The Delhi High Court while hearing a plea told the Additional Sessions Judge to exercise care and caution in the future before embarking on judicial misadventures.

The Court ordered the deletion of certain adverse remarks and directions given by the said Trial Court Judge against two police officials.

A Single Bench of Justice Anish Dayal said, “… it is directed that all remarks against the petitioners in orders dated 21st January, 2023 and 31st January, 2023 passed by Ld., Additional Sessions Judge, South East, Saket Courts, New Delhi in Bail Appl. No. 202/2023 shall be expunged and all directions for conducting enquiries and explanations by the DCP or the Commissioner of Police shall be recalled and stand deleted from the said orders. … It is expected therefore that the Ld. ASJ would be circumspect and exercise care and caution in future before embarking on these judicial misadventures.”

The Bench held that such remarks are unnecessary and could have serious implications on the careers of public servants, particularly for what seems in the facts and circumstances as perfunctory issues which have no huge negative impact on the actual administration of the criminal justice process.

Advocates Vikas Arora, Radhika Arora, and Piyush Kumar appeared for the petitioners while ASC Sanjeev Bhandari, APP Richa Dhawan, and Advocates Kunal Mittal and Saurabh Tanwar appeared for the respondents.

Brief Facts

The Additional Sessions Judge in this matter had directed the police commissioner to get an inquiry conducted against the petitioners i.e., the SHO and the investigating officer (IO) concerned, and made certain adverse remarks against them in relation to an ongoing criminal proceeding, such as that there was something fishy on part of the police.

The proceedings before the Trial Court were related to an FIR registered under the Indian Penal Code for the alleged theft of sarees worth Rs 15 lakh from the shop of the complainant at Defence Colony. The accused were the women whose anticipatory bail applications were listed and the IO opposed the same. The ASJ after hearing the arguments denied the bail.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of both parties observed, “Any concession or consent to an anticipatory bail application by an IO would in fact have amounted to it being ‘fishy’ but certainly not an opposition to it. … Once the judicial order was passed, it was clearly open to the IO to issue notices under Section 41A Cr.P.C. to allow the accused to join the investigation.”

The Court said that the ASJ ought not to have embarked on an inexorable quest when his original concern had been suitably addressed.

“The remarks and the phraseology used by the Ld. ASJ is summary in nature, penal in its scope, stigmatizing in its tone and tenor and as already motioned, beyond the ken of expected judicial conduct”, asserted the Court.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the petition.

Cause Title- Chandra Shekhar & Anr. v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2023/DHC/001506)

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