Bombay HC Clarifies Parameters for Externment under Section 56(1)(b) of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951

Bombay High court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: 27 January, 2024 at 11:25 IST

In a recent judgment, the Bombay High Court has clarified that the mere registration of multiple offenses does not automatically provide grounds for an externment under Section 56(1)(b) of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951.

Justice N. J. Jamadar emphasized the need for objective material supporting the externing authority’s satisfaction that the accused is engaged or about to be engaged in offenses involving force or violence.

The Court’s ruling came in response to a Criminal Appeal challenging the externment order issued against the petitioner by the Deputy Commissioner of Police under Section 56(1) of the Act. The petitioner also contested the subsequent order by the Divisional Commissioner, which reduced the externment period from two years to 18 months.

The case originated from crimes registered against the petitioner in Mumbai, leading to a show-cause notice citing pending charges and confidential witness statements.

The Court observed that the externment order was based on allegations of violence and robbery, supported by confidential in-camera statements.

Justice Jamadar stressed the extraordinary nature of externment, involving forced displacement and potential impacts on livelihood, and highlighted the necessity for justifiable grounds adhering to statutory provisions.

The Court emphasized that under Section 56(1)(b), the externing authority must have objective material indicating that the offenses involve force or violence or fall under specific chapters of the Indian Penal Code.

Additionally, the Court noted the requirement for the authority to record satisfaction that witnesses are unwilling to come forward in public due to apprehensions about their safety.

Addressing challenges under Section 56(1)(a) and (b), the court found that crimes listed did not fall under clause (b), and some were still under investigation on the date of the externment order.

The Court also stressed the necessity for a live link between the filed cases and the externment order.

Lastly, the Court noted the duration of the externment order, highlighting the absence of reasons justifying the full two-year period. As a result, the court set aside the impugned order, emphasizing the need for a meticulous application of the law in externment cases.

The judgment provides clarity on the legal standards for externment, ensuring that the process is based on sound evidence and adheres to statutory provisions.

Case Title: Imtiyaz Hussain Sayyad v The State of Maharashtra and Ors.

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