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Saturday, 18 July 2020

High Court raps Chandigarh for flagrant misuse of powers

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17

Rapping the UT authorities for flagrant misuse of powers, misdemeanour and misconduct by illegally detaining an accused after he was ordered to be released on bail, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered his release from custody.

Justice Fateh Deep Singh asserted that the court was stopping short of ordering the UT and another respondent to pay compensation for illegal detention. However, the order would not come in the petitioner's way if he chose to seek compensation for illegal detention or invoke any other legal recourse available to him.

Justice Fateh Deep Singh, at the same time, made it clear that the authorities were at liberty to seek legal opinion in such a situation where they were unable to determine legal implications. "The UT has legal experts and a department for this and, thus, could have escaped from this misdemeanour and misconduct," Justice Fateh Deep Singh said.

The admonition came on a petition by Vinay Kumar against the UT and another respondent. The Bench was told that the accused was directed to be released on bail on June 20 by the UT Additional Sessions Judge in a cheating and criminal conspiracy case registered on September 28, 2019, under Sections 419, 420 and 120-B of the IPC at the Sector 17 police station.

However, the accused was not released on the pretext that production warrants, dated February 11, stood issued against him by a Metropolitan Magistrate in Mumbai in another case. "Once the order of bail, dated June 20, has been passed in favour of the petitioner, his detention is illegal," his counsel had contended.

The UT counsel, on the other hand, submitted that production warrants had been issued by a Mumbai court in the second case. As such, the respondents did not have any option, but to ensure that he was kept in custody till transit to Mumbai. "What has baffled this court is that at the sight of production warrants, the authorities appeared to have frozen in their response... It emancipates from the observations that valuable inherent constitutional right of the petitioner, provided under Article 21, had been grossly circumvented arising out of this flagrant misuse of powers by the respondents," Justice Fateh Deep Singh asserted, adding that the conduct of the respondents and their officers/officials certainly required to be denounced.

Before parting with the order, the Bench directed the forwarding of a copy of the order to the UT Adviser "so that such a remiss does not reoccur".

from The Tribune

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