The Telangana High Court, Hyderabad on November 25, 2022, stayed the notice issued by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to the National General Secretary of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), BL Santhosh till December 5, 2022, in probe into the alleged Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLAs Poaching Case.

Justice K. Surender was dealing with a petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure setting aside the notice issued to the petitioner by the SIT under Section 41A of the CrPC. The Court held–

"It is apparent that a notice under Section 41- A Cr.P.C can be issued to a person when the police officer is satisfied in a case where the arrest of a person is not required shall issue a notice directing the person against whom (i) a reasonable complaint has been made, or (ii) credible information has been received, or (iii) a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed a cognizable offence, to appear before him. The provision also takes care of any violation consequent to issuance of Section 41-A Cr.P.C notice and also when a person could be arrested to whom Section 41A Cr,P.C notice is issued."

The SIT had earlier issued notices to the BJP leader and others to appear before it for questioning on November 21 but they did not appear. Hence, the notice was again issued to appear on either November 26 or 28.

Senior Advocate Prakash Reddy appearing for the petitioner submitted that the requirements under Section 41 CrPC are not reflected in the notice and therefore the same is bad in law.

In this case, a crime was registered by the Police Station, Moinabad for offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998. It was alleged in the FIR that the accused tried to induce and bribe a person from the political party. A trap was laid by the police wherein the accused had discussed regarding the deal of joining the BJP party by resigning from the TRS party and offering huge amounts as a bribe. During the investigation, the accused along with others were remanded to judicial custody which was refused by the Court, and the same was questioned before the High Court. Hence, a writ petition was filed to hand over the investigation to the CBI, and orders were also passed for the same.

The High Court observed that "Prima facie this Court finds that not one of the requirements mentioned ln Section 41 A Cr.P.C to summon the petitioner are mentioned. The notice does not give any details of any one of the requirements mentioned in the provision, Any act of the investigating agency, in my opinion, would be arbitrary, if the law mandates fulfilling of certain conditions or criteria and the same are not fulfilled, would be violative of the rights of the person to whom the notice is issued."

The Court, therefore, further ordered –

"This Court deems it appropriate to stay the impugned notice dated 23.11.2o22 under Section 41 A of Cr.P.C issued to the petitioner till the next date of hearing i.e., on O5.L2.2O22, for the reason of not fulfilling any one of the three requirements. The counsel shall assist the Court to ascertain whether the wording in Section 41 A Cr.P.C notice stating that "there is evidence" and "reasonable grounds would fulfill the requirements under Section 41 A Cr.P.C."

Cause Title – BL Santhosh v. The State of Telangana & Anr.

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