Friday, September 30, 2011

Police files case against Facebook, Twitter and Orkut

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh lodged a complaint against the hate mail with police  regarding the  objectionable pictures and abusive comments posted against him on social networking sites by people.

In his compalint Digvijay named 22 people and eight websites.Digvijay  said the content on the internet has caused  mental pain  to him and  his family .

The police have lodged an FIR under section 66 of the Information Technology Act.

Thursday, September 29, 2011





(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No.5412 of 2008)





D.K. JAIN, J.:

Leave granted.

2. This appeal, by special leave, is directed against the judgment and

order dated 26th November 2007, rendered by the High Court of

Judicature at Bombay, in CRL. W.P.

No.1086/2002. By the impugned judgment, while allowing the writ

petition filed by the appellant, alleging harassment on account of his

arrest on the strength of a non-bailable warrant, which had been

cancelled, the High Court has directed the delinquent police officer to

pay by way of costs to the appellant an amount of `2,000/- from his

own account.

3. Shorn of unnecessary details, the facts material for adjudication of the

present case, may be stated thus:

Some time in the year 2000, one, Mr. Prem Harchandrai filed a

complaint, being C.C. No. 163/P/2000, against the appellant, a practicing

Advocate, under Section 324 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short

"the IPC"), in relation to some incident alleged to have taken place in the

`Radio Club' at Mumbai, considered to be a club for the elite. When at a

preliminary stage, the case came up for hearing before the Additional

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on 7th August, 2002, finding the appellant

to be absent, the Court issued a non-bailable warrant against him

returnable on 31st October, 2002. The warrant was forwarded to the

Colaba Police Station for execution. However, on 12th August, 2002, on

appellant's putting in an appearance before the Court, the warrant was


4. On 15th August, 2002, the complainant approached the Colaba Police

Station and insisted on the arrest of the appellant in pursuance of the

said non-bailable warrant. Thereupon, respondent No. 2, who at that

point of time was posted as an Inspector of Police at the Colaba Police

Station, directed a constable to accompany the complainant, and


execute the warrant. When the appellant was sought to be arrested, he

informed the constable that the said warrant had already been

cancelled. However, as he could not produce any documentary

evidence relating to cancellation of warrant, the appellant was arrested

before a public gathering which had assembled at the Radio Club, in

connection with the Independence day celebrations. He was produced

before the duty Magistrate at about 2 P.M., the same day. The

Magistrate directed the release of the appellant. It appears that the

appellant obtained the necessary confirmation about cancellation of

the warrant on the next day i.e. 16th August 2002 and produced the

same before respondent No. 2 on the same day. Alleging malafides

and humiliation at the hands of respondent No. 2, in collusion with the

complainant, the appellant approached the High Court, inter-alia,

praying for suitable disciplinary action against respondent No.2;

adequate compensation; damages and costs by the said respondent

from his own pocket.

5. As aforesaid, the High Court, vide impugned judgment has allowed

the writ petition, inter alia, observing thus :

"We therefore, find that there was no justification for issuance of

non-bailable warrant on 7th August, 2002 merely because the

petitioner had remained absent in Criminal Case No. 163/P/2000

(sic) by the Metropolitan Magistrate. The Magistrate could have

issued either a notice or a bailable warrant depending upon the


facts revealed from the records. Once the warrant was cancelled

on 12th August, 2002, it was necessary for the Court to

immediately communicate the same to the concerned Police

authority so that no inconvenience could have been caused to the

person against whom the warrant was initially issued. Once the

warrant was sought to be executed on holiday and the concerned

police officer was categorically informed that the warrant had

already been cancelled and the police officer being fully aware of

the circumstances and nature of the case in which warrant had

been issued, it was necessary for the police officer to ascertain

and to find out whether the warrant which was sought to be

executed was still enforceable or had already been cancelled and

not to rush to execute the warrant in those circumstances and that

too on a holiday. Having produced the necessary documents

confirming the cancellation of the warrant much prior to the date

on which it was sought to be (sic) enforced, it was the duty of the

police officer to tender the necessary apology to the petitioner

for executing such warrant on the holiday, and the concerned

officer having failed to tender the apology it apparently shows

that he had not performed his duty in the manner he was required

to perform as a responsible police officer. Even the affidavit

filed by the respondent No. 2 nowhere discloses any repentance

for having executed the warrant which was already cancelled. It

is a clear case of unnecessary interference with the liberty of a


6. Thus, having failed to get the desired relief from the High Court, the

appellant is before us in this appeal.

