By:- Kamakshi Agarwal
In supreme court of India
|Name of the case||Bhim Singh v. state of J & K and others|
|Citation||AIR 1986 SC 494|
|Date of case||22 NOVEMBER, 1985|
|Respondent||State of Jammu and Kashmir|
|Bench/judges||O. Chinnappa Reddy v. Khalid|
|Principle applied||Torts of false imprisonment|
|Statues/Constitution||Section 153A of the Ranbir Penal CodeArticle 21,22(2) of Indian ConstitutionSection 56 and76 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973|
False imprisonment is a state where any individual or any authority willingly invades in another person’s freedom without any legal justification or the restrained person’s permission. However, keeping in mind the present times, these illegal arrests are made by the person in power. In such situations, the courts should not keep silent and rather be pro-active in awarding exemplary costs and compensation to be paid to the restrained individual who have suffered a lot in this misuse of powers as he can claim for the damages of his false imprisonment.
Under section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the police were directed to pay Rs.10000 as compensation to every individual falsely arrested person. The Constitutional safeguard for the protection of arrested persons is in general violated by police officials and sometimes, Magistrate may also neglect to act in accordance with the law and such a situation arose in Bhim Singh vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
Mr. Bhim Singh, MLA of Jammu and Kashmir was arrested and detained in police custody and was deliberately prevented from attending the sessions of the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, which was to meet on 11th September 1985. On 17 August 1985, which was the opening day of the budget session, he was suspended from the assembly. He then questioned his suspension in the high court of Jammu but the orders for his suspension stayed there by 9 September 1985.
While travelling from Jammu to Srinagar on the intervening night of 9-10 Sept (at about 3 AM) he was arrested at Qazi Kund on the allegation that a case under section 153A of Ranbir Penal Code was registered against him for delivering an inflammatory speech at the public meeting held near parade ground, Jammu on 8 September 1985. However, after his arrest, he was not taken before the Magistrate till 13th September.
His wife Smt. Jayamala filed a writ of Habeas Corpus before the Supreme Court. She impleaded the State of Jammu & Kashmir through the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and the Inspector General of Police, Jammu & Kashmir as respondents. Then a notice was issued to the respondents directing the inspector general of the police to inform Smt. Jayamala where Mr Bhim Singh was kept in custody on 13th September 1985. After his bail, on 16 September he filed a supplementary affidavit stating more facts in addition to what had already been stated by Smt. Jayamala in the petition. Correspondingly There was also a voting session at the assembly that was going on but he was not able to vote as he was not allowed to go, where his vote was very crucial but the person to whom he wanted to give the vote won but his right to vote was infringed.
When enquired by the supreme court, it was found that Mr. Bhim Singh was illegally detained by the police officials, also the Court pointed out that the Magistrate acted without any sense of responsibility or genuine concern for personal liberty and the police arrested the imprisoned with mischievous and malicious intent. It was certainly noticed as a violation of the constitutional right of the accused person under article 21 and 22(2) of the Indian constitution,1949.
- Whether the detention was illegal and will be qualified as false imprisonment?
ARGUMENTS OF PLAINTIFF:
Petitioner argued with a denial to other parties that he was presented in front of the magistrate on 11th September, 1985. He also denies his presence in front of the Sub Judge on 13th September, 1985 and also added that he was not examined by any doctor for the purpose of obtaining a Medical Certificate that was used for obtaining a remand for 1 day from the Sub Judge.
He accepts his presence on 14th September, 1985, before the Sub Judge, Jammu and remanded for 2 days in judicial custody. He also accepts that thereafter on 16th September, 1985 he was brought in front of the Additional Sessions Judge and was granted bail. He also included that he was brutally harassed by police officials during the period of his custody.
ARGUMENTS OF RESPONDENT:
Shri M.M. Khajuria, inspector general of police and superintendent of Police, Anantnag, Shri M.A. Mir with due respect to petitioner’s argument contended that on 10th of September, 1985, the Police Control Room sent a notice to them asking the petitioner to get arrested and also after the arrest, the petitioner was brought to the District Headquarters as instructed before and including all given necessities.
They added that they were only asked to pay attention to whether the petitioner had travelled safely through the Udhampur region, then on 11th of September, 1985, the petitioner was to be presented before the court and the Executive Magistrate 1st Class signed to keep the petitioner under police custody for a period of 2 days and on expiry of the remand extended it for two more days, further remand for one day from Sub-Judge with the reason that the petitioner was medically ill(Medical Certificate attached) was obtained on 13th September. After the expiry of the medical remand approved petitioner was presented before the Sub Judge on 14th September,1985.
On 16th September, the petitioner was again brought in front of the Additional Sessions Judge where his bail was granted.
The tort of false imprisonment can be intentional or wilfully restricting another person from exercising his right to freedom. When someone is found doing so he can be charged liable for false imprisonment in civil and criminal courts. The right of a person to personal liberty, freedom, and life with dignity has been guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 20 and 21 cannot be abrogated even during an emergency, and false imprisonment is incongruous of the same. The fact that a convict is imprisoned and has to serve a sentence, doesn’t give the jail authorities any right to torment or torture him unnecessarily.
In India all states have laws regarding false imprisonment designed for protecting people from being confined against their will. The laws of each state vary, but in general, certain constituents of false imprisonment must be present to prove a legal claim. Damages in false imprisonment are those that flow from detention. A person injured by conduct, either knowingly or negligently, is entitled to compensatory damages. There is no legal rule for the assessment of damages and it is left entirely to the court.
After considering all the above mentioned facts and marking all the important points from the argument of both the sides the honourable Supreme Court observed that the law enforcement officials acted in a very most arbitrary way and ruled “if the non-public liberty of a member of the legislature is to be played within this fashion one can only wonder what may happen to lesser mortals”.
Moving forward the apex court reminded the duties of “police officials who are the custodians of law and order within the state should have the best respect for private liberty of citizens and will not float the laws by stopping to such weird acts of lawlessness. Custodians of law and order mustn’t become depredators of civil liberties. Their duty is to safeguard and to abduct. Judges also added that when a person comes to us with the complaint that he has been arrested and imprisoned with mischievous and malicious intent and that his Constitutional and legal rights were invaded, the mischief or malice and invasion may not be washed away or whisked away by his being set free.
In this case the state of Jammu and Kashmir was ordered to pay a sum of rupees 50,000 within two months of the present day.
With all the due facts we can conclude that restricting someone from exercising his/her rights freely is a cause of false imprisonment for protecting these rights, the Constitution has provided for writ remedies enforceable by the High Courts and the Supreme Court. Often these rights are violated by the state, though in some cases private parties may also be involved misusing higher powers. The person who is about to be falsely arrested or imprisoned can also use reasonable force in order to prevent false arrest. He can use force for self-defence but has to make sure that the force used is reasonable according to the current circumstances according to the laws.