Lawyer Moves Allahabad High Court Alleging Harassment By Police To Elicit Information, Whereabouts Of Former Client

By – Aparajita Patel

A lawyer has filed a complaint with the Allahabad High Court, alleging that the Uttar Pradesh Police is harassing her and forcing her to reveal details about communication with one of her previous clients, a girl and a boy of different religions for whom she had filed a petition seeking police protection.

A plea for the protection of the girl and a boy was filed by lawyer Chaman Ara, but it was dismissed as infructuous after a first information report (FIR) was filed against the boy for violations under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020.

Ara alleged in her current petition that the police are harassing her in connection with the abovementioned FIR and forcing her to produce the victim girl, if she does not, the police will take coercive action against her.

On Wednesday, Justices Manoj Kumar Gupta and Deepak Verma issued an injunction prohibiting the police from harassing the petitioner in connection with the FIR.

The Court further directed the UP standing counsel to seek precise directions from the Senior Superintendent of Police, Bareilly, on whether the petitioner’s phone had been placed under surveillance, as claimed, and, if so, under whose order and on what basis.

Senior Advocate IK Chaturvedi, the petitioner’s counsel, claimed that the petitioner is unconnected to the occurrence and has no knowledge of the victim girl’s whereabouts, except submitting a writ petition on behalf of the victim girl and boy in her role as an advocate.

He further claimed that the petitioner’s information is confidential and exempt from disclosure under Section 129 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. It was contended that the investigator had overstepped his bounds by interrogating the petitioner and pushing her to reveal information about the accused and victim.

On the other side, the Senior Superintendent of Police in Prayagraj stated that his department is not involved in the investigation of the case and that it has simply offered logistical support to the police party that traveled from Bareilly to Prayagraj in search of the victim and the accused. It then went on to state that the petitioner will not be subjected to any form of harassment.