Question: Decide the legality of the following proceedings:- The publication of a newspaper containing material punishable under Sections 124-A and 153-A IPC is prohibited by the State Government. The editor, to set aside the order of the Government submits an application before the High Court. The High Court consists of 10 Judges but the matter is decided by… Read More »

Question: Decide the legality of the following proceedings:- The publication of a newspaper containing material punishable under Sections 124-A and 153-A IPC is prohibited by the State Government. The editor, to set aside the order of the Government submits an application before the High Court. The High Court consists of 10 Judges but the matter is decided by the two judges bench. [U.P.CJ 1997] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Decide the legality of the...

Question: Decide the legality of the following proceedings:- The publication of a newspaper containing material punishable under Sections 124-A and 153-A IPC is prohibited by the State Government.

The editor, to set aside the order of the Government submits an application before the High Court. The High Court consists of 10 Judges but the matter is decided by the two judges bench. [U.P.CJ 1997]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Decide the legality of the following proceedings:- The publication of a newspaper containing material punishable under Sections 124-A and 153-A IPC is prohibited by the State Government. The editor, to set aside the order…]

Answer

Section 95 of CrPC deals with the power of the State Government to declare certain publications forfeited and to issue search warrants for the same. It states that-

Where—

(a) any newspaper, or book, or

(b) any document, wherever printed,

appears to the State Government to contain any matter the publication of which is punishable under section 124A or section 153A or section 153B or section 292 or section 293 or section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), the State Government may, by notification, stating the grounds of its opinion, declare every copy of the issue of the newspaper containing such matter, and every copy of such book or other documents to be forfeited to Government, and thereupon any police officer may seize the same wherever found in India and any Magistrate may by warrant authorize any police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector to enter upon and search for the same in any premises where any copy of such issue, or any such book or other documents may be or may be reasonably suspected to be.

Any person having any interest in such newspaper book etc. can apply to the High Court to set aside a declaration for forfeiture made under Section 96 of CrPC. However, such an application must be made within 2 months from the date of publication of such declaration in the Official Gazette.

Such an application must be heard by a Bench of at least three judges of the High Court and if a High Court consists of less than 3 judges then a Special Bench is composed of all the judges of that High Court. After a proper hearing, the High Court may set aside the declaration of forfeiture.

In the case of Harnam Das v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1961 AIR 1662, it was held that t is the duty of the High Court under that section to set aside the order of forfeiture if it is not satisfied that the grounds on which the Government formed its opinion could justify that opinion.

Where no grounds of its opinion are given at all the High Court must set aside the order for it cannot then be satisfied that the grounds given by the Government justified the order.

Thus, in the present question, High Court consists of 10 judges but the matter is decided by a bench of 2 judges which is not legally valid according to section 96 clause 2 which states that every such application shall, where the High Court consists of three or more Judges, be heard and determined by a Special Bench of the High Court composed of three Judges and where the High Court consists of less than three Judges, such Special Bench shall be composed of all the Judges of that High Court.


Important Mains/Long Questions for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

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Updated On 25 Dec 2021 6:55 AM GMT
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