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S. Sankarasubban, J.
1. The above Contempt Petition is filed by the petitioner in C.M.P. No. 31907/2000 in O.P. No. 18831/2000 on the ground of violation of the order in C.M.P. No. 31907/ 2000 and C.M.P. No. 32963/2000. Annexure A-1 is the order dated July 7, 2000 in C.M.P. No. 31907/2000. That order is as follows:
“Respondent wants to file counter. Meanwhile to see that law and order is maintained and willing workers of petitioner’s factory shall not be obstructed by any group of persons.”
Annexure A-3 is the order giving police protection to the petitioner, his workers and their men to have ingress and egress to the petitioner’s factory. The Contempt Petition is filed on the ground that on July 10, 2000 at 4.30 P.M. the members of the Samithi demolished the main gate of the petitioner’s factory and the policemen who were present in front of the factory gate did not prevent them from such illegal activities. Because of the above incident, several workers were injured and three of them were hospitalised. Immediately thereafter the petitioner went to the police station to bring to the notice of the respondents 1 and 2 about the incident. But both of them were not in station on that day. On July 10, 2000 itself after 11 P.M. the members of the Powra Samithi entered into the factory and demolished the office room and disconnected the telephone connection to the factory. Because of the above incident, nearly 35 persons were hospitalised. The
various incidents were reported by various medias and also in various dailies. According to petitioner, the police did not take any useful action for the prevention of the incident.
2. An affidavit has been filed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Adoor. In paragraph 3 of the affidavit, it is stated as follows: As and when the police received information that there have been agitation by this Samithi before the factory the police have been very much vigilant to see that there was no untoward incident or any law and order problem because of this agitation. Regarding the petition filed on July 4, 2000, it is stated as follows: When the petition was received by the first respondent, steps were further taken for the proper protection of the place without the occurrence of any untoward incidents. In paragraph 6 of the affidavit, it is stated as follows: Everything was normal except for the agitation till July 10, 2000. On July 10, 2000, the protection duty at the factory gate was conducted by a team of policemen consisting of a Sub-Inspector, Assistant Sub-Inspector and 5 Police Constables. They have been on duty from 8 A.M. onwards. By about 10 A.M. a lorry containing granites came to the factory and a group of agitators about 200 in number blocked the lorry demanding settlement of their cause of closure of the bone meal factory. The police intervened and the lorry was taken inside the factory. But by about 5 P.M. on that day itself, the agitators swelled to more than 1000 and they started fighting against the police party posted there. The Assistant Sub-Inspector Mr. Kumaran who on official duty was pushed away and by virtually breaking the police cordon the agitators trespassed into the factory and started committing mischief. The details of the incident that took place has been stated in para 6 of the affidavit.
3. According to counter-affidavit, the police had been giving protection to the petitioner. But the crowd has been behaving badly.
4. A reply affidavit has been filed by the petitioner. In paragraph 3 of the reply affidavit, it is stated as follows:
From June 20, 2000 to July 4, 2000 not even a single police officer came to the factory premises inspite of the repeated representations submitted by the petitioner as well as the other organisations bringing to their notice the illegal obstructions created by the members of the alleged Powra Samithi to the petitioner to have access and ingress to the factory compound. If such police officials have acted promptly in preventing the unlawful interference of those persons in the matter of running the above factory, the petitioner ought not have been compelled to approach this Hon’ble Court to get police protection.
5. We heard the counsel for the petitioner and the Government pleader. We are of the view that the respondents should have been more vigilant and active in this matter. When a person approaches this Court for police protection and an order is passed by this Court, the police authorities have to take it seriously. The police are the guardians regarding the life and property of the people. Without the help of police, there will be no protection for the law abiding citizens against the unlawful activities of the unruly elements of the State. The Police are expected to act seriously. They cannot be mere eyewitnesses to what is happening in the site. By protection we do not mean 100 men wearing uniform and just standing at a place where protection is called for. It is their duty to prevent any trouble. If there is any trouble, they should nip it in the bud. They have to act under the law and as per the Constitution. There may be rights for the labourers to strike or there may be health hazards in the running of a factory. If there is any violation of law with regard to the conditions of workers or with regard to the obtaining of licence, that matter has to be taken to the appropriate authorities or a Court of law to get redressal of the grievances. No body can take law into his own hand. The police cannot merely say that if they interfere with, there will be bloodshed or there will be stone throwing. They are the Force who have to face this and keep law and order properly. In the instant case, protection was given for running of the
tactory. The counter itself admits that the Samithi was against the running of the factory. The Samithi was able to achieve what they wanted. The Police should have acted briskly and prevented any loss to the factory by the agitating persons. It was not the spirit of this Court’s order that the police should go to the spot after the entire event was over and arrest the culprits. The spirit of this Court order is to see that any form of trouble against the petitioner is prevented at the initial stage itself. We are sure that the police will take
into account the above observations and continue to give the protection to the petitioner so long as the interim order continues. We do not want to further go into the matter and keep the file pending. We would have framed charges against the respondents. But we think, in the circumstance of the case, it was better to inform them of their duties instead of punishing them with a nominal fine or some days of imprisonment.
C.C.C. is closed.