Madras High Court
Swarnalingam Chettiar vs Assistant Inspector Of Labour, … on 3 December, 1954
Equivalent citations: AIR 1955 Mad 716
Author: Somasundaram
Bench: Somasundaram

ORDER Somasundaram, J.

1. This is a revision against issue of notice to the petitioner to show cause why a general search warrant as asked for by the Sub-Inspector of Karaikudi should not be issued. The warrant is to make a search of the premises of Karaikudi Railway Out Agency and obtain the documents mentioned in the list attached to the petition filed by the Sub-Inspector. Before this application was filed by the Sub-Inspector the accused himself was asked to produce certain documents. On that he came up in Crl. R. C. No. 677 of 1054 asking for quashing of that order on the ground that it offends Article 20(3) of the Constitution. A Bench of this Court following a decision of the Supreme Court in — ‘M. P. Sharma v. Satischandra’, (A) held that the petition must be allowed. In allowing the petition my Lord the Chief Justice and Rajagopala Aiyangar I, observed that the guarantee under Article 20(3) would extend to any compulsory process for production of evidentiary documents which are reasonably likely to support a prosecution against the accused. They therefore quashed the order asking the accused to produce the documents. After that, the petition by the Sub-Inspector was filed in the lower Court asking for a search warrant, so that the premises in question may he searched and the documents mentioned in the list may be seized and produced before Court. On this petition the lower Court has ordered notice to the petitioner to show cause why the premises in question should not be searched. It is against this order that this petition has been filed.

2. The notice to the petitioner to show cause why his premises should not be searched practically amounts to stating that either he produces the documents, or else the premises will be searched. To avoid the search the petitioner is likely to come for ward with the production of the documents himself.

Instead of directly compelling him to produce by means of a summons, this notice to show cause will practically have the same effect in an indirect manner. This notice, therefore, will amount to a testimonial compulsion and will stand on the same footing as the summons to produce the same documents. The notice, therefore, issued to the petitioner to show cause why his premises should not be searched is unsustainable and is hereby quashed.

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