Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Free speech of the citizens of this country cannot be stifled by implicating them in criminal cases, unless such speech has the tendency to affect public order.”

Supreme Court: The division bench of L. Nageswara Rao* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has quashed the criminal case registered against Shillong Times Editor Patricia Mukhim under Sections 153 A, 500 and 505 (1) (c) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Why was the case registered against Mukhim?

Last year, 25 unidentified boys had assaulted youngsters playing basketball in Block 4, Lawsohtun with iron rods and sticks, after which, Mukhim had, in a Facebook Post, written,

“Conrad Sangma CM Meghalaya, what happened yesterday at Lawsohtun where some Non-Tribal youth playing Basketball were assaulted with lethal weapons and are now in Hospital, is unacceptable in a state with a Government and a functional Police Force.

(…)

The fact that such attacker and trouble mongers since 1979 have never been arrested and if arrested never penalized according to law suggests that Meghalaya has been a failed State for a long time now.

(…)

We hope that this will not be yet another case lost in the Police files. We want action. Criminal elements have no community. They must be dealt with as per the law of the land. Why should our Non-Tribal brethren continue to live in perpetual fear in their own state? Those born and brought up here have as much right to call Meghalaya their State as the indigenous Tribal does. Period”

Following this, the Headman and the Secretary, Dorbar Shnong, Lawsohtun, Shillong filed a complaint that the statement made by the Appellant on Facebook incited communal tension which might instigate a communal conflict.

The Appellant filed a petition in the High Court of Meghalaya for quashing the FIR. The High Court, however, by its judgment dated 10.11.2020 dismissed the said petition.

Analysis

What does the law state?

Freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution is a very valuable fundamental right. However, the right is not absolute. Reasonable restrictions can be placed on the right of free speech and expression in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of Court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

However, speech crime is punishable under Section 153 A IPC. Promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine or with both under Section 153 A.

“Only where the written or spoken words have the tendency of creating public disorder or disturbance of law and order or affecting public tranquility, the law needs to step in to prevent such an activity. The intention to cause disorder or incite people to violence is the sine qua non of the offence under Section 153 A IPC and the prosecution has to prove the existence of mens rea in order to succeed.”

The gist of the offence under Section 153 A IPC is the intention to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of people. The intention has to be judged primarily by the language of the piece of writing and the circumstances in which it was written and published. The matter complained of within the ambit of Section 153A must be read as a whole.

“One cannot rely on strongly worded and isolated passages for proving the charge nor indeed can one take a sentence here and a sentence there and connect them by a meticulous process of inferential reasoning.”

Did Patricia Mukhim’s post incite communal tension?

India is a plural and multicultural society. The promise of liberty, enunciated in the Preamble, manifests itself in various provisions which outline each citizen’s rights; they include the right to free speech, to travel freely and settle (subject to such reasonable restrictions that may be validly enacted) throughout the length and breadth of India. At times, when in the legitimate exercise of such a right, individuals travel, settle down or carry on a vocation in a place where they find conditions conducive, there may be resentments, especially if such citizens prosper, leading to hostility or possibly violence. In such instances, if the victims voice their discontent, and speak out, especially if the state authorities turn a blind eye, or drag their feet, such voicing of discontent is really a cry for anguish, for justice denied – or delayed. This is exactly what appears to have happened in this case.”

After scrutinising the Facebook post, the Court noticed that the agony of the Appellant was directed against the apathy shown by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, the Director General of Police and the Dorbar Shnong of the area in not taking any action against the culprits who attacked the non-tribals youngsters. The Appellant referred to the attacks on nontribals in 1979.

“At the most, the Facebook post can be understood to highlight the discrimination against nontribals in the State of Meghalaya.”

The Court noticed that the Facebook post read in its entirety pleads for equality of non-tribals in the State of Meghalaya.

“In our understanding, there was no intention on the part of the Appellant to promote class/community hatred. As there is no attempt made by the Appellant to incite people belonging to a community to indulge in any violence, the basic ingredients of the offence under Sections 153 A and 505 (1) (c) have not been made out.”

The attack upon six non-locals, carried out by masked individuals, is not denied by the State; its reporting too is not denied. The State in fact issued a press release. There appears to be no headway in the investigations.

“The complaint made by the Dorbar Shnong, Lawsohtun that the statement of the Appellant would incite communal tension and might instigate a communal conflict in the entire State is only a figment of imagination. The fervent plea made by the Appellant for protection of non-tribals living in the State of Meghalaya and for their equality cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be categorized as hate speech. It was a call for justice – for action according to law, which every citizen has a right to expect and articulate.”

The Court, hence, held that no case was made out against Mukhim for an offence under Section 153 A and 505 (1) (c) IPC.

[Patricia Mukhim v. State of Meghalaya, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 258, decided on 25.03.2021]


*Judgment by: Justice L. Nageswara Rao

Appearances before the Court by:

For Patricia Mukhim: Counsel Vrinda Grover

For State of Meghalaya: Counsel Avijit Mani Tripathi

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: P. Sam Koshy J., dismissed the petition stating that no interference is required at this juncture keeping in mind the settled position of law.

The facts of the case are such that Petitioner was working with the Respondents as Minig Sirdar, Grade-3. An FIR was lodged against the Petitioner and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a criminal case against him for the offence punishable under Sections 120-B, 420, 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code i.e. IPC as well as under Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act i.e PCA and the Petitioner is being prosecuted before the Special Judge, CBI, Dhanbad. Meanwhile, the employer, i.e., the Respondents has initiated a departmental enquiry against the Petitioner which is under challenge in the present Writ Petition.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the witnesses in both the cases, i.e., the criminal case as also in the departmental enquiry, would be the same and in the event if the Petitioner is made to disclose his defence before the departmental authorities first, it may have an adverse bearing on the outcome of the criminal case wherein evidence would get adversely affected.

