September 30, 2022

The law that gives power to the court to require attendance of the prisoner

The Prisoners (attendance in courts) Act, 1955

The object to enact the act was to provide for the attendance in court of prisoners for obtaining their evidence or for answering a criminal charge.

This act repealed the Part IX of the Prisoners Act, 1900 and the First and Second Schedules to the said Act.

Power of courts to require appearance of prisoners to give evidence or answer a charge[1]

To give evidence

If any civil or criminal court thinks that the evidence of any prisoner is material for the matter pending before it, in that case, the court may make an order directing the officer in charge of the prison to produce the prisoner before the court at that time as mentioned in the order.

The proforma for the order is given hereinafter-

But, a civil court has no power to make an order to produce a prisoner confined outside the state in which the court is held.

To answer a charge

If a charge of an offence against a person confined in any prison is made or pending before the court, the court may make an order directing the officer in charge of the prison to produce the prisoner before the court at such time as mentioned in that order.

The proforma of the order is given below-

Countersignature to make an order

To make such order mentioned hereinbefore, the countersignature of district judge is required to a civil court subordinate to district judge and countersignature of the district magistrate is required to a criminal court if it is inferior to the court of a magistrate of the first class.

Power of State Government to exempt certain persons[2]

The state government may make an order and direct that any person or class of person shall not be removed from the prison and so long as such order remains in force, no order of the court to produce the prisoner before it, shall have the effect.

But while making or order for aforesaid purpose, the state government shall have regard to the following matters-

  • the nature of the offence for which or the grounds on which the confinement has been ordered in respect of the person or class of persons;
  • the likelihood of the disturbance of public order if the person or class of persons is allowed to be removed from the prison;
  • the public interest, generally.

Prisoners to be brought up[3]

After receiving an order of the court, the officer in charge of the prison, shall cause him taken to the court in which the attendance is required; and to present the prisoner on time in the court, he shall detain the prisoner in custody in or near the court until he has been examined or until the judge or presiding officer of the court authorises him to be taken back to the prison.

Officer in charge of prison when to abstain from carrying out order.[4]

The officer in charge of the prison shall abstain from carrying out order of the court, in following conditions-

—Where the person

(a) is declared to be unfit to be removed from the prison by reason of sickness or other infirmity; or

(b) is under committal for trial; or

(c) is under remand pending trial or pending a preliminary investigation; or

(d) is in custody for a period which would expire before the expiration of the time required for removing him under this Act and for taking him back to the prison in which he is confined,

If any abovementioned situation is existed, the officer in charge shall send to the court a statement of reasons for so abstaining.

But, such officer shall not so abstain where—

(i) the order has been made by a criminal court; and

(ii) the person named in the order is confined under committal for trial or under remand pending trial or pending a preliminary investigation and is not declared in accordance with the rules made in this behalf to be unfit to be removed from the prison where he is confined by reason of sickness or other infirmity; and

(iii) the place, where the evidence of the person named in the order is required, is not more than five miles distant from the prison in which he is confined.

Commissions for examination of prisoners.[5]

The civil court may issue a commission under code of civil procedure 1908, for the examination of the person in prison, in following cases-

 (a) where it appears to any civil court that the evidence of a person confined in a prison is material in any matter pending before it and that the attendance of such person in court cannot be secured by reason of the provisions of section 6 or of an order under section 4 or of the district judge declining to counter sign an order for removal; or

(b) where it appears to any civil court that the evidence of a person confined in a prison which is situated outside the State in which, or is more than fifty miles distant from the place at which, such court is held is material in any such matter.

REFERENCE

The prisoners (attendance in courts) act, 1955


[1] Section 3

[2] Section 4

[3] Section 5

[4] Section 6

[5] Section 7