Thursday, March 30, 2023

Police cannot act on a complaint without following due formal process: J&K and Ladakh High Court

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The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has come down heavily on the state police for not following the due formal process, while acting on a complaint filed against a Junior Engineer of PHE Department.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Rahul Bharti said that if a public servant was subjected to surveillance mode by a rank holder police official on the pretext of a complaint received without first entertaining the said complaint into a formal process, then surely the very confidence of the public servant in acting and doing his duty will be subjected to a paralysis.

The High Court made these observations while hearing a petition filed by a Junior Engineer of PHE Department, challenging the course of action in which the Superintendent of Police Doda had entertained an anonymous complaint addressed against him, without either verifying the facts, or even following the formal process of registering an FIR.

The petitioner further questioned the action of the SHO, who addressing the impugned letter to the petitioner’s Head of Department, asking for the information concerning him.

The petitioner alleged that the anonymous complaint filed against him was done by some vested interests, who wanted to settle political score with his father-in-law.

The High Court observed that the perusal of the objections filed on behalf of respondents would show that it is nowhere disclosed as to how the respondent no. 2 (Superintendent of Police Doda) entertained the said complaint, instead of referring it to the petitioner’s Head of the Department that being the Chief Engineer.

It further questioned the action of the respondents by recording that it was not even forthcoming as to how come the respondent Station House Officer, Police Station Doda came to have the said anonymous complaint to his end for the purposes of immediately acting upon it by addressing a letter to the respondent Executive Engineer, PHE Division Doda, asking for information about the petitioner.

Justice Bharti further said that in the face of nature of the allegations levelled in the said anonymous complaint, it was unable to figure out as to under which enabling provision of law the respondent Station House Officer Police Station Doda came to address this communication on the pretext of a complaint against the petitioner to the respondent Executive Engineer, PHE Division Doda.

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