The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to specify steps to prevent the spread of intimidating threats, scurrilous and defamatory remarks, and other remarks that interfere with the administration of justice.
The Bench of Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice K.Vijaya Lakshmi was hearing the plea filed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh Administration last year, primarily to protect its entity from the attack of some of the State's antisocial elements.
It should be noted that the Andhra Pradesh High Court, in a strongly worded order last year, ordered a CBI investigation into cases registered for defamatory remarks against the judiciary by leaders.
CBI’S STATUS REPORT:
On October 6, 2021, the Court was reading the fourth Status Report filed on behalf of the Central Bureau of Investigation, which stated that an investigation had been conducted and that some accused persons had been arrested.
According to the CBI report, a charge sheet has been filed against four accused persons on September 13, 2021, before the IV Additional Junior Civil Judge, Guntur, under various sections of the IPC, including Sections 505(2), 506 IPC, and 153A.
Further, according to the report, the offenders operated both within and outside of Indian territory, and because some of the offenders are abroad, the CBI was unable to question them.
OBSERVATION OF COURT:
After reviewing the CBI's status report, the Court concluded that the steps taken by the CBI are insufficient, and thus directed the CBI to take prompt and effective steps with regard to interrogation of the accused persons who are outside the territory of India.
The Court also noted that objectionable materials containing intimidatory threats, derogatory and scurrilous remarks about judges and judicial personnel are freely circulated on social media.
Thus, the Court issued following direction to CBI:
“It is the duty of the investigating agency not only to investigate crime, but also to prevent commission of similar offences in future. CBI is directed to submit report with regard to steps has or proposed to take to prevent circulation of such intimidatory threats, scurrilous and defamatory remarks which affect the administration of justice and immediate punitive measures with regard thereto.”
The CBI has been given until October 28, 2021, to submit its report.
Aside from that, the counsel for the High Court administration was given the authority to file suggestions for steps that could be taken to investigate the extraterritoriality of the crime.
Furthermore, the Assistant Solicitor General seeks time to record specifics of personnel of foreign companies who are required by law to respond to notices of investigating agencies investigating crime.