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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Entrusting the investigation to the CBI = the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in Writ Petition No. 7623 of 2012 whereby the Division Bench of the High Court constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate into the broadcasting of certain news items by certain television channels on 02.03.2012 regarding scuffle between advocates, police and media persons in the premises of the City Civil Court Complex, Bangalore.= a Constitution Bench of this Court in State of West Bengal and Others vs. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal and Others, (2010) 3 SCC 571 has laid down certain principles. Though the CBI has issued various principles/suggestions for endorsing the matter to CBI in para 68, it is worthwhile to refer the conclusion in paras 69 & 70. “69. In the final analysis, our answer to the question referred is that a direction by the High Court, in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, to CBI to investigate a cognizable offence alleged to have been committed within the territory of a State without the consent of that State will neither impinge upon the federal structure of the Constitution nor violate the doctrine of separation of power and shall be valid in law. Being the protectors of civil liberties of the citizens, this Court and the High Courts have not only the power and jurisdiction but also an obligation to protect the fundamental rights, guaranteed by Part III in general and under Article 21 of the Constitution in particular, zealously and vigilantly. 70. Before parting with the case, we deem it necessary to emphasise that despite wide powers conferred by Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution, while passing any order, the Courts must bear in mind certain self-imposed limitations on the exercise of these constitutional powers. The very plenitude of the power under the said articles requires great caution in its exercise. Insofar as the question of issuing a direction to CBI to conduct investigation in a case is concerned, although no inflexible guidelines can be laid down to decide whether or not such power should be exercised but time and again it has been reiterated that such an order is not to be passed as a matter of routine or merely because a party has levelled some allegations against the local police. This extraordinary power must be exercised sparingly, cautiously and in exceptional situations where it becomes necessary to provide credibility and instil confidence in investigations or where the incident may have national and international ramifications or where such an order may be necessary for doing complete justice and enforcing the fundamental rights. Otherwise CBI would be flooded with a large number of cases and with limited resources, may find it difficult to properly investigate even serious cases and in the process lose its credibility and purpose with unsatisfactory investigations.” Keeping the above principles in mind, considering the series of unfortunate incidents which occurred within the City Civil Court Complex, Bangalore on 02.03.2012 involving members of the bar, police personnel, journalists and media persons and in spite of the specific direction by the High Court as early as on 16.05.2012, subsequent order of this Court dated 19.10.2012, and also of the fact that the composition of SIT itself has not been finalized, we feel that the present case falls within the principles enunciated by the Constitution Bench and we are satisfied that CBI inquiry is necessitated in the matter in issue. 12) In the light of what is stated above, while setting aside the impugned order of the High Court dated 16.05.2012 and in modification of earlier order of this Court dated 19.10.2012, we entrust the entire investigation of the incident to the CBI. Accordingly, we direct the CBI to carry out the investigation and submit a report before the appropriate Court having jurisdiction at Bangalore within a period of six months from the date of receipt of copy of this judgment. We further direct the State/SIT to immediately hand over all the records pertaining to the said investigation to the CBI. 13) The appeal is allowed on the above terms. In view of the above direction, no separate order is required in I.A. No. 8 of 2013, accordingly, the same is also disposed of.

                      published in     http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40700                                    
    REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       1 CIVIL APPEAL NO.7159 OF 2013


                2  (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 22604 of 2012)


                                    WITH


                               3 I.A. NO. 8 IN


                       4 CIVIL APPEAL NO.7159 OF 2013


                5 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 22604 of 2012)




Advocates Association, Bangalore                   .... Appellant (s)

            Versus

Union of India & Ors                                        ....
Respondent(s)





