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Madan Lal Vs. the Superintendent Tehar Jail and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Reported in1968CriLJ821
AppellantMadan Lal
RespondentThe Superintendent Tehar Jail and ors.
Cases ReferredEarn Kisbi Anal v. Delhi Administration Delhi
Excerpt: be the best friend of bhagwan dass shastri, who has been described to be the president of delhi police non-gazette karamohari sangh, has averred that the said bhagwan dass is being kept in illegal custody by respondents nos. it is apparent, thereforee, that shri mehrtora had gone to the central jail, new delhi, nto for trying shri anal but, merely for granting further lei and it is also pointed out that at that point of time, no case was pending against shri anal with the learned magistrate and even first information report bad nto been forwarded to the learned magistrate. chib, magistrate 1st class, but on this occasion too, no case diary entry was produced and like his predecessor, shri chib also went to the central jail to make the necessary order of remand. suffice it to be the best friend of bhagwan dass shastri, who has been described to be the president of delhi police non-gazette karamohari sangh, has averred that the said bhagwan dass is being kept in illegal custody by respondents nos. 1 to 5. rule was issued by us on 2.5.1967 for 4.5.1967 and we have before us affidavits in reply sworn by shri b.b. mishra, inspector-general of police, delhi and by shri e.n. tondon, district magistrate, delhi.3. it may here be stated that this petition is an off shoto of the happenings which followed the unfortunate agitation inspired by the organization described as the delhi non-gazette police raramchari sangh. madan lal petitioner describes himself to be one of the workers of this sangh and has in his petition narrated the history of the movement which.....

1. Madan Lal has approached this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India complaining against the arrest and detention of Bhagwan Dass Shastri and praying that the said Bhagwan Dass Shastri be directed to be produced in this Court and be dealt with in accordance with law. His detention is stated, to be illegal and improper. It may be pointed out that originally Madan Lai had complained against the arrest and detention of 1,057 persons mentioned in Part. 1 of the petition and prayed for their production in this Court on the allegation that they had been illegally arrested and were being illegally and improperly detained. When this original petition came up for preliminary hearing before us at the mtoion stage, we pointed out to the petitioner that full details of the circumstances in which each individual detainee had been arrested and dealt with should be separately' specified and that the manner in which one petition had been filed, tended to create confusion. When confronted with this Situation, the petitioner decided to restrict his petition to one person, namely, Bhagwan Dass Shastri at Seriall No. 1015. We accordingly allowed the petitioner to amend his petition as desired, with the result that now the present petition is only concerned with the detention of Bhagwan Dass.

2. Madan Lal, claiming to be the best friend of Bhagwan Dass Shastri, who has been described to be the President of Delhi Police Non-gazette Karamohari Sangh, has averred that the said Bhagwan Dass is being kept in illegal custody by Respondents Nos. 1 to 5. Rule was issued by us on 2.5.1967 for 4.5.1967 and we have before us affidavits in reply sworn by Shri B.B. Mishra, Inspector-General of Police, Delhi and by Shri E.N. Tondon, District Magistrate, Delhi.

3. It may here be stated that this petition is an off shoto of the happenings which followed the unfortunate agitation inspired by the organization described as the Delhi Non-gazette Police Raramchari Sangh. Madan Lal petitioner describes himself to be one of the workers of this Sangh and has in his petition narrated the history of the movement which led to the agitation and culminated in the unprecedented happening on 15.4.1967 outside the residence of Shri Y.B. Chavan, Minister for Home Affairs, Government of India. On that day, a large number of the members of Delhi Police force were arrested ostensibly on the ground of violation of the order promulgated under Section 144. Criminal P.C and also for committing offences punishable under Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1982, Sections 188, 853 and 147, Penal Code, Section 3 of the Police Force (Refraction of Eights) Act, Section 3 of the Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act, 1922, Section 7 of the Essential Services Maintenance Ordinance, 1942 and Section 29 of the Police Act. The short question which falls for determination in the present proceedings is whether Bhagwan Dass is being illegally or improperly detained at the present moment.

According to the petitioner's learned counsel, on 15.4.1967, the order under Section 144, Criminal P.C. had nto been lawfully promulgated, with the result that the arrest of Bhagwan Dass was illegal. At the time of preliminary hearing, ii was argued before us that Bhagwan Dass had nto been produced before any Magistrate and no remand order at all had been made in respect of his detention. It was on this submission that we issued the rule. After seeing the return, however, the learned Counsel has submitted that the order of remand D/- 15.4.1967 as also the order of remand D/- 29.4.1967 are illegal and contrary to law because these orders have been made by the Magistrate within the precincts of Tihar Jail and nto in his Court-room. It is further submitted that no Ziminies were made available to the learned Magistrate, with the result that the orders of remand must be held to be invalid and ineffective.