The court relied on judgment S. Sreesanth v. Board of Control for Cricket in India, 2019 (4) SCC 660 and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited v. C. Nagaraju, 2019 (10) SCC 367 wherein it was held that “Acquittal by a criminal court would not debar an employer from exercising the power to conduct departmental proceedings in accordance with the rules and regulations. The two proceedings, criminal and departmental, are entirely different. They operate in different fields and have different objectives. In the disciplinary proceedings, the question is whether the Respondent is guilty of such conduct as would merit his removal from service or a lesser punishment, as the case may be, whereas in the criminal proceedings, the question is whether the offences registered against him under the PC Act are established, and if established, what sentence should be imposed upon him. The standard of proof, the mode of inquiry and the rules governing inquiry and trial in both the cases are significantly distinct and different. It is settled law that the acquittal by a Criminal Court does not preclude a Departmental Inquiry against the delinquent officer. The Disciplinary Authority is not bound by the judgment of the Criminal Court if the evidence that is produced in the Departmental Inquiry is different from that produced during the criminal trial. The object of a Departmental Inquiry is to find out whether the delinquent is guilty of misconduct under the conduct rules for the purpose of determining whether he should be continued in service. The standard of proof in a Departmental Inquiry is not strictly based on the rules of evidence. The order of dismissal which is based on the evidence before the Inquiry Officer in the disciplinary proceedings, which is different from the evidence available to the Criminal Court, is justified and needed no interference by the High Court.”

 In the case of Shashi Bhusan Prasad v. Inspector General, CISF, 2019 (7) SCC 797 wherein it was held that “19. We are in full agreement with the exposition of law laid down by this Court and it is fairly well settled that two proceedings criminal and departmental are entirely different. They operate in different fields and have different objectives. Whereas the object of criminal trial is to inflict appropriate punishment on an offender, the purpose of enquiry proceedings is to deal with the delinquent departmentally and to impose penalty in accordance with the service Rules. The degree of proof which is necessary to order a conviction is different from the degree of proof necessary to record the commission of delinquency. Even the rule relating to appreciation of evidence in the two proceedings is also not similar. In criminal law, burden of proof is on the prosecution and unless the prosecution is able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, he cannot be convicted by a Court of law whereas in the departmental enquiry, penalty can be imposed on the delinquent on a finding recorded on the basis of ‘preponderance of probability’. Acquittal by the Court of competent jurisdiction in a judicial proceeding does not ipso facto absolve the delinquent from the liability under the disciplinary jurisdiction of the authority. This what has been considered by the High Court in the impugned judgment in detail and needs no interference by this Court.

XXX XXX XXX

  1. The judgment in G.M. Tank case (supra) on which the learned counsel for the appellant has placed reliance was a case where this Court had proceeded on the premise that the charges in the criminal case and departmental enquiry are grounded upon the same sets of facts and evidence. This may not be of any assistance to the appellant as we have observed that in the instant case the charge in the criminal case and departmental enquiry were different having no nexus/corelationship based on different sets of facts and evidence which has been independently enquired in the disciplinary proceedings and in a criminal trial and acquittal in the criminal proceedings would not absolve the appellant from the liability under the disciplinary proceedings instituted against him in which he had been held guilty and in sequel thereto punished with the penalty of dismissal from service.

 Based on facts, observations and authoritative judgments Court held that it would not be proper to exercise its extraordinary power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to interfere with the disciplinary proceedings initiated against the Petitioner.

In view of the above, petition was dismissed.[Prayag Prasad v. South Eastern Coal Fields Limited, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 1449, decided on 24-11-2020]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Ram Krishna Gautam, J., held that as per Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, while exercising the inherent jurisdiction, High Court cannot make any comment on the factual matrix as the same remains under the trial court’s domain.

The instant application was filed under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 against the State of U.P. and Wsima Begum for quashing the charge sheet as well as the criminal case under Sections 420, 467 and 468 of Penal Code, 1860.

Applicants Counsel, Nazrul Islam Jafri, S.A. Ansari mentioned that allegations made against the applicant made out a case of civil liability as the applicant was alleged to have gotten her name mutated after the death of her husband under Section 34 of Land Revenue Act.

Applicant was married to Sagar Ali under Muslim Rites and customs and was blessed by one female child.

Applicant was subjected to cruelty with regard to dowry hence a criminal case was filed against her husband and in-laws.

Unfortunately, the husband of the applicant and his mother were murdered by unknown assailants. Due to the enmity and litigation, Parvej lodged a criminal case against the applicant and her family members on the basis of frivolous allegations under Section 147, 148, 149, 302, 307, 115 and 120-B of IPC read with Section 7 of Criminal Law Amendment Act.

Applicant, after the death of Sagar Ali, filed an application for getting her name along with her minor daughter’s name mutated at the place of Sagar Ali over his agricultural property.

In light of the above-stated, the application was allowed and the names were mutated in the revenue records.

Further, it has been stated that OP-2 claiming to be the second wife of Sagar Ali moved an application before the Court of Nayab Tehsildar challenging the above mutation order on the ground that she was the legally wedded wife of Sagar Ali. Hence the present applicant was fully aware of those facts even then, she got her name mutated with the wrong contention.

Tehsildar on hearing both sides, in 2014 had set aside the mutation order.

