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It is 'discriminatory' against women..." petitioner argues challenging Section 64 CrPC; SC issues notice to Centre

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL challenging Section 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which stated that it discriminates against women by treating the female members of the family incapable of accepting the summons on behalf of the person summoned.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli sought a response from the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Section 64 CrPC states "Where the person summoned cannot, by the exercise of due diligence, be found, the summons may be served by leaving one of the duplicates of him with some adult male member of his family residing with him, and the person with whom the summons is so left shall, if so required by the serving officer, sign a receipt, therefore, on the back of the other duplicate."

The plea said that Section 64 Cr.P.C. essentially fails to account for -- When the person summoned resides only with the female family members or when the only person available at the time of service of summons is a female.

"The possibility of such a situation (the only person available at the time of service of summons is a female) is particularly high in light of the stark gender gap in the workforce between the males and the females, i.e., only 22 per cent of the Indian women are at work, which entails that the remaining 78 per cent of women are at home," the plea stated filed by advocate Kush Kalra.

"Issue an appropriate Writ or Order, declaring the part of Section 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which excludes female family members to receive summons on behalf of the summoned person as violative of Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution," the plea stated.
It said the larger purpose behind the enactment of Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) is to facilitate the criminal justice system in not causing any unreasonable delay in the criminal proceedings which might otherwise be caused if a personal service to the person summoned is mandated in all circumstances whatsoever.

"Furthermore, the section is premised on the fact that the notice of the service of summons might be conveyed later on to the person summoned. Thus, given the purpose, thereby excluding the female family members by insertion of the word 'male in the section, doesn't have any reasonable nexus with the object of the section, therefore, the same is blatantly violative of Articles 14 and 15," the petition added. (ANI)

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