In support of his submissions, Shri Lekhi has relied on a judgment of the Supreme Court in Harla v. State of Rajasthan : [1952]1SCR110 , in which while dealing with Section 5 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, the Court pointed out the difference between Acts and Orders in respect of publication. Whereas Acts of the Parliament according to the Supreme Court are publicly enacted and they receive wide publicity in papers etc., the Proclamations and Orders of Appropriate Authorities require promulgation and publication, though the mode of publication can vary. It was added that there must always be some sort of seasonable publication. We are wholly unable to understand how this judgment, which was dealing on appeal with the conviction of the appellant there, under the Jaipur Opium Act, can have any relevancy for the purpose of the promulgation of an order under Section 144, Criminal P.C., in the present case. In the reported decision, it appears that the law under which the appellant there was convicted; had nto been properly promulgated and published, with the result that he was considered to be unaware of its existence. It was considered contrary to the principles of natural justice to permit the subjects of a State to be punished or penalized by laws of which they had no knowledge and of which they could nto, even with the exercise of reasonable diligence, have acquired any knowledge.

The counsel has next relied on Section 852 of the Criminal P.C. which, occurring, as it does, in Chapter XXIV dealing with general provisions as to enquiries and trials, lays down that the place in which any Criminal Court is held for the purpose of enquiring into or trying any offence, shall be deemed an open Court, to which the public generally may have access, so far as the same can conveniently contain them, Under a proviso, however the presiding Judge or Magistrate is empowered, if he thinks fit, to order at any stage of any enquiry into, or trial of any particular case that the public generally, or any particular parson, shall nto have access to or be or remain, in the room or building used by the Court. It is again nto understood how this Section can help the petitioner because there is no question so far of any enquiry or trial being held in the present case.

Reference hag next been made to Rule 5 Chapter I-A. Vol. III, High Court Rules and Orders. This chapter again provides for general directions in regard to practice in the trial of criminal cases. Rule 5 merely serves to remind the Courts about the provisions of Section 352, Criminal P.C and it adds that when the presiding Magistrate, for any reason excludes the public by holding his Court in a building such as jail to which the public is nto admitted, he should obtain the sanction of Government thereto through the District Magistrate and should inform the High Court that sanction has been accorded. This provision is as unhelpful to the petitioner as was Section 352 of the Code. As a last resort, reliance has been placed on a recent judgment of my Lord the Chief Justice in Earn Kisbi Anal v. Delhi Administration Delhi 1967 Delhi L.T. 126. The head ntoe of this decision reads as under:

Section 167(1) of the Criminal P.C. requires that the remand report submitted by the police must be accompanied by copies of police diaries. Without it the Magistrate cannto entertain application for remand. Under Sub-section (2) of the section the maximum period for remand can be granted is 15dayB and if the investigation is nto completed by the end of the said period of 15 days and if the investigating officer thinks that there was sufficient evidence or reasonable ground for proceeding against an accused, he has to forward the accused under custody to a Magistrate who can take cognizance of the offence. Thereafter further remand can be granted under Section 344 of the Code, where the provisions relating to the grant of remand are nto complied with the detention of the accused was nto legal even if his arrest was in accordance with law.

In the reported case, Ram Rishi Anal was arrested on November, 7, 1966 along with several tohers and taken to Delhi Cantonment Police Station. Under the direction from the District Magistrate, Shri Panna Nand Gupta, Magistrate 1st Class, Delhi, proceeded to Delhi Cantonment Police Station, where Shri Anal was produced before him. The Magistrate did nto disclose in his report to this Court that along with the remand report, the police had produced before him any copy of the entries in the police diary in support of their prayer for remand. It was on the toher hand stated by the learned Magistrate in his report to this Court, that according to the practice prevailing in Delhi, when an under-trial prisoner is produced by the prosecuting agency, the order granting remand is passed on the application made by the police and the same is handed back to the police. This practice was held by the learned Chief Justice to have dangerous implications, and we respectfully agree with him. On 20.11.1966, Shri Anal was again remanded to judicial custody, but this time by Shri R.N. Mehrtora, Magistrate 1st Class Delhi. On this occasion also it was the learned Magistrate who went to the Central Jail, Tihar, where the petitioner was lodged and made the necessary order of remand. In justification of this course, a ntoification of the Lieutenant Governor dated 9.11.1966 was produced in that case. This ntoification accorded approval for bolding the Court in Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi, for trying cases under Section 183, Penal Code against persons arrested in connection with the demonstration against cow slaughter.

