State of Maharashtra v. Tasneem Rizwan Siddiquee

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State of Maharashtra v. Tasneem Rizwan Siddiquee

State of Maharashtra v. Tasneem Rizwan Siddiquee
(2018) 9 SCC 745
In the Supreme Court of India
Criminal Appeal 1124/2018
Before Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud
Decided on September 05, 2018

Relevancy of the case: Appeal to set aside the High Court’s order in a case involving illegal collection and sale of call data records.

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 66, 72, 72A)
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 120B, 171, 201, 420, 467, 468)
  • The Indian Telegraphs Act, 1885 (Section 26)
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 41A, 160)
  • The Constitution of India, 1950 (Article 136, 226)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • On January 24, 2018, secret information was received by the local police that a private detective was obtaining call records of people and selling them for hefty prices. The police arrested Mukesh Pandian and registered FIR I-31/18.
  • Subsequently, the police arrested Prasant Palekar and found chats on his mobile phone with various people, including Rizwan Alam Siddiquee (husband of the respondent). The chats revealed that he had asked Prasant Palekar for the call details record of the wife of Nawazuddin Siddiquee.
  • According to the Investigating Officer, he did not cooperate with the police during the investigation, although he had agreed to do so. Hence, the police issued a notice under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which was refused by him. When the Investigating Officer along with his team went to his premises to serve notice, he was found destroying evidence from his mobile phone and laptop.
  • The Investigating Officer then decided to arrest him, with the help of Versova Police Station. He was granted police custody till March 23, 2018. The respondent approached the High Court of Bombay and filed a writ petition for a direction by the Court to produce her husband and to justify his detention.
  • The High Court held that the records did not show necessary compliance with the mandate of law before the arrest of Mr Siddiquee, and such arrest infringed Article 21 of the Constitution. The High Court also granted the request of the respondent to set him free. At the same time, the High Court made scathing remarks against the concerned police officers. Aggrieved by this decision, the appellants filed this appeal on two grounds.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The High Court should not have made scathing remarks without giving the DCP a chance to explain. The said remarks made by the High Court ought to be expunged. Even though this appeal succeeds and Mr Siddiquee has already been released as per the High Court’s judgment, the Investigating Officer may proceed against him according to the law, and not because the impugned order has been set aside.

Final Decision

  • Appeal allowed.

This case summary has been prepared by Shrawani Mohani, an undergraduate student at ILS Law College, Pune, during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in January/February 2021.

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