Red corner notices … what is the official stand ?

A few years ago, CBI stopped issuing red corner notices as dowry law misuse became rampant and fake dowry cases were used to extract money ! A news report on Indian express clarified the following “...CBI officials said that since the misuse of dowry law is rampant, the international body is exercising caution in issuing the red notices. The families tend to misuse the same by getting a red notice issued restricting movements of the person against whom it is issued. Recently, the CBI was approached by a family from the US against whom red notices were issued. ….”

The agency also realised that the informants / complainants did NOT inform the police after extracting money (called “settlements” ) . Here is what he had to say “…The agency said there has not been a single case of extradition under the dowry law. “We have found that in a number cases in which red notices were issued through Interpol, families had entered into settlement and withdrawn their complaints,” said an officer, adding that in such cases many a times the complainant or the family had not informed the police. “In some cases, the police, even after receiving intimations, did not forward the same to the CBI due to which the international notices were not withdrawn. Such a scenario can lead to embarrassment for a person who is travelling and is caught by authorities for no fault of his,” explained an official. ….”

Here is a copy of the news from Indian Express

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http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/no-red-notices-in-dowry-cases-interpol/810611/0

No red notices in dowry cases: Interpol

 
The Interpol has refused to entertain issuing of red notices in cases of dowry and cruelty to a woman by her husband or relatives.The move comes days after the CBI and Interpol officials met to rectify the recent goof-ups in the ‘most-wanted list’. The extradition from any country can only be sought with the help of a red notice and the Interpol has told the CBI that it will seek legal opinion on the matter. Sources in the CBI said that since the offence does not come under ‘dual criminality’ in most of the member countries, the Interpol has expressed an inability to issue a red notice.“The officials of Interpol told us that they cannot detain or stop a person under this law as it is not recognised by any of the 188 member counties,” said a CBI official. For red notices to be issued, which is done for ‘most wanted’, the offence should be recognised (dual criminality) in the country from where the extradition is being sought. CBI officials said that since the misuse of dowry law is rampant, the international body is exercising caution in issuing the red notices. The families tend to misuse the same by getting a red notice issued restricting movements of the person against whom it is issued. Recently, the CBI was approached by a family from the US against whom red notices were issued.Said a senior officer, without naming the person against whom the notice was issued, “The family told us that they have entered into a settlement with the girl’s family after which the complaint has been withdrawn against them. Despite that his name was not deleted from the ‘wanted’ list.”The agency said there has not been a single case of extradition under the dowry law. “We have found that in a number cases in which red notices were issued through Interpol, families had entered into settlement and withdrawn their complaints,” said an officer, adding that in such cases many a times the complainant or the family had not informed the police. “In some cases, the police, even after receiving intimations, did not forward the same to the CBI due to which the international notices were not withdrawn. Such a scenario can lead to embarrassment for a person who is travelling and is caught by authorities for no fault of his,” explained an official.

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However, the Gujarat HC seems to be making moves to issue red corner notices in another case
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Woman seeks red corner notice against husband

TNN | Feb 25, 2016, 12.22 PM IST

 
AHMEDABAD: A woman has moved the Gujarat high court with the demand that a red corner notice be issued for her husband who, according to her, is hiding in the UK after dodging a criminal trial and six other cases pertaining to marital discord.

Thirty-six years old Rutva Pandya from Vatva has sought the court’s help in tracing and bring to justice her engineer husband, Ronak. Last year, she had approached the high court and got her husband pronounced an absconder so that proceedings could be initiated against him. Ronak’s parents were convicted in 2009 after they were put on trial under section 498A of the IPC (husband or his kin subecting the wife to to cruelty).

Following the high court’s order, Ronak was proclaimed an offender and declared an absconder. After inquiring into the matter, the CID (crime) came to the conclusion that Ronak had fled the country by obtaining a passport in a fraudulent manner. Since there was no way to bring him back to put him on trial for torturing her and to make him pay maintenance, Rutva filed a petition through her counsel, Samirkhan Pathan, to direct authorities to issue a red corner notice against Ronak.

As the Centre had shown reluctance in issuing a red corner notice in a matrimonial disputes case, Justice Sonia Gokani questioned whether there is any bar on issuing such a lookout notice in domestic violence cases or there was any notification issued in this regard. This was because the section applied in this criminal trial is that of the Indian Penal Code.

After a brief discussion, the Centre sought time to file a reply to the contention raised by the petitioner. The high court has kept further hearing in the matter on March 15.