It is pointed out in the judgment by the learned Chief Justice that Shri Mehrtora was nto the trial Magistrate in that case and it was Shri Anand who was the Magistrate at New Delhi for the area where the incident in question had taken place. It is apparent, thereforee, that Shri Mehrtora had gone to the Central Jail, New Delhi, nto for trying Shri Anal but, merely for granting further lei and It is also pointed out that at that point of time, no case was pending against Shri Anal with the learned Magistrate and even first information report bad nto been forwarded to the learned Magistrate. On the premises Shri Mehrtora was held to be wholly unjustified in going to the Central Jail for exercising his judicial functions. The matter does nto stop here. We find that Shri Mehrtora had ordered further remand sought by the police without even caring to know the evidence appearing against Shri Anal, and indeed the learned Chief Justice rightly described the action of Shri Mehrtora to be mechanical. Shri M.M. Aggarwal, Magistrate 1st Class, further extended Shri Anal's remand on 4.12.1966, 16.12.1966 and 30.12.1966, but on none of those occasions had the police oared to submit either the police diary or copy of any entry therein along with the remand report. They merely asked the learned Magistrate to extend the petitioner's remand and the learned Magistrate obliged them by complying with this request. On none of those occasions was the petitioner produced before Shri Aggarwal either in this Court or in his house. Of course, Shri Aggarwal did state that be used to go on different occasions to the Central Jail for making the necessary orders prayed for. On 18.1.1967, Shri Anal's remand was again extended and this time by Shri V.K. Chib, Magistrate 1st Class, but on this occasion too, no case diary entry was produced and like his predecessor, Shri Chib also went to the Central Jail to make the necessary order of remand. It was in these circumstances that in the reported case the detention of Shri Anal was held to be unauthorized and he was ordered to be released.

4. We are unable to hold on the authority of the decision in the case of Ram Rishi Anal that the present detention of Bhagwan Dass is either illegal or improper. We do nto consider it necessary to reproduce in detail, the lengthy affidavit of Shri B.B. Mishra, Inspector General of Police, Delhi, giving the history and the origin of the agitation by the Non-gazette Police Officers of Delhi or of the manner in which Section 144, Criminal P.C. was promulgated or the said order was defied by the various persons for the purpose of commenting thereon, because this matter may have to be the subject of adjudication at the trial of Bhagwan Dass or of toher persona who were arrested in this connection. Suffice it to say that the order of Shri Jagmohan, Magistrate 1st Class, dated 29.4.1967, whereby the accused persons, including Bhagwan Dass were remanded to judicial custody till 10.5.1967, seems to us to be perfectly legal order on the face of it and ntohing has been pointed out showing its infirmity so as to induce us to hold Bhagwan Daas's detention to be illegal or improper.

It is true that Shri Jagmohan made this order In Tihar Jail, but this was done pursuant to a prayer made by the police as per application dated 29.4.1967. In that application, it was submitted that 678 persons had been arrested and were lodged in judicial Hawalat. In addition to them, one accused person had been admitted in Willington Hospital. Investigation had yet to be completed and the remand expire on that day. Adjournment was sought in jail because the number of the accused was very large and their escort from jail and transport was difficult. This application was produced before the learned Magistrate, Shri Jagmohan in his Court and he considered it desirable, in view of lack of requisite transport and security guards, to go to Tihar Jail himself for the purpose of remand of the accused mentioned in the list attached. We have before us material showing that in the attached list, the name of Bhagwan Dass occurs at Seriall No. 98. It is in these circumstances that the learned Magistrate went to Tihar Jail and passed the necessary remand order. Our attention has nto been drawn to any provision of law nor to any principle or precedent which would invalidate the order of remand made in circumstances like the present. It is true that normally speaking an accused person is expected to be taken to the Court for the purpose of securing his remand to police or judicial custody. This indeed would appear to be so from Rules 10 and 11 of Chap. 11-B, Vol. III, High Court Rules & Orders. These rules read as under:

10. Procedure when a remand for more than 16 days is required for completion of the case.-If the limit of 15 days has elapsed, and there is still need for further investigation by the Police, the Procure to be adopted is that laid down in Section 344, Criminal P.C. The case is brought on to the Magistrate's file and the accused, if detention is necessary, will remain in magisterial custody. The case may be postponed or adjourned from time to time for periods of nto more than 15 days each and as each adjournment expires the accused must be produced before the Magistrate] and the order of adjournment must show good reasons for making the order.

