Report No. 42
11.31. Section 227.- No change is needed in section 227.
11.32. Section 22.-Increase in punishment recommended.-
Section 228 provides for wilful interruption of judicial proceedings, not only before a court, but also before any other public servant. We feel that the present maximum punishment of six months' imprisonment or one thousand rupees' fine is not adequate for dealing with serious cases, e.g., deliberate interruption of the proceedings of a Court of Justice. The punishment provision may be amended to read "with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both."
11.33. Punishing of persons appearing drunk in Court.-
We considered a suggestion that a new section to punish persons appearing drunk in courts should be inserted, but did not accept it. The court can always order any such person to remove himself, or be removed, from the court, and, if the case is serious, the High Court can take cognizance of the offence as a contempt of a subordinate court1.
1. The Contempt of Courts act, 1952 (A Bill is pending to replace this Act, but it does not affect the substance of the relevant provision).
11.34. Punishing of persons taking photographs in Court without permission.-
Another suggestion considered by us was that it should be an offence for a person to take photographs in Court without the Court's permission. Reference was made, in this connection, to the provision in England on the subject.1 We doubt if there is any real need for such a provision. The Court can maintain its dignity by ordering out the person who takes photographs, and a penal provision on the subject is not required.
1. Section 41, Criminal Justice Act, 1925 (English).
11.35. Section 22.-omitted.-
Section 229 will cease to be useful when the jury system is completely abolished, and may be omitted.
11.36. Three additional sections propose.-(i) Interfering with witnesses.-
We propose three additional sections in this Chapter, penalising certain illegal acts which affects the proper administration of justice. The first is interference with witnesses.
"229A. Interference with witnesses.- Whoever, by threats, bribes or other corrupt means, dissuades or attempts to dissuade any person from giving evidence before a public servant legally competent to examine him as a witness, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both."
11.37. (ii) Bail jumping.-
Another penal provision we consider necessary is in regard to bail jumping. We notice that section 174 which punishes non-attendance in obedience to an order received from a public servant will not suffice, as it is applicable only where the public servant orders a person to be present before him. In the Canadian Criminal Code1, there is an express provision against bail jumping which appears to be a suitable model. The new section may be as follows.-
"229B. Failure by person released on bail or bond to appear in Court.- Whoever, having been charged with an offence and released on bail or on his own bond fails without sufficient cause (the burden of proving which lies upon him) to appear in Court in accordance with the terms of the bond, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
Explanation.- The punishment under this section i.-
(a) in addition to the punishment to which the offender would be liable on a conviction for the offence with which he is charged; and
(b) without prejudice to the power of the Court to order forfeiture of the bond."
1. Section 125, Canadian Criminal Code.
11.38. (iii) Vexatious search made without reasonable ground.- Power on various law enbuse of these powers in the shape of provision penalising vexatious and unreasonable searches, e.g., section 22 of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944, section 136(1) of the Customs Act, 1962 and section 94 of the Gold (Control) Act, 1968. We think a simple, general provision in the Penal Code to cover searches under the authority of any law would be useful.1 The new section may be as follows:-
"229C. Vexatious search without reasonable ground.- Whoever, being empowered by law to order or conduct search of any place, vexatiously and without having a reasonable ground for so doing orders or conducts such search, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."
1. Some of the European Criminal Codes contain such a provision, e.g., section 116 of the Penal Code of Norway.