                               J U D G M E N T

P. Sathasivam, CJI.
1)    Leave granted.
2)    This appeal is filed  against  the  final  judgment  and  order  dated
16.05.2012 passed by
the High  Court  of  Karnataka  at  Bangalore  in  Writ
Petition No. 7623 of 2012 whereby the  Division  Bench  of  the  High  Court
constituted a Special Investigation  Team  (SIT)  to  investigate  into  the
broadcasting of  certain  news  items  by  certain  television  channels  on
02.03.2012 regarding scuffle between advocates, police and media persons  in
the premises of the City Civil Court Complex, Bangalore.
3)    Brief Facts:
(a)    On  02.03.2012,  Shri  Janardhana  Reddy,  former  Minister  in   the
Government of Karnataka was sought to be  produced  by  the  CBI,  Bangalore
Branch, in the Court of 46th Additional City Civil and  Special  Judge,  CBI
at Bangalore City Civil Court Complex in a case which  invited  considerable
public attention.  The electronic as well as the print  media  were  in  the
precincts of the Court so as to film and make  video  coverage  and  publish
the news regarding the production of the former Minister.
(b)     A large crowd gathered in the court premises caused a great deal  of
inconvenience, as a result  of  which,  scuffle  ensued  between  advocates,
police and media persons and  simultaneously  violence  broke  out  and  the
police resorted to lathi charge in which several  persons  got  injured.   A
number of vehicles were also damaged and destroyed due to stone pelting  and
arson.  Over 191 cases were registered in regard to the above said  incident
against the police, advocates, media  persons,  public  etc.  under  various
categories in various police stations of the City.
(c)   On 06.03.2012, Advocates Association, Bangalore-the appellant  herein,
registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act,  1959,  submitted
a representation to the Chief Minister of Karnataka to take suitable  action
against the police atrocities committed  on  the  advocates  on  02.03.2012.
Subsequently,  on  07.03.2012,  the  General  Secretary  of  the  appellant-
Association filed a detailed complaint in the jurisdictional police  station
wherein the names of the police officers  who  were  involved  in  the  said
incident were given.
(d)   On  the  very  same  day,  i.e.,  on  07.03.2012,  the  Government  of
Karnataka issued a Government Order (GO) and appointed the Director  General
of Police, CID, Special Units & Economic Offences as the Inquiry Officer  to
conduct an in-house inquiry into the matter. On 10.03.2012,  the  Registrar,
City Civil Court, Bangalore, lodged a complaint with the  Ulsoorgate  Police
Station for causing damage to the property of City  Civil  Court,  Bangalore
which came to be registered as FIR No. 206/2012  under  Sections  143,  147,
323, 324, 427, 435 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860  (in
short ‘the IPC’) and Section 3(1) of the  Prevention  of  Damage  to  Public
Property Act, 1984 against unknown persons.   On  19.03.2012,  the  Director
General of  Police  submitted  his  report  stating  that  the  officers  on
bandobust failed to exercise adequate and proper supervisory control on  the
policemen while  controlling  the  situation,  which  resulted  in  excesses
committed by some of the policemen, and  the  police  personnel  responsible
for excesses could not be easily identified.
(e)   Several writ petitions came to be filed before the High Court  seeking
various reliefs inter alia including direction to the  State  Government  to
entrust the investigation to the CBI.  On 26.03.2012, the President  of  the
appellant-Association filed an affidavit in the writ petitions,  viz.,  7623
and 8328 of 2012 appraising the court  about  the  dismal  progress  in  the
investigation  carried  out  by  the  police.   In  view  of  the  same,  on
29.03.2012  and  02.04.2012,  Assistant  Commissioner  of  Police  filed  an
affidavit and counter affidavit  respectively  stating  the  status  of  the
investigation.   It  was  further  stated  that  the  State  Government  has
accepted the report of the Director  General  of  Police  and  he  has  been
directed to conduct further inquiry.  Several documents, records  and  other
details were produced before  the  High  Court  during  the  course  of  the
proceedings.
(f)   The High Court, by  order  dated  16.05.2012,  constituted  a  Special
Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Dr. R.K. Raghavan, a retired Director  of
the CBI as Chairman and Mr. R.K. Dutta, Director  General  of  Police,  CID,
Bangalore as Convenor along with other police officials to investigate  into
the incident  with  reference  to  the  complaints  lodged  by  the  police,
advocates as well as media against each  other  and  to  conclude  the  same
within 3 months from the date of the Government Notification.  In  pursuance
of  the  same,  the  State  Government  issued  a  series  of  Notifications
constituting and reconstituting  SIT  for  reasons  of  non-availability  of
officers to be its members.

