Show the law that allows the bulldozer to go over houses to investigate a crime: Gauhati HC

First published November 19, 2022 at 6:49 PM IST

“Everyone has to go through the full gamut of the law. No one is safe in the country if this kind of action is allowed.” Expressing shock and taking a strong stand against police action which razed the homes of defendants in a case, the Gauhati High Court said police could not evict someone from their home just under the guise of ‘investigation.

“Is this a gang war or a police operation,” asked a visibly annoyed Chief Justice, RM Chhaya, who learned suo motu of the action initiated by a police commissioner who bulldozed the homes of five men accused of burning down a police station.

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The bench of Chief Justice Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia also ordered the state government to clarify which law authorizes the act of razing houses.

“You show us any criminal law that says, to investigate a crime, the police can use a bulldozer and demolish a house,” Judge Chhaya told the government lawyer, who had submitted a report from the Superintendent of Police and defended the action saying it was not intended to uproot anyone.

But the court refused to accept the clarification.

The policeman reportedly ordered the bulldozing of the homes of five men accused of burning down Batadrava police station in Nagaon district after a villager died in police custody.

When asked by the court about the official sanction of this action, the lawyer informed that the police had asked permission to search the house.

Expressing his ‘total shock’ at the method used by the police, the Chief Justice said: ‘This is unheard of, at least in my limited career. I have not encountered a police officer using a bulldozer as a search warrant.

He went on to say that such action cannot be seen even in Hindi movies. “Give your PS story to director Rohit Shetty, he could make a good movie about him,” said the CJ, who likened the police action to gang warfare.

CJ Chhaya pointed out that such cases could not be allowed in a democratic country. The next hearing in the case will be on December 13.

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Last updated Nov 19, 2022 6:49 PM IST