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Investigating authority needs to seek permission with the magistrate to investigate non cognizable offences under Section 155(2) of CrPC : Bombay HC

TITLE : Nitin Shivdas Satpute V The State of Maharashtra

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Anil L Pansare

DATE :  22nd   December, 2023

CITATION : CrWP. No 660 of 2022

FACTS

The petitioner is a librarian in a college and the 2nd respondent is the principal of the college. The allegation of the petitioner is that the respondent is a habitual user of abusive and filthy language against the staff of the college. The petitioner along with other staff had complained regarding the same to the vice chancellor. Being annoyed at such complaint, the respondent had called the petitioners to his chambers and abused him verbally and threatened him to murder the petitioner and passing derogatory comments against his wife.  He then lodged a complaint against the respondent under Section 504 and 506 of IPC.

The petitioner before the magistrate pleaded that the offence in hand was put under the category of non-cognizable offence when the nature of the offence attracted cognizable offence under Section 200 of CrPC. The magistrate issued process against the respondent for offences under Section 294, 504 and 506 of IPC. The sessions judge set aside the order.

LAWS INVOLVED

Section 294 of IPC :

“294. Obscene acts and songs. – Whoever, to the annoyance of others –

 (a) does any obscene act in any public place, or

(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place,

shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both

Section 155(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure :

No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having power to try such case or commit the case for trial

ISSUES

  1. Whether the sessions judge erred in claiming principal’s office is not a public place?
  2. Whether there is sufficient jurisdiction to seek for magistrate’s permission to investigate the offence.

JUDGEMENT

The court held that the principal’s chamber is a public place since it is situated in the campus building where the students, teachers and staff and other persons relating to the college have access to the building. Secondly, the derogatory remarks pertaining to the petitioners wife is regarded to be obscene in nature. The statement shames the dignity and modesty of the petitioner’s wife.

The court held that the sessions judge has erred in holding the position that no other person was present in the chambers when the incident occurred.

As far as the jurisdictional issue is concerned, the petitioner has two options to ensure an investigation is done under either Section 155(2) of CrPC or Section 200 of CrPC as the offence is non-cognizable nature. The court further held that in certain circumstances it is necessary to seek permission of the magistrate in investiagating non-cognizable offences under Section 155(2) of the code.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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Wife entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.PC if a man simply performs marital obligations : Bombay HC

TITLE : Alka Bhausaheb Bhad v Bhausaheb Ramrao Bhad and The state of Maharashtra

CITATION : WP No 15368 of 2023

CORAM : Hon’ble justice Rajesh S. Patil

DATE:  14th  December, 2023

INTRODUCTION :

A writ was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution to challenge the order and judgement given by the Additional Sessions Judge in the matter of paying maintenance under Section 125 Cr.PC.

FACTS :

The petitioner filed an application being Criminal Application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for grant of maintenance before the J.M.F.C against the respondent.

The petitioner pleaded that she is the Second Wife of the respondent and her marriage took place in the year 1989. She was made to believe that the first wife was not cohabiting with him properly. The petitioner gave birth to a male child. The petitioner has given consent to let the first wife cohabit with him through sessions of mediation. The petitioner and the first wife after a while gave birth to a male child each. The husband shortly after that started harassing the wife and was acting violently towards her. The husband was paying maintenance till 2011 and after the instigation of the first wife, he stopped paying. The petitioner claimed 5000 per month as maintenance.

The JMFC in its ordered granted the petitioner Rs.2500 per month as maintenance after hearing  both the parties. The respondent husband appealed the decision and the Sessions judge set aside the order. The same was being challenged in the current matter.

COURT’S ANALYSIS

The court held that the husband is to pay maintenance irrespective of whether or not he was married to the second wife. The fact remains that he was in cohabitation with the second wife and had two children with her. It is a well established fact that Under Section 125 of Cr.PC a man who is fulfilling his marriage duties irrespective of the act of marriage is to pay maintenance. The court upheld the decision of JMFC and stated that the petitioner can apply for a fresh application to increase the maintenance amount as it has been 9 years since the order of JMFC.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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Complaint Seeking An Action Under Sub-Section (3) Of Section 156 Of Cr.P.C., The Learned Magistrate Cannot Act Mechanically: High Court of Bombay

Title : Satish Panchariya v The State of Maharashtra

Citation : WP-1009-2012

Decided On: 4th November, 2023.

Coram: Justice A. S. Gadkari And Justice Shyam C. Chandak.

Introduction:

The Petitioners have invoked jurisdiction of the Court under Article 226 of Constitution of India read with Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code [for short “Cr.P.C.”] for quashing of M.E.C.R. No. 2 of 2012, registered with Malad Police Station, Mumbai, in furtherance of Order dated 9th January, 2012 passed by the learned Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, 24th Court, Borivali, Mumbai in C.C. No.04/SW/2012.

