Published On : Tue, Apr 25th, 2017

HC issues notices to Principle Secretary Home Department on complaints of farmers

In a significant move High Court comprising of Justice B. P. Dharmadhikari and Justice V.M. Deshpande has issued notices in criminal writ petition filed by Prakash Dhunde, Vitthal Rahate and eight others to Principle Secretary Home Department, Police Station In charge Kelwad, S.P. Nagpur Rural Shailesh Balkawade and Power Grid Corporation India Ltd. returnable on 03-05-2017.

The petitioners who are poor farmers in Mangsa Village, Tahsil Saoner, were allegedly framed u/s 147, 148, 149, 353, 186, 427, 506 of IPC in FIR No:-56/2017 on 21-03-2017 and u/s 447, 427, 158, 109 and Section 3 of Prevention of Damages to Public Property Act 1984 in FIR No:-57/2017 on 22-03-2017 and also u/s 447, 143, 427, 109, 188 of IPC on 26-03-2017.

It is the case of the prosecution that the farmers have obstructed the work of construction of transmission towers for 400 KV Mouda-Beitul line and pelted the stones on JCB Machines used for said project. It is also alleged that the farmers have refilled the holes digged by the Power Grid Company with soil and hence damaged the “public property.” The petitioners were not only illegally arrested but were harassed, threatened, beaten and abused by the Power Grid officials and police authorities.

According to the petitioners police have illegally arrested five accused on 29-03-2017 at 10.00 am and were in fact produced before the Magistrate after 24 Hours of the arrest in violation of section 167 of IPC. Petitioners also stated that barring one offence of section 353 {Assault to Public Servant} all other offences were minor and bailable and hence they ought not to have been arrested. The petitioners stated that they were not involved in any kind of criminal activities but respondents have started work of transmission line without making any payment of compensation.

It is necessary to “fix” the compensation for the purpose of granting permission of construction of towers u/s 3 of Works of Licencee Rules 2012 framed u/s 67 (2) of Electricity Act 2003. But it is found that no such compensation was fixed by the District Collector at the time of granting permission to errect the towers.

The petitioners have alleged that they were illegally framed in different FIR’s for the same incident.
The guidelines issued by Supreme Court in the matter of arrest in case of D.K.BASU VS STATE OF WEST BENGAL, JOGINDER KUMAR VS STATE OF UP, NILABATI BEHARA VS STATE OF ORRISSA and provision of section 41-B of CRPC are violated. The petitioners complained that their fundamental right u/a 21 {personal liberty} was also violated.

It was also argued that petitioners were illegally arrested and detained for two days in violation of directions issued by Supreme Court in “Arnesh kumar Vs State of Bihar” where the Supreme Court has specifically directed care to be taken at the time of arrest and use of section 41-A for offences punishable under seven years.

The petitioners have challenged the FIR registered against them and sought quashing of the FIR u/s 482 of CRPC in accordance with the guidelines issued in “BHAJANLAL VS STATE OF HARYANA” and sought compensation of Rs. Five Lakhs for illegal arrest and detention. The petitioners have also sought “departmental action” against erring police officers for atrocities against them. The High Court has directed respondents to file their reply on 03-05-2017. Adv. Tushar Mandlekar argued for the petitioner farmers.