Threat from SSP: HC orders protection for petitioner

Chandigrah

Making it clear that "an officer cannot be above law", the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday ordered immediate interim police protection for a Ludhiana resident who had petitioned the High Court apprehending threat to his life at the hands of IPS officer Naunihal Singh, former Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police.

Issuing a notice to the Punjab Police, Justice Daya Chaudhary asked it to provide interim protection to petitioner Jaswinder Singh Walia. All expenses on account of police protection would be borne by Walia. The court gave a week's time to the Punjab Police to inform the court about the threat perception to Walia's life. The bench orally remarked that "security cannot be claimed as a matter of right".

Refraining from issuing notices to the Central government and Naunihal Singh, the court observed that it would await a report of the Punjab Police following which it would be decided whether to issue notices to Naunihal Singh and the Central government. When asked if, at this stage, there was a need to issue a notice to Naunihal Singh, advocate Ravi Kamal Gupta, counsel for the petitioner, said "in case he (Naunihal) wants to dispute the contentions of the petition, he is most welcome".

Replying to the court's query on the "bulky" petition filed by Walia, advocate Gupta said the petitioner had placed on record only "a few" sale deeds. He added that the petitioner had "over 300 to 500 such registries of land" which were "sham transactions" and purchased using special power of attorney of Naunihal Singh. The counsel added that the petitioner was in possession of "very objectionable material" relating to the IPS officer.

The bench remarked that "an officer cannot be above law". The observation was in response to an apprehension raised by the petitioner that the Punjab Police would shield its officer, Naunihal Singh. The petitioner had alleged that Naunihal, now Deputy Inspector General with Punjab Police, would be able to influence the police and obtain a favourable report.

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