Supreme Court of India notice to Centre, CBI on PIL for guidelines on raids

NEW DELHI(PTI): Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and probe agencies including CBI and ED on a PIL seeking framing of guidelines to safeguard rights of common public against alleged misuse of investigating powers during search and seizure.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and P C Pant issued notice to the Centre on the plea filed by scribe Upendra Rai, contending that probe agencies were allegedly “harassing and humiliating citizens while conducting searches at their residential premises” and the procedures need to be regulated.

Besides issuing notices to various Ministries including Home Affairs, Law and Justice and Finance, the court also sought responses from Law Commission of India, CBI, CVC, Department of Revenue, DRI and Enforcement Directorate. “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, had said.

The plea cites examples of recent searches conducted at the residences of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Director General of Corporate Affairs B K Bansal, whose wife and daughter allegedly committed suicide here. The plea also referred to a suicide note written by the mother-daughter duo that they took the extreme step due to the humiliation caused by CBI officials during the search operations at Bansal’s residence. His son too has been missing since the first CBI raid.

Referring to the Bansal case, the petition had said his wife and daughter committed suicide due to the humiliation caused to them by CBI officials during the search operations. On the last date of hearing, Chief Justice T S Thakur had recused from hearing the PIL saying that it mentioned the name of the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister who was known to him.