HC slams govt over PIL intel

Karnataka HC

The state government on September 13 received a dressing-down from the Karnataka High Court after it admitted to gathering intelligence on an ongoing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) case.

The PIL pertains to the government’s failure to take up drought and flood relief work. The case, however, took a twist after petitioner A Mallikarjun complained to the court that state intelligence officials were calling him to gather information about the case. On September 6, the high court had ordered an inquiry into the matter.

During the hearing on September 13, the advocate for the government submitted the police inquiry report on the interference of the intelligence wing before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Mohammad Nawaz.

The inquiry conducted by K V Sharath Chandra, Inspector General of Police (central range), stated that an inspector and two constables of the intelligence wing in Tumakuru had called the petitioner but did not threaten him.

The bench came down heavily on the government’s statement, noting that even gathering information on a case was unacceptable when the court has taken it up for hearing.

The bench directed the government to submit an undertaking from the three police personnel that they would not interfere in the case again. It also told the government to submit an affidavit that it would never interfere in the court proceedings in the future. The hearing of the matter was adjourned to September 23.

During the previous hearing on September 6, petitioner Mallikarjun had produced a CD with recordings of the phone calls from the intelligence officers, who inquired into the details about the PIL.

The court, which had sought a police probe into the matter earlier, has now asked the government to file a detailed report on the entire issue. The interference by the intelligence officers amounted to influencing the petitioner.

 

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