Madurai: Setting aside the order of a lower court, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has suggested that appropriate action be taken against the Judicial Magistrate of Manapparai for refusing remand of an accused on the "specious" reasoning that police did not have territorial jurisdiction in a woman harassment case.
Justice P.N.Prakash, who described the Magistrate`s act as "appalling and shocking", said the JM had set the accused at liberty when he was never in his custody.
Due to this, the accused had walked out of the court right under the nose of the investigating officer (IO), making a mockery of the whole system. The accused has had the last laugh in the episode, the judge said.
The Judge, who was hearing a criminal revision plea filed by Jamia Begum, said the court was taking a serious note of the act of the Judicial Magistrate and directed the registry to place the matter before the portfolio Judge for Tiruchirappalli district to call for remarks from the JM K.Arunkumar and take appropriate action.
"The court takes serious notice of this action of the Magistrate and calls for an explanation from the Magistrate as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for passing such an order ignoring all canons of rudimentary principles of law of remand," the judge said.
The petitioner, in her complaint, had said her husband Nagore Meeran, whom she married four years ago, subjected her to cruelty and violence. The station IO at the all-women police station at Manaparai registered a case and arrested him.
The JM, in his order setting the accused at liberty, said the alleged occurrence and criminal intimidation took place in the matrimonial home of the petitioner at Natham in Dindigul district and police had no territorial jurisdiction to register a case.
The Judge said no doubt that when an accused of offence was forwarded to a JM, whether he had jurisdiction or not, he might authorise remand and subsequently forward him to the jurisdictional JM. But in the present case, the arrest as well as registering the case was itself without jurisdiction. The JM rejected the demand for remand and set the accused at liberty.
Allowing the revision petition and setting aside the JM`s order, the judge said "if not for her timely intervention, all this would have got swept under the carpet and gross injustice would have occassioned to the petitioner."
The police were at liberty to continue with investigations and rearrest the accused, if in their opinion, it was warranted, the judge said.