SUNIL GUPTA Vs. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: MADHYA PRADESH)
STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
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(1.)Two important questions arising for consideration in the above matter are :
(1 Whether the petitioners 1 and 2 have been illegally detained from 21/05/198 9/08/1989 without any order of remand
(2 Whether the petitioners 1 to 3 on being arrested were subjected to torture and treated in a degrading and inhuman manner by handcuffing and parading them through the public thoroughfare during transit to the court in utter disregard to the judicial mandates declared in a number of decisions of this court and whether they are entitled for compensation
(2.)The salient and material facts as set out in the writ petitions are as follows: The petitioners are social workers and Members of Kisan Adivasi Sangathan, Kesala. The said Sangathan is actively working against all kinds of exploitation purported against the local farmers and tribal people in the district of Hoshangabad. In villages ofmorpani afld Madikhoh of Hoshangabad District there was only one school teacher employed in the Morpani school. The teacher was not attending the school for the last one and half years. In spite of several complaintslodged against the teacher, the authorities did not pay any attention in this regard. Therefore on July 27/28, 1988 the petitioners 1 to 3 along with a large number of tribal women and children staged a peaceful 'dharna in front of the officer of Block Education Officer, Kesala demanding appointment of two regular teachers in the schools located in tribal hamlets. The Assistant District Inspector of Schools gave an assurance in writing staling that he would make enquiries and initiate action in this regard. But to the petitioners 'dismay, the local police initiated criminal proceedings against the petitioners 1 to 3 and one old Adivasi widow aged about 65 years who was not paid her wages by the said teacher, for an offence punishable under S. 186 Indian Penal Code on the allegations that the petitioners and the Adivasi woman have obstructed public servants in discharge of their public functions. In connection with the said criminal proceedings, the petitioners were arrested, abused, beaten and taken to the court of 1st Class Judicial Magistrate, Hoshangabad by handcuffing them. It seems that the petitioners when questioned refused to tender apology or repent for their conduct but tried to justify their action of having staged the dharna for a legitimate cause. The Magistrate convicted the petitioners 1 to 3 and sentenced them to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of one month while acquitting the woman. It is stated that even after the pronouncement of the judgment, the police once again abused them, made obscene gestures, beat and took them to the penitentiary handcuffed. Petitioner 4 was arrested in connection with the peaceful dharna on 25/11/1987 before the office of the Block Education Officer, Kesala and put behind the bars. A warrant was said to have been issued against petitioner 2 directing him to appear before the Magistrate on 8/05/1989 in connection with some other false case. According to the petitioners, they all were working for the welfare of the weaker S. and downtrodden people in a peaceful manner but they were inhumanly treated against all norms of decency by the police in utter disregard of the repeated and consistent mandates of this court and in utter violation of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Thereafter, the petitioners filed Criminal Mis cellaneous Petition Nos. 2821-24 of 1989 in the above writ petitions for impleading the Superintendent, District Jail and the First Class Magistrate, Hoshangabad as additional respondents and to treat the additional facts as part of the main writ petitions. The additional facts are as follows: The petitioners 1 and 2, namely, Sunil Gupta and Raj Narain though have served their one month imprisonment from 22/04/198 9/05/1989 they were not released from the jail but continued to be detained on the allegation that they were wanted in two more cases, namely, in Case No. 470 of 1988 registered under S. 341 read withs. 34 Indian Penal Code pending in the court of First Class Magistrate, Hoshangabad and another in a case registered as Criminal Case No. 569 of 1988 against the two petitioner and others under S. 353, 148 a and 149 IPC. The court proceedings disclosed that the Magistrate issued bailable warrants as against the petitioners 1 and 2 and continued the same by issuing repeated orders of bailable warrants in a very mechanical and casual manner and without application of mind from May 26, 198 8/02/1989.
(3.)Even after the two petitioners have been sent to jail in pursuance of their conviction for the offence under S. 186 IPC, a number of incorrect notings were made in the records of the courts as if both the petitioners were produced from jail. Even after the expiry of the sentence, the Magistrate had not cared to proceed with the case and to know as to why petitioners 1 and 2 were languishing in jail. In connection with the second case, petitioner 3, Purushottam Nayak was also remanded but later on released on bail on 26/04/1989.
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