HC cancels govt order disbanding police unions

The Calcutta High Court today returned the recognition of three police associations that were disbanded by the state government on January 10 this year.

Justice Dipankar Gupta directed that the government's decision to derecognise the associations was in violation of constitutional provisions and against natural justice.

The state government had issued an order cancelling the recognition of West Bengal Police Association, Kolkata Police Association and Non-Gazetted Police Karmachari Samity. The associations challenged the order in the Calcutta High Court.

The counsel of the associations argued that the government had no right to cancel the recognition by issuing an administrative order. The recognition was cancelled without a cabinet resolution, he added.

Justice Dutta held that the state could not cancel the recognition of the three police associations by just issuing an order. There was a procedure to do so according to legal provisions, and gazette notification is also required, the court said.

It directed the state to restore possession of any office of those associations within seven days if it had been evicted from any premises. In several districts the state government had evicted or sealed the office of the police association after the order was passed.

The state government apprised the high court that recognition of the three police associations was cancelled aiming to form a police welfare board for the benefit of the police.

Justice Dutta pointed out that the state government can set up a welfare board according to the law but the state would first have to hear opinion of the associations.

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