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Show the law that allows bulldozer to be run over houses for investigating crime: Gauhati HC

Gang war or police operation? Irate Gauhati HC comes down heavily on bulldozing of houses by police. Court asks government for clarification

Show the law that allows bulldozer to be run over houses for investigating crime: Gauhati High Court
First Published Nov 19, 2022, 6:49 PM IST

"Everyone has to pass through the gamut of law. Nobody is safe in the country if this kind of action is permitted." Expressing shock and taking a strong stand against the police action that razed down the houses of the accused in a case, the Gauhati High Court said that police could not evict someone from their house just under the guise of a probe.

"Is this gang war or a police operation," asked a visibly annoyed Chief Justice RM Chhaya, who took suo motu cognizance of the action initiated by a Superintendent of Police who bulldozed the houses of five men accused of torching a police station.

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The bench of Chief Justice Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia also directed the state government to clarify which law permits the act of bulldozing houses.

"You show us any criminal law that says, for investigating a crime, the police can use a bulldozer and demolish a house," Justice Chhaya told the government counsel, who had submitted a report by the Superintendent of Police and defended the action by saying that it was not meant to uproot any person.

But the court refused to accept the clarification.

The police officer is reported to have ordered the bulldozing of the houses of five men accused of setting on fire the Batadrava police station in the district of Nagaon after a villager's death in police custody.

To the court's question on official sanction for this action, the Counsel informed that police had sought permission to search the house.

Expressing 'utter shock' over the method used by the police, the Chief Justice said, "This is unheard of, at least in my limited career. I have not come across a police officer using a bulldozer as a search warrant."

He went on to say that such action could not be seen even in Hindi movies. "Give the story of your SP to film director Rohit Shetty; he might make a good film on him," said the CJ, who compared the action of the police to gang war.

CJ Chhaya underscored the point that such instances could not be allowed in a democratic country. The next hearing of the case will be on December 13.

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