advocatemmmohan

My photo

ADVOCATEMMMOHAN -  Practicing both IN CIVIL, CRIMINAL AND FAMILY LAWS,Etc.,

WELCOME TO LEGAL WORLD

WELCOME TO MY LEGAL WORLD - FOR KNOWLEDGE IN LAW & FOR LEGAL OPINIONS - SHARE THIS

Saturday, January 18, 2014

sec. 42 and sec.45 of Prisons Act - Jail Manual - Carrying a cell phone and charger by a visitor in Jail - F.I.R. registered under sec. 42 and 45(12) of Prisons Act - writ to quash under sec.482 of Cr.P.C. - High court dismissed - Apex court set aside the High court order - held that by the date of offence Cell Phone not included as prohibitory Article and By the date of offence no communication was done - the accused is only a visitor not a prisoner , so the above sections not applicable to the accused - quashed the F.I.R and charges by allowing the criminal appeal = Varinder Singh …Appellant Versus State of Punjab & Anr. ...Respondents = 2014 ( January - Vol - 1-D.B.) Judis.nic.in/ S.C./ file name =41154

  sec. 42 and sec.45 of Prisons Act - Jail Manual - Carrying a cell phone and charger by a visitor in Jail - F.I.R. registered under sec. 42 and 45(12) of Prisons Act - writ to quash under sec.482 of Cr.P.C. - High court dismissed - Apex court set aside the High court order  - held that by the date of offence Cell Phone not included as prohibitory Article and By the date of offence no communication was done - the accused is only a visitor not a prisoner , so the above sections not applicable to the accused - quashed the F.I.R  and charges by allowing the criminal appeal = 
The appellant had gone as a visitor to the Central Jail, Ferozepur  on
17.09.2009. There, on being searched, a mobile phone was recovered from  his
turban and a charger was recovered from his shoes. An FIR  dated  24.09.2009
was filed at the Police Station Ferozepur, under Sections 42   and  45  (12)
of the  Prisons  Act,  1894  (in  short  “the  Act”).   The  Chief  Judicial
Magistrate of Ferozepur charged him on 01.05.2010 under Sections 42  and  45
of the Act.  The appellant approached the High Court of Punjab  and  Haryana
by way of a petition under  Section 482 of the Code of  Criminal  Procedure,
1973, praying that the FIR be quashed. The High Court of Punjab and  Haryana
by way of impugned judgment and final order dated 19.07.2013  dismissed  the
petition, and inter alia held that “….the accused is at liberty to take  all
pleas available to him during the trial”.

4.    The High Court in its impugned order has  interpreted  Section  42  of
the Act, and held that whoever communicates or attempts to communicate  with
any prisoner is liable for punishment. It said  that  the  appellant  herein
was entering the jail with a mobile phone and  its  charger,  apparently  to
enable communication with a prisoner. It was held that “ After  presentation
of challan, charges have already been  framed  against  the  petitioner.  In
these circumstances, at this stage, no ground for quashing  of  the  FIR  in
question is made out.” =          
Section  482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure reads as under :-

           “482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court: Nothing  in  this
           Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent  powers  of
           the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary  to  give
           effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of  the
           process of  any  Court  or  otherwise  to  secure  the  ends  of
           justice.”

Under this Section, the High Court has the  power  to  quash  an  FIR.  
This
court in the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal [1] has  laid  down  the
following categories of cases in which  the  High  Court  can  exercise  its
power under Section 482 and quash the FIR:-

           “1. Where the allegations made in the First  Information  Report
           or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and
           accepted in their entirety do  not  prima-facie  constitute  any
           offence or make out a case against the accused.

           2. Where the allegations in the  First  Information  Report  and
           other materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose
           a cognizable offence,  justifying  an  investigation  by  police
           officers Under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an  order
           of a Magistrate within the purview  of  Section  155(2)  of  the
           Code.

           3. Where the uncontroverted  allegations  made  in  the  FIR  or
           complaint and the evidence collected in support of the  same  do
           not disclose the commission of any offence and make out  a  case
           against the accused.

