HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad High Court has held that the opening of a rowdy sheet against a person on the basis of his involvement in a single criminal case and its continuance is in utter violation of law laid down by the court.
“A rowdy sheet could not be opened against an individual in a casual and mechanical manner and due care and caution should be taken by the police before characterising a person as a rowdy,” the court has observed.
Justice PV Sanjay Kumar passed this order on a writ petition filed by one Suresh complaining that the Gooty police in Anantapur district had opened a rowdy sheet in his name though he was involved only in one criminal case which ended in his acquittal.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that the police authorities in the instant case did not adhere to the legal position while opening a rowdy sheet in the name of the petitioner and continuing the same thereafter. He relied upon various case laws which included judgments of the Supreme Court and the High Court in support of his contention.
The Anantapur police, in their counter affidavit, said that a rowdy sheet was opened in the name of the petitioner owing to his involvement in a criminal case registered under Section 302 of IPC. The police admitted that the case ended in acquittal of the petitioner and that no other cases were pending against him as on the date of filing of the said counter.
After hearing both the sides and perusing the material on record, including various court judgments, justice Sanjay Kumar made it clear that the opening of a rowdy sheet in the name of petitioner on the basis of his involvement in a solitary criminal case was not sufficient to term him a ‘habitual offender’. Despite acquittal in the said case, the police authorities seem to have continued the rowdy sheet in his name, the judge pointed out.
As per AP Police Manual, maintenance of rowdy sheets is governed by Order 601 which classifies the persons as rowdies and rowdy sheets may be opened for them under the orders of the district SP/DCP and ACP/SDPO. The period of retention of history sheets of the suspects/rowdies is governed by Order 602. Hitherto, standing order 742 of the AP Police Standing Orders governed the situation as to classification of rowdies and opening of rowdy sheets.
Persons who habitually commit, attempt to commit or abet the commission of offences involving breach of peace, one who habitually teases women and girls by passing indecent remarks or otherwise, those who have have been convicted more than once in two consecutive years and so on may be classified as rowdies and rowdy sheets may be opened for them under the order of the police authorities concerned.
The judge allowed the writ petition by quashing the rowdy sheet opened in the name of the petitioner at the Gooty police station in Anantapur.