Madras HC | Can Court take cognizance of an offence registered under S. 309 IPC after 3 years? Court discusses while expressing “Hunger strike during a protest is not an offence under S. 309 IPC”

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., addressed a matter wherein it was alleged that hunger strike during protest will be an offence under Section 309 of Penal Code, 1860.

Petitioner was detained at a Special Camp, Poonamallee, while a protest was being made by the petitioner and others by way of a hunger strike.

FIR came to be registered on the above occurrence under Section 309 of Penal Code, 1860 on the ground that there was an attempt to commit suicide.

Lower Court has taken cognizance of the final report in regard to the investigation conducted. The present petition was filed challenging the proceedings.

Analysis

Bench noted that two grounds were raised in the present petition. First being, if the allegations were taken as it is, no offence has been made out under Section 309 IPC. The second ground that was raised was that the offence under Section 309 IPC was punishable with a maximum imprisonment of one year.

Fir was registered in the year 2013 and the lower court took cognizance in the year 2016 and the same is barred under Section 468 CrPC.

Court observed that:

Mere fact that the petitioner has protested by sitting on hunger strike will not attract the offence under Section 309 IPC.

Adding to the above observation, Bench also stated that the lower court ought to have taken cognizance within a period of one year since the offence is punishable for a maximum period of one year. However, cognizance has been taken after nearly 3 years.

Hence, taking cognizance of the final report is barred by law.

Court allowed the criminal original petition in view of the above discussion.[P. Chandrakumar v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 710, decided on 15-02-2021]


Advocates who appeared before the Court:

For Petitioner : P. Pugalenthi

For Respondents: C.Raghavan, Government Advocate

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