The Bombay high court has directed the commissioner of police, Rakesh Maria, to stop the routine initiation of chapter proceedings against persons charged with certain offences, especially offences against women.
A routine chapter proceeding is used to obtain undertaking from the person concerned (here accused) an assurance of maintaining good behaviour, and maintaining peace and tranquillity in his or her locality.
“This practice is not only deprecated by this court, but the commissioner of police shall take note of the fact that issuance of such notice is illegal and is not in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,” justice Sadhana Jadhav observed.
“It is an apparent abuse of the process of law,” the judge said, further directing the CP to take steps to discontinue the routine course at the earliest by issuing a circular to all police stations.
The issue of routine initiation of chapter proceedings against accused persons had cropped up during course of hearing on bail application filed by an interior designer, accused of sexually exploiting his teenage step-daughter.
Juhu police registered an FIR against the interior designer on the basis of a complaint lodged by his wife, who happens to be a model and an actress.
The court was informed that while in jail, the accused was served with notice stating that after he is released on bail, the possibility of him trying to defame his wife and step-daughter cannot be ruled out and therefore he has been directed to execute a bond of Rs. 10,000 for maintaining peace and to also furnish one or two sureties in the like amount.
Justice Jadhav was irked to know from the assistant public prosecutor Dinesh Adsule and the investigating officer of the case that this is the routine course adopted by the police in certain cases, and therefore directed the practice to be discontinued.