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Kerala High Court directs Union Ministry to pass orders on emblems and names law

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The Kerala High Court has directed the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India to pass an appropriate order through Secretary to the Government in the matter of deliberate dereliction of duty by the Inspector Station House Officer, Fort Kochi Police Station, in obeying the mandates of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 .

The petitioner, Cheshire Tarzan, alleged that this extraneous consideration facilitates certain offending commercial establishments to continue the commission of offences for decades.

According to the petitioner, as per circular of Higher Education (K) Department, Thiruvananthapuram dated 12.05.2006 the Government of Kerala has directed the State Police Chief, Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram to take stringent action against those who violate the provisions of the Act, 1950. The State Police Chief, in turn, directed the subordinate officers to take necessary action in the matter.

The then Circle Inspector of Fort Kochi Police Station noticed rampant violation of the Act, 1950 within his jurisdiction by 16 commercial establishments and issued notices to those commercial establishments on 29.06.2010 to discontinue the above violations. Challenge against the legality of the above notices were turned down by the High Court judgments dated 15.09.2010 and 20.12.2014 respectively.

Pursuant to the same, Inspector Station House Officer, Fort Kochi Police Station, sought prosecution sanction on 15.01.2015. For granting sanction in the above matter, the designated officer has sought the details of the offending commercial establishments from the State Government, following which, the State of Kerala, represented by the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Home, vide letter dated 19.04.2021 has directed to expedite and provide copies of the registration certificates and other details of the above establishments.

The notices issued by the Inspector Station House Officer under Section 91 of Cr.P.C., seeking the above information were complied with, only by 7 such establishments. The District Police Chief, Kochi City, as per letter dated 19.11.2021, has forwarded the list of establishments, but neglected to furnish the full required information to the State Police Chief, Thiruvananthapuram.

According to the petitioner, the State Police Chief, vide letter dated 25.11.2021, without even applying his mind in the above letter, submitted the same to the State of Kerala, represented by the Additional Chief Secretary, claiming it to be the details of all the 16 establishments. Finding the report of the State Police Chief incomplete and contradictory, the Additional Chief Secretary, vide letter dated 10.12.2021, stated to have directed the State Police Chief, to clarify and produce the required details of all the offending establishments forthwith.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that respondents are duty bound to function under Section 4 of the Kerala Police Act, 2011 and that Sections 4(a) (g), (h), (r) and (s) of the Act, 2011 are found applicable in the situation.

He further submitted that as per Section 27 of the Act, 2011, it is the duty of every Police Officer to undertake all reasonable and lawful activities for the efficient and effective discharge of police duties specified under the Act in respect of the duties entrusted with him. It is further contended that the above deliberate dereliction of duty by the respondents itself is an offence under Section 114(a) of the Act, 2011. Further, as per Section 7 of the Act, 2011 the petitioner has a right to ask for the police services mentioned in Section 4 of the Act, 2011.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly observed that in pursuance of the direction of the Court dated 06.06.2022, a statement is filed by the Senior Government Pleader for and on behalf of the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Home stating that upon receipt of the proposal, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, requested the Government to forward certain details/documents and steps are being taken to furnish the details sought for by the Central Government for prosecution sanction.

The Court is of the view that since the matter is stated to be pending before the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India the issue should reach a logical conclusion and should not be delayed further.

In that view of the matter, exercising powers conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High Court suo motu impleaded Secretary to Government, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, as additional respondent.

Therefore, the Court directed to furnish the entire set of papers to the Central Government Counsel, for onward transmission of the same to the Ministry so as to enable the impleaded respondent to pass appropriate orders in one month.

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