Case Summary: Bhim Singh vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir

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Iowa man stopped, jailed near NP for false imprisonment

This post has been written by Aditi Singh, a first year law student from Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.

Title of case : Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu and Kashmir

Citation : AIR 1986 SC 494

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : O. Chinnappa Reddy and V. Khalid

Date Decided: 22 November, 1985

Appellant: Bhim Singh

Respondent : State of Jammu and Kashmir

Facts

Mr. Bhim Singh an MLA of Jammu and Kashmir was arrested and detained in police custody and was deliberately prevented from attending the sessions of the legislative assembly to be held on 11th September 1985. He was arrested on an intervening night between 9th and 10th September 1985 by the station house officer of Quiz Kunda police station, on the allegation that a case under section 153A of Ranbir Penal Code was registered against him for delivering an inflammatory/seditious speech at the public meeting held near parade ground, Jammu on 8th September 1985. He has not produced before the Magistrate till 13th September. There was also a voting session at the assembly and he was not able to vote as he was not allowed to go, where his vote was very crucial but the person to whom he wanted to give the vote won but his right to vote was infringed.

On the inquiry of the SupremeCourt, it was found that Mr. Bhim Singh was illegally detained by the police personnel, aided either by collusion or by a casual attitude with the Magistrate, who ordered for remand without production of the arrested person before him. The Court pointed out that the Magistrate acted without any sense of responsibility or genuine concern for the personal liberty and the police arrested the imprisoned with mischievous and malicious intent and it was certainly was a gross violation of the constitutional right of the accused person under article 21 and 22(2).

Issues

Whether the detention was illegal and qualified as false imprisonment?

Arguments Advanced from the side of Petitioner

  1. Petitioner has denied that he was brought in front of the Magistrate on 11thof September, 1985.
  2. Petitioner has further denied being brought in front of the Sub Judge on 13thof September, 1985 and even denies to be examined by any doctor for the purpose of obtaining a Medical Certificate that was used for obtaining a remand for 1 day from the Sub Judge.
  3. Petitioner accepts that on 14thof September, 1985 he was produced before the Sub Judge, Jammu and remanded for 2 days in judicial custody. He also accepts that thereafter on 16th of September, 1985 he was brought in front of the Additional Sessions Judge and was granted bail.
  4. Petitioner has also contended that during police custody he has been further harassed by the police.

Arguments advanced from the side of Respondent

 Inspector General of Police, Shri M.M. Khajuria and Superintendent of Police, Anantnag, Shri M.A.Mir contended  that on 10 September, 1985, the Police Control Room sent a notice to the Superintendent of Police to arrest Bhim Singh and also after arrest , the petitioner was brought to the District Headquarters as instructed and given proper facilities of water, food and rest. They stated that the petitioner was brought to Pacca Danga Police Station at 9:30 pm. Officers were put in place to pay attention to whether the petitioner had travelled safely through the Udhampur region they also contended that on 11 September, 1985, the Executive Magistrate First Class signed a remand to keep the petitioner under police custody for a period of 2 days and on expiry of the remand obtained for two days , further remand for one day from Sub-Judge with reason that Bhim Singh was sick ( Medical Certificate attached ) was obtained on 13 September, 1985. After the expiry of the second remand, the petitioner was produced before the Sub Judge on 14 September, 1985 and 2 days judicial custody was obtained. Thereafter, again on 16 September, 1985 the petitioner was brought in front of the Additional Sessions Judge where his bail was granted.

 

Judgement

 

The Court observed that the police officers acted in a most high handed way and opined “if the personal liberty of a member of the legislative assembly is to be played within this fashion one can only wonder what may happen to lesser mortals”.Further, reminded the duties of “police officers who are the custodians of law and order should have the greatest respect for personal liberty of citizens and should not float the laws by stopping to such weird acts of lawlessness. Custodians of law and order should not become depredators of civil liberties. Their duty is to protect and to abduct.” Chinnappa Reddy J. and Khalid J. followed the decision of Supreme Court in Rudul Shah and Sebastian Hongray cases and expressed the view that when a person comes to us with the complaint that he has been arrested and imprisoned with mischievous and malicious intent and that his Constitutional and legal rights were invaded, the mischief or malice and invasion may not be washed away or whisked-away by his being set free. The petitioner for such gross violation of his constitutional rights was awarded monetary compensation by way of exemplary costs. In the cases of ‘ Rudul Shah v. State of Bihar and Anr.’ and in the case of ‘ Sebastian Hongray v. UOI it was pointed out that in case of such violation of the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution , it is necessary to compensate the victim by way of exemplary costs. The respondent, State of Jammu and Kashmir was ordered to pay to the petitioner 50000 rupees within 2 months from the date of the judgement. The amount was to be deposited with the Registrar of the Court which would then be paid to the petitioner.

Conclusion

The tort of false imprisonment is one of the most severe forms of human rights violations. This case brings forward the various illegal detentions by the police force. Just because a person has been alleged of a wrong, it does not mean that the person loses all his fundamental rights.  Even the prisoners have human rights The right of a person to personal liberty, freedom, and life with dignity has been guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 20 and 21[1] cannot be abrogated even during an emergency, and false imprisonment is incongruous of the same. The fact that a convict is imprisoned and has to serve a sentence, doesn’t give the jail authorities any right to torment or torture him unnecessarily.  If the person is unlawfully confined by any police officer or government officer, then he or any person on his behalf can file for the writ of habeas corpus. The writ ensures the liberty of the person who is confined. The person who is about to be falsely arrested or imprisoned can also use reasonable force in order to prevent false arrest. He can use force for self-defense but has to make sure that the force used is reasonable according to the circumstances. Also, in the famous case of ‘ D.K.Basu v.State of West Bengal, the guidelines as to the rights of the arrested person were pointed out.

Right to be produced before a Magistrate without delay-  The CrPC under Sections 56 and 76[2]mandates that the person arrested shall be produced before the Magistrate or the Court having jurisdiction in the case without unnecessary delay.

Right of not being detained for more than 24 hours- This provides that the arresting authority is required to produce the arrested person  without unnecessary delay before the Magistrate and in no case such delay shall be more than 24 hours. However, the stipulated period of 24 hours excludes the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to Magistrate’s Court. If this requirement is not followed by the arresting authority then the arrest will be deemed to be unlawful.

References

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