7. Arguing the case in person, it was strenuously urged by the appellant

that having regard to the nature of offence alleged against him, in the

first place, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate erred in law

in issuing non-bailable warrant in a routine manner, without

application of mind, merely because the appellant had failed to appear

in court on 7th August 2002. It was asserted that since neither Section


70 nor Section 71 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short

"the Code") uses the expression "non-bailable" a Magistrate is not

authorised to issue non-bailable warrant of arrest even when an

accused fails to appear in the court. It was submitted that having held

that the respondent No.2 was guilty of misconduct, the High Court

failed to punish the said respondent under Sections 342 and 345 of the

IPC. It was argued that the misconduct of respondent No.2 was so

high that he should have been forthwith suspended from his job and

ordered to be tried in a competent criminal court. According to the

appellant, the direction of the High Court asking respondent No.2 to

pay an amount of `2,000/- by way of cost to the appellant was no

justice at all and if a strict action is not taken against such delinquent

officers, they will continue to disregard the orders of the courts with


8. Per contra, Mr. Jay Savla, learned counsel appearing for respondent

No.2 submitted that since the appellant was unable to furnish any

document or order to establish that non-bailable warrant issued against

him by the court had been cancelled, the police authorities were left

with no option and in fact were duty bound to execute the same. It

was also urged that, as per the prevalent practice, whenever any non-

bailable warrant is cancelled by the court, either memo or order


addressed to the Senior Inspector of Police of the concerned police

station is issued and forwarded directly to the concerned police station

with a direction to return the said warrant to the court. But in the

present case no such memo or order in writing had been received at

the police station on or before 15th August 2002, when it was

executed. Learned counsel submitted that the said respondent having

performed his duty bona fide and in good faith, in pursuance of order

issued by the court having jurisdiction, the said respondent had not

committed any illegal act warranting any action against him.

9. It needs little emphasis that since the execution of a non-bailable

warrant directly involves curtailment of liberty of a person, warrant of

arrest cannot be issued mechanically, but only after recording

satisfaction that in the facts and circumstances of the case, it is

warranted. The Courts have to be extra-cautious and careful while

directing issue of non-bailable warrant, else a wrongful detention

would amount to denial of constitutional mandate envisaged in Article

21 of the Constitution of India. At the same time, there is no

gainsaying that the welfare of an individual must yield to that of the

community. Therefore, in order to maintain rule of law and to keep

the society in functional harmony, it is necessary to strike a balance

between an individual's rights, liberties and privileges on the one


hand, and the State on the other. Indeed, it is a complex exercise. As

Justice Cardozo puts it "on the one side is the social need that crime

shall be repressed. On the other, the social need that law shall not be

flouted by the insolence of office. There are dangers in any choice."

Be that as it may, it is for the court, which is clothed with the

discretion to determine whether the presence of an accused can be

secured by a bailable or non-bailable warrant, to strike the balance

between the need of law enforcement on the one hand and the

protection of the citizen from highhandedness at the hands of the law

enforcement agencies on the other. The power and jurisdiction of the

court to issue appropriate warrant against an accused on his failure to

attend the court on the date of hearing of the matter cannot be

disputed. Nevertheless, such power has to be exercised judiciously

and not arbitrarily, having regard, inter-alia, to the nature and

seriousness of the offence involved; the past conduct of the accused;

his age and the possibility of his absconding. (Also See: State of U.P.

Vs. Poosu & Anr.1).

