Says High Court Bench

: All litigants, including those who do not want the police to interfere in civil disputes and those who seek protection from the same law-enforcing agency in those disputes will have to file a civil suit before the appropriate lower court and obtain permanent injunction rather than filing writ petitions, the Madras High Court Bench here has said.

Justice V. Ramasubramanian made the observation while dismissing a writ petition filed by an individual named Periyamondi of Alanganallur near here seeking to restrain the local police from interfering with a property dispute between him and his brothers. The petitioner alleged that the police were interfering in the dispute even when a civil suit was pending before a subordinate court here.

Not in agreement with the petitioner's plea, the judge said: “Of late there has been an increase in these types of litigations.

On the one hand, several writ petitions are being filed seeking police protection on the ground of title and/or possession. On the other hand, writ petitions are filed seeking a direction to the police not to interfere in a civil dispute.

“On another side, there is an increase in the number of petitions filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking a direction to the police to register a First Information Report (FIR) on the complaints made and to investigate the same. There is very little realisation on the part of the litigants that it would be a mockery, if the same court issued directions to the police to register FIRs and also issued directions not to interfere in civil disputes.

“Traditionally whenever any person attempted to interfere with another person's possession of a property, the aggrieved party used to take recourse to the appropriate civil court for a decree of injunction. If the latter happens to be a tenant or even an encroacher, the normal remedy that he would seek, would only be a permanent injunction restraining the former from dispossessing him, except by due process of law.

“Remedy forgotten”

“Such a remedy which has always been taken recourse to, in the past several decades, appears to have been almost forgotten. While arguing that the police cannot interfere in a civil dispute, these persons forget that a constitutional court would not also interfere in a civil dispute. If any person seeks to use the police to achieve a civil remedy, the appropriate course of action is only to file a civil suit and get an order of injunction.

“If an order of injunction is obtained against the real enemy, the same will actually bind the police as well as any other government authority. Apart from the fact that such an injunction against the rival claimants is binding upon the police, it would also enable persons in whose favour injunction is granted, to seek the protection of the very same police against whom these writ petitions are filed.

“Unfortunately, the remedies available before the civil court which are larger in nature, are now sought to be bypassed by filing writ petitions. By passing a civil court and coming to a writ court is as misconceived as bypassing a civil court and going to a police station. Moreover, there is no absolute bar in certain cases (such as cheque bounce cases) from resorting to both civil and criminal remedies.

“Therefore, a direction by a writ court to the police not to interfere in a civil dispute would virtually close the door for a parallel criminal proceeding even in cases where such parallel proceeding is not prohibited by law. It is true that due to the enormous delay in the disposal of cases by civil courts, there is a tendency on the part of the litigants to convert civil cases into criminal cases so that an instantaneous solution to a problem is reached with the threat of the stick.

“Such a trend can be and has to be arrested only by the aggrieved party by going to the civil court and seeking an injunction to protect his personal and property rights. The solution does not lie in approaching the writ court.”