           4. Where, the allegations in the  F.I.R.  do  not  constitute  a
           cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence,
           no investigation is permitted by a  police  officer  without  an
           order of a Magistrate as contemplated Under  Section  155(2)  of
           the Code.

           5. Where the allegations made in the FIR  or  complaint  are  so
           absurd and inherently  improbable  on  the  basis  of  which  no
           prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion  that  there  is
           sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

           6. Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any  of  the
           provisions of the Code or  the  concerned  Act  (under  which  a
           criminal  proceeding  is  instituted)  to  the  institution  and
           continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a  specific
           provision  in  the  Code  or  the   concerned   Act,   providing
           efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

           7. Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with  mala
           fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted  with
           an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance  on  the  accused  and
           with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”[2]




14.   These principles were further reiterated by a  three  judge  bench  of
this Court in the case of Sunder Babu v. State of Tamil Nadu[3].

15.   The case of the appellant clearly falls  under  category  (1)  of  the
grounds of quashing of FIR mentioned in the case of Bhajan Lal  (supra).  
On
the date of the  offence,  mobile  phone  was  not  listed  as  one  of  the
prohibited articles under the Punjab Prison  Manual.  
Thus,  no  offence  is
made out under Section 42 of the Act, as there was  no  communication  which
was done or was attempted to being done contrary to the rules. 
Further,  the
appellant was not a prisoner on the date of the  offence.  
Hence,  he  could
not have committed a prison offence as defined under Section 45 of the Act.

16.   In view of the foregoing reasons,  the  appeal  is  allowed  and   the
impugned judgment of the High Court is set aside. The FIR  dated  24.09.2009
and the proceedings against the appellant are  quashed.  There  will  be  no
order as to costs.
  2014 ( January - Vol - 1-D.B.) Judis.nic.in/ S.C./ file name  =41154
      

             REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                  CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  147  OF 2014
                (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 7107 of 2013)


Varinder Singh                                           …Appellant

                                   Versus

State of Punjab & Anr.                                   ...Respondents

                               J U D G M E N T

V.Gopala Gowda, J.

      Leave granted.

2.    This appeal is filed by the appellant questioning the  correctness  of
the judgment and final order passed by the High Court of Punjab and  Haryana
at Chandigarh in petition Crl. Misc. No. M-13296 of  2011  (O  &  M)  urging
various facts and legal contentions in support of his case.

3.    Necessary relevant facts are stated hereunder to appreciate  the  case
of the appellant and also to find out whether the appellant is  entitled  to
the relief prayed for in this appeal.

      The appellant had gone as a visitor to the Central Jail, Ferozepur  on
17.09.2009. There, on being searched, a mobile phone was recovered from  his
turban and a charger was recovered from his shoes. An FIR  dated  24.09.2009
was filed at the Police Station Ferozepur, under Sections 42   and  45  (12)
of the  Prisons  Act,  1894  (in  short  “the  Act”).   The  Chief  Judicial
Magistrate of Ferozepur charged him on 01.05.2010 under Sections 42  and  45
of the Act.  The appellant approached the High Court of Punjab  and  Haryana
by way of a petition under  Section 482 of the Code of  Criminal  Procedure,
1973, praying that the FIR be quashed. The High Court of Punjab and  Haryana
by way of impugned judgment and final order dated 19.07.2013  dismissed  the
petition, and inter alia held that “….the accused is at liberty to take  all
pleas available to him during the trial”.

4.    The High Court in its impugned order has  interpreted  Section  42  of
the Act, and held that whoever communicates or attempts to communicate  with
any prisoner is liable for punishment. It said  that  the  appellant  herein
was entering the jail with a mobile phone and  its  charger,  apparently  to
enable communication with a prisoner. It was held that “ After  presentation
of challan, charges have already been  framed  against  the  petitioner.  In
these circumstances, at this stage, no ground for quashing  of  the  FIR  in
question is made out.”

5.    The learned counsel for the appellant contended that  the  High  Court
had not appreciated the contention that the offence under  Sections  42  and
45 of the Act is not made out, and that mobile phone  and  charger  are  not
included in the list of the prohibited articles. It was also contended  that
section 52-A, which prohibited the carrying of a mobile phone, has not  been
notified yet, and that it is still a Bill. It  was  further  contended  that
even if the notification were to be taken as  implementable,  it  was  dated
08.03.2011. The offence is admittedly of 2009, and thus,  this  notification
will not apply to the case as the same is prospective in nature.

