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State (Delhi Administration) Vs. Ram Bulchand Lalwani - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Miscellaneous Appeal No. 327 of 1980
Reported in18(1980)DLT399
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 482
AppellantState (Delhi Administration)
RespondentRam Bulchand Lalwani
Advocates: D.C. Mathur and; R.L. Panjwani, Advs
Cases ReferredThe State of UttarPradesh v. Mohammad Naim A.I.
.....of remarks - sections 437 and 482 of criminal procedure code, 1973 - remarks passed while deciding bail application - magistrate entitled to criticise action of prosecuting agency only in so far as necessary for deciding bail application - he cannot go into detail of evidence and merits of case to pass expunged remarks. - - this court has such jurisdiction as has been clearly enunciated by the supreme court in the following passage :moreover, mere expression by the high court of its displeasure at the offending observations of a subordinate court cannot even be regarded as amounting to 'judicial correction' of the error committed by such court for, despite the disapprobation, the remarks continue to be there on the record of the subordinate court. that is precisely what ought to be..........and v. p. sharma. these persons were arrested by the baroda police on 15th april, 1980 and the delhi police re-arrested them on 16th april, 1980 and 3ecured their police remand up to24th april, 1980. (3) it appears that thereafter a special leave petition was filed in the supreme court being s. l. p. (criminal) no. 1203 of 1980 and by an order dated 24th april, 1980 the petitioner, therein, namely, the accused who were arrested in baroda) were ordered to be released on bail and were directed to present themselves before the chief judicial magistrate in baroda on 24th april, 1980. the delhi police filed another application for remand on 25th april, 1980 and in the said application an order dated 1st may, 1980 was passed by the chief judicial magistrate, baroda which contained certain.....

B.N. Kirpal, J.

(1) In this petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the Delhi Administration has prayed for the expunction of certain remarks contained in the order dated 5th May, 1980 of Shri S. M. Aggarwal, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi granting bail to the respondent.

(2) On 14th April 1980 an F. I. R. 2151980 an F. I. R. 215 was registered with the Police Station Parliament Street, New Delhi on the report of Shri G. R. Gupta, Watch & Ward Officer, Lok Sabha, Parliament Street, New Delhi for offence alleged to have been committed by the respondent under Section 307 I. P. C. and 27 Arms Act. In the.said F. I.R it was, inter alias stated that the incident in question took place at about 9.45 a.m. At that time the Prime Minister, after having garlanded the portrait of Dr. Ambedkar in the Parliament House Estate, was returning to her car when an object was thrown by the respondent who was sitting in the audience. The respondent was then over powered. It is further alleged that the said act of the respondent amounted to an offence under the Indian Penal Code and under Indian Arms Act for making an attempt on the life of the Prime Minister and possessing the said object, which happened to be a spring actuated knife, unauthorisedly. The respondent was taken in custody on 14th April, 1980. His statement was recorded by the police in which the respondent gave names of some persons and stated that they had instigated him to commit the murder of the Prime Minister. The persons named were P. B. Ramchandwani, S. P. Sharma, Radhakrishan, Atma Ram Ghandwani, K. B. Lalwani and V. P. Sharma. These persons were arrested by the Baroda Police on 15th April, 1980 and the Delhi Police re-arrested them on 16th April, 1980 and 3ecured their police remand up to24th April, 1980.

(3) It appears that thereafter a Special Leave Petition was filed in the Supreme Court being S. L. P. (Criminal) No. 1203 of 1980 and by an order dated 24th April, 1980 the petitioner, therein, namely, the accused who were arrested in Baroda) were ordered to be released on bail and were directed to present themselves before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Baroda on 24th April, 1980. The Delhi police filed another application for remand on 25th April, 1980 and in the said application an order dated 1st May, 1980 was passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Baroda which contained certain remarks and observations which were regarded as objectionable by the Delhi Administration. Against the said order dated 1st May, 1980, a petition under Section 482 was filed in the High Court of Gujrat which, vide order dated 3rd June, 1930, allowed the said petition and expunged certain remarks from the aforesaid order dated 1st May, 1980.

(4) In the meantime an application for the grant of bail was moved by the respondent before Shri S. M. Aggarwal, Addl. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi. After hearing the bail application an order dated 5th May, 1980 was passed granting the bail to the respondent. In a detailed order granting bail, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate has made certain observations which have been objected to by the petitioner herein as being objectionable. The portions of the order which have been objected to are contained in paragraphs 6,8,9,11,12, 13, and 16 of the order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.

(5) On 4th June, 1980 notice was issued in this petition. Shri R. L. Panjwani accepted notice. With the consent of the counsel the petition was directed to be listed for final disposal on 11th June, 1980. After the petition had been heard for some time on 11th June 1980 it was contended by Shri Panjwani that there was no urgency to hear the petition during the vacations. It is not for Shri Panjwani to raise such an objection. Firstly the case was directed to be heard on 11th June, 1980 with the consent of both the parties. Secondly, it is essentially for the Court to decide whether to hear a petition during the vacations or not.

