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Janak Kumari and anr. Vs. Union of India and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 710 of 1973
Judge
Reported in11(1975)DLT215
ActsPassport Act, 1967 - Sections 10(3); Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 488(3); Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 488(3)
AppellantJanak Kumari and anr.
RespondentUnion of India and anr.
Advocates: B.J. Nayar,; S.S. Chadha and; P.N. Sethi, Advs
Cases ReferredReyappa v. Gurusanthawwa Section
Excerpt:
.....was held :thecriminal procedure code does not make failure to maintain the wife and children publishable. what is made punishable under the coddeis failure without sufficient cause to carry out the order passed by a magistrate for payment of maintenance. gurusanthawwa section 68 applies to summon to accused as well as to other persons summoned under the code. but it is not expected that simply because summons have been issued the person concerned cart bs refused to be issued a passport because he may well aopear by lawyer as the law permits. the language of section 10(3)(h) clearly supports the interpretation that before it can be applicable summons must have been issued by the court for the personal appearance of passport holder himself. obviously before an order can be passed under..........in person (or by pleader, as the case may be) before the (magistrate).(9) the magistrate has issued summons in the above form mr. nayar showed me a copy of the summons which has been issued. it must, thereforee, be accepted that a notice of summons has been issued to respondent no. 3 in an application moved by the petitioner under section 488(3) of the code. (10) the first contention of mr. nayar is that as the proceedings under section 488(3) cr. p. c. are pending, 'the case is covered by section 10(3)(e) of the act as it is proceedings in respect of offence alleged to have been committed by the holder of a passport or travel document and aie pending before the criminal court. no doubt proceedings under section 488 of code are before a criminal court, but before clause (e) can.....
Judgment:

Rajindar Sachar, J.

(1) This petition under Arh'cle 226 of the Constitution of India raises a question of the interpretation of the Passports Act, 1967 (herein called the Act).

(2) Petitioner No. 1 married respondent No. 3 somotirnes in February, 1962. After marriage the husband respondent No. 3 went toUSA. Petitioner No. 1 also went and statyed with her husband for about six months there Subsequently petitioner No. 1 came back to India and adaughter (petitioner No.2)was born to her in 1963 Respondent No. 3, husband continued to live in USA.. till 1970 when he came to India,

(3) On 15th February, 1971 petitioner No. 1 obtained order under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter to be called the code) wherein she was awarded maintenance at the rate of Rs. 500p.m being Rs. 350.00 for petitioner No. 1 and Rs 150.00 for the petitioner No. 2 This order, was confirmed by the magistrate on 23rd October, 1971.

(4) Respondent No 3 holds passport. Section 10(3)(e) and (h) of the Act amongt others provide that the passport authority may impound or cause to be impounded or revoke a passport or travel document :

(E)If proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the holder of the passport or travel document are pending before a criminal court in India ;

(H)IFIT is brought to the notice of the passport authority that a warrant or summons for the appearance, or a warrant for the arrest, of a holder, of the passport or travel document has beenissued by a court under any law for. the time being in force or if any law for the time being in force or if any order prohibiting the departure from India of the holder ofthe passport or other travel document has been made by any such court and the possport authority is satisfied that a warrant or summons has been so issued or an order has been so made.

(5) In January, 1971 the petitioner. No I reported to the passport authorities that respondent No. 3 who was in India and against whom summons had been issued by Mr. I.K. Sharma, Judicial Magistrate under section 488 was likely to go away and his passport be impounded. The Regional Passport Officer respondent No. 2, thereupon impounded his passport and refused to him further passport facilities under Section 10(3)(e) and (h) of the Act. Subsequently Respondent]No. 1, Union of India, Ministry of External Affairs and respondent No. 2, on being moved by respondent No. 3 took the view that proceedings under Section 488 Criminal Procedure Code are not proceedings in respect of an offence under Section 10(3)(e) of the Act before the Criminal Court audit was decided to restore the facilities to respondent No. 3 and the petitioner was accordingly informed by the Under Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, by its letter dated 14th March, 1972

(6) It appears that the petitioner No. 1 had also filed a criminal complaint under Section 506 Indian Penal Code in or about July, 1972 against respondent No. 3 wherein the summons had been issued by the Jujicial Magistrate, Ddhi. The passport authorities again withheld the passport of respondent No. 3 as criminal proceedings were pending in respect of an offence before the criminal court. It may bs mentioned that the criminal complaint filed by the petitioner has been dismissed by the magistrate on 10th January, .1974. But prior to that the petitioner No. 7 had filed this- writ petition in May, 1973 seeking a mandanus directing respondent No. 1 and respondent No. 2 not to issue a passport to respondent No. 3 :and to impound to same a it had been issued.

