Archive for the ‘Criminal’ Category.

What amounts to contempt of courts?

Contempt of Court may be Civil Contempt or Criminal Contempt. Civil Contempt means willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction etc., or a willful breach of an undertaking given to a court. Criminal Contempt means the publication of any matter or doing of any act which scandalizes or lowers the authority of any court; or which prejudices or interferes with the due course of any judicial proceeding; or interferes or obstructs the administration of justice. The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 defines and limits the powers of courts in punishing contempt of courts and regulates the procedure involved therein.

However a fair and accurate report of judicial proceedings does not amount to contempt. Similarly fair criticism of judicial acts and fair comment on the merits of any case, which has been heard and finally decided, also does not amount to contempt.

High Court is the competent court to punish contempt of courts subordinate to it and also of itself. A contempt of court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term, which may extend to six months or with fine, which may extend to two thousand rupees or with both. The limitation period for institution of any proceedings of contempt is one year from the date on which the contempt is alleged to have been committed.

Prohibition of dowry

The Dowry prohibition Act, 1961 prohibits the giving or taking of dowry. Dowry means any property or valuable security given by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage, at or before or any time after the marriage, in connection with the marriage of the said parties.

If any person gives or takes dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years, and with fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees. If any person demands any dowry from the parents or relatives of a bride or bridegroom, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 6 months, but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees. However, presents which are given at the time of marriage to a bride or bridegroom, without any demand, in that behalf does not constitute dowry. But such presents are to be entered in a list as prescribed under the Dowry Prohibition Rules.

If any person, through any advertisement, offers any share in his property or any money or a share in his business as consideration for the marriage of his son or daughter or if any person prints or publishes any such advertisement, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 6 months, but which may extend to 5 years, or with fine which may extend to fifteen thousand rupees.

Power of arrest

A Police officer has the power to arrest any person without a warrant,  (a) who has been concerned in a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made (b) who has in his possession any, implement of house breaking, without lawful excuse,(c) who is a proclaimed offender (d) in whose possession stolen property is found (e) who obstructs a police officer in the execution of his duty, or who has escaped or attempts to escape from lawful custody and (f) who is a deserter from the armed forces of the Union.

When any person commits a non-cognizable offence in the presence of a police officer and refuses to gives his name and residence or gives a false name or residence, then he may be arrested by such officer in order to ascertain his name or residence.

A private person may arrest or cause to be arrested any person who in his presence commits a non bailable and cognizable offence, or any proclaimed offender, and without unnecessary delay, shall make over or cause to be made over any person so arrested to a police officer, or, in the absence of a police officer, take such person or cause him to be taken in custody to the nearest police station.

If a person forcibly resists the endeavor to arrest him, or attempts to evade the arrest, the police officer may use all means necessary to effect the arrest. However the police officer shall not cause of the death of a person, while trying to arrest, who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life.

What is a FIR?

Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 deals with the formalities pertaining to the recording of the First Information Report, or more popularly known as FIR. When information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, is given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, it shall be reduced into writing by him or under his direction. The matter so written shall be read over to the informant and such information whether given in writing or reduced to writing shall be signed by the person giving the said information. The substance of the said information shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer.

A copy of the FIR shall be given immediately to the person who gives the information, free of cost. The said officer shall immediately send a copy of the FIR to the jurisdictional magistrate. The police officer has no power to refuse the registration of an FIR. Further there shall be no delay in registering the FIR. If the police officer refuses to register an FIR, then the aggrieved person can approach the superior officers.

The officer in charge of a police station can investigate a cognizable offence without the order of a magistrate. Investigation of a cognizable offence comes after the registration of FIR. After the receipt of an FIR, the officer in charge of a police station, shall proceed in person or depute one of his subordinate officers to proceed to the spot to investigate the case and if necessary, to take measures for the discovery and arrest of the offender.

Public Prosecutors

Every criminal case registered in a police station, will be treated as a state case and in the ordinary course, it will be the government which will take up the case on behalf of the complainant. The public prosecutors conduct such criminal cases in the courts on behalf of the Government and the Complainant.

For every high court there will be a Public prosecutor as well as Additional Public Prosecutors who will be appointed by the Central Government as well as the state Government to conduct their cases. For every district, the state Government shall appoint a Public prosecutor as well as Additional public prosecutors. Only an advocate with a practice of a minimum of seven years can be appointed as a Public prosecutor.

In sensational criminal cases, the State Government may appoint an advocate as a Special public Prosecutor. The said person shall have a minimum practice of 10 years as an advocate.

The State Government shall appoint in every district, one or more Assistant Public Prosecutors for conducting prosecutions in the Courts of Magistrates.