High Court Orders Probe into Alleged Collusion Between Revenue and Police Officers with Land Mafias; Criminal Case Against Couple Dismissed

In a significant ruling, the Allahabad High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings initiated against a couple falsely accused of oppressing Dalits. The court has also directed the Director General of Police to investigate the alleged collusion between land mafias and both revenue officers and the former station in-charge of Bihari Garh.

Justice Prashant Kumar issued the order on a petition filed by Alka Sethi and her husband Dhruv Sethi from Saharanpur. The couple had been battling legally against the summons issued under severe charges including SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the trial court.

The court highlighted the apparent involvement of the then station in-charge and revenue inspectors of Bihari Garh police station in the ordeal faced by the petitioners, which has forced the couple to seek justice persistently.

The case originated in the Saharanpur district’s Bihari Garh area, where the Sethis, residents of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, purchased land from Lokesh Sethi. Subsequently, their names were registered as co-owners in the revenue records, but the land division had not yet been executed. This led the couple to file a partition lawsuit at the SDM Behat court, which was decided in their favor. They later applied for boundary demarcation.

The couple alleges that the SDM’s disposal of their boundary demarcation request was intentionally delayed under the influence of land mafias, involving the police at the Bihari Garh station. In 2022, they lodged an FIR against all parties involved.

Despite their repeated efforts, they were unable to reach the SDM over the phone after discovering that a revenue department inspection had been conducted in their absence. They caught the revenue officers inspecting the land red-handed, in the presence of land mafias. The couple also managed to record a video clip of the unlawful activity and submitted it to the District Magistrate when they couldn’t reach the SDM.

The District Magistrate orally ordered the police station in charge to file an FIR against the revenue team and those involved. However, instead of following these orders, an FIR was lodged against the couple for assault and Dalit oppression based on a complaint by a revenue clerk. The Chief Minister’s portal also received complaints about the collusion between the police and revenue department, supported by photographs and video clips.

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Ultimately, the High Court intervened to stay the couple’s arrest and later quashed the criminal proceedings against them, instructing the Senior Superintendent of Police to complete the investigation of the FIR lodged by the couple against the revenue officers within four months.

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