11. District and Sub-Divisional Magistrate should take measures to exercise extract supervision over the action of all Magistrates subordinate to them, in regard to the granting of remands under Section 167 of the Criminal P.C. and, as there officers receive the reports made under the last clause of that section; they possess the means for exercising the supervision here required of them without any difficulty. The District and Sub-Divisional Magistrates should further arrange 'that the Dtoy Magistrate should attend office, at specified hours on public holidays, for disposal of such applications for remand as may be placed before him.'

The remand is, in our view, nto a mere mechanical process, but demands application of judicial mind on the part of the Magistrate. An accused person is entitled to be represented by a counsel and for this purpose, he is entitled to communicate with his relations and friends. The distinction between remand to police custody and an ordinary remand to the Magistrate's lockup or judicial custody does nto require any elaborate comment. After the expiry of the first 15 days of remand to police custody, the proceedings for remand are governed by Section 844 of the Code and there is greater reason for the production of the accused in Court being the normal course. But taking of the accused to the Court premises, when the investigation is nto complete and the enquiry of trial is nto to commence, is nto an essential prerequisite for the validity o( the remand order it is clearly nto a jurisdictional element in the sense that a remand order made at a place toher than the Court house must, for that reason alone, be held to be without jurisdiction or invalid, so as to render the detention illegal. The practice of taking the accused to the Court-house seems to us to be the product of the doctrine that judicial wing in our system of governance has no secret archives and there are no star chambers here and that our judicial process functions under the public) gaze. Respect for individual's liberty and prevalence of rule of law lie at the roto of this practice. The instructions contained in the High Court Rules & Orders, Vol. III Chapter 11-B. recognize that the police are too often desirous of retaining the accused in their custody for longer period than 24 hours merely in the hope of extracting some admission of guilt from him, which is contrary to the general spirit and also to some septic provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Magistrates have been cautioned to be careful nto to facilitate this object by too great readiness in granting remands. It is for this reason that strict safeguards are insisted upon in the matter of remand and it is the sacred and solemn responsibility, as also the legal obligation of the Magistrates, to see that the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and the directions contained in the High Court Rules & Orders are neither misused nor abused. It is, thereforee, for them to exercise their judicial discretion in each case in determining whether or nto it would be desirable to go to the jail premises for the purpose of making remand orders. Though the mere fact of making a remand order at a place toher than the Courthouse does nto by itself invalidate the order in a given case, the fact of remand having been thus obtained may, coupled with toher circumstances, expose the remand order to a serious challenge rendering the detention illegal or improper. In such eases, the Court has a duty to properly scrutinize the attending circumstances to satisfy itself that the accused has nto been prejudiced by the improper conduct on the part of the investigating agency.

5. In the case in hand, we are only concerned with the legality or propriety of Bhagwan Dass's detention at the present moment and any alleged legal infirmity in the arrest or the earlier remand order, seems to us to be nto very material. It is well settled that in dealing with a petition for habeas corpus, the Court has to see the legality of the detention on the date of bearing, or on the date of the application, if ntohing more has intervened between the two dates. The order of remand now operative in the case in hand is that of 29.4.1967 which, as observed earlier, seems to us to be lawful and against which no infirmity has been made out. All that is said is that it was made in the precincts of Tihar Jail and nto in the Court house. Now, it is nto the petitioner's case that he has nto been afforded a proper opportunity of communicating; with his relatives or friends or that the remand order has been made in the Jail precincts for the purpose of depriving him of his right to properly represent his case. On the toher hand, the respondents have given reasonable grounds justifying the visit of the Magistrate, having jurisdiction, to the jail premises for making the remand order. It may be pointed out that in this case the allegation is that the police personal, in an organized manner, openly defied law and there was an open incitement to indiscipline to the police personnel: the agitation carried on by them, if the allegations are correct, must have tended to paralyze the law and order situation in Delhi. We, however, express no considered opinion or these allegations nor on the affidavits in reply to the effect that Bhagwan Dass was the active leader of those who advocated indiscipline and was dismissed from the post of Head Constable' and that Madan Lai petitioner is a dismissed Constable holding no office in the Sangh. These allegations may have to be adverted to or examined at the trial.

Considering the whole matter in its peculiar, background, we are satisfied that the making of; the impugned order in Tihar Jail is nto tainted with any serious legal infirmity and Bhagwan Dass's detention cannto be considered to be either illegal or improper. The learned Magistrate examined the Ziminies and toher documents and directed the investigation to be expedited, which, conclusively demolishes the petitioner's challenge.

6. Before closing, we may point out that at the time of preliminary hearing, we had directed the production of Bhagwan Dass in Court, but as he was nto in a fit state of health, he could nto be brought here. No point has. however, been sought to be made on behalf of the petitioner on this ground.

7. As a result of the foregoing discussion, this petition fails and is dismissed.

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