Allahabad HC slams DM for declaring a woman “gangster” for having 2 FIRs against her

The court said that the act of police functionaries smacks of prejudice and malafide

District MagistrateImage

The Allahabad High Court slammed the District Magistrate for invoking the UP Gangsters and Anti Social Activities (Prevention) Act against the applicant for having just two cases registered against her. The court had sought a personal affidavit from the DM seeking explanation why she was declared a gangster under the Act merely for having two FIRs against her. The applicant was eventually granted bail at the following hearing.

There were two cases against the applicant, one was under section 411 (Dishonestly receiving stolen property) and the other under section 489 (Counterfeiting currency-notes or bank-notes) of the Indian Penal Code. Thereafter, Section 3(1) UP Gangsters and Anti Social Activities (Prevention) Act was invoked against her, and she has been in custody since May 28, 2021. She was finally granted bail on August 17.

On August 5 hearing, the court observed it be strange that a woman against whom two criminal cases are registered, she is slapped with Gangster Act. “This Court has experienced in a number of cases that sometimes the police functionaries act in an eccentric way, similarly the present one is an exemplar wherein the act of police functionaries smacks of prejudice and malafide,” the court said.

The court sought a personal affidavit from the District Magistrate, Kanpur Nagar, seeking explanation as to under what circumstances a lady (the applicant) against whom only two cases are pending has been made a criminal under the Gangster Act. This order was passed on August 5.

However, ironically, at the next hearing, on August 17, the applicant was granted bail but the order makes no mention of the personal affidavit, neither does it question the justification of invoking Gangster Act against the applicant. Notably, the August 5 order was passed by a different judge. The question was raised by Justice Vivek Kumar Singh and the bail was granted on August 17 by Justice Ali Zamin.

The misuse of the Gangster Act has been pointed out by the Allahabad High Court in many instances in the past. In January, the court warned the police against misuse of the Act and directed them to strictly adhere to the guidelines framed by the Director General of Police in this matter. The bench had noticed that the Act was being invoked in trivial matters and hence, was being misused.

In October 2020, the court had directed the Director General of Police and the Principal Secretary (Law) to appear before it and explain the misuse of the law in the state. There is some political interference in the activities of the police or otherwise some malpractices are prevailing in the use of this act, a division bench, comprising Justice S K Agrawal and Justice K N Sinha, reportedly observed.

In November 2020, the court had acknowledged the bogus practice of police implicating accused in several cases and invoking the Act. Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh had observed that, “This is not a single case where the Court has been confronted with bogus, unbelievable and impossible story set up by the police to implicate one accused in several cases and then invoke the provisions of the Gangsters Act. The Court prima facie is of the view that the provisions of the Gangsters Act are being misused thoroughly in the State of U.P by the police in this manner.”

The high court order may be read here:


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