Analysis 

Civil Suits regarding agricultural land of Sagar Ali and his mother Ikhlasi Begum, with regard to disputed “will”, said to be executed by Sagar Ali, is pending before the competent Civil Court.

Ummeda Begum claimed herself to be successor along with her daughter Zoya for the property of late Sagar Ali and late Ikhlasi Begum. She claimed herself to be the only successor wit no other inheritor.

Court noted that in many other previous litigations it was fully in the knowledge of Ummeda Fatima that Sagar Ali was married to Wasima Begum, who was blessed with one female child. Even after knowing this fact mutation application was moved with an incorrect affidavit and incorrect application of documents.

U.P. Revenue Code Section 114 (c) provides that “A person who commits the murder of a [Bhumidhar, asami or government lessee], or abates the commission of such murder, shall be disqualified from inheriting the interest of the deceased in any holding.”

The prima facie case was disclosed for cognizable offence and it was not a ground for quashing of the FIR.

Offence of moving application, with false and fictitious contention, claiming herself to be sole survivor along with her minor daughter over the property of late Sagar Ali and his mother Ikhlasi Begum, and thereafter, fabricating oral and documentary evidence for it and getting name mutated, knowing the legal situation of debarring of inheritance and conviction in that criminal case of murder, prima facie, makes out offences for which charge-sheet was filed.

Section 482 CrPC, provides that nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

In the decision of the Supreme Court in Hamida v. Rashid, (2008) 1 SCC 474, Supreme Court propounded that “Ends of justice would be better served if valuable time of the Court is spent in hearing those appeals rather than entertaining petitions under Section 482 at an interlocutory stage which after filed with some oblique motive in order to circumvent the prescribed procedure, or to delay the trial which enable to win over the witness or may disinterested in giving evidence, ultimately resulting in miscarriage of Justice.”

Abuse of Process of Court

In the Supreme Court decision of Dhanlakshmi v. R. Prasan Kumar, 1990 Supp SCC 686, it was propounded that “To prevent abuse of the process of the Court, High Court in exercise of its inherent powers under section 482 could quash the proceedings but there would be justification for interference only when the complaint did not disclose any offence or was frivolous vexatious or oppressive.”

Hence in view of the above, the exercise of inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC is within the limits, propounded as above. Therefore, this Court will not make any comment on the factual matrix because the same remains within the domain of the trial court.

Prayer for quashing the impugned order as well as the proceeding of the aforesaid complaint case was refused.[Ummeda Fatima v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 1358, decided on 19-11-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: W. Diengdoh, J., while refusing to quash a criminal case against a journalist as the Facebook post shared by the journalist sought to create a divide to the cordial relationship between the tribal and non-tribal living in the State of Meghalaya.

Genesis of the instant matter is with regard to an incident that occurred in the month of July 2020 wherein a group of boys while playing basketball were attacked by 20-25 unidentified youths.

Police in light of the above incident registered a criminal case under Sections 326, 307, 506 and 34 of Penal Code, 1860. Investigation in view od the said event is already in progress.

Petitioner who is a journalist responded to the said incident by posting her comments on Facebook, echoing her stance against such brutal attacks meted out to non-tribal in the State and the ordeal faced by them since the past several decades. In the said post, a query was also made to respondent 3 on their obligatory role of keeping vigil at the place of occurrence and their required assistance for apprehending the culprits.

Further, the petitioner submitted that the statements made were general in nature and were made in good faith without any criminal intent or mens rea.

Respondents 4 and 5 filed a complaint against the petitioner alleging that the said Facebook post of the petitioner incited communal tension between tribal and non-tribal and defamed not only the respondent 3 but the entire village for which offence under Section 153A, 505 and 499 of Penal Code, 1860 are made out.

Police registered a criminal case under Section 153 A, 500, 505C IPC against the petitioner and issued a notice under Section 41 A CrPC requiring the petitioner to appear before the investigation officer.

Aggrieved with the above complaint, the petitioner approached the Court with an application under Section 482 CrPC.

Analysis and Decision

In Court’s opinion, what is first required to be established is whether any case is made out under Section 153 A IPC following which the issue is dispute can be decided accordingly.

Section 153 A IPC:

“[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. – (1) Whoever-

(a)  by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible grounds of religion, race place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, or

(b)  commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquility, (or)

(c)  organizes any exercise, movement, drill or other similar activity intending that the participants in such activity shall use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, or participates in such activity intending to use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, against any religious, racial, language or regional group or cast or community and such activity for any reason whatsoever causes or is likely to cause fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity amongst members of such religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community,]

shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both”.

Bench on a cursory observation of the Facebook post noticed that the author has referred to the incident which took place at the Basketball Court.

Court stated that in the said post,

There is a distinct portrayal of an alleged skirmish between two groups, one, group allegedly consisting of tribal youths and the other group consisting of non-tribal youths.

Court further observed,

What can be deduced is that there is an attempt to make a comparison between the tribals and non-tribals vis-a-vis their rights and security and the alleged tipping of the balance in favour of one community over the other.

In view of the above deduction, Court opined that the same would fall on the mischief of Section 153 A IPC as it apparently seeks to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities.

Supreme Court’s decision in Babu Rao v. State, (1980) 2 SCC 402 was cited wherein it was observed that,

“…It is seen that S. 153 A (1) (a) is not confined to the promotion of feelings of enmity etc. on grounds of religion only as argued by Shri Sen, but takes in promotion of such feelings on other grounds as well such as race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community….”

Bench stated that in the instant matter, it can be said that the said Facebook post sought to create a divide to the cordial relationship between the tribal and non-tribal living in the State of Meghalaya even alluding to the role of the State machinery as being bias in this regard.

