Petitions complaining about police harassment dismissed

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday observed that it could not find fault with the searches conducted by the police under Operation Kuberan, a drive against unauthorised moneylenders.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon made the observation while dismissing a batch of petitions complaining about police harassment under “the guise of ‘Operation Kuberan’.

The court said nothing prohibited the police from conducting a search in accordance with the procedures. The Bench added that it could not find fault with the police as they had followed the procedure before conducting the searches.

When the petitions were taken up for hearing, the Bench observed orally that even searches by the police might not be effective as most of the moneylenders enjoyed influence in the police. It was understood that some of the moneylenders had informers in the police department. So, the police seemed to have seized nothing from the violators during some of the searches.

The court also observed that the searches could be carried out in accordance with the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code. There was no procedure requiring the police to inform the persons before conducting searches at the office or premises.

According to the petitioners, searches were carried out by the police on their own and not on the basis of any complaint.

The police had not been able to seize any material during the raids. The police were conducting raids even at the office of authorised Non Banking Finance Companies (NBFC) and various branches of the petitioners, alleging violation of the Kerala Money Lenders Act (KMLA)

The Court observed that the police could act on complaints, including oral one or on the basis of reliable information.

More In: Kerala | National