Surveillance is ok, but it should not infringe on fundamental freedoms of citizens: HC to police
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked the police to confine the entries in the surveillance register un-obtrusive and within bounds without squeezing the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to citizens.
The direction followed a petition by one Jagar Singh, a contractor from Jammu who complained of being continuously harassed by Police Station Gandhi Nagar, by including him in its surveillance register 10. The petitioner had been arraigned in an FIR of 2009 wherein he had been later on acquitted by the court.
Justice Javed Iqbal Wani after hearing the parties observed “perusal of the rules ex facie suggest that the entries in the Surveillance Register have to be prepared and drawn both objectively, meaning making an unbiased balanced observation based on facts which can be verified; and subjectively as well, meaning making assumptions, interpretations based on personal opinions without any verifiable facts.”
The court said that though organized crime cannot be successfully fought without close watch of suspects, yet surveillance may be intrusive and may seriously encroach on the privacy of a citizen, infringe his/her fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed under the Constitution.
It urged the police officers have to construe the rules strictly “and confine the entries in the Surveillance Register un-obtrusive and within bounds without squeezing the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to a citizen, or to obstruct the free exercise and enjoyment of those freedoms also keeping in mind that the surveillance should not be so intrusive as to offend the dignity of an individual, and that the very rules which prescribe the conditions for making entries in the Surveillance Register and the mode of surveillance must recognize the caution and care with which the police officers are required to proceed.”
The court said “continuation of the entry of the name of the petitioner in the Surveillance Register seemingly is being continued by the respondents without drawing any subjective satisfaction in this regard, mechanically being a person reasonably believed to be habitual offender”.
Terming the continuous entry of the petitioner’s name in the Surveillance Register as arbitrary, unfair, unreasonable, and illegal, the respondents were directed to discontinue the entry of the petitioner’s name in the Surveillance Register.