The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (hereinafter “CrPC”), provisions that security may be demanded for the purpose of good behavior vide the underlying sections -
- CrPC § 108 - Persons disseminating seditious matter
- CrPC § 109 - Suspected persons / Criminals
- CrPC § 110 - Habitual offenders
In this article, the author delves into the power of the court that intends to deal, inter alia, with habitual criminals, dangerous and desperate outlaws and their ilk including ex-convicts, who through their conduct and irreprehensible behavior are so incorrigible that invoking the amerceable powers of the court is the only path forward.
Crpc § 108 - Security For Good Behavior From Persons Disseminating Seditious Matters.
(1) When [an Executive Magistrate] receives information that there is within his local jurisdiction any person who, within or without such jurisdiction,-
(i) either orally or in writing or in any other manner, intentionally disseminates or attempts to disseminate or abets the dissemination of,-
(a) any matter the publication of which is punishable under section 124A or section 153A or section 153B or section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), or
(b) any matter concerning a Judge acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duties which amount to criminal intimidation or defamation under the India Penal Code (45 of 1860 ),
(ii) makes, produces, publishes or keeps for sale, imports, export conveys, sells, lets to hire, distributes, publicly exhibits or in any other manner puts into circulation any obscene matter such as is referred to in section 292 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), and the Magistrate is of opinion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding, the Magistrate may, in the manner hereinafter provided, require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for his good behavior for such period, not exceeding one year, as the Magistrate thinks fit.
(2) No proceedings shall be taken under this section against the editor, proprietor, printer or publisher of any publication registered under, and edited, printed and published in conformity with, the rules laid down in the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 (25 of 1867), with reference to any matter contained in such publication except by the order or under tile authority of the State Government or some officer empowered by the State Government in this behalf.
Crpc § 109. Security For Good Behavior From Suspected Persons.
When [an Executive Magistrate] 1 receives information that there is within his local jurisdiction a person taking precaution to conceal his presence and that there is reason to believe that he is doing so with a view to committing a cognizable offence, the Magistrate may in the manner hereinafter provided, require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for his good behavior for such period, not exceeding one year, as the Magistrate thinks fit.
Crpc § 110 - Security For Good Behaviour From Habitual Offenders.
When [an Executive Magistrate] 1 receives information that there is within his local jurisdiction a person who-
(a) is by habit a robber, house- breaker, thief, or forger, or,
(b) is by habit a receiver of stolen property knowing the same to have been stolen, or
(c) habitually protects or harbours thieves, or aids in the concealment or disposal of stolen property, or
(d) habitually commits, or attempts to commit, or abets the commission of, the offence of kidnapping, abduction, extortion, cheating or mischief, or any offence punishable under Chapter XII of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), or under section 489A, section 489B, section 489C or section 489D of that Code, or
(e) habitually commits, or attempts to commit, or abets the commission of, offences, involving a breach of the peace, or
(f) habitually commits, or attempts to commit, or abets the commission of-
(i) any offence under one or more of the following. Acts, namely:-
- the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 1940);
- the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 ] (46 of 1973);
- the Employees' Provident Funds and Family Pension Fund] Act, 1952.
- the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (37 of 1954 );
- the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955 );
- the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 (22 of 1955 );
- the Customs Act, 1962 or (52 of 1962 );
(ii) any offence punishable under any other law providing for the prevention of hoarding or profiteering or of adulteration of food or drugs or of corruption, or
(g) is so desperate and dangerous as to render his being at large without security hazardous to the community, such Magistrate may, in the manner hereinafter provided, require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond, with sureties, for his good behavior for such period, not exceeding three years, as the Magistrate thinks fit.
Crpc § 111 - Order To Be Made.
When a Magistrate acting under section 107, section 108, section 109 or section 110, deems it necessary to require any person to show cause under such section, he shall make an order in writing, setting forth the substance of the information received, the amount of the bond to be executed, the term for which it is to be in force, and the number, character and class of sureties (if any) required.
In light of the aforesaid terminology and legalese, the word in context is abearance. Blacks Law Dictionary, 8th Ed on p. 10 refers to ABEARANCE, as a synonym of conduct or behavior. It is defined thus -
Abearance (<>-bair-<>nts), n. Archaic. Behavior; conduct.
“The other species of recognisance, with sureties, is for the good appearance, or good behavior. This includes security for the peace.” 4 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 253 (1769).
Certain key questions and answers regarding CrPC §§ 107, 108, 109, inter alia, have been addressed by the Supreme Court in Re: - Inhuman Conditions In 1382 Prisons (II), 2016 (10) SCC 17, wherein learned Judges, Madan B. Lokur, R.K. Agrawal, JJ, addressing the Writ Petition (Civil) No.406 of 2013, as decided on 03-10-2016, held thus -
4 - On the submission of the learned Amicus for issuance of further directions, we had vide our order dated 6th May, 2016 expanded the mandate of the under-trial Review Committee to examine the cases of under-trials who fall in the following categories:
a) Become eligible to be released on bail under Section 167(2)(a)(i)&(ii) of the Code read with Section 36A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (where persons accused of section 19 or section 24 or section 27A or for offences involving commercial quantity) and where investigation is not completed in 60/90/180 days;
b) Are imprisoned for offences which carry a maximum punishment of 2 years;
c) Are detained under Chapter VIII of the Criminal Procedure Code i.e. under Sections 107, 108, 109 and 151 of Cr.P.C.;
d) Become sick or infirm and require specialized medical treatment (S.437 of the Code);
e) Women offenders (S.437 of the Code);
f) Are first-time male offenders between the ages 19 and 21 who are in under trial custody for offences punishable with less than 7 years of imprisonment and have suffered at least 1/4th of the maximum sentence possible;
g) Are of unsound mind and must be dealt under Chapter XXV of the Code;
h) Are eligible for release under Section 437(6) of the Code, wherein in a case triable by a Magistrate, the trial of a person accused of any non-bailable offence has not been concluded within a period of sixty days from the first date fixed for taking evidence in the case;”
In Vijay Narain Singh v. State Of Bihar, AIR 1984 SC 1334, another three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that -
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the expression ‘habitually’ would mean ‘repeatedly’ or ‘persistently’ implying a thread of continuity, stringing together similar repetitive acts, and a single act or omission would not characterize an act as ‘habitual’.
The Supreme Court was of the opinion that to qualify as a ‘habit’, a person must have grown accustomed to leading a life of crime, whereby it would be a force of habit, inherent or latent, in an individual with a criminal instinct, with a criminal disposition of mind, that makes him dangerous to society in general. This judgment was rendered in the context of preventive detention but the observations made therein as to the connotations and interpretation of the expression ‘habitual’ are of relevance.
In Raj Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar and Ors., 1986 4 SCC 407, the Supreme Court, deliberated upon the legalese “habitual”, speaking through learned Judge(s) R.S. PATHAK AND SABYASACHI MUKHARJI, JJ., held
11 - We have noted who is an anti-social element under the Act. The petitioner/appellant has not yet been convicted under any of these sections referred to hereinbefore. So far as the incidents referred to hereinbefore betray criminal propensity. The first incident is of a case which was one year prior to the date of the detention order and the other incident was of the same date. If in this background, an appropriate authority charged with the implementation of the Act comes to the satisfaction that the petitioner / appellant is one who is habitually committing or abetting the commission of offences, such a conclusion is neither irrational nor unreasonable.”
Anil hails from a Consulting Background in the area of Business, Technology and Project Management. This Article is a humble effort to the aforementioned domains by making a foray into Legal Research. The Author may be reached via anil [at] Satyagraha [dot] com