A week after the Bombay high court pulled up the state government, the office of the director general of police (DGP) has withdrawn the circular instructing police stations in Maharashtra not to make entries of phone calls from members of the state legislature in the station diaries.
Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol on Wednesday informed the division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice RV More that the office of the DGP had issued a circular revoking the earlier order on June 13.
The court had raised an objection over the earlier circular after public interest litigations (PIL) filed by former Indian Administrative Services officer Avinash Dharmadhikari and former journalist Ketan Tirodkar questioning the legality of the circular issued on November 18, 2010.
The November 2010 circular said that the trigger for the circular was an assurance given by the then state home minister RR Patil, during the 2007 monsoon session of the state assembly.
However, the PIL petitioners alleged that the real reason behind the move was to avoid inviting orders from court, such as the one by the Supreme Court slapping a cost of Rs. 10 lakh on Maharashtra government, over interference by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, in an ongoing investigation against family members of a Congress MLA from Vidarbha.
During the hearing of the PILs, on June 8 this year, the court had given a week’s time to state government to rethink the circular, asking what was wrong if a police officer made an entry of a phone call from a minister or an influential person, regarding an ongoing investigation.