Police can’t issue summons outside their territorial limits: Delhi HC

Dealing with summons issued to a Delhi resident by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Delhi High Court noted that for the purposes of investigation, a police officer can require the attendance of a person situated within the limits of his own or adjoining police station but not beyond the territorial limits.

“From the plain reading of the sub-section (1) of Section 160 CrPC, it is evident that for the purposes of investigation, a police officer can require attendance of a person situated within the limits of his own police station or that of the adjoining police station and not someone who is situated beyond the said territorial limits,” Justice Poonam A. Bamba said in a recent order.

The court was hearing the plea moved by a Noida-based investigative journalist and his media outlet who were seeking to quash the summons issued to him by the office of the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Pampore.

As per the petitioner, he prepared an article regarding the adoption of the children orphaned during Covid-19 for a price, which was later broadcast. On December 12 last year, the Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Pulwama forwarded a written complaint to P.S. Pampore for registration of a formal case in the matter. Subsequently, the Sub Divisional Police Officer, Pampore issued a summon under Section 91 of CrPC to the media person to provide the footage of the video and complete details of the sting operation team for recording of their statements.

Later, the media outlet received a notice under Section 91 CrPC from the Sub-Divisional Police Officer.

In the plea, it was submitted that notice under Section 160(1) of the CrPC can only be issued to a person who is situated within the local jurisdiction of that police station or is within the adjoining police station. Therefore, a police station in Jammu and Kashmir could not have issued notice to the petitioners who are residents of Delhi and are outside the jurisdiction of the CWC.

After hearing the submissions, the court quashed summons issued to them.

“However, this shall not come in the way of the investigating agency to examine the petitioners as per law at Delhi, if so required. Nor shall quashing of the impugned summon would have any reflection on merits of the case,” it noted.

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