(6) In support of this petition, Shri D. C. Mathur, learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that the learned Magistrate has made observations which are irrelevant and they are unjustifiable and harmful. While refuting this contention, Shri Panjwani has stated that the observations which are sought to be expunged are really the reasons which have been given by the learned Magistrate for his granting bail to the respondent. It is further averred that the order of the Magistrate is based on evidence on record and that the said .order of the Magistrate does not require- to be judicially corrected.

(7) The fact that this court has jurisdiction under Section 482 to expunge objectionable remarks is evident from the judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Dr.. Raghubir Saran v. State of Tihar and another A. I. R. 1964, S.C.I. This Court has such jurisdiction as has been clearly enunciated by the Supreme Court in the following passage :

'Moreover, mere expression by the High Court of its displeasure at the offending observations of a subordinate court cannot even be regarded as amounting to 'judicial correction' of the error committed by such Court For, despite the disapprobation, the remarks continue to be there on the record of the subordinate Court. The form normally adopted by a superior Court for judicial correction' of an error of a subordinate court does not consist of mere expression of its disagreement with the view taken by the subordinate court but of effacing that error and thus depriving it of its legal effect. That is precisely what ought to be done with respect to irrelevant remarks of a subordinate Court when they are found to be unjustifiable and harmful. The appropriate form in which this part of the judicial process may be carried out would be either by expunging them or directing them to be expunged so that they would cease to have any effect. There can be no doubt that the judgment of a tribunal empowered by the law to adjudicate upon and decide any matter affecting the rights of parties is inviolable unless the law allows it to be questioned or interfered With. Insuch a case the judgment can be challenged only and inter ferred with only by the specific authority and to the extent premissibly by the express provisions of law. No other court, not even the High,Court, unless expressly permitted by law can entertain a challenge or exercise any power with respect to a judgment. Its inherent power is not exercisable,for this purpose because what is made final or inviolable law is beyond the purview of such power. But the inviolability which attaches to a judgment must necessarily be confined to its integral parts, that is the verdict and reason thereforee. It cannot extend to matters which though ostensibly a part of the judgment are not in reality its integral parts. It is because of this that, the majority of the High Court holds that have always had the power to expunge passages from the judgments of subordinate Courts in certain circumstances. In ether words that is power has always been there and can be resorted to for securing the ends of Justice. It is significant to note' that despite this though the Code was .amended materially in 1955 the legislature did not indicate in Section 561- A or any other provision that this power did not exist or is taken away. Clearly the High Courts, by expunging remarks from an order or judgment of a subordinate court, would not in any event be altering it on merits or in any matter of substance but the only deleting from it matter which being alien to the matter before the .Court ought never to have been there. When such only is the efftct of what the High Court does) can prohibition to this course be inferred from the fact that Sections 423 and 539 whith deal with. appellate and revisional powers, are silent about such. matters We are clear that they do my exclude such power. As already stated) expunction of irrelevant remarks does not amount to be alteration or amendment of a judgment or an order of a subordinate Court. No doubt) the exercise of such power will have the effect of taking out of the judgment, or order something which was there before and thus a limited way to interfere with the content of the document embodying the Judgment or order. But bearing in mind the par importance of securing the ends of justice the High Court must be deemed to have such power.'

(8) Basing himself on this decision, it is contended by Mr.Mathur that the various remarks in the aforesaid paragraphs of the order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate ace irrelevant and are unjustifiable and harmful. Reliance is also placed on another Supreme Court decision in the case of The State of UttarPradesh v. Mohammad Naim A.I.R .l964 Sourt , It was) held in, that case that in expressing their opinions the Judges, and Magistrates must be guided by considerations of justice) fair play and restraint. The Supreme Court observed as under.:.

'It has been judicially recognised that in the matter of making disparaging remarks against persons or authorities whose conduct Comes into consideration-before courts of law an cases 'to be decided by them it is relevant to consider (a) whether the party whose conduct is in question is before the court or has an opportunity of explaining or defending himself; (b) whether there is evidence on record bearing on that conduct justifying the remarks; and (e) whether it is necessary for the decision of the case as an integral part thereof, to animadvert on that conducts It has also been recognised that judicial pronouncements must be judicial in nature, and should not normally depart from sobriety, moderation and reserve.'

(9) While granting bail under Section 437 of the Code an elaborate discussion on the merits of the case ought to be avoided. It has been observed by the Supreme Court in Niranjan Singh & another v. Prabhakar Rajaram Kharote and other v. 1980 Crl. L. J. 426 as follows :

'Detailed examination of the evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits should be avoided while passing orders on bail applications. No party should have the impression that his case has been prejudiced. To be satisfied about a prima facie case is needed but it is not the same as an exhaustive exploration of the merits in the order itself.'

