTV Footage, the same has not been made available/brought on record yet, he has expressed his inability to assist the Court in the absence of proper/complete instructions from police department.
The Additional Government Advocate placed a letter dated August 25, written to the Commissioner of Police/Senior Superintendent of Police/Superintendent of Police regarding instructions as required by the Court.
He also informed the Court that the concerned Circle Officer and Investigating Officer have also been telephonically apprised regarding the aforesaid direction(s) of the Court.
The allegations made against the applicant are very serious in nature and he has secured the interim protection in the absence of proper/complete instructions, CCTV Footage and other material(s), but still the concerned authorities are not providing sufficient /necessary assistance to the Government Counsel(s) for disposal of the matter with promptness. The Court has taken the conduct of police department very seriously.
“In view of the above and looking at the seriousness of the matter, the Commissioner of Police, Lucknow is directed to file his personal affidavit within two weeks from today, explaining therein as to why in spite of letter(s) and telephonic conversation, proper/necessary assistance has not been given to the counsel appearing for the state in such a serious matter, when the applicant is enjoying the interim protection in the anticipatory bail for such a long time,”
-the Court observed.
“Upon failure to do so, the Commissioner of Police, Lucknow shall personally remain present before the Court on the next date fixed. The Senior Registrar of this Court is directed to forward a copy of this order to the Chief Secretary, Government of UP, Lucknow and all other officials concerned immediately for information and compliance. Interim order, if any, shall continue till the next date of listing,” the Court ordered and fixed September 27 as the next date of hearing.