Anowar Hussain V. Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee
AIR 1965 SC 1651, 1965 CriLj 686
Supreme Court Of India -
Date of Judgement - 19 February 1965
- Hon'ble Justice Jayantilal Chhotalal Shah
- Hon'ble Justice Ranadhir Singh Bachawat
Parties to the suit: Appellant - Anowar Hussain v/s Respondent - Ajoy Kumar
Facts of the case:
In 1950 the situation was of riots and violence in the Kamrup district of Assam.
Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee which is respondent in this case, owned a large
agricultural land plot in the said area. On march 17, 1950 around 22:30 he was
arrested by the Assam Police on the ground of inciting riots and violence. Next
day he was presented before Mr. Anwar Hussain who is the appellant in this case
and also the sub divisional magistrate of the Barpeta sub-division.
appellant sent him again to the custody. On march 20, 1950 the first class
magistrate, Justice Barua granted bail to the respondent and he was further
released. The respondent appeared many times before the court but the proceeding
were delayed because the police investigation was pending.
On may 27, 1950
Justice Barua recorded that there is a confusion between police officer
regarding the case and observed that the officer in incharge should regard to
circle inspector as an authority for the arrest and he should regard the same to
the sub divisional officer. And it seems that in fact no case was registered
with the police. No justified reason for holding the accused in custody for the
mentioned charges. This was issued on 31 may, 1950 and the proceeding were
The respondent filed a case against the sub divisional magistrate on the grounds
of false imprisonment, as no complaint was registered against himself relating
to riots. He alleged that the arrest was malicious and had no legal
justification to it. He claimed that it was done to disgrace and insult him in
He added that he had health issues relating to heart. The situation
was so critical that that he even fainted during the arrest and remained
unconscious for a considerable amount of time. He got examined by a doctor in
the morning of 18 march 1950 who advised him to be admitted to a hospital. But
he got released on 20 march 1950 only. He filed a claim of Rs. 20,000/- with all
the defendants liable severally and jointly.
Legal issues raised:
The appeal was made to the supreme court.
The legal issue raised in the case are:
Arguments forwarded by the appellant:
- whether the appellant ordering the respondent's arrest was in his judicial
- And if yes then was he protected under the Judicial Officers'
Protection Act of 1850.
Arguments forwarded by the respondent:
- Sufficient information was present which suggested that the respondent was involved in some offences done by other people in the area on the lands which belonged to the respondent.
- The case was investigated thoroughly and he was discharged on 31 May 1950.
- The appellant had no malicious intention against the respondent, and the actions were protected under the Judicial Officers' Protection Act 1850.
- The deputy. Commissioner ordered the arrest respondent under section 436 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860.
- A sub-divisional magistrate could take cognizance of any offence under section 190 of the code of criminal procedure, 1898.
- The magistrate took the action under section 204 of the code of criminal procedure 1898.
- The magistrate had discharged his judicial duties and is entitled to get protection under Judicial Officers' Protection Act, 1850.
- Magistrate said that he acted so because of the order of the deputy commissioner and he cannot confirm the source from which the deputy commissioner made the order of arrest of the plaintiff.
Decision Of The Court:
- No complaint was on records of the police mentioning the respondent on
whose basis the officer could take cognisance.
- The deputy commissioner in his statement denied that he gave any orders
regarding the arrest of the respondent.
The Judicial Officers Protection, 1850 provides exemption to a judicial officer
only when he is discharging his judicial duties. If the said act falls under his
jurisdiction then the protection is absolute no liability lies against him even
if the act was erroneous or illegal, or was done with bad intention.
The decision clearly stated that no formal complaint was lodged with the police
against the respondent alleging him with any offence and in the absence of a
complaint in writing the facts stating the offence power will not be exercised.
The High Court understood it as an admission without any implication because he
did not even tried to justify his actions by arguing that he acted so under the
specific order given by the Deputy Commissioner.
The Deputy Commissioner denied
giving such authority to the appellant. The respondent was booked under the
Indian Penal Code and further directed for his arrest. It was held that the
protection under the Judicial Officers' Act will not be given to the appellant.
The base of this judgement was that the act done does not fall under his
jurisdiction and he believed to have the jurisdiction in good faith and hence he
cannot be given the immunity from the Judicial Officer' Act, 1850.
Decision of the High court:
The decision of the High Court of Assam in Anowar Hussain vs Ajoy Kumar
Mukherjee was to confirm the decree of Rs. 5,000 as damages awarded to Ajoy
Kumar Mukherjee by the Subordinate Judge of Lower Assam District. The High Court
held that Anowar Hussain had acted without any lawful authority or reasonable
cause in arresting and detaining Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee, and that he had violated
his constitutional rights under Article 22 of the Constitution. The High
Court also rejected the defence of good faith and official duty raised by Anowar
Precedents followed in this case:
In the case of Tayen V. Ram Lal
, the court rendered a significant decision
with regard to the Judicial Officers Act. This legal pronouncement established a
fundamental principle: the primary intent of the Judicial Officers Act is to
shield judicial officers from legal actions initiated as a response to their
actions or directives carried out during the course of their official duties as
judicial officers. However, it's essential to emphasize that this defense can
exclusively be invoked when the actions in question are explicitly categorized
as judicial acts.
The Judicial Officers Act thus emerges as a crucial safeguard, extending
substantial protection to judges and magistrates while they discharge their
judicial responsibilities. This statute serves as a legal bulwark against
potential legal challenges that might arise due to the nature of their official
functions. By putting a threshold to the scope of immunity with precision, the
Act ensures that judges and magistrates can fulfill their roles without the
constant threat of personal legal repercussions. In doing so, it not only
upholds the integrity of the judiciary but also ensures that justice can be
administered without fear or favour, thereby bolstering the bedrock of a fair
and impartial legal system.
The appeal was filed by Anowar Hussain, a lawyer by profession for claiming
compensation from the respondent, namely Ajoy kumar who is a sub - divisional
officer in the Kamrup district of Assam. The compensation was claimed for the
tort of false imprisonment. False imprisonment refers to intentionally
restraining a person from exercising his freedom to move freely, without any
The issue raised in this case was if a judicial officer
can be liable for his erroneous decision while discharging his/ her official
duty. The court in this case upheld that the arrest of the appellant without a
warrant was illegal. Here the immunity from the Judicial Officers' Protection
Act, 1850 could not be claimed because the magistrate had exceeded the
jurisdiction and he had full knowledge of the same.
The court observed that the
defendant had violated the fundamental right of personal liberty of the
plaintiff guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution. In my opinion the
respondent was liable to pay compensation as the purpose of the said act was to
protect the judicial officers from any consequences which they may to face while
discharging their judicial duties, and thus empowering them to give justice
without having to fear any repercussions.
This act did give a free hand to the
judicial officers and they might use this immunity for malicious acts but if we
look at the larger picture, it made the judicial officers free from the fear of
having to face any legal proceeding against their decisions. So, according to me
the decision of the honourable court is the right course of action and served
- Anowar Hussain v. Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee, 1965 SCC Online SC 1
- Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898
- Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Judicial Officers' Protection Act, 1850
- Tayen v. Ram Lal, ILR 12 All 115
- PEN. CODE. � 436
- CODE CRIM. PROC. � 190
- CODE CRIM. PROC. � 204
- INDIA CONST. art. 22
- Tayen V. Ram Lal, ILR 12 All 115
- INDIA CONST. art. 21