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Bias on part of Police Officer Cannot Be Presumed Merely Because He is a Facebook Friend of the Complainant: Punjab & Haryana HC [READ ORDER]

Punjab Police Facebook Biasness
While dismissing a writ petition for transfer of investigation in a case registered at Police Station in Chandigarh, Justice Sant Parkash observed that if a person appears in the friend list of a Facebook page of any public servant, it cannot be assumed that an official shall favor such a person in an illegal manner and maneuver investigation of a crime.

Furthermore, Justice Sant Parkash said that it is indeed intriguing as to how the petitioner gained access to the Facebook account of the said police officer to prove his case. “Facebook accounts are privy to the account holder and the petitioner must be put to strict proof as to how has he been able to access the Facebook account of a police officer and where from he obtained the Facebook conversations”, the court said.

The Writ Petition was preferred under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India, for issuance of a writ in the nature of certiorari, for transfer of investigation in case FIR No.0075 dated 21.09.2020 under Sections 419, 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 registered at Police Station, Sector 19, Chandigarh, outside the jurisdiction of Chandigarh Police or any other competent agency.

The Advocate for Petitioner contended that petitioner is a victim of malice, vendetta, and extortion, unleashed by Rakesh Asthana, former Special Director, CBI, at the instance of his close associate Ms. Gertrude D’Souza.

The High Court summed up the allegations in short that the sum and substance of the allegations leveled by the petitioner are that Rakesh Asthana, the then Special Director, CBI, and his friend/ associate, Tajinder Luthra, the then IGP, Chandigarh have influenced the administrative authorities of U.T. Chandigarh to register a false FIR i.e. FIR No.76 dated 19.03.2018 against him at the behest of Ms. Gertrude D’ Souza, with an intention to extort money from the him.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the writ petition and stated that the allegations are mere assumptions and not substantiated by any material on record.

While referring to the case of Romila Thapar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 753, the court discussed the settled law that an accused does not have the right to determine the prosecuting agency of its own choice.

The Court also relied on the latest pronouncement in the case of Arnab Goswami v. Union of India and Ors., 2020 AIR SC 2386 wherein the principle of law that emerges from the precedents of this Court is that the power to transfer an investigation must be used “sparingly” and only “in exceptional circumstances”.

The High Court dismissed the writ petition seeking transfer of the case in light of the clear law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the factual circumstances.

The petitioner also prayed for “directions be issued to the respondents to issue an advance notice of one week to the petitioner in case any such or similar FIR is registered against the petitioner by Chandigarh Police before arresting him.”. Wherein, the High Court pointed out that he cannot be permitted to seek blanket protection from this Court. 

 

[READ ORDER] 


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