The Madras High Court has quashed summons issued by a Metropolitan Magistrate court at Saidapet in Chennai to former State Information Commissioner S.F.Akbar to appear and depose as a defence witness in a criminal case booked against an RTI applicant for his alleged misbehaviour during one of the hearings.
Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan held that the Magistrate had ordered issuance of the summons in a mechanical fashion without any application of mind and without stating any reasons. He also agreed with the petitioner’s counsel S. Ravee Kumar that the Magistrate had failed to analyse whether the accused was attempting to delay the trial.
Finding that the criminal case booked under Sections 294b (uttering obscene words), 353 (using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duties) and 506 part I (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code had been pending since 2015, the judge directed the Magistrate to complete the trial within three months.
It was brought to the notice of Justice Ilanthiraiyan that Mr. Akbar was a former district judge and that the alleged misbehaviour by Siva Elango, an applicant under the Right to Information Act, had occurred when he was serving as State Information Commissioner and hearing appeals preferred under the RTI Act.
On January 7, 2015, the accused had refused to go out despite his appeal having been adjourned. He also used abusive words when the employees attempted to move him out. Though the prosecution did not want to examine the former Information Commissioner, the accused wanted to examine him as a defence witness.