Facts:

The learned Magistrate by its impugned Order dated 9th January, 2012, while directing the Police to conduct investigation under Section 156(3) of Cr.P.C., has himself admitted that without applying judicious mind to the case, he has passed the said Order by relying on the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Shrinivas Gundluri and Ors v/s. SEPCO Electric Power Constructions Corporation & Ors. It is the settled position of law and as has been enunciated by this Court in the case of Sayed Anwar Ahmed & Anr. vs. The State of Maharashtra & Anr., reported in 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 3972, while dealing with the complaint seeking an action under Sub-Section (3) of Section 156 of Cr.P.C., the learned Magistrate cannot act mechanically. He is required to apply his mind to the contents of the complaint and the documents produced along with the complaint. That, an Order passed on the said complaint must record reasons in brief which should indicate application of mind by the Magistrate. However, it is not necessary to record detailed reasons.

There is another facet to the present Petition. In the complaint the Respondent Nos. 3 and 4 have represented themselves to be the authorized representatives of the Respondent No.2, Company for filing the said complaint and persuading the learned Magistrate in passing the impugned Order dated 9th January, 2012. The Authorised Representative/Director of Respondent No.2, Company, namely Retired Wing Commander Ajai Sharma has filed an Affidavit on behalf of Respondent No.2 dated 3rd April, 2012, duly affirmed before the Assistant Registrar of this Court.

he Respondent No.2 has not filed any complaint against any person and has also not authorised any person to file any complaint. That, the complaint bearing C.C. No. 04/SW/2012 filed before the learned Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, 24th Court, Borivali, Mumbai, is without the knowledge of the Company and the Board of Respondent No.2 never passed any resolution to file any complaint or authorized Respondent No.3 to file any such complaint. That, the said complaint is filed without any authorization and without knowledge, consent or assent of the Board of Directors.

Court’s Analysis and Judgement:

The court held that a priori that, it is apparent that the Respondent Nos.3 and 4, has filed the said complaint without having any lawful authority. It is clearly a sheer sheer abuse of process of law adopted by Respondent Nos. 3 and 4 in the name of Respondent No.2 and as continuation of the said proceedings, would cause undue harassment and agony to the Petitioners for no illegal act committed by them.

The Court also did  not appreciate the mode and manner in which the impugned Order dated 9th January, 2012 is mechanically passed by the learned Magistrate, which is in utter disregard to the settled principles of law. Hence the order dated 9th January 2012 is quashed and set aside by the Court.

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Written By : Sanjana Ravichandran

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Legal Conundrum: POCSO Act vs. SC/ST Act – The Bombay High Court’s Perspective

Case Title – Dinanath Manik Katkar v. State of Maharashtra and Anr.

Anticipatory Bail Application No. 2589 of 2023

CORAM: N. J. JAMADAR, J.

Decided on: 13th September 2023

Introduction

In a recent landmark judgment, the Bombay High Court weighed the conflicting provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, sending ripples through the legal community. The court’s decision hinges on the critical issue of anticipatory bail when allegations under the POCSO Act are not prima facie established against the accused. In this blog, we delve into the background, the court’s decision, and the implications of this ruling.

Facts of the case

The petitioner sought pre-arrest bail in a criminal case under multiple IPC sections, the POCSO Act of 2012, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act) of 1989, and the Atrocities Act. The atrocities based on caste, sexual harassment, and violence were among the charges. The trial judge rejected the accused’s request for anticipatory bail. He therefore went to the high court. Instead of filing an appeal under Section 14A of the Atrocities Act, he requested anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the CrPC.

The Legal Conundrum

The crux of the matter lies in the conflict between these two statutes when an individual accused of a sexual offense against a child seeks anticipatory bail. The question at hand is whether the provisions of anticipatory bail in the POCSO Act should prevail over the SC/ST Act when allegations under the POCSO Act are not prima facie established.

In its recent judgment, the Bombay High Court has held that the provisions of anticipatory bail in the POCSO Act would not prevail over the provisions of appeal in the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act if the allegations under the POCSO Act are not prima facie made out against the accused.

The court reasoned that the SC/ST Act, being a special legislation, must be given precedence in cases involving individuals from these marginalized communities. It cited the principle of harmonious construction of statutes and the need to protect the rights and interests of SC/ST communities as the basis for its decision.

