“This is serious:” Gujarat HC on plea alleging lawyer was illegally detained, beaten by police officer for advising client

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The Gujarat High Court on Monday took serious note of a plea seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against a police officer for allegedly detaining an advocate due to previous grudge [Bharatbhai Thobhanbhai Koyani v Jayendrasinh Udesinh Gohil].

On hearing the allegations, a Bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri directed the counsel for the respondent-police officer to produce the station house diary of that day to be handed over to the jurisdictional magistrate within an hour.

“This is something serious, we want to examine,” the Court said.

The petitioner, a practicing lawyer, claimed that the officer had committed a wilful breach of the order of the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar v State of Bihar.

As per the allegations, the petitioner’s client was arrested by the respondent and was released on the next date.

However, on receiving knowledge that he was beaten mercilessly by the respondent, the petitioner gave him legal advice to file a complaint, register a first information report (FIR) and seek appropriate action.

Accordingly, the client filed a complaint and an FIR was registered. Since action was initiated against the respondent, he held a grudge against the petitioner.

Shortly after this incident, the same police officer registered an FIR against the petitioner under the Prohibition Act after which, the petitioner claimed he was detained, mercilessly beaten, and consequently suffered a paralysis attack.

Thus, the High Court was approached.

Initially, notice was issued and an explanation was sought from the respondent.

However, another FIR came to be registered against the petitioner and his wife, both practicing advocates, by the very same officer arising from an alleged brawl relating to a civil dispute.

The petitioner claimed that he was illegally detained for 21 hours in relation to this complaint.

The Chief Justice, thus, directed the Deputy Superintendent of Police, or any other officer authorised on his behalf to handover the diary to the magistrate, while stressing that the respondent must not even be allowed to so much as touch the diary.

“No, we do not want him to touch that Station House Diary,” the Court said.

Before concluding the hearing, Chief Justice Aravind Kumar, unhappy with the happenings, took the respondent to task.

“What is happening? Why do you want to implicate advocates? What is this?! In discharge of their official duties, they will perform. What is wrong?”, he said.

The respondent’s counsel, however, said that as per the affidavit it was rather the PSI who was attacked by the advocates, and an FIR was filed.

On the Court’s further queries as to the outcome of investigation into the complaint of the advocates, the counsel assured the Court that everything would be placed before the Bench by the next date of hearing.

The case was listed for further hearing on March 28, and the respondent was asked to be present in person on all dates of hearing.

Advocate Premal S Rachh appeared for the petitioner.

Read Order here

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