RWA members of Gzb highrise arrested for announcing elections, residents protest
The president and vice-president of River Heights apartment owners’ association (RH-AOA) at Raj Nagar Extension were arrested and sent to jail on Monday for announcing RWA elections despite being barred by the authorities from doing so.
The duo was released on bail from Dasna jail on Tuesday afternoon.
Police said that they booked RH-AOA president Pramod Dhanked and vice-president Dr Sanjay Sharma on the apprehension of breach of peace under sections of Criminal Procedure Code. They said the members were not permitted to hold elections due to Section 144 of CrPC promulgated by the district magistrate from December 25 to February 15.
Agitated residents gathered at the district magistrate’s office on Tuesday and raised slogans against the officials and the hasty action taken by the police. The highrise is located at Raj Nagar Extension and has nearly 760 flats.
The term of the office bearers expired on September 27 (September 28, 2014 to September 27, 2016) and the elections for the next body were to be held before September 27.
“We had only announced holding elections on December 25 as there was no stay on elections. We were not aware of Section 144 in the district from December 25 to February 15. Police, on December 24, said that the election cannot be held as prohibitory orders were in force in the district from December 25,” Dhanked said after he was released from Dasna jail.
“We gave them a written statement that elections will not be conducted. We had started the process of elections before our term expired and it was also in the knowledge of the deputy registrar of societies in Meerut. He had also called us for an explanation on the issue by January 5, 2017,” he said.
He said that despite the matter being settled, the local police post in-charge called the two of them on December 26 and took them to the Sihani Gate police station.
“We were thrashed by the police and bundled inside a lockup without an explanation. We were sent for medical examination and later produced before the city magistrate. Our members were ready with bail documents but our plea was not heard and we ended up in jail,” he said.
Subodh Tyagi, a resident of River Heights, had earlier approached the deputy registrar of societies against the AOA and the registrar, in turn, had sent a letter seeking an explanation. The letter also timebarred the AOA.
“The AOA had announced elections even after the expiry of its term and we complained to the registrar in Meerut. However, there was neither an altercation nor a fight before the two members were arrested. They had some argument with the police,” Tyagi said.
On the other hand, the police said that the members of the AOA had an obligation to conduct elections before the expiry of its term and also said that their permission was not taken for holding the elections.
“Prohibitory orders were already in place from December 25. They had furnished bonds earlier as well but went ahead with their plans and so, they lost the right to get bail. Our action was directed to maintain peace. We had to depute in-charges of five neighbouring police posts to prevent a breach of peace,” Avnish Dixit, station house officer, Sihani Gate police station, said.
The district magistrate (DM) Nidhi Kesarwani said that the two persons could not present their bail documents on Monday.
“They could not present sureties for the bond on Monday and submitted it today (on Tuesday). Earlier, we received a police report that it was a controversial issue and had been pending for long. The matter is subjudice and being heard at the court of subdivisional magistrate,” the DM said.
“A complaint was given to registrar’s office and it was instructed that no elections could be held. Instead of giving their explanation (to the registrar) over the complaint, they were trying to hold elections,” the DM added.