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Spurt in snatchings: Will have to summon home secy, HC to Chandigarh

Court says situation on ground not improving, pulls up police for lack of seriousness.

punjab Updated: May 19, 2018 11:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Spurt in snatchings,home secy,HC
As many as 98 cases of snatching have been reported in Chandigarh this year.(HT File/Representative image)

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday warned the Chandigarh administration that it will have to summon the UT home secretary as the law and order situation has shown no sign of improving.

During the resumed hearing in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in February 2016, seeking directions to the UT police to take steps to curb snatchings in the city, the high court (HC) division bench observed that it appeared police were not taking the matter seriously.

While police have been coming up with all kinds of statistics in court, the situation on the ground is still the same and snatchings are being reported every now and then, the bench of acting chief justice AK Mittal and justice TS Dhindsa said.

“We will have to summon the home secretary now,” said court. Home secretary Anurag Aggarwal is likely to be replaced by Arun Kumar Gupta next week.

‘Give info to ministry’

As many as 98 cases of snatching have been reported in the city this year. It was on March 21 that the HC had summoned UT senior superintendent of police Nilambari Vijay Jagdale for the April 3 hearing amid a spurt in snatchings.

The UT police also got a dressing down from the HC for its lack of seriousness in pushing for amendment in the Indian Penal Code provisions.

While the administration told court that the Centre is not taking any action on its request for making the law more stringent, additional solicitor general Satya Pal Jain pointed out that the UT has not provided the requisite information to the home ministry.

Jain told court that even as he had demanded certain documents through a letter on May 10, the UT had failed to provide them.

In a letter to the UT adviser on March 13, the home ministry had responded to the proposal sent in July 2017, asking it to provide a copy of the official gazette notification of Haryana Act of 2015 and the proposed notification. However, the information is yet to be provided, said Jain.

The UT wants punishment for snatching to be increased from three years to up to 10 years besides making the offence non-bailable on the lines of Punjab and Haryana.

The court did not appreciate the attitude of the Chandigarh administration and directed that requisite information be provided with necessary documents to the ministry by May 28, the next date of hearing.

‘Give evidence on easy bails’

The court also asked the administration to produce evidence in support of the allegations levelled against trial courts that they give bail to snatchers “easily”.

The court said that any direction can be issued to lower courts only after some examples are cited by the administration.

The direction came after the petitioner, advocate HC Arora, pointed out that in the affidavit submitted on May 10, police had suggested that trial courts should properly verify people who stand surety for the accused in chain snatching cases.

Trial courts should also carefully consider grant of bail in case of habitual offenders in chain snatching cases, the UT had told court.

During the hearing, the UT’s counsel suggested that there was nothing wrong in the statement as touts can be seen lurking outside trial courts.

First Published: May 19, 2018 11:26 IST