Plea against time restriction on prosecuting cops for wrongdoing while on duty
Agreeing to examine the 65-year-old man’s plea, who spent over six years in jail fighting the cases against him, the Delhi high court issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government, and sought their responses within six weeks.india Updated: Sep 02, 2018 13:25 IST
A man who was prosecuted in 20 criminal cases, including that of rape and murder, has moved the Delhi High Court challenging certain provisions of law which limit the time period to file a case against police officials for committing an offence under the garb of discharging duty.
Agreeing to examine the 65-year-old man’s plea, who spent over six years in jail fighting the cases against him, the high court issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government, and sought their responses within six weeks.
A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla listed the matter for further hearing on November 16.
Prempal Singh, a mason by profession, said 20 FIRs were registered against him for various offences, including murder, rape, drugs and arms, and under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act between 1991 and 2007.
Of these 20 cases, he was convicted in five. Besides him, 13 cases were lodged against his son and one against his wife, and both of them had to spend some time behind bars.
Advocate Wills Mathews, who filed the plea on behalf of Singh, said due to financial constraints none of the three family members could file an appeal and they were branded as known criminals of Delhi resulting in isolation from the society.
Singh has challenged Section 140 of the Delhi Police Act which limits three months as the time period for filing a case against police officials who have allegedly committed offences under the garb of discharging their duty.
The plea stated that Singh and his family got some relief when a trial court in 2004 acquitted him in the rape case, observing that he was framed in the case and tortured by police, converting him into a living corpse.
The high court in 2010 had directed that the man be given a compensation of over Rs five lakh and had told the police commissioner to send a written apology to him and his family members, it claimed.
According to the plea, the police chief was also asked to withdraw pending cases against the man, if no merit is found, following which the last two cases against him were withdrawn.
In March 2011, the man and his family members filed a suit seeking damages of nearly Rs 55 lakh, which was dismissed by the trial court citing section 140 of the Delhi Police (DP) Act.
In his fresh plea before the high court, Singh has challenged the validity of the provision of the DP Act which states that a prosecution or suit shall not be entertained and if entertained shall be dismissed in case it was instituted more than three months after the act complained of.
The plea said the provision was violative of fundamental rights and it was oppressive and ultra vires of the Constitution.
It claimed the man’s life was disturbed by police. He lost more than 15 years of his life in contesting cases in which he was falsely implicated and suffered physical, mental and social harassment.
The plea stated it was the state’s duty to compensate the petitioners for the loss, including litigation expenses.
First Published: Sep 02, 2018 13:25 IST