SC Issue Notice to Center: ‘Female Members of Family Incapable of Accepting Summon u/s 64 of CrPC’

Supreme Court LAW INSIDER

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 22 November 2022 at 10:58 IST

Supreme Court issued notice to Centre on plea challenging Section 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) alleging that the section discriminates against women by treating the female members of the family incapable of accepting the summons on behalf of the person summoned.

The bench of Chief Justice of India Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli, directed Central government to file response.

The plea was filed by one, Kush Kalra claiming that the Criminal Procedure Code rigid by nature does not consider an adult female member of the family capable and competent to receive summons.

The counsel for petitioner submits in its plea that said provision is discriminatory against women and clearly violates the women’s right to equality guaranteed to them under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution, the right to know guaranteed to them under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, and right to dignity guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The ples states that, “Section 64 CrPC. jeopardises the victim’s right to speedy trial guaranteed to him under Article 21 of the Constitution. Apart from significantly delaying the proceedings, Section 64 CrPC creates hardships for all other relevant stakeholders as well,”

It further added that CPC coded in 1908, requirement is summons to be serves to any adult member of the defendant’s family regardless of their gender, the CrPC, which was enacted after 65 years of CPC was “anarchic and dogmatic“.

According to the petition, Section 64 CrPC not only causes considerable delays in the proceedings but also hardships for all other important stakeholders.

The petition adds that– “In Madras High Court a petition was filed titled G. Kavitha v. Union of India, challenging the discrimination against women under Section 64 CrPC, wherein Ministry of Law and Justice, Union of India was impleaded as Respondent.”

Therein, the Ministry of Law and Justice, Union of India, supported the non-service of summons on females to protect their privacy. The Ministry also justified non service of summons on females keeping in mind Pardanashin females.”

Additionally, the plea also mentions that Section 64 essentially fails to account for the following situations: When the person summoned resides only with the female family members or when the only person available at the time of service of summons is a female.

The plea concludes with noting that the stark difference in gender gap in the workforce can be reason behind such situation i.e., only 22 per cent of the Indian women are at work, which entails that the remaining 78 per cent of women are at home.

The bench issued notice to the central government returnable for four weeks.

Case Title : Kush Kalra v. UoI And Anr.

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