Sat, 03 Dec 2022

New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): An intervention application was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking the abolition of a century-old practice of the Revenue Police System in Uttarakhand in the wake of Ankita Bhandari's murder case.

The intervention application was filed by Uttrakhand journalist Anu Pant through advocates Rituparn Uniyal, Abhishek Kumar, Deeksha Saggi and Nayan Mishra.

The intervention application has been filed seeking abolition of a century-old practice of the Revenue Police System in many parts of the State of Uttarakhand wherein the handling of crime/offences by the Revenue Police has resulted in a law-and-order situation.

The fresh application was filed in wake of the recent unfortunate and distressing incident of the Murder of a 19 years old girl named Ankita Bhandari near Chilla Canal in Rishikesh, Yamkeshwar Block, District Pauri Garhwal, who fell victim to the century-old practice of Revenue Police System in the State of Uttarakhand.

19-year-old Ankita Bhandari joined the job of a receptionist in Vanantra Resort situated at Chilla Road near Rishikesh a month ago and went on missing on September 18 from the resort. Her father, who was not being able to contact and locate his daughter, came to Rishikesh in search of his daughter but that poor man was made to run from pillar to post by the police and revenue authorities, the application said.

"The father immediately after arriving Rishikesh went to Police Station Kotwali Rishikesh from where he was sent to Police Station Laxman Jhula at night. After enquiring about his missing daughter at the Police Station Laxman Jhula the police officials told him that his complaint would be registered by the Patwari concerned as the place from where the daughter went missing falls within the Revenue Police jurisdiction," the intervention application said.

When the father went to concerned Patwari Choki, he found that the owner of the resort, a suspect in the matter and others were already present and they lodged a missing complaint against unknown persons with the Patwari Chowki, the application said.

The patwari categorically refused to hear grievances and doubts of the victim's father and misbehaved with him, the applicant said.

Later the suspects were arrested in the matter by the Laxman Jhula police station after the public outrage and the local media's attention as the District Magistrate, Pauri who vide his Letter dated 21.09.2022, in the late evening, ordered the transfer of investigation from Revenue Police to Regular Police.

"That the incapability of Revenue Authorities in dealing with the heinous crime has been categorically set out from time to time by this Court as well as the Hon'ble High Court. Also, the recent unfortunate and distressing incident of murder of 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari is a textbook example of the failure of the Century-old Revenue Police System prevailing in the State of Uttarakhand leading to massive outrage amongst the public at large," the application read.

"That the citizens of the State of Uttarakhand are being discriminated in terms of the Criminal Justice System. Further, the people residing in distant places of the State are also eligible for protection and service of Regular Police. Surprisingly, the two-three districts have the advantage of the Regular Police system. This is a categorical violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and to the concept of Equal Protection of law enshrined under it," the application said.

The applicant said that the present Revenue Police System prevailing in the State of Uttarakhand is unconstitutional as it deprives the Citizens of Uttarakhand the equal protection of the law as all the Citizens are not been given the same treatment in detection and Prevention, investigation and trial of criminal cases. Therefore, by practising two different police systems by the State of Uttarakhand, the Statehas gone against the Spirit and essence of the Constitution of India," the applicant added.

The applicant said that in view of the preceding facts and the recent unfortunate and distressing incident occurring in the State of Uttarakhand, it has become necessary for the Applicant to approach this Courtfor indulgence and consideration of this Court and is accordingly seeking intervention in the ongoing petition relating to the patwari system.

The applicant also sought to be allowed to intervene so that it may bring all the aspects before the top court from the perspective of the citizens of Uttarakhand. (ANI)

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