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‘SDM shouldn’t have heard case herself… other sections should have been used’

A city businessman’s booking under preventive sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure and his spending Wednesday night in the police station after he reportedly avoided a collision with an SDM’s car has drawn flak from the legal fraternity. Senior lawyers have slammed the use of sections 107/151 of the CrPC and the fact that the SDM concerned chose to hear the case herself.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: April 20, 2013 2:59:14 am

A city businessman’s booking under preventive sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and his spending Wednesday night in the police station after he reportedly avoided a collision with an SDM’s car has drawn flak from the legal fraternity. Senior lawyers have slammed the use of sections 107/151 of the CrPC and the fact that the SDM concerned chose to hear the case herself.

Sections 107/151 of the CrPC are used when there is an apprehension of breach of peace and tranquillity in an area and to make arrests to prevent the commission of cognisable offences. City-based businessman Vikrant Kumar,a resident of Sector 44,had reportedly avoided a collision between his jeep and the car of Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Director (IT) Tanvi Garg on Wednesday. He was arrested at 7.30 from his residence the same evening. After spending 16 hours in the police station,he was released on bail on Thursday.

Senior advocate Anupam Gupta says “in my opinion,the High Court should take a suo moto notice of this incident”. “From the media reports,it stands out that sections 107/151 could not have been invoked in this case. It is a sheer misuse of power by the SDM. There is no point in arresting the accused under preventive sections of CrPC when nothing had happened after what occurred at the spot,” he added.

However,Deputy Superintendent of Police (South) Surjit Singh Malik said,“As per the complaint,Kumar had a scuffle with the SDM’s driver. It was not as big an issue that a criminal case was made out against him. The accused had allegedly pushed him,causing peace disturbance.”

Senior advocate Amar Singh Chahal feels sections of apprehension of breach of peace could not have been applied in this case. “If we go by the complaint of the driver,then sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC should have been used,” he said.

SDM Garg,who later heard Kumar’s case in her court,has also drawn sharp criticism from the legal community. Gupta insists the border line between preventive and punitive action has been breached not only by the SDM but by police as well. “Gross illegality and injustice was done by the

SDM when she heard the case. It is absolutely unpardonable. Lowest to the highest rank of judges never hear a case when they have any personal interest in the matter,” he said.

Senior advocate N K Nanda maintains “this is absolutely against ethics for her (SDM) to hear this case”. “She has misused her powers. Did she not know what she is doing? When the judiciary comes to know about a case in which they have a direct or indirect interest,they transfer it,” he said.

‘We should not misuse power’

Commenting on the issue,Union Minister for Railways Pawan Bansal,who is also the local MP,said though he was not aware of the details,the people in positions of power should not misuse it. “All of us have risen from the same place. We belong to middle-class families. The officials need to understand this. With higher offices come responsibilities that need to be discharged. If we are in a position (of power),we should not misuse it,” he added.

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