(7) It is common case that the petitioner had earlier moved an application under Section 488(3) of the Code For enforcement of the' order of maintenance awarded to her. Summons had been issued to respondent No. 3, who paid the arrears up March, 1972. It is also admitted that the arrears of maintenance only up to March, 1972 have been paid by respondent No. 3. Subsequently petitioner has been moving various applications for different period for the execution of the order of the maintenance to be awarded to her, bui it is unnecessary to refer to them, because undoubtedly the petitioner has flled an application under Section 488(3) of the Code on 22nd April, 1974. In the application it is stated that an amount of Rs. l2,500/ is due of the period form 15th March, 1972 to 14th April, 1974. A prayer was also made that summons be issued to judgment debtor, that is the husband and warrants of attachement be issued against the property of the judgment debtor for the recovery of the amount in question.

(8) Section 68 of the Code provides for the forms of summons to be issued by the Court. Form I of schedule V is a form of summons to an accused persons and is as follows :-

'WHEREASyour attendance is necessary to answer to a charge of (State shortly the offence charged) you are hereby required to appear in person (or by pleader, as the case may be) before the (Magistrate).

(9) The magistrate has issued summons in the above form Mr. Nayar showed me a copy of the summons which has been issued. It must, thereforee, be accepted that a notice of summons has been issued to respondent No. 3 in an application moved by the petitioner under Section 488(3) of the code.

(10) The first contention of Mr. Nayar is that as the proceedings under Section 488(3) Cr. P. C. are pending, 'the case is covered by Section 10(3)(e) of the Act as it is proceedings in respect of offence alleged to have been committed by the holder of a passport or travel document and aie pending before the criminal court. No doubt proceedings under Section 488 of Code are before a Criminal Court, but before clause (e) can apply it has to be established that proceedings are in respect of an offence alleged to have been comm tied. Now an offence under Section 4 o) of the Code means any act or omission,made punishable by any law for the time being in force.

(11) A similar contention to the one advanced by Mr. Nayar that as section 488(3) of the Code provides that if 'any person so ordered fails without sufficient cause to comply with the order, any such Magistrate for every breach of the order may issue a warrant for levying the amount due in manner herein before provided for levying fines and may sentence such person, for the whole or any part of each munth'd allowance remaining unpaid after the execution of the warrant, to imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or until payment if sooner made, and thereforee these proceedings are in respect of an offence was rejected in Ram Chand Saudagar Ram v. Jiwan Bai, where it was said :

'NEGLECTto maintain one's wife or minor children is not made punishable by any penal law. All that S. ('488 lays down is that the husband or the father may be directed to provide for his destitute dependants. The section provides a shorter and speedier remedy to the wife and her children, as compared to the length and somewhat complicated proceedings in a Civil Court'

Similarly in Jawnat singhji Fathehsingji Thakare v. Kesuba Harisingh Dipsinghji it was held :

THEcriminal procedure code does not make failure to maintain the wife and children publishable. What is made punishable under the Coddeis failure without sufficient cause to carry out the order passed by a Magistrate for payment of maintenance. But the fact that the legislature has made provision for enforcement of the order passed under Section 488 for levying the amountt due under it in the manner in which fines are recovered or oy directing that the person who contumaciously disregards the order shall be liable to punishment , does not covert -an application for maintenance into a charge for commission of an 'offence' within the meaning of Cl. (o) of Section 4 of the Code. Similaily the fact that the proceedings lie in the Court of a Magistrate doesn't covert those proceedings into Criminal proceedings, nor proceedings in respect of an offence'.'

(12) In Smt, Chinta Mani v. Jagat Singh it has also been held that proceedings under Section 488 Criminal Procedure Code are not proceedings for punishing an accused person for the omission of an offence because neglect or refusal, to maintain a wife or a child is not an offence and an application under this section is not a complaint under the Criminal Procedure Code.

(13) It is thus clear at even if proceedings under Section 488(3) of the Code are pending before a criminal Court Section 10(3)(h) of the Act would not be applicable, because those proceedings are not in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by respondent No 3.Section 10(3)(e) of the Act thereforee does not help the petitioner and no mandamus can be sought on the strength of this provision.