Hence, the Court held that prima facie it appears that a case under Section 153 A IPC is made out against the petitioner.

Court refrained from going into the merits of the provision of Sections 500 ad 505 IPC, however, the said provisions read conjointly with Section 153A IPC would attract the provision of Section 155 (4) of CrPC.

No merit was found in the instant petition for exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC.[Patricia Mukhim v. State of Meghalaya, 2020 SCC OnLine Megh 167, decided on 10-11-2020]


Counsel for the petitioner: Advocate K. Paul.

For Respondents: N.D. Chullai, AAG with R. Colney, G.A for Respondent 1 and 2.

P.L. Khonsngi for Respondent 3-5.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: Hemant Chandangoudar J., while allowing the Writ Petition against the Passport Authority, elaborated upon the relevant provisions of the Passport Act and the Right to unhindered movement as a facet to Article 21.

Brief Facts

This writ petition is filed under Article 226 of the constitution praying to direct respondent 1 to 3, to allow the petitioner’s application for renewal of his passport and further direct the respondents to refrain from taking any coercive steps against the petitioner, including but not limited to the deportation of the petitioner from USA to India, until renewal and fresh issuance of the passport.

Issue

Whether pendency of a criminal case create a statutory bar on renewal of passport?

Observation

  • The Court reproduced Section 6 of the Passport Act, which enumerates grounds for refusal of Passports, travel documents, etc.

“(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the passport authority shall refuse to make an endorsement for visiting any country under clause (b) or clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 5 on any one or more of the following grounds, and on no other ground, namely;

(a) That the applicant may, or is likely to, engage in such country in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India

(b) That the presence of the applicant in such country may, or is likely to, be detrimental to the security of India

(c) That the presence of the applicant in such country may, or is likely to, prejudice the friendly relations of India with that or any other country

(d) That in the opinion of the Central Government the presence of the applicant in such country is not in the public interest.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the passport authority shall refuse to issue a passport or travel document for visiting any foreign country under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 5 on any one or more of the following grounds, and on no other ground, namely:-

(a) That the applicant is not a citizen of India;

(b) That the applicant may, or is likely to, engage outside India in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India;

(c) That the departure of the applicant from India may, or is likely to, be detrimental to the security of India;

(d) That the presence of the applicant outside India may, or is likely to, prejudice the friendly relations of India with any foreign country;

(e) That the applicant has, at any time during the period of five years immediately preceding the date of his applicant, been convicted by a court in India for any offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced in respect thereof to imprisonment for not less than two years;

(f) That proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the applicant are pending before a criminal court in India;

(g) That a warrant or summons for the appearance, or a warrant for the arrest, of the applicant has been issued by a court under any law for the time being in force or that an order prohibiting the departure from India of the applicant has been made by any such court;

(h) That the applicant has been repatriated and has not reimbursed the expenditure incurred in connection with such repatriation;

(i) That in the opinion of the Central Government the issue of a passport or travel document to the applicant will not be in the public interest.”

  • With respect to the refusal of Passport upon the pendency of criminal case, the Court elaborated over Section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act, stating,

“A reading of Section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act indicates that, the passport authority shall refuse to issue a passport or travel document for visiting any foreign country, if a criminal proceeding is pending against the applicant in India. However, the said provision does not provide for refusing to issue a passport for a person who intends to travel back to India. Hence, reading of this provision clearly indicates that it is applicable only for issuing a fresh passport and not for renewal of passport and this view is fortified by the decision of the Delhi High Court rendered in the case of Ashok Khanna v. Central Bureau of Investigation, 265 (2019) DLT 614”

  • Rejecting the argument and precedents cited by the counsel for the Respondents, the Court remarked that the notification placed reliance on, is applicable to an applicant requesting for issuing passport so as to travel abroad. It is not the case of the Petitioner that he intends to travel abroad. Petitioner is requesting for renewal of passport which he has submitted in Form EA (P)-2 and in the said Form there is no requirement for obtaining permission from the jurisdictional magistrate before whom a criminal case is pending to travel abroad. The said notification applies to an applicant who intends to travel abroad against whom a criminal case is pending.
  • Further, the Court holding the submissions untenable, said that, Emergency Certificate applies only to classes of person mentioned expressly under the Schedule. The Court observed, “Petitioner does not fall in the category so as to obtain an Emergency Certificate under the Passport Act, 1967 read with Passport Rules 1980 since no Lookout Circular and Red Corner notice are issued against the petitioner till date.”
  • Referring, Satwant Singh Sawhney v. D. Ramarathnam, AIR 1967 SC 1836, the Court reiterated that the objective of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and said, “Petitioner’s right to travel cannot be curtailed on the pretext that a criminal case is pending against him by refusing to renew his passport”
  • Furthermore, the Court relied on, Suresh Nanda v. CBI, (2008) 3 SCC 674, wherein it was held that despite criminal case filed against the petitioner therein he was entitled to hold the passport since the passport had not been impounded in accordance with law.

Decision

Allowing the Writ Petition, the Court directed Respondents 1 to 3 to facilitate renewal of the Petitioner’s passport and further directed the petitioner to appear before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Hyderabad within 6 months from the date of renewal with respect to the criminal case pending against him.[Krishna Chiranjeevi v. Union of India, WP No. 9141 of 2020, decided on 1-10-2020]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: N.S. Dhanik, J., partly allowed a criminal revision which was preferred against the Judgment and order passed by the District and Sessions Judge whereby he had confirmed the judgment and order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate and also against the judgment and order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate in a Criminal Case under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act, whereby the revisionist were convicted for the offence punishable under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act and sentenced to undergo one-year simple imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs 5,000.

