The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered a preliminary CBI probe within 15 days into former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s allegations against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
“There is certainly a legitimate public expectation of a free, fair, honest and impartial inquiry and investigation into such allegations which have surfaced in the public domain. The necessity to have a probe into such allegations by an independent agency, would also certainly be a requirement of the rule of law. To instill public confidence and safeguard the Fundamental Rights of the citizens, it is necessary that an inquiry and investigation is conducted by an independent agency and for such reasons, we consider it to be in the paramount public interest that an independent probe in the present circumstances would meet the ends of justice,”
-the bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni said.
“Here, Shri Deshmukh is the Home Minister. The police
department is under his control and direction. There can be no fair, impartial, unbiased and untainted probe, if the same were
entrusted to the State Police Force. As of necessity, the probe has to be entrusted to an independent agency like the CBI,” the bench said.
“It is well-settled that the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is very wide and the same is not and cannot be restricted by law; however, various judicial pronouncements have set the limits of exercise of such power or jurisdiction ~ the limits being the self-imposed restrictions conceptualized through judicial wisdom. In the context of the nature of the concern expressed in the CrWP, the restriction to be kept in mind in deciding the question of entertainability is, whether there exists any equally efficacious alternative remedy in a criminal court and even if such a forum of redress is available, should the writ court entertain the writ petition. Where the facts of any case are such that the remedy provided by the law is found to be inadequate or inefficacious to the judicial mind, a writ petition may be entertained and decided,”
-the Court said.
“The discretionary power that is vested in the High Court for enforcement of the Fundamental Rights or for any other purpose is meant to be exercised on considerations of justice, and for eradicating injustice…. We are thus of the view that since the law courts exist for the society, technicalities ought not to stand in the way,”
-the bench said.
Singh, who was recently replaced as Mumbai Police chief in the backdrop of the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case, had alleged that he was targeted because he had written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray complaining about Anil Deshmukh being involved in malpractices including extortion and illegal transfers. In the letter, Singh also said Deshmukh had asked arrested police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore every month from bars and restaurants. That is the basis of his petition seeking a probe.
In previous hearing, the court had asked Singh why he didn’t file an FIR against the minister and why he didn’t approach the police or the CBI before bringing the matter to the courts.
Bombay High Court Chief Justice Dipankar Datta had made stern remarks during arguments and said no police officer, minister or politician is above the law. He said why should the law be set aside for a police commissioner. Singh should not view himself so high, the law is above him, Justice Datta had said.
To which Singh had said that these hard facts are coming from a person who has served for more than 30 years on the highest post in the police force in Mumbai.
The Court had also asked Singh to show the complaint first hand and affidavits from Vaze and other officers that the Home Minister said this in their presence.
To which, the former police chief said he had discussed the subject with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar but his pleas have not been paid heed to.hc-anil-deshmukh