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Bombay HC: No Legal Search could be accomplished without a Warrant, Govt. to pay Rs. 25000 Compensation and can recover from Police Officers who conducted illegal search

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The Bombay High Court ruled that conducting a search without warrant results in the breach of Right to Privacy. Court also fined state government Rs.25,000 payable to the aggrieved for conducting such illegal search.

Facts of the Case

The bench consisting two judges, Justice TV Nalawade and Justice SM Gavhane of Aurangabad were hearing a criminal writ petition filed by one Dnyaneshwar Todmal, a driver.

The incident took place on the night of May 5 and May 6, 2018, at about 2 Am. The search of the house of the petitioner was taken by the police. According to the petitioner, police had not obtained a search warrant for taking such search and though after search nothing was found from his home. Petitioner contended that during the search, one constable had tried to keep a pistol in his house but due to alertness of the petitioner he could not keep such arm. The petitioner added that while leaving the house, police officials threatened him saying that they would blame him for the wrong crime. It was contended that this act of the police was infringement into his privacy, violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The driver filed a complaint on May 7, 2018, before the concerned Tahsildar about the illegal act of police but no action was taken. The complaint then given to the District Superintendent of Police on May 10, 2018, and copy of the complaint was sent to State Human Rights Commission but no action was taken against the respondents, the petitioner said.

Court warned the Police, asked Govt. to recover compensation amount from Police Officers

“The provision of section 166 of the CrPC shows that police officer in charge of a police station may require another to issue search-warrant when a place to be searched is situated within the local jurisdiction of the other police station. This Court holds that provisions of sections 165 and 166 of the CrPC are applicable in a case like the present one.”

“In the case reported as State v. Rehman (AIR 1960 SC 210) it is laid down by the Apex Court that as search is a process exceedingly arbitrary in character, stringent statutory conditions are imposed on the exercise of the power. The provision of section 165 of the CrPC is enacted to enable police to take a search when there is urgency and when it is not permissible to follow the lengthy process, securing search warrant from Magistrate.”

“If in the past some crimes were registered against the petitioner for the offence of accidents that cannot be considered to say that the petitioner had a criminal background when his occupation was a driver. Many times, a driver faces such prosecution.”

Thus, the Court directed the government to deposit Rs. 25,000 as compensation payable to the petitioner. Also, the court gave liberty to the state to recover the compensation from the mentioned police officers.

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