In W.P.(CRL) 611/2022-DEL HC- Police Officer can require attendance of any person being within limits of his own or any adjoining station u/s 160 CrPC, says Delhi HC while quashing summons issued without jurisdiction Justice Chandra Dhari Singh [10-06-2022]



LE Correspondent

New Delhi, June 13, 2022: While setting aside the impugned summons/notices issued by the Deputy Captain Police, Cyber Crime, as the bar of jurisdiction under Section 160 of the Cr.P.C. was indisputably applicable to the instant matter, the Delhi High has allowed the petition filed by the petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution.

The Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said, “…it can be deduced that summons/notices under Section 160 of the Cr.P.C. can be issued by a Police Officer who is making investigation under and in accordance with the provisions of the Cr.P.C., and to set into motion such an investigation there is a pre-requisite of registration of FIR. Without registration of FIR, an investigation cannot be said to have been initiated.”

The facts of the were that the petitioner was an advocate, running his law firm and was also the founder and non-executive chairman of Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt. Ltd. The petitioner received summons from theDeputy Captain-third respondent, on three occasions with respect to a complaint made by one Rajbikramdeep Singh and his son Munjanpreet Singh alleging commission of offences under Sections 153A/501/504/505/295A/506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This criminal writ petition was instituted to quash the summons.

Taking note of the fact that the third respondent issued the impugned summons to the petitioner under Section 160, the Court observed that a simple reading of the said provision reflects that a police officer may require attendance of a person who is apparently familiar with the facts and circumstances of a case that such a police officer is investigating. A summons/notice to such a person is to be issued following the due process and procedure of law. The extent of this power is, however, limited by the bounds of jurisdiction. The concerned police officer may issue notice requiring attendance of any person who is within the limits of his own Police Station or that of an adjoining Station, held the Bench.

In pursuance of the same, two questions were posed before this Court for consideration, the first was whether the concerned authority, the third respondent issued the impugned notices at the right stage. Another issue at hand was whether the concerned authority, the third respondent, was well within its powers while issuing summons to a person outside its jurisdiction. 

While dealing with the first issue, the Court stated that the concerned authorities received complaints made by the complainants, issued summons under Section 160 of the Cr.P.C. and also gave opportunity to the petitioner to appear personally for further enquiry into the complaint and the allegations leveled in it. It was further noted that the third respondent summoned the petitioner at the stage of preliminary enquiry, wherein opportunity was given to him to appreciate oral as well as documentary evidence with respect to the complaints received. 

It was noted by the Bench that even for the inquiry to be held just and legal, the Police Officer is mandated to act in accordance with the provisions of the Cr.P.C. and he may not act beyond his powers while conducting the preliminary enquiry without furnishing a report before the Magistrate. The Court was of the view that neither the investigation nor the enquiry was conducted in a legal manner by the concerned authority-third respondent even for the limited purposes of issuing a notice under Section 160 of Cr.P.C.

While dealing with the second issue the Court noted that  the impugned summons/notices were issued by the concerned authority/the third respondent from District S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali, Punjab, whereas, the petitioner alleged that he is a resident of Rajouri Garden in  New Delhi.  On this issue, the Bench held that the notice under Section 160 of the Cr.P.C. was issued to the petitioner at his correspondence address at Gurugram, and Haryana. Both these addresses were evidently outside and beyond the territorial limits of the concerned Police Station S.A.S. Nagar. Thus, the Bench concluded that the bar of jurisdiction under Section 160 of the Cr.P.C. was indisputably applicable to the instant matter.

As per the Bench, the notice issued under Section 160 was not issued at the right stage by the third respondent as he was not authorized to conduct the investigation under the Cr.P.C., without registration of F.I.R. for the purpose of issuance of the notice under Section 160 and secondly, the summons/notices were issued without jurisdiction from the concerned authority in S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali, Punjab to the petitioner, added the Court. Accordingly, the impugned notices were quashed and set aside.

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