The informant lodged an FIR alleging therein that on information, the informant came to know that two Nepali people who often smuggling the cement, compost, kerosene oil, etc from Tankpur to Nepal upon their motorcycles. The informant along with other police officials reached the Gandhi Park and seeing two persons who were tying the plastics canes in their motorcycles outside the warehouse of Naresh Chandra Gupta. Both tried to run away, but they were arrested on the spot. From the possession of the accused persons, Jaricanes were recovered and on asking regarding the said recovery, they told that they had purchased the Kerosene oil from the Naresh Chandra Gupta (present revisionist) and 20 litres kerosene oil was also recovered from the warehouse of Naresh Chandra Gupta. After investigation, the charge sheet against the accused revisionist for the offence punishable under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act was filed. The Counsel for the revisionist, Mr. Bhuwanesh Joshi submitted his arguments only on the quantum of sentence. He submitted that the revisionist had served about 27 days in the jail and that he was a poor person and the matter relates back to the year 2008.

The Court while partly allowing the revision modified and reduced the sentence to three months considering the contention that matter related back to the year 2008 and ends of justice would be sub-served if the jail sentence of the revisionist is reduced adjusting the period already undergone by him, although the sentence of the fine was enhanced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.[Naresh Chandra Gupta v. State of Uttarakhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 550, decided on 16-09-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Telangana High Court: A Division Bench of Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, CJ and T. Vinod Kumar, J., while addressing a writ appeal observed that the High Court cannot decide whether the FIR is a false or frivolous one.

Facts

In the instant appeal, as per the facts of the case, petitioner was appointed as Village Assistant and later in February 2020 was promoted to Senior Assistant. By order dated 31-07-2020, the petitioner was suspended from his service.

On being aggrieved with the above, petitioner filed the petition before the Single Judge and further the same was dismissed and hence the appeal before this Court.

Contentions 

Petitioner’s Counsel, P.V. Ramana submitted that the allegations made against the petitioner relate to the year 2005-2006 and hence suspending the petitioner after a lapse of 14 years will not serve any fruitful purpose.

The alleged complaint made by Guda Rajeswar to the police on the basis of which a criminal case had been registered against the petitioner is also of the period 2005-2006. Also, the case made out on the said allegations was lost by the complainant before the revenue authorities. Hence the FIR is a false and frivolous one.

Decision and Analysis

Rule 8 of the Telangana Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1991 states that an employee can be suspended either if a Criminal Case is pending or a Departmental Enquiry is contemplated.

In the present matter, Article of charges had been furnished on 31-07-2020 to the petitioner, which clearly points that a departmental enquiry has commenced.

It has also been noted that an FIR was registered against the petitioner for offences under Sections 420, 468, 471, 506 read with 34 of Penal Code, 1860.

Hence on referring the stated rule, it is clear that both the conditions prescribed under Rule 8 are fulfilled in the present matter.

High Court also noted that to determine whether FIR is false or frivolous is not to be decided by this Court. The veracity and authenticity of the FIR are to be decided by the Trial Court.

Bench while analysing the matter also stated that “suspension is not a punishment.”

Suspension is merely suspending the relationship between the employer and an employee.

Court stated that since the petitioner is facing both the Criminal Trial and a Departmental Enquiry, the employer cannot be saddled with such an employee.

In view of the above Court dismissed the appeal on finding no merits. [P. Narasimha Chary v. State of Telangana, 2020 SCC OnLine TS 1021, decided on 16-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While deciding the instant petition, wherein the petitioners have been charged with offences under Sections 14A and 14B of the Foreigners Act, 1946, Section 25 of the Indian Arms Act, 1959 and Section 34 of the Aadhar Act, 2016, K.N. Phaneendra, J., laid down certain guidelines in order to deal with the issues arising due to the prolonged stay of illegal immigrants facing proceedings under the Foreigners Act, 1946. 

As per the facts of the case, the accused persons allegedly migrated from Bangladesh and have been staying in India without passport/ visa or any proper documents provided by the competent authorities. It was also alleged that the accused persons have obtained Aadhar Cards using illegal means. The counsel for the petitioners C. Mohammad Pasha and the Government Pleader, Rohith B.J., both of them submitted that there is no decision that spells out any specific ground upon which bail can be granted to individuals such as the accused persons. They further pointed out that there are no guidelines which have been made to regulate the stay of such persons who have come to India without passport/visa.

Perusing the submissions laid down by both the parties, the Court pointed out that though the instant matter is a simple bail matter, but the issue involved is important enough to for the Court to take notice. The Court pointed out that it is a very difficult task to lay exhaustive guidelines in the matter, but it will nevertheless try to address the ‘grey areas of law’ in the current matter. 