Implications of the Judgment

The judgment underscores the importance of safeguarding the rights of individuals from SC/ST communities. It ensures that the special provisions of the SC/ST Act are not diluted when cases involve multiple statutes. This ruling sets a legal precedent that may influence similar cases in other jurisdictions. Courts in India may consider this decision when dealing with conflicts between different statutes. The judgment highlights the significance of interpreting laws in a manner that upholds the principles and objectives of each statute, especially when they seem to overlap. The Bombay High Court’s decision provides clarity on the legal procedures to be followed when allegations under the POCSO Act are not immediately substantiated, especially when an accused seeks anticipatory bail.

The Atrocities Act’s Section 14A supersedes the Criminal Procedure Code by stating that any judgement, sentence, or order, as well as the granting or refusing of bail by a Special Court, may be appealed to the High Court. An accused person under the Atrocities Act is prohibited from filing an anticipatory bail application under section 438 of the CrPC, according to section 18 of the Act. In the event of any conflict, the POCSO Act’s non-obstante clause, included in Section 42A, will take precedence over all other laws.

The court stated that when two statutes contain non-obstante clauses, the later enactment is deemed to prevail since it is inferred that the legislature was aware of the earlier statute and decided to give the later statute superseding force. The court made it clear that in order for this concept to be applicable, the offences that are punishable by the later law (in this example, the POCSO Act) must be prima facie proven. Some claims involved crimes covered by the Atrocities Act, like insulting a Scheduled Caste member’s modesty and caste-based abuse. Additionally, it was claimed that the defendant purposefully videotaped girls dancing in a procession. The court concluded that this did not constitute a prima facie case under the POCSO Act.

In order to avoid violating Section 438 of the CrPC, the court instructed the petitioner to submit an appeal as provided for in Section 14A of the Atrocities Act.

The applicant was granted permission by the court to turn the anticipatory bail application into an Atrocities Act appeal. The court allowed the applicant the freedom to bring up the issue before the relevant bench and ordered the necessary changes to be made as soon as possible.

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Written by- Shivanshi Singh, NMIMS Law School Mumbai

 

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Understanding the First Information Report-(FIR)

INTRODUCTION

The First Information Report, commonly referred to as FIR, which is a crucial legal document to initiate a criminal proceedings. It serves as the primary information to the law enforcement agencies to record the information about the alleged criminal activity. This article aims to clear the understanding of FIR, exploring its significance, procedure of filing FIR and role of FIR in the criminal justice system.

 

What is an FIR?

An FIR is written document which records the information about the cognizable offences like robbery, murder, theft, etc.

Procedure of filing an FIR.

In India the FIR is governed by the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Section 154. of the Cr.P.C. deals with the Information in cognizable cases. According to the section, informer will go to the officer in charge of Police Station and will give him the information about the cognizable offence. The information may be oral or in writing. If the information given to the officer is oral then Officer in Charge will write it down after that he will read out the whole complaint to the informer and will take the sign of the informer on the FIR which Officer has written down. One copy of FIR must be given to the informer free of cost and Officer has to maintain the FIR in his diary for the record as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.

Provided that if the information is given by the women against whom an offence under section 326A, section 326B, section 354, section 354A, section 354B, section 354C, section 354c, section 354D , section 376, section 376A, section 376AB,  section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB, section 376E, or section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) alleged to have been committed or attempted , then such information shall be recorded by women police officer.

In the event that the person against whom an offence under section 354, section 354A, section 354B, section 354C, section 354D, section 354, section 376, section 376A, section 376AB, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB, section 376E or section 509 of Indian Penal Code ( 45 of 1860),  is alleged to have been committed or attempted , is temporarily or permanently mentally or physically disabled then in such cases the such information shall be recorded at the residence of such person who seeking to report such offences or at the choice of place of such person in the presence an interpreter or a special educator as the case may be

Section 155. of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 deals with FIR in non- cognizable offences, in non –cognizable offences the informer or the complainant will go to the officer in charge of the police station and will give him the information about the alleged offence in written form or orally and will write it down and seek the permission of Magistrate to investigate the matter, without the order of Magistrate there is no power to investigate in the matter.

If the information has given to the officer in charge of the police station contain the information of cognizable and non-cognizable offences then the information will be dealt as cognizable offence.

Step to be taken if the police do not register FIR

According to the sub section 3 of section 154 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. If any person aggrieved by refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to record the FIR as referred in sub section 1 of the code, may send the substance of such information , in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned, who if satisfied that the information discloses the commission of cognizable offence , shall either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation made by any police officer subordinate to him.

Cases

In Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P. , (2013)

The court orders that officer in charge of police station is bound to register an FIR, and within 24 hours of time span officer has to update the copy of FIR on online portal of the State where FIR can be shown.

“  PRIME LEGAL is a full- service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Written by:- Aamir Hussain

References:

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 OF 1974), UNIVERSAL’S BARE ACT.

The Code of Criminal Procedure , 1973 (2 of  1974), RATANLAL & DHIRAJLAL.

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