Read Order: M.A Khaliq vs. Ashok Kumar & Anr

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, September 20, 2021:The Supreme Court has observed that mere fact that no crime was registered, could not be a defence, nor would it be an escape from the rigour of the decisions rendered by this Court.

The Three Judge Bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M. Trivedi observed that summoning the person without there being any crime registered against him and detaining him would itself be violative of basic principles.

The background of the case was that a man approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking a direction not to arrest him without giving due notice u/s 41A of CrPC, in pursuance of a complaint filed by his wife alleging offences u/s 498A of IPC.

Although the Single Judge directed the police to follow the guidelines in Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar, a contempt case was filed alleging that in spite of such directions, the petitioner was not only summoned to Akividu Police Station in the name of counseling but was also detained.

Hence, the Single Judge held the police officer guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to suffer three months imprisonment.

The Division Bench however set aside this order observing that directions issued in Arnesh Kumar(Supra) would not come into play, since no crime was registered.

The Three Judge Bench found that the report of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge, after due inquiry into the matter, indicated that the contempt petitioner was not only summoned to Akividu Police Station in the name of counseling but was also detained.

In the circumstances, there was clear violation of the directions issued by this Court not only in Arnesh Kumar(Supra)  but also in the case in D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal, added the Bench.

Therefore, while setting aside the decision of the Division Bench and restoring the order of the Single Bench, the Apex Court modified the substantive sentence of three months to 15 days leaving rest of the incidents of sentence completely intact.

The Apex Court also asked the contemnor to surrender himself before the Registrar of the High Court within two weeks.

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