This is a gross contempt of Court’s Order,” SC issues notices to Magistrate and Gujarat police officers for disregarding its bail order

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The Supreme Court (SC) on January 10, 2024, issued contempt notices to the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) and senior police officials for allegedly disregarding the order of the top Court granting interim anticipatory bail to the accused. The bench consisting of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of Magistrate and Police stating, “This is a gross contempt of Court’s Order on the face of the record. How could he have been taken into custody? How could the Investigating Officer dare to seek the remand?” Further, Justice Gavai said, “Let this be corrected in some manner. The I.O. and Magistrate must learn some lessons from this. We will issue the notice for contempt to the Magistrate also. This is the manner in which they deal with the Supreme Court’s Order?”

The SC issued contempt notices to ACJM, Surat (Deepaben Sanjaykumar Thakar), Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department of Gujarat Government Kamal Dayani, Commissioner of Police Surat Ajay Kumar Tomar, Deputy Commissioner of Police Vijaysinh Gurjar (Zone-4 Surat), and Police Inspector RY Raval (Vesu Police Station). During the Courtroom exchange, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju offered an unconditional apology before the bench saying that the officers committed a ‘blunder’. Hearing this, Justice Mehta said, “The very filing of the remand application was contempt on the face of it. Blatant illegal custody for four days…Let the Magistrate and the I.O. be inside for four days…this is a fit case where Gujarat has to be corrected at least in some manner.” After considering the submissions, Justice Gavai orally mentioned to “File an affidavit, If we find, we will ask the DGP to take the Contemnors to the custody and send them to Sabarmati Prisons or some other…when we ask for their personal presence, ask them to come with their bag-baggage when they show their presence on 29.01.2024.”

During the proceedings, Senior Advocate Iqbal H Syed along with Advocate Mohammad Aslam appeared for the petitioner. On December 08, 2023, the SC issued notice to the state, in context with the petitioner’s plea for anticipatory bail in the cheating and criminal conspiracy case, and ordered that in the event of his arrest, the accused be released on bail. Further, on December 11, the accused was arrested by the Police officers and was released on bail on the same day following the top Court’s direction. The police later asked the accused to remain present before the ACJM to seek the police remand. The SC was further told that earlier on December 13, after hearing the remand application filed by the I.O., the ACJM granted remand till 16 December. The petition before the top Court also illustrated that “The petitioner further stated that the complainant was also present at the Vesu Police Station and all the police officers and the complainant threatened and beat up the petitioner to extort a sum of Rs. 1.65 crores from him. All of this was disclosed before the Ld. Magistrate.” After hearing the matter, the SC bench criticized the Gujarat Police officers and the Magistrate who remanded the petitioner and issued contempt notices.