25 Sep 2023 5:15 AM GMT
In a recent ruling by the Gujarat High Court, it was held that contempt of court proceedings cannot be initiated against a police officer for arresting an accused without a warrant, without prior notice under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), if the officer provides a valid explanation before the magistrate.The division bench of Justices Ashutosh Shashtri and Divyesh A....
In a recent ruling by the Gujarat High Court, it was held that contempt of court proceedings cannot be initiated against a police officer for arresting an accused without a warrant, without prior notice under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), if the officer provides a valid explanation before the magistrate.
The division bench of Justices Ashutosh Shashtri and Divyesh A. Joshi observed, “Here in this case on hand, the concerned police officer has narrated the grounds expressly in a clear terms in the check-list at the time of production of the accused and copy of the check-list was given to the concerned court at the time of production of the documents and presentation of the accused, therefore, conscious of the Investigating Officer is satisfied at the time of arrest. The ground mentioned in Section 41A and Section 41(1)(ii)(a) of the CrPC provides “to prevent such person from committing any further offence”.”
“If we would like to refer to the content of the grounds mentioned in the check-list, it clearly shows that it is specifically mentioned by the Investigating Officer that with a sole intention to prevent them from committing another offence of the similar nature. Therefore, the reasons mentioned in the check-list by the IO clearly show that he has fully and substantially complied with the condition mentioned as per the statutory provision of the CrPC as well as adhered with the directions and guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Apex Court in case of Arnesh Kumar (supra) in stricto sensu manner.”
Therefore, the bench was of the opinion that the action on the part of the respondent was not contemptuous in nature and on the contrary, it opined that authority had adhered to the norms and the statutory provision of law.
The above judgment came in an application filed under Section 12 of the Contempt of Court’s Act, 1971, whereby the applicants sought a court order directing the respondent to rectify the contempt of court stemming from a judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar & Anr., as reported in (2014) 8 SCC 273.
Additionally, they requested that the respondent be held accountable under the Contempt of Courts Act. The applicants also prayed for the pending hearing and ultimate resolution of their current petition. They further urged the court to compel the respondent's personal presence to explain his contumacious conduct.
The applicants' argument centered around the fact that the respondent, in conjunction with other police officials, had apprehended them at their residence. Subsequently, an FIR was registered at the police station, charging them with offenses under Sections 406, 420, 506(2), 34, and 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code. However, they contended that the grounds cited in the checklist for remand, presented the next day when they were produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate in Ahmedabad, did not justify their arrest and presentation.
The applicants further asserted that prior to their arrest, no notice, as mandated by Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code, had been issued to them. Consequently, they alleged a complete disregard for and violation of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar & Anr. In light of this, they deemed the respondent's conduct to be contemptuous and called for its punishment in accordance with the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act.
Based on the facts of the case, the court noted that the issue at hand was quite specific, and in order to address it, the court initially examined the relevant legal provisions.
The court specifically referred to Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and subsequently delved into paragraphs discussing the guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar (supra).
After a thorough examination of the FIR, the court determined that the accusations against the applicants were indeed serious and grievous in nature.
The court also noted that if the charges against the accused were proven at the end of the trial, the maximum punishment that could be imposed, as per the statutory provisions, was up to seven years.
The court underscored, “Therefore, in view of the provision of Section 41A of the CrPC and as per the guidelines and directions issued by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the aforesaid decision, at the time of arrest and production of the accused, the concerned Investigating Officer has to submit check-list before the concerned Magistrate.”
The court further stated, “It is admitted position of fact that the accused was produced before the concerned Magistrate and at the time of production, checklist was also produced by the respondent. The objection of the applicants is about the nonsuitable grounds mentioned in the check-list with regard to the arrest of the accused.”
“It is clearly and expressly stated in Section 41 of the CrPC that any police officer may without an order from the Magistrate and without a warrant, arrest any person subject to fulfillment of certain conditions that if the concerned police officer is satisfied that the arrest is inevitable necessary then, the concerned police officer has to justify the cause mentioning the reasons of the arrest by narrating the grounds,” added the court.
Relying on the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Ram Kishan Vs. Tarun Baja & Ors., reported in (2014) 16 SCC 204, the court ultimately opined that it was not an appropriate case for invoking contempt jurisdiction, as the applicant had not clearly established their case.
Consequently, the Court found it suitable not to entertain the application, and therefore, dismissed it.
Appearance: Mr Bhavik J Pandya(5002) For The Applicant(S) No. 1,2 Mr Manish J Patel(2131) For The Applicant(S) No. 1,2 Mr Trupesh Kathiriya Agp For Respondent
LL Citation: 2023 Livelaw (Guj) 156
Case Title: Krinaben W/O Tushar Suryakant Trivedi Versus N P Garasiya, Police Sub Inspector, Special Investigation Team
Case No.: R/Misc. Civil Application No. 1009 Of 2023
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment