The Bombay High Court directed Maharashtra government to file an additional affidavit within two weeks explaining under what provisions of law the police had arrested people, including couples, during a raid on hotels in suburban Malwani for alleged indecency last month.
The HC query was in response to the police raid on hotels, resorts and lodges at Madh Island on August 6 in which 61 persons, including 13 couples, were arrested under section 110 (indecent behaviour) of Bombay Police Act.
The direction was given by Justice V M Kanade and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi who were hearing a petition filed by a Khar resident Sumeer Sabharwal who termed the raids as “illegal, intrusive and unconstitutional” and sought action against the “erring” police officials.
The court also asked the state to e-mail a copy of its reply four days in advance to the petitioner’s lawyer.
“We had asked the state earlier also to explain under what provisions of law it had taken action. The government had then justified its action against people indulging in indecent behaviour saying it had received complaints from members of public. We again ask the state to clarify under what law they had acted,” the judges said.
The matter has been posted for hearing on October 16 for final disposal.
Counsel for the petitioner, Shilpi Jain, criticised the police for raiding the hotels and arresting people, thereby disturbing their privacy.
A doctor, residing in the locality, intervened saying the police raids were justified in the wake of allegations of prostitution racket thriving in the area. Another intervention application was filed by a person who has a bungalow in the locality.
Earlier, the government had contended that police had conducted raids on hotels after they received complaints from the residents of the area and the local MLA. The HC had asked the state to file an additional affidavit by September 22.
Government pleader Jayesh Yagnik today sought more time from the HC to file an additional affidavit and the judges granted two weeks.
The HC had on last occasion remarked that while there was a laudable intention behind the police raids on hotels, persons cannot be harassed and their privacy should not be invaded.
The court had also sought to know under what rules or provision of law, hotels are asked (by authorities) to take down the names and copy of identity cards of those persons who want to book a room.