The Supreme Court while reprimanding the manner in which the Investigation Officer (Gujarat Police) remanded a man in Gujarat in contravention to its order dated December 8, 2023 granting anticipatory bail, came down heavily even on the Magistrate who did not even mention the interim order in the remand order.

While terming the remand period a ‘blatantly illegal custody of 4 days’, the bench issued contempt notice against the IO and the Magistrate.

Furthermore, while enquiring into the CCTV footage and the copies, when ASG SV Raju apprised the court that the cameras were not functional, the bench said that it was “intentional” and further commented, “Surat is going to be a diamond capital of the country rather world, and you say CCTV was not working for the entire 4 days?!”.

Consequentially, a bench comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta taking note of the ‘gross violation’ and contempt of its previous order, while issuing notice to the Additional Chief Magistrate, Surat also issued notice to the Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department of the Gujarat government, Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Surat, and the Police Inspector.

In the present matter, the petitioner (original applicant) before the High Court had sought anticipatory bail for the offences punishable under Sections 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

In the arguments today, the counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the Magistrate despite the Supreme Court’s order granting anticipatory bail, remanded him to police custody for 4 days pursuant to a notice served on him on December 12, 2023.

“In remand order, there is no mention of the interim order of this court”, Justice Mehta noted.

“It doesn’t stop there, milord. They had taken me in police custody and then called the complainant at the police station and then I was tortured in front of the complainant, and they said you settle”, submitted the counsel for the petitioner.

“That was the their intention. I have filed a complaint before the Commissioner of Police and I have filed a complaint before the concerned Magistrates”, he added further.

Subsequent to which, ASG Raju submitted, “There is a mistake committed…”.

However, even before he could complete his statement, Justice Mehta said, “It is not a mistake. This is a blunder. Gross abuse of this Court’s order”.

“Read page 68, accused taken into custody. Is it not contempt on the face of the record?”, he asked further.

To which, then Justice Gavai added, “Let your IO and Magistrate learn some lesson from this…we will issue notice of contempt even to the Magistrate, if this is the manner he deals with an order of the Supreme Court”.

To which ASG agreed that it was indeed a blunder and requested the Court if the IO present in the Court could tender an unconditional apology.

Justice Mehta retorted saying, “very filing of this application, on the face of it was a contempt…absurd!”.

“Blatant Illegal Custody for 4 days!”, he agitatedly remarked further.

“Let the IO and Magistrate go in for 4 days…this is a fit case wherein the Gujarat has to be corrected at least in some manner”, commented Justice Gavai.

It is to be noted that the Gujarat High Court had disposed of the civil application in the matter having become infructuous, since the main matter was disposed of on October 5, 2023.

Pertinently, in the October 5, 2023 the High Court bench had noted, “The offences alleged are punishable with maximum imprisonment upto 7 years and hence, in view of the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar reported in (2014)8 SCC 273; Satender Kumar Antil v. Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr. reported in (2022)10 SCC 51 and Md. Asfak Alam vs. State of Jharkhand and Another reported in 2023 SCC OnLine SC 892, the police authority shall have to scrupulously follow the directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the mandate of Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973”.

As per the mandate of Section 41A CrPC a police officer in all cases where the arrest of a person is not required under the provision, issue a notice directing the person against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed a cognizable offence, to appear before him or at such other place as may be specified in the notice.

Cause Title: Tusharbhai Rajnikantbhai Shah v. State Of Gujarat