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Jharkhand HC Hauls Up Bihar & Jharkhand Sr. Police Officers For Arresting Public Prosecutor Sans Following Due Procedure

Sparsh Upadhyay
11 Nov 2021 4:00 AM GMT
Jharkhand HC Hauls Up Bihar & Jharkhand Sr. Police Officers For Arresting Public Prosecutor Sans Following Due Procedure
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The Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday called into question the action of the senior police officers of Bihar and Jharkhand state in a matter concerning the arrest of a Ranchi-based lawyer on account of their failure to follow the due process of law.Essentially, the Bench of Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad and Justice Ananda Sen was hearing a habeas corpus writ petition filed by the wife of...

The Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday called into question the action of the senior police officers of Bihar and Jharkhand state in a matter concerning the arrest of a Ranchi-based lawyer on account of their failure to follow the due process of law.

Essentially, the Bench of Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad and Justice Ananda Sen was hearing a habeas corpus writ petition filed by the wife of an Additional Public Prosecutor,  seeking to know the whereabouts of her husband alleging that he had been detained by the Bihar police.

Importantly, after the filing of the writ petition and when the copy of the same had been served upon the counsel appearing for Bihar and Jharkhand states, the husband of the writ petitioner was released from the police custody.

However, stressing that certain issues are of paramount consideration for the Court pertaining to the process having not been followed before arresting the APP, the Court proceeded with the hearing of the case.

The Bench hauled up the Additional Superintendent of Police, Danapur, and Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ranchi and sought their responses regarding various queries of the Court.

Facts in brief 

Additional Public Prosecutor, Rajneesh Vardhan was allegedly picked up by Patna police on November 7 from his residence for his alleged involvement in connection with a case registered under Sections 341, 406, 420, 506 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code.

The Counsels appearing for the states of Bihar and Jharkhand submitted before the Court that the husband of the writ petitioner had been named in an F.I.R. and his anticipatory bail application had been rejected and thereafter he was arrested.

Appearing before the Court, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ranchi told the Court that the husband of the writ petitioner had not been produced before any local Magistrate for transit remand.

Importantly, the Additional Superintendent of Police, Danapur (Patna, Bihar) submitted before the Court that immediately after realizing that the punishment stipulated against the alleged offence committed by him, was less than 07 years, he was released by serving him a notice under Section 41(A) of the Cr.P.C.

Against this backdrop, the Court, prima facie found that the procedure as stipulated in the Code of Criminal Procedure which is mandated to be followed before arresting a person had not been followed in the instant case.

Court's observations 

The Court, at the outset, stressed that Article 21 of the Constitution of India envisages personal liberty, which can only be taken away by following due procedure and Article 22(2) of the Constitution of India provides the process to be followed after arrest.

Further, the Court directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ranchi and the Additional Superintendent of Police, Danapur/Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna to answer certain questions including the following:-

  • Whether serving of notice under Section 41(A) of the Cr.P.C. upon the husband of the writ petitioner after his arrest can be said to be the correct mandate as stipulated under Section 41(A) of the Cr.P.C.?
  • Whether notice under Section 41(A) of the Cr.P.C. can be given after arrest of the person concerned?
  • Whether the husband of the writ petitioner was produced by Sukhdeo Nagar Police Station (Ranchi) before any local Magistrate having its jurisdiction at Ranchi for transit remand for allowing him to accompany with the Danapur Police officials?
  • Whether the husband of the writ petitioner was produced before the local Magistrate having the jurisdiction over the Danapur Police Station in the district of Patna after his arrest as mandated under Article 22(2) of the Constitution of India?

The matter has now been posted for further hearing on November 25, 2021.

Case title - Sweta Priyadarshni v. The State of Jharkhand & Others

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