Allahabad HC:No Intervention with Right to Privacy of Citizen can be Permitted

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February 02, 2018

In a recent case of Bablu Shah v. State of U.P. & Ors., the Allahabad High Court has taken a strong note of keeping an individual in surveillance without any substantial claims of criminal activities in the history sheet of offender. The Court stated it as an intrusion in the right to privacy of an individual and breach of fundamental rights.

Brief facts of the case are that in 2011, the Station House Officer, Moradabad requested the Competent Authority to allow him to keep the Petitioner in surveillance in view of alleged criminal activities. Thereafter, the permission of surveillance was accordingly allowed.

In the case, the Petitioner submitted that his history-sheet was opened on basis of certain cases lodged in the year 2011 and in all those cases he has been acquitted and that the petitioner is no more involved in any such criminal activity that may demand surveillance.

In the case, the concerned Station House Officer has been making recommendations year by year to have surveillance of the petitioner by maintaining the history-sheet. In view of the same, the respondent stated that merely on the count that acquittal has been recorded, it cannot be said that the petitioner is no more involved in criminal activities.

In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the Allahabad High Court made reference to the scheme for registration and surveillance of bad characters under Chapter-XX of the Uttar Pradesh Police Regulations. The Court while allowing the Petitioner’s case made the following observations:

  • In view of the regulations, the Court observed that entire scheme gave special powers in the hands of police to keep vigil on the activities of history-sheeters, who may be involved in criminal activities. This vigil and surveillance certainly adversely affect right of a person for his free movement and also have negative impression on the social status of an individual. Such intervention in privacy of a person is permissible only in extraordinary circumstances looking to the eventualities referred to in the Police Regulations.
  • That no history-sheet can be permitted to be opened and continued, if the eventualities given in Regulations 228 of Chapter XX (this regulation states that the history-sheets should be opened only for persons who are or likely to become habitual criminal or abettors of such criminals) are not available.
  • That the petitioner was subjected to surveillance on basis of the recommendation made by the Station House Officer in the year 2011. However, the noting subsequent thereto in the history sheet nowhere disclosed any application of mind. That the notings for the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 without giving any instance or eventuality that demands further surveillance simply recommends for continuance of the history-sheet.
  • That no intervention with the right of privacy of an Indian citizen can be permitted, so mechanically. If such intervention is required then there must be adequate reasons with appropriate discussion demanding the surveillance by maintaining history-sheet.
  • That the case in hand discloses absolute non- application of mind and as such the recommendation made by the Station House Officer for continuance of the surveillance is absolutely ill founded.

The entire case can be accessed here.