Mumbai Local

Aksa hotel raid: HC wants rules to curb abuse of police power

What are the guidelines in place to prevent the abuse of police power in raids such as the one that took place in Madh last year, the Bombay High Court sought to know on Thursday.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation that had contended that the police raid on couples in hotel rooms had violated their privacy and that the police had acted in a high-handed manner.

Several couples had been rounded up from hotel rooms last year around Aksa beach, leading to a furore over the police harassment. Some of those rounded up were booked under section 110 of the Bombay Police Act that deals with indecent behaviour in public.

A Division Bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice GS Kulkarni sought to know from the state if there were safeguards in such matters to prevent abuse of power. “Are you willing to come out with some guidelines? The police should not exercise power which affects the right of privacy,” said the Bench. While saying they were not going into the merits of this specific case, ‘what has happened has happened’, the Bench said such actions could amount to violation of an individual’s privacy.

The public prosecutor informed the court that the power to conduct such raids lies with the local police station but there was a provision under the Criminal Procedure Code to submit a report to a magistrate.

The court expressed concern that motivated complaints to the police might result in wrongful action on their part. If power was wrongly exercised, what would the extent of damage be?

The prosecutor said he would confer with the Commissioner of Police on introducing guidelines to curb misuse of police powers. He sought four weeks’ time to do so.

The police had earlier contended in an affidavit that the raids were part of the measures taken following complaints from local residents about prostitution rackets being run in the area.

Several couples had been rounded up from hotel rooms last year, leading to furore

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 1:05:56 PM |

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