Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Suneet Kumar and Syed Waiz Mian, JJ. held a Police Officer guilty of contempt for deliberately bypassing the mandate of the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2014) 8 SCC 273 and sentenced him to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days.
An application under Section- 167 CrPC was moved before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate-III, by Investigating Officer (contemnor) seeking 14 days judicial remand of accused under Sections- 353, 504, 506 IPC which was rejected in compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court rendered in Arnesh Kumar. The mandate of Section 41-A CrPC was not complied by the Investigating Officer, further, he had to furnish reasons for arresting the accused. Magistrate, thereafter, made contempt reference against Investigating Officer, noting therein that the opposite party, therein, did not follow the direction of Supreme Court rendered in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014) 8 SCC 273, therefore, the Investigating Officer was liable to be punished under the Contempt of Court Act.
It was found that though the concerned offences were covered under the provisions for which maximum punishment was not more than 7 years, however, the mandate of Section 41A was not complied with by the Investigating Officer and no proper reason for the arrest of the accused was recorded in writing. The contemnor had claimed that there was an apprehension of communal riots and therefore, he had arrested the accused however there was no entry in the General Diary that there was any such apprehension of a communal flare-up.
The Court noted the fact that that the contemnor, being a member of disciplined Force, in exercise of his powers of arrest, had willfully and deliberately bypassed the mandate of the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar case, which is binding on all the authorities, including, the Magistrate, in view of Article 141 of the Constitution of India.
Refusing to take a sympathetic view on the quantum of punishment, Court awarded simple imprisonment for 14 days to the contemnor and further imposed a fine of Rs. 1000.
[In Re v. Chandan Kumar, Contempt Application (Criminal) No. – 5 of 2022, decided on 18-08-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Sudhir Mehrotra, Advocate, Counsel for the Applicant;
R.V. Pandey, Abhishek Mishra, Ashutosh Kumar Pandey, R.V. Pandey, Advocates, Counsel for the Opposite Party.
*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.