HC stays CoP’s order for tenant info

Declining to order suspension of the operation of the police commissioner’s order asking the landlords/house owners to furnish details of their tenants, the Madras high court on Thursday directed authorities not to take criminal action for violation of the said order.

Passing interim orders on petitions from Dr R.S. Sridhar and advocate S. Jim Raj Milton, a division bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam said, “...no criminal action should be taken for violation of the said order”.

The petitioners sought to declare the police commissioner’s order dated March 3, 2012 as violative of Article 14, 19 (1) (e) and (g) and 21 of the Constitution.

According to petitioners, the impugned order has been passed purportedly for preservation of public peace, public safety and maintenance of public order.

However, the commissioner of police had failed to place on record any material to show there was threat to public peace, public safety and maintenance of public order.

The impugned order categorizes the residents of Chennai into two, the landlords/house owners and the tenants and further, it attaches a stigma on tenants of being anti-social elements posing danger to public peace. The categorization was not only irrational but also unconstitutional.

The impugned order was violative of Article 19 (1) (e) of the Constitution, which guarantees to every citizen the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.

It also offends the right to privacy and the right to dignity of tenants, and violated Article 21 of the Constitution, they added.

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