The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Punjab and Haryana High Court order to register an FIR and set up an SIT to probe the alleged abduction of a dentist by Chandigarh police personnel to prevent him from appearing in a court. A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli sought a response from Mohit Dhawan, the dentist on whose plea the high court passed the order. The case needs to be considered at length and that is why the court is directing the stay of the high court order, Justice Bopanna said.
The bench directed Chandigarh police to preserve the records, including CCTV footage and call details, in connection with the case. It said it is staying the order and posted the matter for further hearing after five weeks.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj said, “How can the high court while hearing an anticipatory bail application order for registration of FIR against police officials and probe by a Special Investigation Team of Punjab Police. This is totally without any jurisdiction.” Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Dhawan, said it is one of the worst cases of police excesses he has seen.
He said Dhawan, a Chandigarh-based dentist, had filed a suit for the recovery of some outstanding dues owed to him by a woman from Nairobi for her treatment.
Due to this, the dentist was implicated in a series of complaints about improper treatment allegedly provided to the woman, he said. “Three separate complaints were filed against him and in two of them he managed to get anticipatory bail. In the third one he was asked to be present before a magistrate. But on the day of hearing, he was abducted by a team of Chandigarh crime branch police, while another team marked their appearance in court,” Bhushan said. Bhushan added that the high court order shows the police filed contradictory affidavits.
On March 15, the top court said it will hear the Chandigarh administration’s plea on Friday.
The administration said the case relates to Dhawan, against whom a criminal case was lodged after a Nairobi national accused him of cheating her when she came to India during 2017-18 to get dental implants from his clinic.
In the case, when Dhawan went to mark his presence before a magistrate’s court, he was allegedly abducted by the Chandigarh police team, which claimed he was arrested in connection with another case.
On March 3, the high court asked the Punjab DGP to constitute the SIT within a week.
“Considering the fact that this case not only has the potential to shake the confidence of the common man in the administration of justice, but if incidents, as alleged by the petitioner, are found to be true, the conduct of police officers would amount to subverting the course of justice by causing interference in the implementation of orders passed by the courts,” the high court had said.
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