Bombay HC dismisses petition seeking production of missing person



Mumbai: Observing that no case had been made out for interference in police investigations, the Bombay High Court has refused to entertain a Habeas Corpus petition filed by a man seeking production of his brother who has been missing since October 2009.

Police had alleged in an affidavit earlier that the missing person was connected with gangster Chota Rajan and that he was absconding.

"Since the police officer had earlier investigated and come to the conclusion that whereabouts of petitioner's brother could not be traced, according to us a writ of Habeas Corpus cannot be issued to the respondent for producing him before this Court," observed justices AR Joshi and PV Hardas.

"In any event, it is not police who have illegally detained the petitioner's brother. The police officer had done their best for tracing the whereabouts of the brother of the petitioner. In these circumstances, therefore, we dismiss the petition," noted the Judges in their March 15 order.

The petitioner Ashok Thorat prayed for issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus for tracing the whereabouts of his brother who has been missing since October 7, 2009. He said a missing complaint about his brother was immediately lodged on the same day.

The Judges noted that the petitioner had earlier filed a petition seeking similar relief of issuance of Habeas Corpus writ. However, this petition was dismissed on February 14 last year by a division bench.

The division bench had then taken on record a police affidavit filed on June 29, 2010 stating that eight offences had been registered against the petitioner's brother from time to time and these cases were pending. It was also mentioned that the petitioner's brother was connected with gangster Chhota Rajan and that he was absconding.

It was also stated in a subsequent affidavit filed by police that various steps have been taken by police to trace the petitioner's brother but they failed to locate him.

In a further affidavit on September 4, 2010, the petitioner had expressed his suspicion that wife of deceased gangster OP Singh was responsible for the disappearance of his brother. It was also alleged that ex-police officer Pradeep Sharma is behind the conspiracy.

The bench took on record further affidavit filed by the police in which it was stated that in spite of best efforts being taken by police, they were not in a position to trace the petitioner's brother.

The bench further observed that in view of this affidavit and further affidavit filed by police, in their view no directions could be issued since whereabouts of petitioner's brother were not known and it is possible that he may be absconding on account of the cases which are pending against him.

Hence, the bench dismissed the petition.

Taking into account the police version that best efforts had been made to trace the missing person, the High Court Judges observed that they would not issue a writ of Habeas Corpus.

PTI