On February 20, 2020 Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant stayed the Karnataka High Court's order issuing non-bailable warrant (NBW) against the State Police Chief Praveen Sood for non-compliance of an order related to transfer of a Deputy Superintendent of Police.
The court passed order after hearing briefly the submission by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the Karnataka government and the police chief, Praveen Sood. The court has decided to take up the issue after the end of the listed matters, as Mehta sought an urgent hearing.
The High Court on February 18, 2020 issued the arrest warrant against the Praveen Sood, 1986-cadre IPS officer, appointed recently as the Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP), after he failed to file response to the plea filed by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) S.S. Kashi. Being irked over the fact that neither the DGP's office filed a reply on February 18 nor the police chief appeared during the day as directed by it. The High Court was then hearing a writ petition filed by one S.S. Kashi, Deputy Superintendent of Police, challenging the order of December 16, 2019, by the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal (KSAT), declining to stay his transfer to Central Crime Branch (CCB), Bengaluru. The KSAT had held that the employee concerned had no vested right or interest to be posted on a particular place or post.
In the special leave petition by Kashi, it was contended that the police chief was held up because of the fact that both houses of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly were discussing the issue regarding the incident of police firing at Mangalore during the course of the day.
The plea said that High Court failed to "even consider the fact that the Petitioner has just taken charge of the post of DGP and IGP...only in the Month of February and as such the Petitioner cannot be even remotely be held liable for any transfers of the Writ Petitioner (DySP) over the period of the last 24 years." It also said that the DySP, who had moved the high court, "has also faced trap (corruption) case proceedings under the Lokayukta Police Station at one stage". The High court failed to appreciate the settled law that "NBWs ought not to be issued as a matter of course as the same would amount to deprivation of liberty of the person concerned."
Author – Satwik Sharma