(10) It is evident from the reading of the aforesaid decisions that while passing the order granting bail the learned Magistrate ought not to have entered into lengthy discussions on the merits of the case and nor should he had made remarks which were not necessary for the decision of the bail application. Furthermore, though the Magistrate was entitled to criticise action of the prosecuting agency only in so far as it was necessary for the purpose of deciding the bail application, it ought not to have made observations against any party, namely, the Investigating Officer, whose conduct was not in question before the Court and who had no,opportunity of explaining or defending himself.

(11) The F.I.R, was lodged by Shri G..R. Gupta, Watch &. Ward Officer, Lok Sabha Secretariat. I am of the opinion .that the following remarks which have been made, by the learned Magistrate were wholly uncalled for and were not necessary for, the purpose of.deciding the application for bail. These remarks, which have been objected to by the Delhi Administration are contained in paragraphs 6 and 9 of the order and they, are as follows:

'Mr. G. R. Gupta the gentleman who lodged the F.I.R, is no novice nor he is an ordinary victim or a road-side or street crime. He is a responsible watch and Ward Officer of the' Parliament House and an I. P. S. Officer. Thus, he is expected to know the .implications and the vital importance of this document. He has lodged this F.I.R. after expiry of about three hours, and thirty minutes after ascertaining and verifying the facts in his own way and after questioning the accused. He has lodged this report either on the basis of his own visual observation or on the basis of the version given to him by an. ocular witness. In.either case, he has made the mess of the prosecution case in so far as the disposal of:the bail application is concerned. In either case, the recital should have been that, 'I and/ or such and such person, saw the accused, later on identified as 'Lalwani' throwing a spring-actuated knife, aiming at the person of the PrimeMinister, from a distance of say 6 feet. It was a numerous assault on the person, of the Prime Minister, it was not expected of such a. Senior Police Officer to have used the vague phrase 'an object was found thrown by a person sitting in the audience'.

'Had there been reasonable ground to believe on the part of Mr. Gupta, J. P. S. that an attempt had been made on the life of person of the Prime Minister of this great country, in the broad daylight in the clear view of such a large stream of humanity, could it be imagined that the F. I. R. could not be lodged within 10 minutes of the alleged occurrence.'

In my opinion these remarks should be expunged from the order of the learned Magistrate.

(12) Apart from the aforesaid remarks there are also observations contained in paragraphs 13 and 16 of the order which, in my opinion, ought not to have been made by the Magistrate. The said observations were beyond the legitimate exercise of the Magistrate's jurisdiction. They fell outside the judicially circumscribed limits of his rights and it was improper to criticise a party or witness not before him. They were not necessary for the decision of the case. These observations are as follows :

'The Delhi Magistracy had extended fullest cooperation to do investigative agency to enable it to un-earth this sordid offence. The Investigation Agency got the orders of their choice. 'I am of the view that Lalwani seems to have wanted to something sensational to bring himself in news and in that effort of his, police seems to have contributed a lot. I am of the opinion that police seems to have over-acted and over-played the part assigned to it in its anxiety to earn laurels.' These observations and remarks have also to be expunged. There are three other observations to which objection has been taken by the Delhi Administration. These are as follows: If the knife was thrown aiming at any one, it could be expected or apprehended to hit some one causing him some bodily harm. Simply throwing a knife without aiming at any one, cannot prima facie amount to making an attempt to kill any one. Would an assissain, in his senses, attempt such a reckless adventure while sitting in the midest of a huge crowd, where there could be no possibility of an escape for him after throwing the only arm that he had? 'The only eye-witness chosen for the purpose are the Police Officials, the most natural witnesses could be among the audience sitting in the right bank where the alleged assailant was sitting. But no attempt has been made till now even to identify any of them for interrogation. The Hon'ble Prime Minister has not yet been approached for giving her own reactions/version'. 'None of the police official have cared to note the range or distance from which the attack at the Prime Minister wat allegedly made by the 'accused who admittedly was over powered while sitting without making any bid to escape.'

(13) The observations pertain to the merits of the case. In my opinion it cannot be said that these observations were wholly irrelevant or that its retention on the record will cause serious harm or prejudice to any one. The said observations are in the nature of a criticism of the action of the Investigating Agency in order to find out as to whether prima facie case has been made out or not for the grant of bail. In my opinion, thereforee these observations need not be expunged from the order of the learned Magistrate.

(14) The result of the aforesaid discussion is that the petition is partly allowed and the passages indicated above are removed and the order passed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate is judicially corrected and the order should be read in such a way so as not to stigmatise the Delhi Administration or the Delhi Police or Shri G. R. Gupta in any way whatsoever.

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