Punjab Police summons against Delhi resident quashed, HC says agency lacks jurisdiction

Quashing a summons issued by Punjab police to a Delhi resident earlier this year in a case related to certain social media posts, the Delhi High Court said notices under Section 160 CrPC had been issued without jurisdiction by the Mohali investigation agency to a person residing beyond his own station as well as the neighboring station.

Judge Chandra Dhari Singh in the judgment also said that the notice under Section 160 CrPC was not issued at the right time by Deputy Captain of Police, Cyber ​​Crime, Phase-8, Mohali , as the police could not be said to be investigating without the recording. of the FIR.

“Subpoenas/notifications under Section 160 of the CrPC may be issued by a police officer conducting an investigation under and in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC, and in order to trigger such an investigation there is a pre-requisite to the “FIR registration. Without an FIR registration, it cannot be said that an investigation has been initiated,” the court said.

Kulvinder Singh Kohli, a Delhi-based lawyer, had appealed to the court against notices or summonses issued to him in January, February and March in connection with a complaint alleging against him and another person of breaches of IPC Sections 153A/501/504/505/295A/506 and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act.

Lead attorney Vikas Pahwa, who represented Kohli, told the court he asked the police to provide him with a copy of the complaint and also said he was unable to appear personally as he is almost 60 and suffers from chronic heart disease. The court was also told it was willing to answer and answer questions from the police via video link.

Calling the summons a pure abuse of process, Pahwa argued that Section 160 of the CPRC provides for the issuance of a notice to compel a witness to appear before the police in a pending FIR and not before the recording of the case. Pahwa also maintained that Kohli lives in Delhi and his residence is outside the jurisdiction of Mohali Police. The lawsuit was filed to wrongly implicate him, the court was told.

Punjab Police in court argued that a complaint was received in December 2021 by SSP Mohali from plaintiffs Rajbikramdeep and Munjanpreet Singh against Kohli and Harvansjit Singh for allegedly spreading “false propaganda against the plaintiffs on social media , threatening them, using derogatory and shameful language”. language and making false allegations against Jyotdeep Singh that he had killed Baba Jagroop Singh, when the medical records show that Baba Jagroop Singh died a natural death”.

The police told the court that a preliminary investigation had been opened by summoning the parties to record their statements. Notwithstanding the nomenclature of the notice, the investigative body had the authority to issue the notice to appear at the preliminary investigation stage to the petitioner because he was a possible defendant, argued the lawyer representing the police of the Punjab.

However, the court said a subpoena or notice under Section 160 CrPC to a person with knowledge of the facts and circumstances of a case must be issued in accordance with due process and legal process.

“However, the scope of this power is limited by the limits of jurisdiction. The police officer concerned can give a notice of summons to any person who is within the limits of his own police station or that of a neighboring police station. The language itself defines the scope of the power to require attendance and the same must be respected when proceeding under the provision,” the court said, while referring to Article 160 CrPC.

The court also said that the investigation or investigation could not be said to be validly or legally conducted by the Punjab Police “even for the limited purpose of issuing a notice under Section 160 of the CrPC” .

Thelma J. Longworth