6.    The learned counsel for the respondents contended that  the  appellant
was hiding a mobile phone in his turban and a charger  in  his  shoe,  thus,
prima facie,  the case under Section  42  of  the  Act  has  been  made  out
against him. The counsel also contended that the sections mentioned  in  the
charge sheet are attracted, and that there is no reason for  the  courts  to
interfere at this stage.

7.    We have heard the rival legal contentions and  perused  the  documents
produced on record. Two issues arise for our consideration:

   1) Whether an offence is made out under Sections 42 and 45  (12)  of  the
      Prisons Act?

   2) Whether the High Court was justified  in  rejecting  the  petition  to
      quash the FIR?

Answer to Point no.1

8.    We have to examine Sections 42 and 45 of the Act in  detail  in  order
to understand the issue at hand.  Section 45 of the Act  provides  for  acts
which are declared to be prison  offences  when  committed  by  a  prisoner.
Clause (12) makes  receiving,  possessing  or  transferring  any  prohibited
article a prison offence.

9.    The appellant was not a prisoner at the date of the commission of  the
offence. He could thus, not have committed a  ‘prison  offence’  as  defined
under Section 45 of the Act. Hence, no offence is made out under Section  45
of the Act. Insofar as Section 42 of the Act is concerned, it provides  that
only that communication, which is contrary to the rules made  under  Section
59 of the Act is prohibited.  Section 42 of the Act reads as under :

             “42. Penalty for introduction or removal of prohibited articles
             into  or  from  prison  and   communication  with   prisoners.—
             Whoever, contrary to any rule under section [59] introduces  or
             removes, or attempts by any  means  whatever  to  introduce  or
             remove, into or from any prison, or  supplies  or  attempts  to
             supply to any prisoner outside the  limits  of  a  prison,  any
             prohibited article,

             and every officer of a prison who, contrary to any  such  rule,
             knowingly suffers any such article to  be  introduced  into  or
             removed from any prison, to be possessed by any prisoner, or to
             be supplied to any prisoner outside the limits of a prison,

             and whoever,  contrary  to  any  such  rules,  communicates  or
             attempts to communicate with any prisoner,

             and whoever abets any offence made punishable by this section,

             shall,  on  conviction  before  a  Magistrate,  be  liable   to
             imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months,  or  to  fine
             not exceeding two hundred rupees, or to both.”



10.   The Punjab  Jail  Manual  lists  the  prohibited  articles  in  Punjab
prisons. Para 606 of the Manual lists the following Prohibited Articles:

      “…..

   1) Spirituous liquors of every description

   2) Tobacco and all other  substances  whatsoever  which  are  or  may  be
      intended to be used for the purpose of smoking, chewing  or  snuffing,
      and all instruments and appliances whatsoever, which may be  used  for
      or in connection with smoking, chewing or snuffing,

   3) All explosive, intoxicating or  poisonous  substances,  and  chemicals
      whether fluid or solid of whatever description.

   4) All arms and weapons, and articles which are capable of being used  as
      weapons of whatever description.

   5) All  bullion,  metal,  coin,  jewellery,  ornaments,  currency  notes,
      securities and articles of value of every description.

   6) All books, paper and printed  or  written  matter  and  materials  and
      appliances for printing or writing of whatever description.

   7) String, rope, chains and all materials, which  are  capable  of  being
      converted into string or rope or chains, of whatever description.

   8) Wood, bricks, stones and earth of every description.”

This list does not mention Mobile phone or charger as one of the  prohibited
articles. Thus, the communication, even if it was attempted to  being  done,
was not contrary to the prison rules, and thus,  is  not  an  offence  under
Section 42 of the Act.

