The Karnataka High Court recently held that merely provoking the sentiments of one community or group without involving any other community will not be a penal offence under Section 153 A of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code penalizes the person whoever promotes enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, a criminal offence or penalizes any other act that disrupts the harmony.
The facts of the present case are that, On February 17, 2010, while the complainant was trying to cross a road, around 200-250 people who were part of a procession threatened people to not cross the road and then abused the complaint in an unwelcomed tone and language. The complainant alleged that the gathering of the procession was threatening him to not cross the road and was trying to instill fear in him on the grounds of religion. The complainant stated that the procession comprised of Muslim crowd and thus they were threatening the complainant who was of a Hindu community.
First Information Report was registered against the petitioners under Section 341, 504, 506, 153A, and 149 of IPC.
The Court after going through the submissions of the Petitioner and the Complaint held that none of the Sections mentioned in the FIR can be made out due to lack of ingredients. The nature of the threats mentioned in the complaint does not invoke Section 504 or 506 of the IPC. It was further held that the gathering of the procession did not do any such activity to frighten Hindus or to make them flee from the village. Thus the Court could not even make out the basic ingredients of Section 153A and thus it quashed the FIR and allowed the plea.