Witness cannot be confined illegally for the purpose of investigation

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Ajai Lamba and Ravindra Nath Mishra-II, JJ held that the  practice of taking witness in custody for recording statement under Section 164 CrPC is not contemplated under the Code of Criminal Procedure or any other law. The respondents were therefore held liable to pay a sum of 1,50,000 so as to compensate the petitioner for illegally confining her for the purpose of investigation.

In the present case, father of the Petitioner filed a Police Complaint under Section 363 and 366 of Penal Code stating that his daughter has been kidnapped by her boyfriend (Chhote Lal), though the same was being denied by the Petitioner (Seema Devi) and confession made by her that she married Chhote Lal willingly. It was alleged that the police took the petitioner Seema Devi and her husband Chhote Lal in custody/detention from their residence whereupon Chhote Lal was released from custody, however, detention of Seema Devi was maintained . Thus, the petitioner filed a writ of habeas corpus through her husband for her release from wrongful and illegal detention/confinement.

Hence, the Court ruled out that right to liberty of the petitioner has been violated by keeping her in confinement for 15 days and directed the Station House Officer and the Investigating officer to pay a sum of 1,50,000 to the petitioner as compensation. The bench directed the authorities not to confine witnesses for the purpose of investigation of a crime and added “confining is when a person is enclosed within bounds; limit or restrict; to prevent from leaving a place. Even if the movement of a person is limited or restricted to his own house, it would tantamount to his/her confinement”. [Smt. Seema Devi v. State of Uttar Pradesh; Habeas Corpus No. – 10006 of 2016; decided on 25.05.2016].

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