11.   The Prisons (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2011 provides  for  the  addition
of section 52-A to the Act. This Section reads thus :

             “52-A. (1)-Notwithstanding anything contained in this  Act,  if
             any prisoner is found guilty of possessing, operating or  using
             a mobile phone or their  component  parts  as  like  SIM  card,
             memory card, battery or charger or if the prisoner or any other
             person assists or abets or instigates in the supply thereof, he
             shall be punished with imprisonment for a term,  not  exceeding
             one year or with fine not exceeding Rs 25,000 or with both……”




This Section, thus,  makes  the  possession  of  the  mobile  phone  by  the
prisoner and supplying the phone by any person an offence. The  notification
by the Punjab Government that this section is in force is dated  08.03.2011.
The FIR for  the  offence  was  dated  24.09.2009.  This  notification  will
obviously not apply  to  the  case  in  hand  as  the  alleged  offence  was
committed in 2009, and retrospective effect will not apply in  the  case  of
criminal laws.  Hence, there is no offence made out  against  the  appellant
and we cannot accept the  reasoning  of  the  High  Court  in  the  impugned
judgment. We hereby hold that this section cannot be made applicable to  the
facts of the present case.

Answer to point no.2

12.   It is our view that in light of  the  settled  legal  principles,  the
High Court has erred in dismissing the petition to quash the FIR.

13.   Section  482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure reads as under :-

           “482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court: Nothing  in  this
           Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent  powers  of
           the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary  to  give
           effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of  the
           process of  any  Court  or  otherwise  to  secure  the  ends  of
           justice.”

Under this Section, the High Court has the  power  to  quash  an  FIR.
This
court in the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal [1] has  laid  down  the
following categories of cases in which  the  High  Court  can  exercise  its
power under Section 482 and quash the FIR:-

           “1. Where the allegations made in the First  Information  Report
           or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and
           accepted in their entirety do  not  prima-facie  constitute  any
           offence or make out a case against the accused.

           2. Where the allegations in the  First  Information  Report  and
           other materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose
           a cognizable offence,  justifying  an  investigation  by  police
           officers Under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an  order
           of a Magistrate within the purview  of  Section  155(2)  of  the
           Code.

           3. Where the uncontroverted  allegations  made  in  the  FIR  or
           complaint and the evidence collected in support of the  same  do
           not disclose the commission of any offence and make out  a  case
           against the accused.

           4. Where, the allegations in the  F.I.R.  do  not  constitute  a
           cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence,
           no investigation is permitted by a  police  officer  without  an
           order of a Magistrate as contemplated Under  Section  155(2)  of
           the Code.

           5. Where the allegations made in the FIR  or  complaint  are  so
           absurd and inherently  improbable  on  the  basis  of  which  no
           prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion  that  there  is
           sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

           6. Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any  of  the
           provisions of the Code or  the  concerned  Act  (under  which  a
           criminal  proceeding  is  instituted)  to  the  institution  and
           continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a  specific
           provision  in  the  Code  or  the   concerned   Act,   providing
           efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

           7. Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with  mala
           fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted  with
           an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance  on  the  accused  and
           with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”[2]




14.   These principles were further reiterated by a  three  judge  bench  of
this Court in the case of Sunder Babu v. State of Tamil Nadu[3].

15.   The case of the appellant clearly falls  under  category  (1)  of  the
grounds of quashing of FIR mentioned in the case of Bhajan Lal  (supra).  On
the date of the  offence,  mobile  phone  was  not  listed  as  one  of  the
prohibited articles under the Punjab Prison  Manual.  Thus,  no  offence  is
made out under Section 42 of the Act, as there was  no  communication  which
was done or was attempted to being done contrary to the rules. Further,  the
appellant was not a prisoner on the date of the  offence.  Hence,  he  could
not have committed a prison offence as defined under Section 45 of the Act.

16.   In view of the foregoing reasons,  the  appeal  is  allowed  and   the
impugned judgment of the High Court is set aside. The FIR  dated  24.09.2009
and the proceedings against the appellant are  quashed.  There  will  be  no
order as to costs.



                               ………………………………………………………………………J.
                         [SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA]



                                ………………………………………………………………………J.
                         [V. GOPALA GOWDA]


New Delhi,
January 16,  2014.


-----------------------
[1]    1992 Supp (1) SCC 335.
[2]    Ibid /Para 102.
[3]    (2009) 14 SCC 244 at para 7.


-----------------------
9





No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.