Wants to know outcome of orders to review history sheets, KD sheets and rowdy sheets

The Madras High Court Bench in Madurai has sought for explanations from the Home Secretary and Director General of Police by Monday with regard to steps taken by them pursuant to an order passed by it in October last directing the two officials to review history sheets, K.D. (known delinquents) sheets and rowdy sheets maintained in police stations across the State and delete names of those no longer required to be retained in those lists.

Justice S. Manikumar wanted to know the outcome of the order passed by him last year as a number of writ petitions were being filed in the High Court Bench against mechanical continuation of many names in the list of criminals.

The recent case was filed by 57-year-old S. Haja Alaudeen whose name continued to be in the history sheet maintained by the Tirunelveli police since 1998 without proper review. He also claimed compensation for such mechanical continuation.

Agreeing with the petitioner’s counsel S.M.A. Jinnah that his client’s name was being maintained in the history sheet without a periodic review as required under the Police Standing Orders, the judge said that the issue would not have arisen if the officials had abided by his orders passed last year and issued circulars to their subordinates asking them to review the lists periodically and include names of only those who continued to indulge in nefarious activities.

In last year’s order, the judge had said: “Keeping surveillance or vigil on a history sheeted person should not be made permanent, mechanically, as it would affect his freedom of life and liberty."

The discretion conferred on the police is both objective and subjective in nature… The subjective satisfaction should be based on valid materials and it cannot be at the whims and fancies of police officers.

“Branding a person as a history-sheeted rowdy creates a tainted image in society… Innocent children of such persons could be even looked down upon if the police officers mechanically open or extend history sheets which have an impact on the right to privacy of not only the individual but also of his family."

“Therefore, when it is said that something has to be done within the discretion of the authorities, that something has to be done according to the rules of reason and justice, not according to private opinion; according to law and not humour. It is to be not arbitrary, vague and fanciful but legal and regular.”

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