Karnataka High Court: R. Devdas, J., while addressing a bail application held that,
social media has created a panic situation where a social divide is being brought in the minds of the general public on the basis of the communal identification of a group of persons.
Background of the Case
Respondent-Police alleged that when some persons had approached the Sub-Inspector of police showing a video clip on his phone wherein it was seen that 2 persons were picking up watermelons from a drain.
Petitioners admitted to Sub-Inspector of Police that they are the two persons found in the video clipping. Though petitioners denied that they have indulged in any offence or activity which would cause any danger either to themselves or to the public to whom the water melons were being sold.
Offences punishable under Sections 270, 328 read with Section 34 of Penal Code, 1860 were registered against the petitioners.
Petitioner approached the Court for bail under Section 439 CrPC.
Submissions [SECTION 328 of PENAL CODE, 1860]
Petitioner Counsel submitted that even assuming petitioners were picking up water melons from a drain and were selling the same to the public, Section 328 of IPC is not attracted.
Section 328 IPC: “…If a person administers or causes another person to take any poison or any stupefying, intoxicating or unwholesome drug, with intent to cause hurt to such person or with intent to commit or to facilitate the commission of an offence or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause hurt, he or she is guilty of the offence.”
Adding to its submissions, it was further submitted that, the water melons had fallen off into the open drain where there was no stagnant water or running drainage water, an impression is created as if the petitioners have wantonly dipped the water melons in the drain water and put up the same for sale to the general public which would cause serious health issues to persons who consume such water melons.
Court found substance in the arguments placed by the petitioners.
“Court is not oblivious of the circumstances under which the Police have sprung into action noticing the content of the video clipping.”
Bench further added that the social media has created a panic situation where a social divide is being brought in the minds of the general public on the basis of the communal identification of a group of persons.
In Court’s opinion, the matter requires a trial then only the truth of the allegation could be tested.
On the face of the material available on record, it cannot be said that the provision of Section 328 could be attracted in the present facts and circumstances of this case.
Thus in view of the above stated reasons, petition is allowed with petitioners being enlarged on bail.[Sri Rihan v. State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 2378 of 2020, decided on 29-05-2020]