Rutva and Ronak got married in 2004 but they decided to separate a year later. On September 13, 2005, they filed a petition for divorce with mutual consent at the city’s family court. This was when Rutva saw her husband for the last time. Later, he never appeared in court either. On inquiry , her mother-in-law informed her that Ronak had left for London. The woman approached the high commissions of both the countries to locate her husband in UK. The passport authorities also declared that Ronak could not be traced.

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Two judgements issued by the Gujart HC can be found below
The first one talks of declaring the husband a proclaimed offender and the second one is a short order adding governmental agencies as respondents
The order to declare the husband as a proclaimed offender is as follows :
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IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
SPECIAL CRIMINAL APPLICATION (DIRECTION) NO. 2633 of 2015
==========================================================
RUTVA RONAKBHAI PANDYA….Applicant(s)
Versus
RONAK RAMESHBHAI PANDYA & 3….Respondent(s)
==========================================================
Appearance:
MR SAMIR AFZAL KHAN, ADVOCATE for the Applicant(s) No. 1
MS REETA CHANDARANA, APP for the RESPONDENT(s) No. 2
==========================================================

CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.B.PARDIWALA

Date : 27/04/2015

ORAL ORDER

By this writ-application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the applicant – original first informant has prayed for the following reliefs :

“(A) Be pleased to admit and allow this petition.

(B) Be pleased to allow this petition by issuing a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or suitable directions to the Respondent Nos.2 and 3 to take effective action and thereby proclamation may be issued against the respondent no.1 in the interest of justice.

(C) Be pleased to direct the respondent nos.2 and 3 to decide the complaints/representation filed by the petitioner.

(D) Be pleased to grant such other and further relief/s which may deem fit to the Hon’ble Court in the interest of justice.”

It appears from the materials on record that the applicant herein filed a First Information Report being I-CR No.114 of 2006 on 11th February 2006 before the Vatva Police Station for the offences punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR was lodged against three persons i.e. husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law. I am told that the father-in-law and the mother-in-law were arrested, charge-sheet was filed and they were tried by the learned Magistrate. At the end of the trial, they also came to be convicted for the offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and were sentenced to undergo imprisonment for one year. However, it seems that from 2006 onwards, the husband is absconding. Till this date, no steps have been taken worth the name by the Investigating Officer to declare the husband as a proclaimed absconder.

The Police Inspector of the Vatva Police Station, Ahmedabad, is hereby directed to immediately initiate appropriate proceedings in accordance with law to declare the husband as a proclaimed absconder. The necessary exercise shall be completed within a period of four weeks from today, failing which strict view shall be taken by this Court.

Direct service is permitted.

(J.B.PARDIWALA, J.)

MOIN

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and a second judgement impleading governmental agencies as respondents can be found here (this probably relates to the second news item above)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
SPECIAL CRIMINAL APPLICATION (DIRECTION) NO. 4663 of 2015
==========================================================
RUTVA RONAKBHAI PANDYA….Applicant(s)
Versus
RONAK RAMESHBHAI PANDYA & 5….Respondent(s)
==========================================================
Appearance:
MR SAMIR AFZAL KHAN, ADVOCATE for the Applicant(s) No. 1
MR DEVANG VYAS, ADVOCATE for the Respondent(s) No. 6
NOTICE SERVED for the Respondent(s) No. 3 – 5
NOTICE UNSERVED for the Respondent(s) No. 1
PUBLIC PROSECUTOR for the Respondent(s) No. 2
==========================================================

CORAM: HONOURABLE MS JUSTICE SONIA GOKANI

Date : 11/02/2016

ORAL ORDER

Leave to amend the petition is permitted. Learned advocate Mr.Khan requires time to implead the Assistant Director National Central Bureau, Interpol, New Delhi and the officer deputed in Gujarat to execute the Interpol notices/orders.

Notice to newly impleaded parties, respondent No.7 and respondent No.8, returnable on 24.2.2016.

Learned Advocate Mr.Kshitij Amin shall appear for respondent No.7, whereas, learned Additional Public Prosecutor Mr.H.K.Patel appears for respondent No.8.

Direct service to respondents No.7 and 8 is permitted. In addition to the regular mode of service, service through speed post is also permitted.

(MS SONIA GOKANI, J.)

SUDHIR

However the following questions remain
1. Can a person be convicted ex parte in a criminal trial (ref recent Madras HC judgement)
2. Can the CBI take directions from a HC and change its substantive procedure against other governments ? other international agencies ?

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