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'No Positive Material': Gujarat High Court Refuses To Exercise Contempt Jurisdiction In Case Involving False Allegations Of Police Brutality

PRIYANKA PREET
13 May 2022 4:15 PM GMT
Gujarat HC Quashes FIR for Criminal Breach of Trust, Theft and Offences Under IT Act; Finds Dispute Solved Amicably
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The Court found that the applicant and her sister were accused in 19 criminal cases.

"It is trite law that initiation of contempt proceedings is a serious step; same cannot be exercised in a routine manner. Unless there is a definite material and clear case made out, this Court would refuse to exercise contempt jurisdiction", the Gujarat High Court has held while dismissing a false application filed under Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act by the applicant through her sister (minor).

The Applicant herein had approached the Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the State authorities for the wilful and deliberate disobedience of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in DK Basu vs State of West Bengal for the alleged physical abuse endured by her sister and herself.

It was averred that the an Activa vehicle belonging to the employee of the Applicant's sister was detained by the traffic police. On the subsequent payment of the fine, the sister reached the police station to take possession of the vehicle along with the Applicant wherein the authorities delivered blows on them resulting in serious injuries. After being admitted to the hospital, the Applicant claimed that an FIR was lodged against them along with two other Accused persons for offences under Section 447, 379 and 114 of the IPC. The Applicant insisted that no theft or trespass was committed by her.

The State opposed the allegations relying on the CCTV camera footage which showed no signs of any abuse or atrocity being committed by the police authorities. Further, the vehicle was detained due to a violation of the provisions of the Prohibition Act. The sister of the Applicant also took possession of the vehicle unauthorizedly and therefore, an FIR for theft was lodged against her.

The Applicant and the other Accused persons had also accompanied her to take possession of the vehicle and hence they were arraigned as accused. It also came to light that the Applicant's sister was in the habit of raising frivolous issues before officers of administration with false allegations and was an accused person in 19 offences. Per the State, due process was followed and injury was caused to the Applicant and her sister.

While noting these facts, Justice Shastri and Justice Kumar also noted that the injuries sustained by the Applicant and her sister were not a result of police atrocity but rather a result of a collision between two bikes. It also emerged that the sister had unauthorizedly attempted to take possession of another vehicle, as well. There were 19 criminal cases pending against her for various offences under IPC and the Prohibition Act. This led the Bench to hold:

"On a conjoint reading of the assertion made by respondents in their reply affidavit coupled with the documents as well as stand taken by the authority, we are of the concerned opinion that it is not possible for this Court to arrive at a definite conclusion that alleged act which has been attributed against the officers can be construed as having occurred."

Refusing to exercise contempt jurisdiction "in the absence of any positive material", the Bench dismissed the Miscellaneous Civil Application.for this Court to arrive at a definite conclusion that alleged act which has been attributed against the officers can be construed as having occurred.

Case Title: NATHIBEN LALITBHAI VEGADA Versus STATE OF GUJARAT

Case No.: C/MCA/178/2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 163

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