Some of the important guidelines laid down by the Court  are as follows-

  • In case a foreign national is arrested under the provisions of Foreigner’s Act and such individual does not possess passport or visa or possesses expired visa, then immediate proceedings shall begin to deport such individual. The jurisdictional police must right away inform the competent authorities to start the deportation proceedings.
  • If the foreign nationals fail to obtain bail in any criminal case, then they should be kept in normal jail till the disposal of the case.
  • If the foreign nationals are granted bail/ anticipatory bail under and their offences are under the Foreigners Act and other such laws, then such individuals shall be kept in detention centres till the time they are not deported to their mother country.
  • In the event a foreign national ends up being convicted, then they shall be kept in the regular prisons till they serve their sentence. After that they shall be kept in detention centres till the time they are not deported.
  • If the foreign national is acquitted, and their nationality is in dispute before the competent Tribunal, then they shall be kept in detention centres from where they shall be deported, unless they have any right which entitles them to remain in India.
  • The public prosecutors and the defence counsels shall try their best to expeditiously deal with such cases.
  • The Central and State Governments shall take all requisite steps to establish sufficient number of detention centres.
  • In case the foreign national/ accused is a woman or a child or a woman having a child, then the competent authorities have to follow the guidelines laid down in R.D. Upadhyay v. State of A.P., (2007) 15 SCC 360, and the specific statutory provisions. If the mother is in custody with an infant below or upto the age of 6 years then the Court may allow the child to accompany the mother in custody. In the event either of the parents are arrested, then the custody will be granted to the parent who is not arrested; if both the parents are under arrest, then the custody shall be given to their close relative or government shelter home as per the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
  • If the foreign national is an illegal immigrant who has been involved in a criminal offence under any law other than the Foreigners Act, 1946, then the Centre and State Governments shall take immediate actions with proper application of their mind. In case, the offences committed are not heinous in nature, then the Governments may withdraw those cases under Section 321 of CrPC and start the deportation process as soon as possible.

   [ Babul Khan v. State of Karnataka, Crl. P. No. 6578 of 2019, decided on 19-05-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Ravindra Maithani, J., dismissed an appeal filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 against the order passed in Criminal Revision No. 66 of 2016, Hemant Chaudhary v. Poonam Rani.

Respondents had filed complaint against the petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 120B, 406, 420, 384, 504 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860 according to which petitioner’s 2 and 3 had persuaded the respondent 2 to marry with petitioner 1 and very hurriedly both were got married and after marriage respondent 2 noticed that petitioner 1 would speak to some person at odd hours and after inquiry, it was found that the petitioner was already married and a complaint was made and the trial court had dismissed the complaint which was yet again challenged in criminal revision where the trial court had directed to take the matter afresh.

The Court while dismissing the petition relied on the evidence that had been presented like that of the photographs and recorded the conversation and also the admission of the petitioners of the fact that the petitioner was already married thus the trial court was right in observing that an offence punishable under Section 494 was committed.[Poonam Rani v. State of Uttarakhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 82, decided on 03-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Om Prakash-VII, J. allowed the application filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 seeking quashing of a summoning order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Agra in a case filed under Sections 463, 464, 466, 467, 468, 471, 474 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Taking cognizance on the basis of protest petition was set aside as the Magistrate took extraneous material into consideration.

An application was filed to quash the summoning order and criminal case proceedings initiated by Chief Judicial Magistrate, Agra, against the appellant.

Counsels for the Applicant, Vimlendu Tripathi, M.C. Chaturvedi and S.C. Dwivedi submitted that the concerned Magistrate took cognizance in the matter against the applicant by taking into consideration extraneous facts and evidence annexed with the protest petition rejecting the final report which was illegal. It was further contended that the prosecution against the applicant was barred by Section 197 CrPC as the alleged act came under the purview of discharge of official duty.

Rishabh Agarwal, appearing on the behalf of the respondent, submitted that mere exoneration in the departmental enquiry would not be sufficient to quash the criminal prosecution, and since the case was made out from the evidence available in the case diary itself, therefore, there was no illegality in the impugned order.

The Court relied on Ram Chandra Sharma v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2016 SCC OnLine All 3375 where it was held that exoneration in departmental proceedings does not render the criminal proceedings arising out of the same, liable to be quashed. But in peculiar circumstances, a criminal proceeding can be quashed.

It was noted by the Court that in the present case evidence which was not part of the case diary was taken into consideration by the concerned magistrate while passing the impugned order whereby cognizance was without following the procedure prescribed under Chapter XV of CrPC. Since in the present matter neither enquiry has been conducted under Chapter XV of the CrPC by the Magistrate nor the documents, facts and evidence relied upon by the concerned Magistrate were part of the case diary, therefore on the basis of the same, the order against the applicant was held to be against the law and not sustainable.

In such view of the matter, the High Court allowed the application and the impugned order was set aside. The matter was sent back to the Magistrate to pass a new order in accordance with law. [N.K. Janoo v. State of Uttar Pradesh, Application No. 31673 of 2016, decided on 22-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Rajeev Kumaar Dubey, J., addressed a petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing proceedings of criminal case lodged for the offence punishable under Sections 376(2)(n) & 376(2)(f), 109, 506 & 34 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Prosecutrix, wife of co-accused, lodged a report wherein she stated that her brother-in-law in the absence of her husband committed rape with her. Further adding to the allegation she stated that she had informed about the same incident to her husband and mother-in-law, though both of them asked her to not tell anyone and let him do whatever he wants to otherwise she would be killed like her sister-in-law. Prosecutrix stated that out of fear she did not report of the incident earlier.

Once the prosecutrix returned to her parental home she reported the incident and the crime was registered for the offence punishable under Sections 376(2)(n), 376(2)(f), 506 of Penal Code, 1860 against the applicant (brother-in-law).

Counsel for the applicant contended that there was a delay in lodging of FIR for no plausible explanation and which clearly shows that the same was a false report against the applicant. It has also been pointed that the brother of the applicant had filed a petition earlier under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights along with this several complaints were lodged by the applicants wherein it was stated that relatives of the prosecutrix had threatened the applicants of implicating them in a false case.

High Court while deciding the present petition stated that, whether or not the reason for the delay of lodging in FIR stated is correct or not, at this stage it cannot be ascertained without any evidence. Even otherwise delay in lodging FIR is one of the factors to ascertain the veracity of the statement of the prosecutrix, not a sole reason.

