How can police function if MLAs sit in stations: Karnataka HC to Harish Poonja

Court poses questions to advocate representing Poonja; says there are remedies in law if police illegally arrest someone
Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja
Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja

BENGALURU: Questioning how police officers could function if lawmakers (MLAs) go and sit in police stations, the Karnataka High Court orally observed that if such conduct is allowed, then police will not be in a position to discharge their duties. Hence, we have to protect the police or no citizen would be safe if MLAs go and sit in police stations in connection with criminal cases, Justice Krishna S Dixit said on Friday.

He made this observation while posing a series of questions to the advocate representing Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja, while hearing his petition questioning the criminal case registered against him for allegedly obstructing police from discharging their duties, in a case involving Belthangady taluk BJP Yuva Morcha president Shahiraj Shetty.

Referring to attacks on police stations, the court questioned the right of an MLA to go to a police station over a criminal case registered against an individual. This court is against MLAs going to police stations when criminal cases are registered against others, Justice Dixit said.

Senior advocate Prabhuling K Navadgi, representing Poonja, submitted that the MLA went to the police station after receiving a call from Shetty’s wife, stating that police had taken her husband late at night without giving any reason.

The court questioned Navadgi whether an MLA can go to a police station and question police if the wife or son of a suspected terrorist calls the MLA and complains. Navadgi submitted that Poonja went to the police station as MLAs have the responsibility to verify complaints from citizens, and had perhaps raised his voice that Shetty was taken into custody without an FIR being registered.

Declining to agree with his arguments, the court pointed out that there are remedies in law if police illegally arrest someone, or commit excesses.

Meanwhile, Additional Public Prosecutor BN Jagadeesha submitted that Puttur circle inspector had filed a chargesheet against Poonja, and the taluk court had already taken cognisance of offences against him. The court adjourned the hearing while asking police to file objections.

Poonja moved the High Court after he was booked for allegedly deterring police from discharging their duties and for allegedly creating a ruckus in the police station on May 18.

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