21 Nov 2022 9:46 AM GMT
The Supreme Court of India issued notice to the Central Government in a plea challenging Section 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the ground that the said section discriminated against women by treating female members of a family incapable of accepting summons on behalf of the person summoned. The matter was heard by a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima...
The Supreme Court of India issued notice to the Central Government in a plea challenging Section 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the ground that the said section discriminated against women by treating female members of a family incapable of accepting summons on behalf of the person summoned. The matter was heard by a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli.
At the outset, the counsel for petitioner submitted that the provision was discriminatory against women. It may be noted that Section 64 reads as follows:
"Where the person summoned cannot, by the exercise of due diligence, be found, the summons may be served by leaving one of the duplicates for him with some adult male member of his family residing with him..."
The bench issued notice to the central government returnable for four weeks.
As per the petition, while the Civil Procedure Code, enacted in 1908, required the summons to be served on any adult member of the defendant's family regardless of their gender, the CrPC, which was enacted after 65 years of CPC was "anarchic and dogmatic". It states that–
"Cr.P.C. does not consider an adult female member of the family capable and competent to receive summons."
As per the petition, the exclusion of female family members to receive summons on behalf of the summoned person violates the women's right to equality guaranteed to them under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India, the right to know guaranteed to them under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, and right to dignity guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The petition adds that–
"In Madras High Court a petition was filed titled G. Kavitha v. Union of India, challenging the discrimination against women under section 64 Cr.P.C., wherein Ministry of Law and Justice, Union of India was impleaded as Respondent. Therein, the Ministry of Law and Justice, Union of India, supported the nonservice of summons on females to protect their privacy.The Ministry also justified non service of summons on females keeping in mind Pardanashin females."
It stated that the provision also jeopardises the victim's right to speedy trial guaranteed to him under Article 21 of the Constitution. As per the petition, apart from significantly delaying the proceedings, Section 64 CrPC creates hardships for all other relevant stakeholders as well.
Additionally, the petition states that the provision fails to account for the following situations:
A. When the person summoned resides only with the female family members or;
B. When the only person available at the time of service of summons is a female.
It stated that the possibility of such situations is particularly high in light of the stark gender gap in the workforce between the males and the females, i.e., only 22% of the Indian women are at work, which entails that the remaining 78% of women are at home.
CASE TITLE: Kush Kalra v. UoI And Anr. WP(C) No. 958/2022
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