From the FIR and the charge-sheet the prima facie offence under Section 376 IPC is clearly made out against the applicant for the offence punishable under Sections 376 (2)(n) & 376 (2)(f), 109, 506 & 34 of the IPC cannot be quashed. [Govind Purviya v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 3950, decided on 16-12-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: Dr A.K. Mishra J., allowed a criminal miscellaneous appeal to quash an on-going proceeding and also a cognizance order dated 07-02-2011 passed by the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate on the ground of settlement reached between the parties.

In the instant case, the petitioner, husband and the opposite party 2, the wife, had settled their marital dispute and had reached a divorce. However, the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, on finding sufficient grounds had taken cognizance of the matter on police report under Sections 498-A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and  406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Penal Code, 1860. The parties thereafter reached a settlement and approached the High Court under Section 482 (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash the criminal proceedings and the impugned order of the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate.

The Learned Additional Government advocate representing the opposite party 1, S. Pattnaik did not dispute the fact of settlement between the parties. The Learned advocate also brought to the High Court’s notice the joint memorandum filed in the Family Court, Srikakulam, that the wife should take necessary steps to withdraw the Criminal Case in order to maintain amity.

Counsel representing the petitioner, Samir Ku. Mishra agreed to the fact of settlement between the parties.

The High Court, felt justified to quash the criminal proceeding and the impugned judgment to prevent oppression and prejudice. The Court also placed reliance on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641, and quoted “In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence.” The Supreme Court laid down that the serious offences under criminal cases shall be distinguished from criminal cases having an “overwhelming or predominant element of civil dispute” and in such cases, the High Court shall be able to exercise power under Section 482 CrPC.

Thus, in the present case the High Court reiterated the position and stated that noting the gravity of the offence having a civil element, the Court exercised its power under Section 482 CrPC.[Ashish Kumar Rout v. State of Orissa, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 222, decided on 02-07-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Pakistan Supreme Court: A Full Bench of Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, JJ. allowed the appeal by the accused against the order given by Lahore High Court and set aside his conviction and sentence.

Appellant herein was tried alongside two persons Abdul Razzaq and Sakina Bibi who were co-accused for committing the murder of one Khalil Ahmed. The accused were presented before the Additional Sessions Judge who acquitted them. The said order was challenged in Lahore High Court wherein the appellant stood convicted under Section 302(b) of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. This order was under challenge in the present appeal.

Learned counsel for the appellant Shahid Azeem, ASC, contended that High Court should not have reversed the appellant’s acquittal after he extended benefit of doubt to co-accused. Further, it was contended that the acquittal order given the trial court was on the basis of the evidence presented and was not open to any exceptions.  

The Court noted that the reasons given by the learned trial Judge to acquit the accused from the charge which included – improbability of witnesses’ presence; their enmity with the accused, and contradictions in their disposition, were observed to be genuine. It was further opined that acquittal carries with it a double presumption of innocence and it could be reversed only when finding blatantly perverse. It could not be set aside merely on the possibility of contra view. 

It was held that High Court did not act according to settled principles of law and thus appeal was allowed, and impugned judgment given by High Court was set aside. The appellant was acquitted from the charge and was ordered to be released if not required in any other case.[Muhammad Shafi v. State, Criminal Appeal No. 48-L of 2016, decided on 07-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Vishal Mishra, J. dismissed a writ petition, where the petitioner challenged the order passed against the petitioner whereby the service was terminated because of a criminal case registered against the said petitioner and was accused of not disclosing the relevant information at the time of appointment.

Neeraj Shrivastava, counsel for the petitioner submitted that prior passing the impugned order the procedure as provided under Rules 9 and 52 of Rules M.P. Nagar Palika, Karamchari (Appointment and Services Condition) Rules, 1968 had not been taken care of as no opportunity of hearing was provided to the petitioner prior to passing of impugned order. It was further argued that the offence under Section 3 of the Public Gambling Act was registered against the petitioner wherein he had only been punished with a fine of Rs 75, which he had already deposited. The petitioner contended that the offence was trivial in nature and termination of service based upon such a past act was unfair and unjust.

Counsel for the respondent, S.P. Jain submitted that the petitioner had stated that no criminal case was registered against him and no information had been furnished by the petitioner hence he had concealed all necessary information and verified the same. An affidavit was also submitted by the petitioner to the effect that all the information which he had furnished in the form was true and correct to the best of his knowledge and no part was suppressed or false.

The Court observed that the petitioner had concealed the necessary information related to his criminal background, it was when the character verification took place, and the authorities came to know about the alleged crime. The aforesaid act of the petitioner amounted to suppression of information. The Court held that, “It is settled position of law that imposition of fine in the criminal case by the competent Court is also in category of conviction, therefore, the petitioner cannot be exhorted from its liabilities that he was required to give the complete information in Column 12 of the form submitted by him.” Court further cited the established principle of law that suppression of information was moral turpitude though the crime itself was not, in that eventuality, the service was liable to be terminated, even if there had been no further trial and the petitioner was discharged.[Rajesh Balmik v. State of M.P, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 1349, decided on 28-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J., allowed the writ petition filed with a prayer of expeditious disposal on the grounds that delay was being caused by the respondent in examining the witnesses and this was coming in the way of consideration of petitioner’s superannuation that was to be done taking into account his age.

The facts of the case were that the petitioner was working in place of his brother who died in 1988. He continued to work without any complaint but suddenly in the year 1994, on a complaint, a full-fledged departmental enquiry was held by the Railways in which he was ultimately exonerated. It was submitted that thereafter again complaint was made in 2013, for the same charges and on the one hand departmental proceedings were initiated and on the other hand, a criminal case was also instituted. In this criminal case, it was submitted that it was the authorities who were not cooperating as witnesses are not being examined on behalf of the prosecution. This would cause a delay in the superannuation which was due within a few weeks as the criminal case would come in the way of consideration. The prayer was to expedite and conclude the trial at the earliest.