10. In Inder Mohan Goswami & Anr. Vs. State of Uttaranchal & Ors.2,

a Bench of three learned Judges of this Court cautioned that before

issuing non-bailable warrants, the Courts should strike a balance

1 (1976) 3 SCC 1

2 (2007) 12 SCC 1


between societal interests and personal liberty and exercise its

discretion cautiously. Enumerating some of the circumstances which

the Court should bear in mind while issuing non-bailable warrant, it

was observed:

"53. Non-bailable warrant should be issued to bring a person

to court when summons or bailable warrants would be

unlikely to have the desired result. This could be when:

7 it is reasonable to believe that the person will not
voluntarily appear in court; or

7 the police authorities are unable to find the person to
serve him with a summon; or

7 it is considered that the person could harm someone if
not placed into custody immediately.

54. As far as possible, if the court is of the opinion that a

summon will suffice in getting the appearance of the accused

in the court, the summon or the bailable warrants should be

preferred. The warrants either

bailable or non-bailable should never be issued without

proper scrutiny of facts and complete application of mind,

due to the extremely serious consequences and ramifications

which ensue on issuance of warrants. The court must very carefully examine whether the criminal complaint or FIR has not been filed with an oblique motive.

55. In complaint cases, at the first instance, the court should

direct serving of the summons along with the copy of the

complaint. If the accused seem to be avoiding the summons,

the court, in the second instance should issue bailable

warrant. In the third instance, when the court is fully

satisfied that the accused is avoiding the court's proceeding

intentionally, the process of issuance of the non-bailable

warrant should be resorted to. Personal liberty is paramount,

therefore, we caution courts at the first and second instance

to refrain from issuing non-bailable warrants."


11.We deferentially concur with these directions, and emphasize that

since these directions flow from the right to life and personal liberty,

enshrined in Articles 21 and 22(1) of our Constitution, they need to be

strictly complied with. However, we may hasten to add that these are

only broad guidelines and not rigid rules of universal application when

facts and behavioral patterns are bound to differ from case to case.

Since discretion in this behalf is entrusted with the court, it is not

advisable to lay down immutable formulae on the basis whereof

discretion could be exercised. As aforesaid, it is for the court

concerned to assess the situation and exercise discretion judiciously,

dispassionately and without prejudice.

12.Viewed in this perspective, we regret to note that in the present case,

having regard to nature of the complaint against the appellant and his

stature in the community and the fact that admittedly the appellant was

regularly attending the court proceedings, it was not a fit case where

non-bailable warrant should have been issued by the Additional Chief

Metropolitan Magistrate. In our opinion, the attendance of the

appellant could have been secured by issuing summons or at best by a

bailable warrant. We are, therefore, in complete agreement with the

High Court that in the facts and circumstances of the case, issuance of

non-bailable warrant was manifestly unjustified.


13. We shall now advert to a more anxious point, viz. the conduct of

respondent No.2, at whose direction the warrant was executed. It

needs no emphasis that any form of degrading treatment would fall

within the inhibition of Article 21 of the Constitution. In the present

case, respondent No.2 was aware that the non-bailable warrant issued

on account of failure on the part of the appellant to attend the court

proceedings on 7th August 2002, was returnable only on 31st October

2002. Undoubtedly, respondent No.2 was duty bound to execute the

warrant as expeditiously as possible but we are unable to fathom any

justifiable reason for the urgency in executing the warrant on a

National holiday, more so when it had been issued more than a week

ago and even the complaint against the appellant was in relation to the

offence punishable under Section 324 of the IPC. The complaint

related to the year 2000. At the relevant time, the offence punishable

under Section 324 of the IPC was a bailable offence. It is apparent

from the record that the warrant was executed at the behest of the

complainant in order to denigrate and humiliate the appellant at a

public place, in public view, during the course of Independence day

celebrations at Radio Club. We are convinced that respondent No.2, in

collusion with the complainant, played with the personal liberty of the

appellant in a high handed manner. The unfortunate sequel of an

unmindful action on the part of respondent No.2 was that the


appellant, a practicing Advocate, with no criminal history, remained in

police custody for quite some time without any justification

whatsoever and suffered unwarranted humiliation and degradation in

front of his fellow members of the Club. Regrettably, he lost his

freedom though for a short while, on the Independence day. Here

also, we agree with the High Court that respondent No.2 did not

perform his duty in the manner expected of a responsible police

officer. As a matter of fact, being the guardian of the liberty of a

person, a heavy responsibility devolved on him to ensure that his

office was not misused by the complainant to settle personal scores.

