Congress challenges Gujarat block on FIR without inquiry

Ahmedabad, Feb 4 (IANS) A Congress leader on Thursday challenged in the Gujarat High Court a notification issued by the state government asking the police to avoid filing an FIR against public servants without verifying the facts.

The notification was an attempt by the state government to protect corrupt public servants, alleged Gujarat Congress unit general secretary Indraviijaysinh Gohil, who has petitioned the high court.

Issued by the home department, the notification directs the police not to hurry registering FIRs (first information reports) against public servants without verifying facts to ensure they are not framed in false cases.

“Public servants, during the course of their official duty, tend to anger some individuals with their action. They in return seek to lodge FIRs with police against the public servants who have initiated some action against them,” the notification states.

“The state now wants to avoid such incidents as the information about the complaint or FIR becomes public. This hits the morale of public servants and tarnishes the image of the government,” it adds.

The department directed the police to work out and implement a system to cross-check the charges made by complainants who might have been acting out of malice.

The police should lodge an FIR only if they find the complainants’ claims legitimate, it said.

While public servants welcomed the notification, the opposition Congress flayed it.

“There are adequate safeguards for a public servant in the Criminal Procedure Code to ensure that they are not wrongly framed in frivolous complaints,” Indraviijaysinh Gohil’s counsel B.M. Mangukia told IANS.

Even a charge sheet could not be filed against an official without inquiry, according to the notification, as though a charge sheet would not have preceded an investigation, Mangukia said.

“Is the government trying to say that its own official would file a false charge sheet against a public servant, and this should be inquired into prima facie. Is it a court? Is the government a Supreme Court?”

Another Congress leader, Shaktisinh Gohil said, “This notification goes against the spirit of the constitution, which treats everyone as equal. Now, the state government wants separate treatment for its officers.”

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