Read Order: Bollineni Rajagopal Naidu vs. State of Andhra Pradesh 

Pankaj Bajpai

Amravati, March 9, 2022: While hearing a PIL related to foisting of cases on media personnel or social media users in a cavalier manner or sans concrete evidence corroborating the prima facie involvement of the alleged perpetrators in the crime, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has directed all the Judicial Magistrates to record their satisfaction before authorizing detention, in exercise of powers u/s 167 CrPC and apply their mind objectively in the obtaining facts of the case and pass a reasoned order.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice A.V Sesha Sai at the same time, cautioned that any negligence in this regard shall be viewed seriously and the Judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the High Court as and when such defective detention authorization orders are brought to the notice of the High Court by or on behalf of the accused.

The observation came pursuant to a PIL filed by Rajagopal Naidu (Petitioner connected with TV5 Telugu news) seeking direction to State of Andhra Pradesh (Respondents) not to foist cases on media personnel or social media users in a cavalier manner or sans concrete evidence corroborating the prima facie involvement of the alleged perpetrators in the crime and to direct the respondents to forthwith upload a copy of the First Information Report within 24 hours from the lodging of a report. 

The Petitioner agitated that Freedom of Press is for the benefit of the general community; therefore, foisting false cases or harassing the media personnel is opposed to the Constitutional Doctrine of Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. The petitioner was not praying for quashing of the criminal cases registered against the T.V. channel. The Petitioner only prayed for a direction to the respondents not to foist cases in a cavalier manner without concrete evidence. 

After considering the submissions, the High Court observed that there can be no general direction to the respondents not to foist false cases, because ordinarily the investigating agency is presumed to perform its duties in accordance with law and each case is to be considered on the basis of its own facts. 

However, at the same time, it is the duty of the Court to see that citizens are not harassed by arresting them in petty offences carrying punishment less than seven years, added the Court. 

Speaking for the Bench, the Chief Justice quoted the decision of the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2014) 8 SCC 273, where it was held that law mandates the police officer to state the facts and record the reasons in writing which led him to come to a conclusion covered by any of the provisions aforesaid, while making such arrest and the law further requires the police officers to record the reasons in writing for not making the arrest.

Highlighting the duty of a Magistrate u/s 167 CrPC, the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar’s Case (Supra), further held that authorizing detention without recording reasons by the Judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court, added the Bench. 

Therefore, opining that the law declared by the Supreme Court is already operative in the field, the High Court observed that the same shall be followed scrupulously in all sincerity by the police officers.

0 CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment