Power of Police to investigate after submission of closure report

Arnab Goswami vs. State of Maharashtra:

Maharashtra High Court has decided to dismiss the Application seeking interim relief of Stay on arrest holding that there is no illegality in arrest and continued investigation after the submission of closure report due to the reasons stated by police, is not illegal. Hence there is no merit in the contention that arrest is illegal. It observed:

Bail in Writ Jurisdiction:

No doubt, regard being had to the parameters of quashing and the self-restraint imposed by law, this court has jurisdiction to quash the investigation and pass appropriate interim orders as thought apposite in law. However, the powers are to be exercised sparingly and that too, in rare and appropriate cases and in extreme circumstances to prevent abuse of process of law.
44. In State of Telangana vs. Habib Abdullah Jeelani & others (supra), their Lordships have observed that the Courts have to ensure such a power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is not to be exercised liberally so as to convert it into section 438 of Cr.P.C. proceedings.

45. The principle stated therein will equally apply to the exercise of this Court’s power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure while considering the applications for
bail since the petitioner is already in Judicial custody. The legislature has provided specific remedy under Section 439 Cr.P.C. for applying for regular bail. Having regard to the alternate and efficacious remedy available to the petitioner under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this Court has to exercise judicial restraint while entertaining application in the nature of seeking regular bail in a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Read Full Judgment:

Ingredients for offence of abetment of suicide

Offence of Abetment to commit suicide:

Suicide note naming the accused as abettor if sufficient:

As pointed out by the High Court, of course PW-1 to PW-5 have spoken about the borrowing of money by the deceased and also the execution of the promissory note. The sheet anchor of the prosecution’s case to prove the guilt of the accused is the suicide note (M.O.1)-written by the deceased. On perusal of suicide note (M.O.1), it is seen that in M.O.1 the deceased has written about the financial difficulties faced by him and his inability to meet the financial crunch and also his inability to repay the same. The tenor of M.O.1 only shows that the deceased was subjected to pressure for payment and was facing the financial difficulty. In M.O.1 (letter) there is nothing to indicate that there was instigation by the appellant-accused which had driven the deceased to take the extreme step of committing suicide.

The essential ingredients of the offence under Section 306 I.P.C. are:

(i) the abetment;

(ii) the intention of the accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide.

The act of the accused, however, insulting the deceased by using abusive language will not, by itself, constitute the abetment of suicide.

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Confinement of Prisoner in Cruel and Inhuman Prison Conditions

Taylor, a Texas inmate, alleges that in September 2013, correctional officers confined him in a cell covered, nearly floor to ceiling, in “ ‘massive amounts’ of feces.” Taylor did not eat or drink for nearly four days. Officers then moved Taylor to another, frigidly cold cell, which was equipped with only a clogged floor drain to dispose of bodily wastes. Taylor held his bladder for over 24 hours, but eventually, involuntarily relieved himself, causing the drain to overflow and raw sewage to spill across the floor. The cell lacked a bunk and Taylor was confined without clothing; he was left to sleep naked in sewage.

Court of Appeal:

The Fifth Circuit held that such conditions of confinement violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment but, concluding that “[t]he law wasn’t clearly established” that “prisoners couldn’t be housed in cells teeming with human waste” “for only six days,” the court held that the prison officials did not have “ ‘fair warning’ that their specific acts were unconstitutional.”

Supreme Court of USA

The officers were not entitled to qualified immunity; no reasonable correctional officer could have concluded that, under these extreme circumstances, it was constitutionally permissible to house Taylor in such deplorably unsanitary conditions for an extended period of time. There was no evidence that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement were compelled by necessity or exigency nor that those conditions could not have been mitigated, either in degree or duration. While an officer-by-officer analysis will be necessary on remand, the record suggests that at least some officers involved in Taylor’s ordeal were deliberately indifferent to the conditions of his cells.

It was held that:

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit properly held that such conditions of confinement violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. But, based on its assessment that “[t]he law wasn’t clearly established” that “prisoners couldn’t be housed in cells teeming with human waste” “for only six days,” the court concluded that the prison officials responsible for Taylor’s confinement did not have “ ‘fair warning’ that their specific acts were unconstitutional.” 946 F. 3d, at 222 (quoting Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 741 (2002)).

The Fifth Circuit erred in granting the officers qualified immunity on this basis. “Qualified immunity shields an officer from suit when she makes a decision that, even if constitutionally deficient, reasonably misapprehends the law governing the circumstances she confronted.” Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. 194, 198 (2004) (per curiam). But no reasonable correctional officer could have concluded that, under the extreme circumstances of this case, it was constitutionally permissible to house Taylor in such deplorably unsanitary conditions for such an extended period of time. See Hope, 536 U. S., at 741 (explaining that “ ‘a general constitutional rule already identified in the decisional law may apply with obvious clarity to the specific conduct in question’ ” (quoting United States v. Lanier, 520 U.S. 259, 271 (1997))); 536 U. S.,at 745 (holding that “[t]he obvious cruelty inherent” in putting inmates in certain wantonly “degrading and dangerous” situations provides officers “with some notice that their alleged conduct violate[s]” the Eighth Amendment). The Fifth Circuit identified no evidence that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement were compelled by necessity or exigency. Nor does the summary-judgment record reveal any reason to suspect that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement could not have been mitigated, either in degree or duration. And although an officer-by-officer analysis will be necessary on remand, the record suggests that at least some officers involved in Taylor’s ordeal were deliberately indifferent to the conditions of his cells. See, e.g., 946 F. 3d, at 218 (one officer, upon placing Taylor in the first feces-covered cell, remarked to another that Taylor was “ ‘going to have a long weekend’ ”); ibid., and n. 9 (another officer, upon placing Taylor in the second cell, told Taylor he hoped Taylor would “ ‘f***ing freeze’ ”).

Confronted with the particularly egregious facts of this case, any reasonable officer should have realized that Taylor’s conditions of confinement offended the Constitution.[2] We therefore grant Taylor’s petition for a writ of certiorari, vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

[Source: Taylor v. Riojas, 592 U.S. ___ (2020) USA]

Police Summoning a person from New Delhi to Kolkata on a facebook post.

Facebook post implying State bias towards a community:

The FIR contains a statement that the posts imply that:

(i) the State administration was going soft on the violation of the lock down at Rajabazar as the area is predominantly inhibited by a particular community and;

(ii) that the State administration is complacent while dealing with lock down violations caused by a certain segment of the community.

Reasonable Exercise of power of summoning:

The court must safeguard the fundamental right to the freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. There is a need to ensure that the power under section 41A is not used to intimidate, threaten and harass.

Full Order of Supreme Court:

SLP(Crl) 4937/2020
1
ITEM NO.20 Court 6 (Video Conferencing) SECTION II-B
S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.4937/2020
(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 29-09-2020
in CRAN No. 2/2020 passed by the High Court at Calcutta)
ROSHNI BISWAS Petitioner(s)
VERSUS
STATE OF WEST BENGAL & ANR. Respondent(s)

Continue reading “Police Summoning a person from New Delhi to Kolkata on a facebook post.”

A book about law relating to Bail or Jail

Law relating arrest, bail and personal liberty in India is governed by various legislations as also a number of precedents.

Click here to read free sample of Bail at Google Play Books.

Click here to read free sample of Bail or Jail at Amazon Kindle.

An ebook about law relating to Bail in India. It helps to determine how to get out of prison or jail quickly by explaining all aspects of this branch of Criminal Law.

As regards legislations, it is governed by Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. Offences governed by Indian Penal Code 1860 besides other specialised laws e.g. Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, Benami Property Act or Customs Act, 1962 etc.

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Crime Investigation in India

An ebook on Crime Investigation in India:

Crime Investigation in India is governed by various legislations as also a number of legal precedents.

As regards legislations, it is governed by Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. Offences governed by Indian Penal Code 1860 besides other specialised laws e.g. Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Evidence of witnesses during trial is to be evaluated on the touch stone of Evidence Act, 1872.

