STATE OF RAJASTHAN Vs. THAKUR PRATAP SINGH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: RAJASTHAN)
STATE OF RAJASTHAN
THAKUR PRATAP SINGH
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Ayyanger, J. -
(1.)This appeal raises for consideration the constitutional validity of one paragraph of a notification issued by the State of Rajasthan under S. 15 of the Police Act (Central Act V of 1861) under which "the Harijan" and "Muslim" inhabitants of the villages, in which an additional police force was stationed, were exempted from the obligation to bear any portion of the cost of that force.
(2.)It is stated that the inhabitants of certain villages in the district of Jhunjhunu in the State of Rajasthan, harboured dacoits and receivers of stolen property, and were besides creating trouble between landlords and tenants as a result of which there were serious riots in the locality in the course of which some persons lost their lives. The State Government therefore took action under S. 15 of the Police Act. This Section provides:
"Quartering of additional police in disturbed or dangerous districts -
(1) It shall be lawful for the State Government, by proclamation to be notified in the official Gazettee, and in such other manner as the State Government shall direct, to declare that any area subject to its authority has been found to be in a disturbed or dangerous state, or that from the conduct of the inhabitants of such area, or of any class or section of them, it is expedient to increase the number of police.
(2) It shall thereupon be lawful for the Inspector-General of Police, or other officer authorised by the State Government in this behalf, with the sanction of the State Government, to employ any police-force in addition to the ordinary fixed complement to be quartered in the areas specified in such proclamation as aforesaid.
(3) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5) of this section, the cost of such additional police force shall be borne by the inhabitants of such area described in the proclamation.
(4) The Magistrate of the district, after such enquiry as he may deem necessary, shall apportion such cost among the inhabitants who are, as aforesaid, liable to bear the same and who shall not have been exempted under the next succeedings sub-section. Such apportionment shall be made according to the Magistrate's judgment of the respective means within such area of such inhabitants.
(5) It shall be lawful for the State Government by order to exempt any persons or class or section of such inhabitants from liability to bear any portion of such cost." Sub-section (6) is omitted as not relevant.
(3.)The notification by which these provisions were invoked and which is impugned in these proceedings was in these terms:-
"Whereas the Rajpramukh is satisfied that the area shown in the schedule annexed hereto has been found to be in a disturbed and dangerous state;
Now, therefore, in the exercise of the authority vested in him under Section 15(1) of the Police Act (V of 1861), the Rajpramukh is pleased to declare that the 24 villages included in the said schedule shall be deemed to be disturbed area for a period of six months from the date of this notification.
Under sub-section (2) of the said section 15 of the Police Act (V of 1861), the Rajpramukh is pleased to authorise the Inspector-General of Police to employ, at the cost of the inhabitants of the said area any Police force in addition to the ordinary fixed complement quartered therein.
Under sub-section (5) of section 15 of the said Act the Rajpramukh is further pleased to exempt the Harijan and Muslim inhabitants of these villages from liability to bear any portion of the cost on account of the posting of the additional Police force."
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