The so-called urgency or promptness in execution led to undesirable

interference with the liberty of the appellant. Such a conduct cannot

receive a judicial imprimatur.

14. That takes us to the core issue, namely, whether the appellant is

entitled to any compensation for the humiliation and harassment

suffered by him on account of the wrong perpetrated by respondent

No.2, in addition to what has been awarded by the High Court. As

aforesaid, the grievance of the appellant is that imposition of a fine of

`2,000/- on respondent No.2 is grossly inadequate. His prayer is that

in addition to an adequate amount of compensation, respondent No.2


should also be prosecuted and proceeded against departmentally for

his wrongful confinement.

15.It is trite principle of law that in matters involving infringement or

deprivation of a fundamental right; abuse of process of law,

harassment etc., the courts have ample power to award adequate

compensation to an aggrieved person not only to remedy the wrong

done to him but also to serve as a deterrent for the wrong doer.

16. In Rudul Sah Vs. State of Bihar & Anr.3, Y.V. Chandrachud, CJ,

speaking for a Bench of three learned Judges of this Court had

observed thus:

"One of the telling ways in which the violation of that

right can reasonably be prevented and due compliance

with the mandate of Article 21 secured, is to mulct its

violators in the payment of monetary compensation.

Administrative sclerosis leading to flagrant infringements

of fundamental rights cannot be corrected by any other

method open to the judiciary to adopt."

17. In Bhim Singh, MLA Vs. State of J & K & Ors.4, holding illegal

detention in police custody of the petitioner Bhim Singh to be

violative of his rights under Articles 21 and 22(2) of the Constitution,

this Court, in exercise of its power to award compensation under

Article 32, directed the State to pay monetary compensation to the

3 (1983) 4 SCC 141

4 (1985) 4 SCC 677


petitioner. Relying on Rudal Sah (supra), O. Chinnappa Reddy, J.

echoed the following views:

"When a person comes to us with the complaint that he

has been arrested and imprisoned with mischievous or

malicious intent and that his constitutional and legal

rights were invaded, the mischief or malice and the

invasion may not be washed away or wished away by his

being set free. In appropriate cases we have the

jurisdiction to compensate the victim by awarding

suitable monetary compensation".

18. In Nilabati Behera (Smt) Alias Lalita Behera Vs. State of Orissa &

Ors.5, clearing the doubt and indicating the precise nature of the

constitutional remedy under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution to

award compensation for contravention of fundamental rights, which

had arisen because of the observation that "the petitioner could have

been relegated to the ordinary remedy of a suit if his claim to

compensation was factually controversial" in Rudul Sah (supra), J.S.

Verma, J. (as His Lordship then was) stated as under:

"It follows that 'a claim in public law for

compensation' for contravention of human rights and

fundamental freedoms, the protection of which is

guaranteed in the Constitution, is an acknowledged

remedy for enforcement and protection of such rights,

and such a claim based on strict liability made by

resorting to a constitutional remedy provided for the

enforcement of a fundamental right is 'distinct from,

and in addition to, the remedy in private law for

damages for the tort' resulting from the contravention

of the fundamental right. The defence of sovereign

5 (1993) 2 SCC 746


immunity being inapplicable, and alien to the concept

of guarantee of fundamental rights, there can be no

question of such a defence being available in the

constitutional remedy. It is this principle which

justifies award of monetary compensation for

contravention of fundamental rights guaranteed by the

Constitution, when that is the only practicable mode

of redress available for the contravention made by the

State or its servants in the purported exercise of their

powers, and enforcement of the fundamental right is

claimed by resort to the remedy in public law under

the Constitution by recourse to Articles 32 and 226 of

the Constitution. This is what was indicated in Rudul

Sah and is the basis of the subsequent decisions in

which compensation was awarded under Articles 32

and 226 of the Constitution, for contravention of

fundamental rights."