(14) Mr. Nayar next argued that Section 10(3)(h) of the Act will apply as the summons 'have been issued for the appearnee of respondent No. 3 in pursuance of an application moved by the petitioner on 22.4.1974 and thereforee the said requirement is fulfillled. Mr. Gupta learned counsel for the respondent had sought to argue that section 10(3)(h) is only applicable if a warrant or summons for appearance has been issued by a criminal court, in a criminal proceedings for the trial of an offence, and as proceedings under 488(3) are not with respect to an offence, clause (h) would not be applicable. Mr. Chadha, learned counsel for respondents I and 2 however does not support this interpretation and conceded that even summons or warrant for appearance issued by a civil court would be sufficient to attract clause (h) of the Act. In my view there is no warrant for reading in clause (h) the quali- fication tiat a summons or warrant should have been issued by criminal court and for commission of the offence. Any summons issued for the personal appearance of a passport holder whether by civil court or criminal court would by covered by clause (h). It was also sought to be argued by Mr. Gupta that Section 488 does not contemplate issue of any summons and thereforee Clause (h) would not apply. I do not agree. Section 68 of the Code provides for the issues of summons. Service as mentioned in Section 48(86) and summons referred in Section 68 of the Code are the same, vide Reyappa v. Gurusanthawwa Section 68 applies to summon to accused as well as to other persons summoned under the code. See Gurnam Singh v. mt. Datto It must however be emphasised that summons that is contemplated by clause (h) is for the personal appearance of the person concerned whose passport is sought to be impounded. It does not cover a case where personal appearance is not desired by the court. In the normal a person may be involved in various civil litigations. But it is not expected that simply because summons have been issued the person concerned cart bs refused to be issued a passport because he may well aopear by lawyer as the law permits. The whole emphasis in 10(3)(h) is that if a court has issued a summons for the personal appearance of a passport holder he should not be allowed to defy that summons by proceeding abroad and thus interfere and hold 'up the proceedings before the court. The language of Section 10(3)(h) clearly supports the interpretation that before it can be applicable summons must have been issued by the court for the personal appearance of passport holder himself.

(15) Mr. Gupta, however, contended that from I under Section 68 of the Code provides that the concerned person may appear 'in person (or pleader as the case may be) before the Magistrate' and this shows the summons issued are not for the personal appearance of respondent No 3 and thereforee Section 10(3)(h) would not apply. I cannot agree. In this connection reference may be made to Section 488(6) of the Code which provide that all evidence under this chapter shall be taken in the presence of the husband or father as the case may be, or when his personal attendance is dispensed with, in the presence of his pleader (emphasis given under Section 488(3) of the Code be the petitioner on 22.4.1974 sunmons under Section 68 have been issued. Section 488(3) provides that if any person so ordered falls without sufficient cause to comply with the order i.e. with the order of maintenance any such Magistrate may pass the orders provided therein. Obviously before an order can be passed under Section 488(3) the Magistrate has to be satisfied that respondent No. 3 has failed without sufficient cause to comply with the order. This finding necessarily can be given only after some evidence has been given because it is apparent that without any evidence being taken the magistrate cannot be satisfied one way or the other. In the present case on the application filed by the petitioner no evidence has as yet been taken. There is no order of the magistrate dispensing with the personal appearance of respondent No. 3. So long thereforee, there is no order dispensing with personal appearance, the summons which has been issued must be taken to be for the personal appearance of respondent No. 3 and this would attract the provision of Section 10(3)(h) of the Act. The previous order of respondent No. 1, 2 refusing to impound the passport was on the basis that the mere pen- - dency of proceedings under Section 488 of the Code does not attract Section 10(3)(h) because these proceedings are not in respect of offence alleged to have been committed. I have already given my finding on the applieability of Section 10(3)(h). But so far as the applicability of Section 10(3)(h), the matter has to be approached from an angle as mentioned by me. The respondent No. 1,2, have, however, had no opportunity to examine the matter in this light because the application of 22nd April, 1974, was filed during the pendency of the writ petition, I think in the circumstances it would be proper if I direct the respondent No. I and 2 to consider the matter afresh and to pass appropriate order in accordance with law and merits and; keeping in view the observations made in this judgment. Mr. Chadha. learned counsel for the department his fairly conceded that after these fresh facts are brought to the notice of the passport authorities, appropriate order in accordance with law will be passed. In these circurristances it is naturally for the petioner to move respondents 1 and 2 with these fresh facts on the basis of which it is claimed that the passport of respondent No. 3 be im. pounded. Such an application if it is to be made must be made within two weeks from to day. Of course it will be open to respondent No. 3 to urge any ground in his favor and to ask for getting the passport - released. Respondent No. 1,2 will thereafter pass an-appropriate order 'under the Act, and in the light of this judgment. 15. With these remarks the writ petition is disposed of. There will be no order as to costs.


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