(g)   Being aggrieved of the impugned order, this appeal has been  filed  by
way of special leave before this Court.  On 19.10.2012, this Court  rejected
the prayer of alteration of the investigating agency and  directed  the  SIT
to commence the investigation forthwith and submit a report within 3  months
from the date of the order.  Pursuant to  the  same,  the  State  Government
issued  notifications  dated  03.11.2012,  13.11.2012  and  17.11.2012   for
appointing and substituting various officers in  the  SIT.   On  12.12.2012,
the State Government filed an application seeking  extension  of  6  months’
time to investigate the case.  In January, 2013, the State Government  filed
a similar application for an extension of 6 months to submit a report.
(h)   Being aggrieved of the fact that in spite of a lapse of  over  1  year
from the date of incident, the investigation has  not  even  commenced  even
after the orders of the High Court dated 16.05.2012  and  this  Court  dated
19.10.2012, the appellant-Association filed a contempt petition.
(i)   Interlocutory Application being No. 8 also came to  be  filed  in  the
above said special leave petition  to  direct  the  SIT  to  hand  over  the
investigation to the CBI in view of this Court’s order dated 19.10.2012.
4)    Heard Mr. K.K. Venugopal, learned senior counsel  for  the  appellant-
Association,  Mr.  K.V.  Viswanathan,  learned  senior   counsel   for   the
respondent-State  and  Mr.  Amarjit  Singh  Chandhiok,  learned   Additional
Solicitor General for the Union of India.


Contentions:
5)     Mr.  K.K.  Venugopal,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the  appellant-
Association submitted that in spite of the fact that the  incident  occurred
on 02.03.2012 and in view of the subsequent order of the  High  Court  dated
16.05.2012 constituting a Special Investigation Team  (SIT)  and  subsequent
direction of this Court dated 19.10.2012 modifying the composition  of  SIT,
the fact remains that till this moment, nothing has turned  down,  in  fact,
the investigation is yet  to  commence.   Learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellant-Association further contended  that  in  view  of  the  fact  that
persons concerned in the issue are members of  the  bar,  police  personnel,
persons from both print and electronic media, it is a  fit  case  which  the
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should  investigate  fixing  an  outer
limit for the same.
6)    On the other  hand,  Mr.  K.V.  Viswanathan,  learned  senior  counsel
appearing for the respondent-State, by  drawing  our  attention  to  various
orders of the High Court  and  this  Court,  submitted  that  owing  to  the
clarifications sought for in respect of the composition of SIT,  the  matter
got delayed in commencing the investigation and according to him,  there  is
no need to entrust the investigation to an agency like CBI.
7)    Mr. A.S. Chandhiok, learned ASG  appearing  for  the  Union  of  India
submitted that though the CBI is to abide by the orders of  this  Court  but
due to various activities being handled by the CBI, let the SIT  be  allowed
to continue and complete the investigation.
Discussion:
8)    It is seen  that  on  account  of  serious  and  unfortunate  incident
involving advocates, police personnel, journalists,  media  persons  in  the
City Civil Court  Complex  at  Bangalore  on  02.03.2012,  large  number  of
persons were assaulted  and  injured.   It  is  alleged  by  the  appellant-
Association that the same was caused due to the action  of  the  police  and
the  media.   The  appellant-Association  also  raised  serious  allegations
against  the  print  and  electronic  media  in   broadcasting   false   and
provocative news thereby maligning and demeaning the advocate community.
9)    Initially, the appellant–Association filed a Writ  Petition  No.  7623
of 2012 praying for a direction to  the  State  Government  to  entrust  the
investigation to the CBI.  Several other writ  petitions  were  also  filed.
By impugned order dated 16.05.2012, the High  Court  disposed  of  the  writ
petition by constituting a SIT headed  by  Shri  R.K.  Raghavan,  a  retired
Director of the CBI  and  other  officers.   It  is  further  seen  that  on
19.10.2012, this  Court  reconstituted  the  SIT  to  investigate  into  the
incident and also directed to submit a report within three months  from  the
date of the order.
10)   It is the grievance of the appellant-Association that in spite of  the
directions of this Court and a series of notifications issued by  the  State
Government constituting and  re-constituting  SIT  for  one  reason  or  the
other, the fact remains that even after a lapse of one year and five  months
from  the  date  of  the  incident,  the  investigation  has  not  yet  been
commenced.  It is unfortunate that even after the order of this Court  dated
19.10.2012 nothing has  happened.   It  is  relevant  to  mention  that  the
constitution of the so-called SIT has not completed till date.   Though  Mr.
K.V. Viswanathan, learned senior counsel for the respondent-State raised  an
objection as to the averments  in  para  9  in  I.A.  No.  8  filed  by  the
appellant-Association, it is clear that in spite of the  modified  order  of
this Court, the investigation is yet to commence  due  to  non-formation  of
SIT.
11)   As regards entrusting the investigation to  the  CBI
 a  Constitution
Bench of this Court in State of West Bengal and  Others  vs.  Committee  for
Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal and Others, (2010)  3  SCC  571
has laid down  certain  principles.   
Though  the  CBI  has  issued  various
principles/suggestions for endorsing the matter to CBI in  para  68,  it  is
worthwhile to refer the conclusion in paras 69 & 70.
      “69. In the final analysis, our answer to  the  question  referred  is
      that a direction by the High Court, in exercise  of  its  jurisdiction
      under Article 226  of  the  Constitution,  to  CBI  to  investigate  a
      cognizable offence alleged to have been committed within the territory
      of a State without the consent of that State will neither impinge upon
      the federal structure of the Constitution nor violate the doctrine  of
      separation of power and shall be valid in law. 
Being the protectors of
      civil liberties of the citizens, this Court and the High  Courts  have
      not only the power and jurisdiction but also an obligation to  protect
      the fundamental rights, guaranteed by Part III in  general  and  under
      Article  21  of  the  Constitution  in   particular,   zealously   and
      vigilantly.