In the same decision, in his concurring judgment, Dr. A.S. Anand, J. (as

His Lordship then was), explaining the scope and purpose of public law

proceedings and private law proceedings stated as under:

"The public law proceedings serve a different purpose

than the private law proceedings. The relief of monetary

compensation, as exemplary damages, in proceedings

under Article 32 by this Court or under Article 226 by the

High Courts, for established infringement of the

indefeasible right guaranteed under Article 21 of the

Constitution is a remedy available in public law and is

based on the strict liability for contravention of the

guaranteed basic and indefeasible rights of the citizen.

The purpose of public law is not only to civilize public

power but also to assure the citizen that they live under a

legal system which aims to protect their interests and

preserve their rights. Therefore, when the court moulds

the relief by granting "compensation" in proceedings

under Article 32 or 226 of the Constitution seeking

enforcement or protection of fundamental rights, it does

so under the public law by way of penalising the

wrongdoer and fixing the liability for the public wrong

on the State which has failed in its public duty to protect

the fundamental rights of the citizen. The payment of

compensation in such cases is not to be understood, as it

is generally understood in a civil action for damages

under the private law but in the broader sense of

providing relief by an order of making 'monetary amends'

under the public law for the wrong done due to breach of

public duty, of not protecting the fundamental rights of

the citizen. The compensation is in the nature of

'exemplary damages' awarded against the wrongdoer for

the breach of its public law duty and is independent of

the rights available to the aggrieved party to claim

compensation under the private law in an action based on

tort, through a suit instituted in a court of competent

jurisdiction or/and prosecute the offender under the penal


19.The power and jurisdiction of this Court and the High Courts to grant

monetary compensation in exercise of its jurisdiction respectively

under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India to a victim

whose fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution are

violated are thus, well-established. However, the question now is

whether on facts in hand, the appellant is entitled to monetary

compensation in addition to what has already been awarded to him by

the High Court. Having considered the case in the light of the fact-

situation stated above, we are of the opinion that the appellant does

not deserve further monetary compensation.

20. It is true that the appellant not only suffered humiliation in the public

gathering, and remained in judicial custody for some time but we feel

that for what he had undergone on 15th August 2002, some blame lies

at his door as well. Being a practicing Advocate himself, the appellant

was fully conversant with the court procedure and, therefore, should

have procured a copy of memo/order dated 12th August 2002, whereby

the non-bailable warrant was cancelled by the court. As noticed

above, admittedly, the appellant applied and obtained a copy of such

order only on 16th August 2002. Though the conduct of respondent

No.2 in arresting the appellant, ignoring his plea that the non-bailable

warrant issued by the court in a bailable offence had been cancelled,

deserves to be deplored, yet, strictly speaking the action of respondent

No.2 in detaining the appellant on the strength of the warrant in his

possession, perhaps motivated, cannot be said to be per se without the

authority of law. In that view of the matter, in our opinion, no other

action against respondent No.2 is warranted. He has been sufficiently


21.The last issue raised that remains to be considered is whether the

Courts can at all issue a warrant, called a "non-bailable" warrant

because no such terminology is found in the Code as well as in Form 2

of the Second Schedule to the Code. It is true that neither Section 70

nor Section 71, appearing in Chapter VI of the Code, enumerating the

processes to compel appearance, as also Form 2 uses the expression

like "non-bailable". Section 70 merely speaks of form of warrant of

arrest, and ordains that it will remain in force until it is cancelled.

Similarly Section 71 talks of discretionary power of Court to specify

about the security to be taken in case the person is to be released on

his arrest pursuant to the execution of the warrant issued under Section

70 of the Code. Sub-section (2) of Section 71 of the Code specifies

the endorsements which can be made on a warrant. Nevertheless, we

feel that the endorsement of the expression "non-bailable" on a

warrant is to facilitate the executing authority as well as the person

against whom the warrant is sought to be executed to make them

aware as to the nature of the warrant that has been issued. In our

view, merely because Form No.2, issued under Section 476 of the

Code, and set forth in the Second schedule, nowhere uses the

expression bailable or non-bailable warrant, that does not prohibit the

Courts from using the said word or expression while issuing the

warrant or even to make endorsement to that effect on the warrant so

issued. Any endorsement/variation, which is made on such warrant for

the benefit of the person against whom the warrant is issued or the

persons who are required to execute the warrant, would not render the

warrant to be bad in law. What is material is that there is a power

vested in the Court to issue a warrant and that power is to be exercised

judiciously depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case.


