38.6c New Delhi, India, Friday, April 19, 2024

Sec 153A Cannot be Attracted by Merely Inciting Feelings of One Community Without Reference to Other Community: Karnataka HC [READ ORDER]

By VANDANA KOTHARI      12 October, 2020 10:59 PM      0 Comments
Merely Inciting Feelings of One CommunityMerely Inciting Feelings of One Community

An FIR was lodged under section 341 ( Punishment for wrongful restraint), 504 ( Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (Punishment for Criminal Intimidation),153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) r/w 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object) of IPC against seven Muslim men. The FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint. The complaint stated that on 17.02.2010, at about 3.20 p.m., while the complainant was standing by the side of the road to cross the road, around 200-250 people came in procession and threatened the people not to cross the road and thereafter abused the complainant in vulgar language and threatened him that if headed to cross the road, he will not reach home. It is further alleged therein that the mob was behaving in such a manner that by their Unit march, the Hindus should get frightened and on seeing the Muslims, they should flee from the village.

To quash this FIR a petition was filed under section 482 C.r.P.C (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) in Karnataka High Court. Learned counsel for the petitioner while seeking to quash the FIR relied upon the case of BILAL AHMED KALOO v. STATE OF A.P., AIR 1997 SC 3483, MANZAR SAYEED KHAN v. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND ANOTHER, (2007) 5 SCC 1 and alleged that the allegations made in the petition even if accepted on their face value do not constitute the ingredients of any of the offences alleged in the FIR. There are no allegations in the complaint that the petitioners had acted with an intention to promote a feeling of ill-will and hatred between religions and communities, rather, the allegations made in the complaint go to show that it was the imagination of the complainant that the mob was behaving in a manner to create panic and hatred among Hindu groups. This allegation does not satisfy the ingredients of Section 153A IPC and therefore, the initiation of criminal action against the petitioners being wholly illegal and baseless and an abuse of process of the court is liable to be quashed.  

Learned HCGP appearing for respondent No.1-State referring to the allegations found in the complaint submitted that the utterances directed at the complainant are sufficient to 

make out the ingredients of the offences incorporated in the FIR and moreover, the matter being under investigation, there is no reason to quash the proceedings under section 482 Cr.P.C.

The court observed that “ FIR is registered under sections 341, 504, 506, 153A r/w 149 IPC. But a reading of the complaint, in my view, does not prima-facie make out the ingredients of any of the above offences specified therein. There are no allegations in the entire complaint that the complainant was wrongfully confined or restrained by the petitioners or by any member of the mob. On the other hand, the case of the prosecution is that the complainant and others were waiting to cross the road when the procession was passing by. These allegations therefore even if accepted as true do not make out the ingredients of the offence under section 341 IPC.”

The court for sections 504 and 506 of IPC said that “In order to constitute offences under these provisions, the accused ought to have intentionally insulted or given provocation to the complainant or any other persons intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break public peace. Such allegations are conspicuously absent in the FIR. Likewise, there are no allegations whatsoever in the complaint that the complainant was criminally intimidated by the petitioners so as to render them liable for prosecution under section 506 IPC.”

The court observed that “even though the petitioners are named in the FIR, yet there are no specific allegations that any of the petitioners herein either threatened, intimidated, or hurdled abuses against the complainant. The allegations are general in nature. That apart, it is not the case of the complainant that the procession was being taken illegally without any prior permission of the jurisdictional police.”

“There is nothing on record to show that the police have taken any action either against the persons holding procession or any member of the said group for behaving in an unruly manner or creating any untoward situation during the procession. Under the said circumstances, even the ingredients of sections 504 and 506 IPC are not made out so as to proceed against the petitioners for the said offences.”

Coming to the offence alleged under section 153A IPC, the court said “law is now well settled that in order to bring an action under the said section, the acts alleged against the accused must be intended to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or religious groups or castes or communities. As held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Bilal Ahmed’s case referred above, in order to constitute the ingredient of said offence, it is necessary that at least two such groups or communities should be involved. Merely inciting the feelings of one community or group without any reference to any other community or group cannot attract either of the offence under section 153A of IPC.”

For the said case the court said “there are no allegations whatsoever that the petitioners have committed any acts with intent to promote feelings of hatred between different religious groups, rather, the very basis of the allegations is that the petitioners were behaving in such a manner that on seeing them, Hindus should get frightened and should run away from the village. This is the imagination or mere assumption of the complainant and not the actual commission of an act by any one of the petitioners. As a result, even the basic ingredient of the offence under section 153A IPC is not satisfied so as to proceed with the investigation against the petitioners.”

The court then allowed the petition and quashed the FIR stating “I find that the allegations made in the FIR are baseless and do not prima-facie make out the ingredients of any of the offences so as to warrant investigation by the respondent police. The manner in which the allegations are leveled against the petitioners indicates that the complaint is motivated, vexatious, malafide and the same appears to have been made out of spite and ill-will. In any case, the complainant has failed to make out the basic ingredients of the offences so as to warrant an investigation into the alleged offences, in my view, proceedings initiated against the petitioners being wholly illegal and abuse of process of the Court are liable to be quashed.”



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