      70. Before parting with the case, we deem it  necessary  to  emphasise
      that despite wide powers conferred by  Articles  32  and  226  of  the
      Constitution, while passing any order, the Courts must  bear  in  mind
      certain  self-imposed   limitations   on   the   exercise   of   these
      constitutional powers. 
The very plenitude of the power under the  said
      articles requires great  caution  in  its  exercise.  Insofar  as  the
      question of issuing a direction to CBI to conduct investigation  in  a
      case is concerned, although no inflexible guidelines can be laid  down
      to decide whether or not such power should be exercised but  time  and
      again it has been reiterated that such an order is not to be passed as
      a matter of routine or  merely  because  a  party  has  levelled  some
      allegations against the local police. 
This extraordinary power must be
      exercised sparingly, cautiously and in exceptional situations where it
      becomes necessary to provide  credibility  and  instil  confidence  in
      investigations  or  where  the  incident   may   have   national   and
      international ramifications or where such an order  may  be  necessary
      for doing complete  justice  and  enforcing  the  fundamental  rights.
      Otherwise CBI would be flooded with a large number of cases  and  with
      limited resources, may find it difficult to properly investigate  even
      serious cases and in the process lose its credibility and purpose with
      unsatisfactory investigations.”


Keeping the above principles in mind, considering the series of  unfortunate
incidents which occurred within the City Civil Court Complex,  Bangalore  on
02.03.2012 involving members of the bar, police personnel,  journalists  and
media persons and in spite of the specific direction by the  High  Court  as
early as on 16.05.2012, subsequent order of  this  Court  dated  19.10.2012,
and also of the fact that  the  composition  of  SIT  itself  has  not  been
finalized, we feel  that  the  present  case  falls  within  the  principles
enunciated by the Constitution Bench and we are satisfied that  CBI  inquiry
is necessitated in the matter in issue.

12)   In the light  of  what  is  stated  above,  while  setting  aside  the
impugned order of the High Court dated 16.05.2012  and  in  modification  of
earlier order  of  this  Court  dated  19.10.2012,  we  entrust  the  entire
investigation of the incident to the CBI.  Accordingly, we  direct  the  CBI
to carry out the investigation and submit a report  before  the  appropriate
Court having jurisdiction at Bangalore within a period of  six  months  from
the date of receipt of  copy  of  this  judgment.   We  further  direct  the
State/SIT to immediately hand over all the records pertaining  to  the  said
investigation to the CBI.
13)   The appeal is allowed on the  above  terms.   In  view  of  the  above
direction,  no  separate  order  is  required  in  I.A.  No.  8   of   2013,
accordingly, the same is also disposed of.


                                     ..…………….…………………………CJI.
                        (P. SATHASIVAM)


                        .…........…………………………………J.

                        (RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)



                       .…........………………………….………J.

                       (RANJAN GOGOI)

NEW DELHI;
AUGUST 27, 2013.
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