HC issues guidelines on entering names in rowdy and history registers by police

The High Court of Karnataka has laid down guidelines to be followed by the police in the process of rowdy and history sheeting of individuals till the State Government comes out with a comprehensive legislation.

Observing that there was a stark non-existence of adequate procedural safeguards in the process of rowdy/history sheeting in the realm of right to privacy and autonomy of individuals, the court said that there was a need for a comprehensive legislation to govern this process following the apex court’s judgments on right to privacy of individuals.

Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the order while disposing of 20 petitions filed by B.S. Prakash and 19 others, whose names were included in the rowdy/history registers in various police stations across the State. The petitioners had questioned the process of inclusion of their names and grievances of non-consideration of their representations for deletion of their names from such registers maintained by the police.

“The implications of name of an individual being entered, and indefinitely continued in the ‘Register of Rowdies’ are far reaching. There are discernible consequences adverse to the interest of the individual concerned who may not be an accused. Therefore, there has to be a due procedure put in place for making or continuing entries in the rowdy register/history sheets,” the court observed.

It also said that there had to be a proper Grievance Redressal Mechanism against a wrongful registration of names & their continuation, regardless of the request of the aggrieved for deletion.

Sealed cover

All the process of entering name of an individual into such registers should be done in a sealed cover. This information should not be provided to anyone, except the particular individual concerned, and no RTI application should be entertained in this regard.

The court said that before entering the name of an individual in the Register of Rowdies, the jurisdictional police shall collect and collate the material information concerning him and frame the proposal for registration on that basis.

A brief proposal notice should be sent to the individual concerned in a sealed cover with an option to submit his representation within two weeks as to why his name should not be registered as a rowdy. However, the court said there was no need to afford a personal hearing. In exceptional cases, the court clarified that the notice may be dispensed with for reasons to be recorded in the Register of Rowdies.


The jurisdictional police suo motu should compulsorily, once in two years undertake a periodic review of entries in the Register of Rowdies.

Stating that it would be open for individuals concerned to give representation for deletion of their names from the register, the court said such representations had to be decided within 30 days.

Persons aggrieved by rejection of their representation can approach the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) within 30 days and the PCA had to dispose of such representations within 60 days.

The court also made it clear that the violation of the guidelines would constitute a major misconduct and an adverse entry on proof thereof should be made by disciplinary authority in the service register of erring officials with due process of law.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 4:47:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-issues-guidelines-on-entering-names-in-rowdy-and-history-registers-by-police/article65392433.ece