HC orders reopening of sealed TFPC premises

The Madras High Court on Friday ordered the reopening of a sealed building belonging to the Tamil Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) after pulling up the Chennai city police for the manner in which it had handled a factional dispute between members of the council on Thursday.

The court wondered what the necessity was for invoking Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure overnight and sealing the council’s office premises.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh said that the police had no right to interfere with the council’s affairs and prevent duly elected office-bearers, including its president Vishal, from entering the premises, which was initially locked by the rival faction, especially when their election had taken place under the supervision of a retired judge of the High Court.

“People cannot just barge into a property and lock it. How can they (the rival faction) lock the office and prevent the elected body from entering? They may or may not like the elected body, but when its tenure is in existence, the other side may have to work out their remedy in accordance with law. There must be some sanctity for the election that was conducted,” the judge said.

When the judge stated that the police should not have interfered, Additional Public Prosecutor M. Mohamed Riyaz said: “We did not interfere in the council’s affairs. Our concern was only the maintenance of law and order. There were complaints and counter-complaints lodged by both sides. Therefore, we had to initiate appropriate action.”

Not satisfied with the reply, the judge asked: “How can you invoke Section 145 overnight and seal the premises for just one FIR? Do you invoke [Section] 145 in every other group fight? After all, they (the factions) are part of one family. It is for them to resolve their disputes in the manner known to law.”

Later, recording the submission of the rival faction that it had already filed a civil suit with respect to the dispute, the judge directed the Executive Magistrate concerned to remove the seal from the council’s premises forthwith and permit all members to enter the office on the condition that they should not cause any disturbance to law and order.

Direction on files

Further, the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies was ordered to visit the premises on Saturday and lock up all relevant documents, including account books — which the rival faction feared could be tampered with by the incumbent office-bearers — in one of the rooms after allowing both sides to take photocopies for their reference.

The Inspector of the Pondy Bazaar Police Station at T. Nagar was directed to ensure that no one interfered with the functioning of the office-bearers. In so far as inter se rights and disputes were concerned, they should be worked out independently through the civil proceedings before the appropriate forum, the judge added.He passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by the TFPC, represented by executive committee member M. Anbudurai, seeking police protection for the smooth functioning of the incumbent office-bearers.

In an affidavit, filed through its counsel Krishna Ravindran, the council accused the police of taking sides with the rival faction. It stated that the police had taken the president and secretary into custody and detained them in a marriage hall when they attempted to break open the lock installed by the rival faction.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 10:11:16 PM |

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