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Lal Behari Tewari Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Miscellaneous (Main) Appeal No. 182 of 1976
Judge
Reported in12(1976)DLT302
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 108
AppellantLal Behari Tewari
RespondentThe State
Advocates: D.R. Sethi, Adv
Cases Referred(see Madha Limaye v. S.D.M. Monghyr). Thus
Excerpt:
the case examined the permissibility of detention without trial under sections 108, 111 & 116 of the criminal procedure code, 1973 - it was held that the magistrate could not keep a person in detention, without trial, under the provision except in the manner prescribed therein. - - 000.00 with one surety/two sureties in the like amount for keeping peace/good behavior until the conclusion of the inquiry and that he shall be detained in judicial custody until such bonds are executed. ink bywriting '000.00 'again, the petitioner could not know whether one surety or two sureties were wanted and whether the bond was with respect to keeping peace or good behavior......into the matter as to why this delay has taken place in order to avoid any such repetition.(4) the record shows that the petitioner was arrested on october 25, 1975. he was produced in custody before mr. rajinder singh, sub-divisional magistrate. the kalendra shows that only three persons are cited as witnesses and all of them are police officials. the record does not show the order passed on october 26, 1975. but on the record is a statement by a.s.i. ram lal which seems to have been recorded under section 116(3) of the code. the quality of the paper on which this statement is recorded and its size shows that it must not have been recorded in the court. what is more shocking is that it does not bear the signature of the sub-divisional magistrate. this fact fortifies the allegations made.....
Judgment:

Vyas Dev Misra, J.

(1) This is a petition from jail challenging the petitioner's detention under section 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. On the last date of hearing the petitioner was not produced in Court and the Superintendent of Jail sent a report stating that the petioner had been 'released on bail on May 15, 1976.' Since the petitioner had been 'released on bail on May 15, 1976.' Since the petitioner had challenged the proceedings and his continued detention, I summoned the records of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate concerned to find out the true state of affairs. The records have now been received. The order of May 15, 1976 shows that the petitioner was discharged since the petitioner had been in custody for more than six months and under section 116(6) of the Code of Criminal Procedure the proceedings stood terminated automatically.

(2) Normally I would not have passed the present order because the petitioner has since been discharged. However, on going through the record and the petition, I have decided to write a detailed order.

(3) I also find that the Superintendent of Jail was not prompt in forwarding the petition and there seems to be some delay by the Registry and I have decided to look into the matter as to why this delay has taken place in order to avoid any such repetition.

(4) The record shows that the petitioner was arrested on October 25, 1975. He was produced in custody before Mr. Rajinder Singh, Sub-Divisional Magistrate. The Kalendra shows that only three persons are cited as witnesses and all of them are police officials. The record does not show the order passed on October 26, 1975. But on the record is a statement by A.S.I. Ram Lal which seems to have been recorded under section 116(3) of the Code. The quality of the paper on which this statement is recorded and its size shows that it must not have been recorded in the Court. What is more shocking is that it does not bear the signature of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. This fact fortifies the allegations made by the petitioner that he was never produced before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate and some orders as a matter of routine, were passed against him.

(5) Now though the statement of the Assistant Sub-Inspector is dated October 26, 1975 which, in other words, means that the inquiry was started under section 116 of Code on that date, the order demanding security under section 116(3) was passed on October 28, 1975. Notice under section 111, which is cyclo-styled and filed up in the handwriting of a person other than the Sub-Divisional Magistrate as is evident from the order, bears the date 'October 29, 1975'. Now, the first thing which a Magistrate is required to do is to give a notice under section 111 setting out the substance of information received by him. In the absence of such a notice the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to proceed (see Madha Limaye v. S.D.M. Monghyr). Thus in the instant case the Magistrate started the proceedings on October 28, 1976 without giving any notice under section 111 to the petitioner which obviously could not be done. Under what provision of law the petitioner was kept in detention from October 26 to 29, 1975 is anyone's guess since there is no order on the record. Moreover, I find that the said notice does not contain the substance of information received by the Magistrate and all the subsequent proceedings held by him are without jurisdiction and liable to be quashed.

(6) The mechanical way in which the notice was signed and proceedings held is writ large on the notice and the record of this case. I find that in the order passed (in cyclostyled form) under section 116(3), para No. 2 relating to the amount of the bond reads thus :

'I,therefore, order the respondents) u/s 116(3) Cr. P.C. to execute a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 000.00 with one surety/two sureties in the like amount for keeping peace/good behavior until the conclusion of the inquiry and that he shall be detained in judicial custody until such bonds are executed.'

How could the Sub-Divisional Magistrate ask for a bond in the sum of Rs. 5000.00 with two sureties for appearance in para No. 3 of this order when he had asked for a bond of only Rs. 000.00 for the interim period. It may be noticed that the cyclostyled form leaves the space after the words 'Rs.' blank and it has been filed in. ink bywriting '000.00 '. Again, the petitioner could not know whether one surety or two sureties were wanted and whether the bond was with respect to keeping peace or good behavior. More I look into the facts of this case more. I am convinced that the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate had no respect for law nor he cared to apply his mind to the facts of the case. He seems to have been working as a rubber-stamp to keep the petitioner under detention come what may. I have pointed out in many cases that the provisions of section 108 are not meant for keeping persons under detention without trial for which separate and adequate provisions exist and those provisions can be utilised to keep persons in detention.

(7) The record shows that the petitioner did produce two sureties for Rs. 5.000.00 each but these were rejected on the flimsy ground that the sureties were 'merely neighbour' and could not exercise any control on the petitioner.

(8) The order sheet from October 29, 1975 to April 30, 1976 shows that the petitioner was present in custody on all the dates of hearing but the Magistrate did not care to proceed with the case. Mechanical orders directing the case to come up on the next date of hearing were passed. Till January 5,1976 even the prosecution evidence was not summoned and the laconic and uniform orders read thus :

'RESPONDENTis present in custody. Case to come up on 19.1.1976.'

For the first time on January 19, 1976 an order was passed to call for the prosecution evidence. But that was repeated after every fortnight without any effort to secure the attendance of the three police officials who were the only witnesses. The result was that by April 24,1976 the petitioner had been kept under detention for a period of six months pending enquiry under section 116. Proviso to sub-section (6) of section 116 lays down that the enquiry 'shall stand terminated on the expiry of a period of six months of such detention.' The petitioner was thus entitled to be released forthwith. But the learned Magistrate was to take three weeks and two hearings dated April 30, 1976 and May 15, 1976 more before ordering release of the petitioner. Obviously the petitioner was kept under wrongful confinement. It is such actions of the executive Magistrates which bring the courts into disrepute. It is high time that the Sub-Divisional Magistrates realise their duties as laid down by law and try to do justice to the citizens and not become a handmaiden of the police.

(9) I find that the application of the petitioner addressed to this Court is dated May 1, 1976. But the Superintendent of Jail did not forwarded it promptly as is evident from his endorsement dated May 4, 1976. However, for the first time the Registry came to deal with this matter on May 11, 1976. Whether the Superintendent of Jail did not dispatch the petition even on May 4, 1976 or this Registry delayed putting up of this petition before the Court cannot be found out unless every one concerned is asked to explain why the application was withheld from the Court for so long.

(10) Superintendent of Jail is directed to explain as to why he withheld the application at least from May 1, 1976 .to May 4, 1976 from this Court, as is evident from his endorsement. He should also inform the Court the date on which he dispatched the application.

(11) The Registry to inform the Court the date on which this application was received any why the matter was not dealt with before May 11, 1976. The case is adjourned to July 21, 1976.


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