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Allahabad HC Holds Police Officer Guilty Of Contempt For Violating 'Arnesh Kumar Guidelines', Sentences Him To 14 Day Imprisonment

Sparsh Upadhyay
21 Aug 2022 11:29 AM GMT
Allahabad HC Holds Police Officer Guilty Of Contempt For Violating Arnesh Kumar Guidelines, Sentences Him To 14 Day Imprisonment
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The Allahabad High Court last week sentenced a police officer to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days after holding him guilty of contempt for deliberately bypassing the mandate of the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar.As per the Arnesh Kumar judgment, the arrest should be the exception where the offence is punishable with less than 7 years imprisonment, and...

The Allahabad High Court last week sentenced a police officer to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days after holding him guilty of contempt for deliberately bypassing the mandate of the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar.

As per the Arnesh Kumar judgment, the arrest should be the exception where the offence is punishable with less than 7 years imprisonment, and notice for appearance under Section 41A CrPC should be served on the accused in such cases instead of arrest. The arrest can be made in exceptional circumstances in such cases, but the reasons have to be recorded in writing.

In the instant case, the contemnor [Chandan Kumar, Incharge of Police Station, Kanth, District Shahjahanpur] though served a notice under Section 41-A Cr.P.C. on the accused, but, he had willfully and deliberately recorded in the GD that the accused declined to accept the terms and condition of the notice.

In fact, he tried to give a communal color to the matter by stating that since the accused belongs to a Muslim community and therefore, there was an apprehension of communal riots, if he was not arrested. 

However, the Court noted that no such apprehension did exist as admittedly, the FIR was not lodged at the police station until intervention by the higher authorities. There was no entry in the GD that there was any such apprehension of a communal flare-up in the event of the accused not being arrested.

This was done to somehow arrest the accsued by bypassing Supreme Court's guidelines laid down in the case of Arnesh Kumar.

"The misleading entry in the GD was made willfully and deliberately with the sole purpose to bypass the mandate in Arnesh Kumar (supra), in order to arrest the accused. The contemnor, in the circumstances, has circumvented the mandate which was binding upon him," the Court held as it found him guilty of contempt.

The Bench of Justice Suneet Kumar and Justice Syed Waiz Mian refused to take a sympathetic view on the matter of sentencing, as it noted that the same would not sub-serve the public interest and the administration of justice.

Calling his approach as 'casual', the Court made the following observation:

"The approach of the contemnor has been casual, thereby, imposing himself over and above the law. The contemnor being a member of the disciplined force is bound to comply the mandate of law, breach thereof would entail civil and criminal consequence. The apology tendered is qualified and guarded to escape the proceedings."

Consequently, in order to secure public respect and confidence in the judicial process, the Court ordered Chandan Kumar, Incharge of Police Station, Kanth, District Shahjahanpur to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days and imposed a fine of Rs. 1000/ for committing contempt.

However, the sentence was kept in abeyance for 60 days as the counsel for the contemnor pleaded that the contemnor would like to prefer an appeal under Section 19 of Contempt of Court Act, 1971. In view thereof, the contempt petition was disposed of.

Appearances 

Counsel for Applicant :- Sudhir Mehrotra

Counsel for Opposite Party :- R.V. Pandey,Abhishek Mishra,Ashutosh Kumar Pandey,R.V. Pandey

Case title - In Re v. Shri Chandan Kumar, Investigating Officer

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 382

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