Mr. Bhim Singh, Member of Parliament for Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested and detained by the police and deliberately prevented from attending the sessions of the Legislative Assembly which were to be held on September 11, 1985. He was arrested overnight on September 9-10, 1985, by Police Station Officer, alleging that a case under Section 153A of Ranbir Penal Code was filed against him for giving an inciting / charming speech during the ‘a public meeting held near the parade ground, Jammu on September 8, 1985. He was not produced before the Magistrate until September 13. There was also a voting session at the assembly, and 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.
According to the investigation of the Supreme Court, it was found that Mr. Bhim Singh was illegally detained by the police, assisted by collusion or by a casual attitude towards the judge who issued the arrest warrant without warning. The court pointed out that the judge acted without any sense of responsibility or genuine concern for individual freedom and that the police arrested people in detention with malicious intent and this is certainly a clear violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights under section 21 and 22 (2).
In the writ petition filed under Article 32, the court held that the law condemns such authoritarian acts. The court also said that there was a clear case of violation of constitutional rights by the Police, a servant of the State government; in turn making the State responsible. The court pointed out that ‘the police officers who are the custodians of law and order should not become depredators of civil liberties and that their duty is to protect and not to abduct.”
But it simultaneously also recognized the fact that the police officers were mere minions and the real ‘responsibility laid elsewhere’ in the upper rungs of the government. Like in tort cases, monetary compensation of Rs. 50,000 was announced for the petitioner. This case, hence, in a way weakened the doctrine of sovereign immunity by ensuring that both the State and the citizens are at the same level with respect to law enforcement. Therefore, the principle of monetary compensation is applied in cases where both the State and its citizens are the wrongdoers.
The ratio decidendi of the case is Injuria sine damno. It means violation of legal right without causing any harm, loss or damage to the plaintiff. It is actionable per se which means there is no need to prove that as a consequence of an act, the plaintiff has suffered any harm. For a successful action, the only thing that has to be proved that the plaintiff’s legal right has been violated. Here the plaintiff’s legal right were violated.
He was deprived of his constitutional right to attend the assembly session and violation of fundamental right to personal liberty. He argued that he was not produced before a magistrate within a requisite time period. It was held that this was the violation of his fundamental rights. As the plaintiff’s legal rights were infringed. Defendant was held liable and was ordered to pay RS 50,000/- as exemplary damages by supreme court.
Under this case, the court decided in favor of the plaintiff (Bhim Singh). The probable reasons for the following judgement are:
Section 153 A of Ranbir Penal Code:
Which states that whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds or religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill- will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, or commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or in likely to disturb the public tranquility, organizes any exercise, movement, drill or other similar activity intending that the participants in such activity shall use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or participates in such activity intending to use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, against any religious, racial language or regional group or caste or community and such activity for any reason whatsoever causes or is likely to cause fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity amongst members of such religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community.
CrPC- Section 56:
Person arrested to be taken before magistrate of officer in charge in police stations. A police officer making an arrest without warrant shall, without unnecessary delay and subject to provisions the provisions herein contained as to bail, take or send the arrested person before a magistrate having jurisdiction in the case, or before the officer in charge of the police station.
CrPC- Section 76 (2):
Person arrested to be brought before Court without delay. The police officer or other person executing a warrant of arrest shall withoutunnecessary delay bring the person arrested before the Court before which he is required by law to produce such person: Provided that such delay shall not, in any case, exceed twenty- four hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate’ s Court.
The illegal act of imprisonment is one of the most serious human rights violations. He was deprived of the constitutional right to participate in parliamentary meetings and violated the basic right to personal liberty. This case raised several prohibitions against detention by the troops. Just because a person is accused of making a mistake does not mean that they have lost all their basic rights.
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