The Bombay High Court has severely reprimanded the Alibaug police for labeling a theft case as a civil dispute and failing to lodge a First Information Report (FIR).
A division bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice U.D. Salvi on Tuesday also directed the superintendent of police to initiate departmental inquiry against the concerned officers for deliberately not lodging an first information report in a theft case at a local journalist’s house.
Justice Khanwilkar said: “If the police keeps categorising theft cases as civil disputes, then we will all have to stay indoors.”
In 2009, some people allegedly stole household items from the house of Madan Dhamne, a journalist with a local daily in Alibaug.
He went to the police station on May 3, 2008 and August 4, 2008, to lodge an first information report but in vain.
The police turned him down saying that it was a civil dispute.
Even when he went to lodge a complaint the second time, the police did not lodge the offence.
Dhamne’s petition also states that he had written letters to senior police officials informing them about the theft at his house.
Dhamne also highlighted in his letter the inaction on the part of the police in lodging a complaint.
However, even the seniors have not taken any action on his letter.
The additional public prosecutor informed the high court that there was a dispute between Dhamne and his landlord.
Dhamne had alleged that some books, bed and steel racks were stolen by his landlord following some dispute about tenancy.
Some minor demolition work was also carried out in the place. Hence the police termed this a civil dispute.
Reprimanding the investigators, Justice Khanwilkar remarked that that police must be proactive.
The high court also observed that a police officer of the rank of deputy superintendent of police should probe the case.