‘Chalta hai’ attitude of police is dangerous to rule of law: Uttarakhand HC | Dehradun News

DEHRADUN: Expressing disappointment over the ‘lackadaisical attitude of Uttarakhand police and the state government’, the Uttarakhand high court (HC) said that “chalta hai” (callous) attitude is dangerous to the rule of law.
The single bench of Justice Ravindra Maithani made the remark while hearing a case of blackmail on Tuesday, in which an FIR was registered at Rudrapur police station.
The court has sought the law secretary’s reply in the matter and directed the senior superintendent of police of Udham Singh Nagar to be physically present at the next hearing on September 27.
The case dates to 2019, when Mahboob Ali, a resident of Rudrapur, US Nagar, allegedly conspired with a woman to frame a 65-year-old man, Dharampal, on molestation charges. On Dharampal’s complaint, Ali was booked under sections 384 (extortion), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (provoking someone to break peace or law), 506 (criminal intimidation) & 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC at Rudrapur police station.
Incidentally, Dharampal had recorded a telephonic conversation of the extortion and given it to the investigating officer in a pen drive. However, there was no mention of this key evidence in the counter-affidavit filed by police.
Meanwhile, in 2020, when the pandemic struck, Ali was given parole in an effort to decongest jails. He recently moved the high court, seeking bail.
Since June 30 this year, there were five hearings of the case, with a new counsel representing the state each time. While Ali informed the court that he is out on parole, none of the state counsels seemed to know it. Also, no parole order issued by the Haldwani jail was found.
The court has sought a report from the officials of the jail on how Ali managed to stay out of jail when there was no parole order.
Observing that the state is “one of the biggest hurdles in expeditious disposal of bail matters,” the HC bench said, “After four dates, the state failed to file a short counter-affidavit. There is no response as to why they failed.”
The court sought to know if the pen drive and its content were sent for forensic examination, or if the investigating officer had obtained a certificate under the Indian Evidence Act so the conversation could be made a part of the investigation and if so, who was monitoring the proceedings.
“In the entire counter-affidavit (filed by the investigative officer), which runs in 19 paragraphs, there is no mention of the audio recording. Was not it a very important piece of evidence?,” the bench asked.
The court lamented that the state of affairs shown by the state government in the case reflects nothing but a “chalta hai” attitude, which is “very dangerous to the rule of law”.
The court said that the state couldn’t care less if the bail application got an expeditious disposal. It also said that the Supreme Court had pointed out on a number of occasions that bail applications must be disposed off speedily. In August this year, the apex court had told the central government that a third of prisoners languishing in jails are undertrials and urged it to consult with states to resolve this.
The court has now ordered the US Nagar SSP to file a counter-affidavit by personally appearing before the court and answering all questions. Besides, the principal secretary (law), has been asked to report on what action has been taken to ensure that such oversight doesn’t happen again. The court also sought to know what action has been taken against the officer who failed to file a counter-affidavit on time.

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