Amanatullah Khan Waqf bribery case: Supreme Court terms history sheet internal police document

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, while hearing the Waqf bribery case concerning Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Amanatullah Khan, observed that the history sheet was an internal police document, which should not be brought into the public domain.

Partly setting aside the Delhi High Court, which validated the publication of the history sheet, the Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice KV Viswanathan directed all States and Union Territories to revisit their policies and consider amendments.

The Apex Court directed the police authority to amend the standing order given effect forthwith the order shall be applied on this case also.

The top court of the country further directed the Commissioner of Police to designate a senior police officer in the ranks of a Joint Commissioner, to pre-emptively audit the history sheets and their contents.

It said this would ensure the maintenance of confidentiality and desirability of deleting the names of such persons/juveniles/children who were in the course of investigation found to be innocent and were found entitled to be expunged from the category of “Relations and connections of history-sheeter”.

If a police officer was found to have acted against the amended order or the direction, firm action against such delinquent officers would required to be taken, ordered the Bench.

Earlier, the Apex Court, while expunging the names of minor relatives of AAP MLA Khan from the history sheet and reserving the judgment, had directed the Delhi Police that the amended standing order dated March 21, 2024, shall be applied forthwith to the present case and the Commissioner of Police Delhi shall designate a senior police officer to audit the history sheets to ensure the maintenance of confidentiality and desirability, deleting the names of juveniles and children.

The Counsel for Khan had submitted that the names of relatives, including minors, were given in the history sheet and there was a leakage of information in the department as someone shared the information with other political parties, therefore, this affected their right to privacy and confidentiality.

The appeal was filed by the AAP MLA, challenging the order of the Delhi High Court regarding the decision of the Delhi Police to list him as a ‘history-sheeter’ and of ‘bad character’ in connection with a bribery case where he had allegedly misappropriated Delhi Wakf Board’s funds.

The Apex Court highlighted that the amended standing orders stated that details of any minor relative should not be recorded anywhere in the history sheet unless there was evidence that the minor had earlier afforded shelter to the offender, while he was on the run from police.

The Counsel for the Delhi Police had earlier submitted that he had advised the competent authority to suitably amend the provisions of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, which were currently being applied in the NCT of Delhi.

The Bench directed the competent authority to consider the recommendation made by Counsel for the Delhi Police and take necessary action within eight weeks.

In July 2023, the Apex Court issued notice to the Delhi Police in the matter. In January 2023, the Delhi High Court dismissed a petition filed by Khan, challenging the decision of the Delhi Police.

The Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Datta, while issuing notice, sought the response of the Delhi Police in the matter.

The Counsel appearing for Khan sought permission to read out the extracted relevant portions of the impugned order of the High Court, which he alleged was erroneous.

On May 13, 2022, Khan had gathered from social media that SHO, PS Jamia Nagar (respondent no.4) on March 28, 2022, had submitted a dossier to the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), New Friends Colony (respondent no. 3) and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), South East (the respondent no. 2), along with the proposal of opening history sheet of the petitioner and to place his name as ‘Bad Character’ (BC) in Register-X, Part-II, Bundle A ‘to keep a close surveillance on his activities.

He said the proposal also accompanied a list of total 18 cases stated to be registered him.

The accused sought quashing of opening/approval of the History Sheet declaring him as bad character and consequential entries in the Surveillance Register being exercised by respondent nos. 2 to 4 because it was being exercised with irregularity and impropriety in a mala fide manner and contravention of the Rules as applicable to NCT of Delhi.

It was further contended that the mala fide conduct was also manifestly apparent from the fact that the entire dossier and the purported proposal were deliberately leaked in the media.

On October 7, 2022, the single-judge Bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain, refused to accept Khan’s contentions. The Rouse Avenue Court had earlier granted bail to Khan in the matter.

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