Apart from above legislations, there are numerous directions, guidelines and cautions by Supreme Court to protect the personal liberty, human rights and human dignity under article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Crime investigation is the domain of police but in case of economic or other classes of crimes some other departments are also authorised to investigate. More importantly the matters of national security are investigated by National Investigation Agency or NIA for short. But all these agencies are bound by same laws barring few exceptions.

The commencement of an investigation happens when a crime is committed. The First Chapter is in regard to introduction to the Crime and Offences.

Read a free sample at Google Play Store.

Read a free sample at Amazon Kindle here

The Chapter 2 is about the Police itself. It explains the source of power of Police Officers and hierarchy of Government over it.

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Considerations for Transfer of Criminal Trial out of State

Balancing the convenience

While considering a plea for transfer, the convenience of parties would be a relevant consideration. It can’t just be the convenience of the petitioner but also of the Complainant, the Witnesses,the Prosecution besides the larger issue of trial being conducted under the jurisdictional Court. When relative convenience and difficulties of all the parties involved in the process are taken into account, it is clear that the petitioner has failed to make out a credible case for transfer of trial to alternative venues outside the State.

Credibility of Judiciary:

The transfer of trials from one state to another would inevitably reflect on the credibility of the State’s judiciary and but for compelling factors and clear situation of deprivation of fair justice, the transfer power should not be invoked. This case is not perceived to be one of those exceptional categories.

Accused/Journalist involved in property disputes:

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Bail to an accused not arrested during investigation

Allegations of Cheating

Learned counsel for the complainant vehemently contended that the appellant had duped him of a considerable amount of money and that looking to the seriousness of the allegations against him, this was not a case in which the appellant ought to be granted bail by this Court. Learned counsel supported the view taken by the trial judge as well as by the Allahabad High Court. He argued that given the conduct of the appellant in not only cheating the complainant and depriving him of a considerable sum of money but thereafter issuing a cheque for which payment was stopped made it an appropriate case for dismissal.

Conduct of Investigation:

During the entire period of investigations which appear to have been spread over seven months, the appellant was not arrested by the investigating officer. Even when the appellant apprehended that he might be arrested after the charge sheet was filed against him, he was not arrested for a considerable period of time. When he approached the Allahabad High Court for quashing the FIR lodged against him, he was granted two months time to appear before the trial judge. All these facts are an indication that there was no apprehension that the appellant would abscond or would hamper the trial in any manner. That being the case, the trial judge, as well as the High Court ought to have judiciously exercised discretion and granted bail to the appellant. It is nobody’s case that the appellant is a shady character and there is nothing on record to indicate that the appellant had earlier been involved in any unacceptable activity, let alone any alleged illegal activity.

[Source: Dataram Singh vs The State of Uttar Pradesh decided by SC on 6 February, 2018]

Burden of proof under NDPS Act?


The presumption against the accused of culpability under Section 35, and under Section 54 of the Act to explain possession satisfactorily, are rebuttable.

Presumption does not dispense with the obligation of the prosecution to prove the charge beyond all reasonable doubt. The presumptive provision with reverse burden of proof, does not sanction conviction on basis of preponderance of probability. Section 35(2) provides that a fact can be said to have been proved if it is established beyond reasonable doubt and not on preponderance of probability. That the right of the accused to a fair trial could not be whittled down under the Act was considered in Noor Aga vs. State of Punjab, (2008) 16 SCC 417 observing:

“58. … An initial burden exists upon the prosecution and only when it stands satisfied, would the legal burden shift. Even then, the standard of proof required for the accused to prove his innocence is not as high as that of the prosecution. Whereas the standard of proof required to prove the guilt of the accused on the prosecution is “beyond all reasonable doubt” but it is “preponderance of probability” on the accused. If the prosecution fails to prove the foundational facts so as to attract the rigours of Section 35 of the Act, the actus reus which is possession of contraband by the accused cannot be said to have been established.
59. With a view to bring within its purview the requirements of Section 54 of the Act, element of possession of the contraband was essential so as to shift the burden on the accused. The provisions being exceptions to the general rule, the generality thereof would continue to be operative, namely, the element of possession will have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

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