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Prima facie case for proceeding with contempt proceedings against police officers: High Court

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 - 10:18pm IST | Agency: PTI

The Madras High Court today held that prima facie case has been made out for proceeding further in the suo motu contempt petition against three police officers in connection with the arrest of a magistrate who allegedly cheated a woman police officer after promising to marry her.

A division bench comprising justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and M Sathyanarayanan, in its order, said, "This court is of the view that prima facie materials are available to proceed against the contemnors under the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 and as well as under the Article 215 of the Constitution."

"Hence Registry is directed to issue notice to the contemnors returnable on July 23 for answering the charges," the bench said, holding that the arrest was in violation of Supreme Court guidelines.

The court had earlier initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against R Ponni, Superintendent of Police, Tiruppur; C Pitchai, DSP, Udumalpet Sub Division; and Suresh Kumar, DSP, Palladam; in connection with the arrest of S Thangaraj, judicial magistrate of a fast track court at Coonoor in June last year, following a complaint given by Palladam station sub-inspector Uma Maheswari that he had cheated her.

It had held that guidelines issued by the Supreme Court

regarding arrest were violated andalso observed that no intimation was given to the magistrate before the arrest.

The present bench before which the suo motu contempt petition was placed after considering whether a prima facie case has been made out for proceeding further, in its order, said the Supreme Court in its guidelines regarding arrest of a judicial officer had used the word "under intimation" which means prior intimation or information about the arrest.

If a judicial officer is arrested without any prior intimation and taken away for remand, the judicial work more particularly recording of dying declarations will definitely be affected/paralysed, it said.
Moreover the arrest of a judicial officer, may definitely

bring down the glory and majesty of the institution in the eyes of the public and faith and confidence in the judicial system and for that reason only, the apex court felt that such a prior intimation is to be sent to the jurisdictional principal district judge, the bench said.

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