16 July 2022 11:30 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has held that as per Section 160 CrPC, for the purposes of investigation, a police officer cannot summon a person situated outside the territorial limits of his police station or at most the territorial limits of his adjoining police station.The provision empowers Police officers to require attendance of witnesses.A single judge bench comprising of Justice Poonam A....
The Delhi High Court has held that as per Section 160 CrPC, for the purposes of investigation, a police officer cannot summon a person situated outside the territorial limits of his police station or at most the territorial limits of his adjoining police station.
The provision empowers Police officers to require attendance of witnesses.
A single judge bench comprising of Justice Poonam A. Bamba observed,
"From the plain reading of the sub-section (1) of Section 160 Cr.P.C, it is evident that for the purposes of investigation, a police officer can require attendance of a person situated within the limits of his own police station or that of the adjoining police station and not someone who is situated beyond the said territorial limits."
Briefly, the facts of the case are that the petitioner, an investigative journalist, published a report on adoption of children orphaned during COVID-19 for a price and also published an article titled 'The Pandemic's ruthless toll – Covid orphans up for sale' on the same issue. Following this, the Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Pulwama forwarded a written complaint for registration of a formal case in the matter. Based on the said complaint, the Office of the Sub- Divisional Police Officer, Pampore issued a summon under Section 91 of CrPC to the News Director, India Today Group directing the News Director to provide an original/unedited footage of the video and complete details of the sting operation team for recording of their statements. The petitioners then received a notice under Section 91 CrPC from Sub-Divisional Police Office, Pampore summoning them to attend the office of Sub-Divisional Police Officer Pampore, within 2 days.
The petitioners submitted that notice under Section 160(1) of the Cr.P.C can only be issued to a person who is situated within the local jurisdiction of that police station or is within the adjoining police station. Therefore, a police station in Jammu and Kashmir could not have issued notice to the petitioners who are residents of Delhi and are outside the jurisdiction of the their office.
Per contra, the respondents submitted that nothing stops the investigating agency to require the attendance of a person acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.
At the outset, the High Court referred to the case of Ravinder Singh V. State and Anr., in which a coordinate bench had held that:
"Section 160 Cr.P.C can be issued by an Investigating Officer or the police person concerned to a person residing within his own jurisdiction and at the most in the adjoining police station surrounding that police station. There may be 10 police stations adjoining that police station. The Section does not need help of dictionaries or other judgments for understanding its meaning when there is no ambiguity and it is so clearly written either within his own police station or in the adjoining police station. I, therefore, consider that summons issued to the petitioner under Section 160 Cr.P. C in Delhi. which is not adjoining the police station of Rewari is without jurisdiction and the notice is. therefore. quashed."
The court also cited the judgement of Directorate of Enforcement & Ors. v. State of West Bengal & Ors., wherein the court held that–
"By a mere reading of the said provisions, it becomes apparent that the power of the Police Officer to require the attendance of a witness is circumscribed by the words "within the limits of his own or any adjoining station". It is to be noted that if the said power was in the nature of pan-India power, as has been sought to be argued by the respondents, there was no reason for the Legislature to use the terminology quoted above. To the contrary, if the same was the intention of the Legislature, the Legislature would have clearly stated so and bestowed unlimited jurisdiction on the Police Officer by using terminology in the nature of "anywhere in the country" or even "anywhere within the State". The clear departure of the Legislature and the use of the terms "within the limits of his own or any adjoining station"points towards a legislative intention to limit the jurisdiction in this regard..."
In view of the aforesaid, the court held that the petitioners, being residents of Delhi and having their office addresses of Noida, U.P, could not have been summoned under Section 160 Cr.P.C by Sub Divisional Police Officer, Pampore, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The court further stated that the summons issued to them were without jurisdiction and were therefore, quashed. Additionally, the court stated that this shall not come in the way of the investigating agency to examine the petitioners as per law at Delhi, if so required.
CASE TITLE: JAMSHED ADIL KHAN & ANR. v. UNION TERRITORY OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR AND ANR.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 662
Click Here To Read Order