It is a “disturbing trend” in the country that police officers side with the ruling party, the Supreme Court said today, delivering a sharp message at a time there have been allegations of politically-motivated investigations and police targeting rivals of the ruling party.
“Police officers who want to be in the good books of the ruling party misuse power and harass political opponents,” a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana said, asserting that police officers must stick to the rule of law.
It is the police who should be held responsible for the trend, the Supreme Court said.
The comments coincide with a massive showdown over the arrest in Maharashtra of Union Minister Narayan Rane over his comments about slapping Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Mr Rane’s BJP has accused the state’s ruling Shiv Sena of “Taliban-like” behavior and harassment of political rivals. The Maharashtra government, in turn, alleges that central government agencies are targeting its leaders like former minister Anil Deshmukh.
The Supreme Court was hearing the petition of a Chhattisgarh police officer who was suspended and charged with sedition.
Gurjinder Pal Singh, a 1994 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, has requested the court to cancel FIRs charging him with corruption and conspiracy against the Chhattisgarh government. His allegation is that the state’s Congress government is hounding him as he was seen to be close to the previous BJP-led administration.
The Supreme Court directed the Chhattisgarh government not to arrest the officer, who was also charged with illegal wealth far more than his known sources of income after raids earlier this year