Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu saw an unusual sight in the Court on Monday, when a 65 year old man who was declared dead almost 6 years ago, stood before the Court seeking a declaration that he is alive.
Gulshan Kumar, former Indian Air Force staffer, had been practicing as an advocate in the Supreme Court when he was declared dead in an order in 2009. He alleged that the order was passed on the mere submission of the opposing counsel, without even checking his address.
Hearing his plea, CJI Dattu informed him that the Judges of the Bench that had declared him dead had already retired. He said that appropriate orders will be passed in his cases.
On the question of delay of 6 years to approach the Court, Kumar was quoted as saying, “For a really long time, I did not know that I had been declared dead. Ever since I got to know about it through the court website, I have been trying to come to Delhi but that became possible only now because of some other exigencies. Moreover, it did not impact anyone else but me and it is never too late to be declared alive.”
Kumar was booked for criminal intimidation. He had challenged the validity of a notification issued under Section 10 of Criminal Amendment Act of 1932, which made the offence of criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the IPC cognizable and non-bailable. He had contended that the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 categorized intimidation as non-cognizable and bailable, making it a lesser offence that did not require immediate arrest.
However, during the hearing of the case on May 29, 2009, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice V.S. Sirpurkar recorded: “It is reported at the Bar that the concerned appellant who is also Advocate-on-Record of this Court is no more. In view of the death of the concerned person the matter has become infructuous. The appeal is accordingly disposed of as having become infructuous.”