Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today recused himself from hearing a PIL seeking framing of guidelines for safeguarding rights of public against alleged misuse of powers by probe agencies during search and seizure.
As the plea contained details of recent searches conducted at the houses of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Justice Thakur said “I know him for many years. I will not be part of the bench which hears it”.
The petition, filed by journalist Upendra Rai, contended that probe agencies were allegedly “harassing and humiliating citizens while conducting searches at their residential premises” and the procedures need to be regulated.
“Issue a direction under Article 32 of the Constitution in the form of adequate guidelines regulating procedure of search and seizure at the residential premises/dwelling units by all the investigating agencies in India,” the plea said and sought protection of fundamental rights of citizens including protection of life and personal liberty.
“Issue appropriate guidelines/measures to protect the Fundamental Rights under Article 19(1)(a), 19(1)(d) and 21 of the Constitution, of the citizens against harassment and humiliation being caused to them by Investigating Agencies while conducting search at their residential premises,” the PIL, filed through advocate Keshav Mohan, said.
The plea cited examples of recent searches conducted at the residences of the Himachal CM and Director General of Corporate Affairs B K Bansal, whose wife and daughter allegedly committed suicide here.
“The petitioner is seeking indulgence of this Court to the atrocities being committed by probe agency like CBI and issue adequate guidelines to safeguard rights of public against the misuse of powers of search and seizure by the investigating agency, particularly when search is being conducted at the residence of a person and further to protect family members of the person from social stigma caused to their reputation from the illegal search conducted by the investigating agencies,” it said.