Being so, merely because the warrant uses the expression like "non-

bailable" and that such terminology is not to be found in either Section

70 or Section 71 of the Code that by itself cannot render the warrant

bad in law. The argument is devoid of substance and is rejected


22.In view of the aforegoing discussion, no ground is made out

warranting our interference with the impugned judgment of the High

Court. We confirm the judgment and dismiss the appeal accordingly,

but with no order as to costs.

23.However, before parting with the judgment, we feel that in order to

prevent such a paradoxical situation, we are faced with in the instant

case, and to check or obviate the possibility of misuse of an arrest

warrant, in addition to the statutory and constitutional requirements to

which reference has been made above, it would be appropriate to issue

the following guidelines to be adopted in all cases where non-bailable

warrants are issued by the Courts:-

(a) All the High Court shall ensure that the Subordinate

Courts use printed and machine numbered Form No.2

for issuing warrant of arrest and each such form is duly

accounted for;

(b) Before authenticating, the court must ensure that

complete particulars of the case are mentioned on the


(c) The presiding Judge of the court (or responsible officer

specially authorized for the purpose in case of High

Courts) issuing the warrant should put his full and

legible signatures on the process, also ensuring that

Court seal bearing complete particulars of the Court is

prominently endorsed thereon;

(d) The Court must ensure that warrant is directed to a

particular police officer (or authority) and, unless

intended to be open-ended, it must be returnable

whether executed or unexecuted, on or before the date

specified therein;

(e) Every Court must maintain a register (in the format

given below), in which each warrant of arrest issued

must be entered chronologically and the serial number

of such entry reflected on the top right hand of the


(f) No warrant of arrest shall be issued without being

entered in the register mentioned above and the

concerned court shall periodically check/monitor the

same to confirm that every such process is always

returned to the court with due report and placed on the

record of the concerned case;

(g) A register similar to the one in clause (e) supra shall be

maintained at the concerned police station. The Station

House Officer of the concerned Police Station shall

ensure that each warrant of arrest issued by the Court,

when received is duly entered in the said register and is

formally entrusted to a responsible officer for


(h) Ordinarily, the Courts should not give a long time for

return or execution of warrants, as experience has

shown that warrants are prone to misuse if they remain

in control of executing agencies for long;

(i) On the date fixed for the return of the warrant, the

Court must insist upon a compliance report on the

action taken thereon by the Station House Officer of the concerned Police Station or the Officer In-charge of the concerned agency;

(j) The report on such warrants must be clear, cogent and

legible and duly forwarded by a superior police officer,

so as to facilitate fixing of responsibility in case of


(k) In the event of warrant for execution beyond

jurisdiction of the Court issuing it, procedure laid down

in Sections 78 and 79 of the Code must be strictly and

scrupulously followed; and

(l) In the event of cancellation of the arrest warrant by the

Court, the order cancelling warrant shall be recorded in

the case file and the register maintained. A copy

thereof shall be sent to the concerned authority,

requiring the process to be returned unexecuted

forthwith. The date of receipt of the unexecuted warrant

will be entered in the aforesaid registers. A copy of

such order shall also be supplied to the accused.

Format of the Register

S. The Case title and Name & The officer/ Date of Date Date of Due Report The action Remarks

No. number particulars particulars of person to judicial of cancellat date of returned taken as

printed on the person whom order issue ion, if return on reported

the form against whom directed directing any

used warrant of Arrest

arrest is Warrant to

issued be issued



24.We expect and hope that all the High Courts will issue appropriate

directions in this behalf to the Subordinate Courts, which shall

endeavour to put into practice the aforesaid directions at the earliest,

preferably within six months from today.


(D.K. JAIN, J.)


(H.L. DATTU, J.)


SEPTEMBER 9, 2011.


Labels---writ for compensation and damages and costs, Sections 342 and 345 of the IPC, duties of court while issuing NBW, procedure to issue NBW in compliant cases, compensation for wrongful detention by police, SC guidelines to lower courts on issuing NBWs