Furious with officers of a police station in Patna for using a bulldozer to “illegally” demolish the house of a petitioner, Justice Sandeep Kumar of the Patna High Court reprimanded them, saying “yahan bhi bulldozer chalne laga… tamasha bana diya ki kisi ka ghar bulldozer se tod denge (so bulldozer is being run here too… this has been turned into a spectacle that you will demolish anyone’s house with a bulldozer).”
Justice Kumar pulled up the Agamkuan police of Patna for being “hand in glove with some land mafia and they have illegally demolished the house of the petitioner without following the due process of law”. The petitioner is one Sahyoga Devi whose house was demolished on October 15.
The High Court has sought personal appearance of the SP, East, Circle Officer and the Agamkuan police station in-charge on December 8.
In a video clip which did the rounds of social media Saturday — the order was dictated on November 24 — Justice Kumar is heard saying: “Yahan bhi bulldozer chalne laga, aisa kaun powerful aadmi hai jo bulldozer lekar tod diye uska (So bulldozer is being run here too. Who are these powerful people for whom you demolished someone’s house using a bulldozer?). Whom do you represent? The state or private persons? Tamasha bana diya ki kisi ka ghar bulldozer se tod denge.” (you (administration) have made a spectacle by trying to demolish someone’s house)”.
“Has the police station also been given power to sort out matters of land dispute? If someone has an issue, he will go to the police station, pay a bribe and get someone’s house demolished. Why don’t you close the court, civil court?” he said.
When the petitioner’s lawyer said his client was also pressured to vacate the land and a false FIR was also filed, Justice Kumar said, “Bahut achche… I am here to protect you, not trouble you.”
“We will get you Rs 5 lakh compensation from the pockets of each (official responsible for the demolition)… police aur CO milkar ghar tudva raha hai ghoos lekar (police and CO are taking bribes to demolish homes),” he said.
The court’s order stated: “It has been further submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioner that a false case has been registered by the police against the petitioner and family members to pressurise them to vacate the land at the instance of the land mafia who are private respondents in this case. The further proceedings of FIR of Agamkuan Police Station… shall remain stayed and the police are restrained from arresting the petitioners and his family members who are accused in the case.”
Later, petitioner Sahyoga Devi’s lawyer Kumar Amit said, “The police erred by taking the case of the accused first. The judge took exception to it and stayed its proceedings… Since a portion of the land was sold to some people, they had tried illegal possession.”