The Court allowed the petition finding prayer to be reasonable. [Hoti Rai v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 307, Order dated 08-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Bench of B. Sudheendra Kumar, J. imposed cost of Rs 25,000 each on Kerala’s former transport minister Thomas Chandy, his son Toby Chandy, Water World Tourism Company Director Biji K John and Alappuzha Harbour Engineering Division Executive Engineer Jose Mathew, for wasting Court’s time by unnecessarily filing a petition challenging the criminal case registered against them.

Facts of the matter date back to August, 2017 when Alappuzha District Collector submitted a report stating that portions of Marthandam lake in Alappuzha (the heartland of backwater tourism in the State) had been usurped by Transport Minister and National Congress Party (NCP) member Thomas Chandy, for building his lake-side resort, and that he had illegally filled adjoining paddy fields in order to level it for parking lot, thereby causing ecological violations.

One might recall that despite Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s unwavering support for Chandy, he was forced to resign in November, 2017 after this Court dismissed Chandy’s plea to quash land grabbing charges, asking him to first resign and then dispute the report of District Collector. The resignation came amidst high drama after four ministers of the Communist Party of India (CPI), the second ruling coalition partner, boycotted a cabinet meeting.

Taking cognizance of the District Collector’s report, State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau conducted a probe into the matter, and FIR was registered against Chandy and other officials for violating provisions of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008. The instant petition was filed by Chandy and four others seeking quashing of the case against them.

The petition was heard and judgment in the case had been reserved for pronouncement on 04-02-2019. However, on 01-02-2019, the petitioners submitted that they wanted to withdraw this petition, and accordingly, a memo for withdrawal of case was filed on 04-02-2019. The cases were re-listed on 05-02-2019 along with the said memo, on which date, this Court allowed withdrawal of the petition. However, it was opined that “since the petitioners had wasted precious time of this Court”, costs of Rs. 25,000 be imposed on all petitioners except the resort supervisor Jijimon Varghese.[Jose Mathew v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 768, Order dated 05-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Manoj K. Tiwari, J. allowed a criminal miscellaneous application challenging the proceedings of the criminal case on the ground that the parties had settled the dispute between themselves.

The counsels for the parties submitted that parties had buried their differences and entered into a compromise and settled the dispute amicably outside the court, therefore, no useful purpose would have been served if the criminal case was to be continued.

The Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2010) 15 SCC 118 which had considered the question with regard to the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC in quashing the criminal proceedings against the offender, who had settled his dispute with the victim of the crime in a case, where crime is not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC. The Court held that in view of the settlement arrived at between the complainant and the applicants and the possibility of a conviction being remote and bleak, the FIR shall be quashed. [Abdul Rahman v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 87, Order dated 18-02-2019]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. allowed the quashing of the criminal case owing to the amicable compromise between the parties.

The petitioners have approached this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for the alleged offence under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The petitioner has been alleged for demanding dowry from the opposite party for a motorcycle along with the fact that he assaulted the opposite party. It has also been alleged that he was in an illicit relationship with another woman. He has contended that there was an application filed for restitution of conjugal rights in view of the amicable settlement between the parties under which the petitioner would pay monthly maintenance to the opposite party and her son. Hence when a compromise on mutual terms has been arrived upon between the parties the criminal case shall not be followed upon.

Accordingly, having considered the facts of the case the Court was of the view that the court by using its inherent powers in order to reach the ends of justice simply when it was in the interest of both the parties shall allow for the above application.[Dhananjay Paswan v. State Of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 11, decided on 03-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. quashed a criminal complaint as its jurisdiction purely fell within the ambit of a Civil Court.

The petitioners have approached this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash a complaint filed for cheating under Section 420 IPC.

The complainant has alleged that despite having received the money consideration for the supply of 390 bags of Masoor the same was not delivered to the complainant. The petitioners through their counsel Sandeep Kumar and Rohit Raj have submitted that the above dispute relates to a financial transaction arising out of a commercial agreement between the parties and subsequent institution of a criminal case was an abuse of the process of the Court when a remedy has been given under the common civil law.

The Court was of the view that this does not call for any interference as an offence under Section 420 IPC cannot be instituted when the case was purely of a civil nature. Also, failure of payment or non-performance falls under the competent jurisdiction of the civil Court. Thus the application stood allowed. [Raj Kumar Gupta v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 10, decided on 03-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Narayan Singh Dhanik, J. partly allowed a petition as a prima facie case was made out against the accused.

The applicant has prayed for quashing the Criminal Case filed under Sections 147, 148, 149, 452, 504, 323, 427 IPC and one under Section 3(1)x of the SC/ST Act.

The respondent through his counsel Pratiropp Pandey has filed an FIR by alleging that the applicant armed with a sword, pistol and lathi entered into his house and hurled abuses and caste indicating words “Neech” and “Chamar” and also assaulted him as well as his brother along with looting articles from his house. The applicant through his counsel Amit Kapri has contended that the provisions of the SC/ST Act were not attracted in this case as the FIR nowhere states that that the applicant does not belong Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe and that they intentionally insulted or intimidated the complainant and his brother with intent to humiliate them in a place within public view.

The Court here was of the view that the basic element needed to prosecute the applicant was missing here and thus the offence under the SC/ST Act cannot be sustained nonetheless the rest of the claim stood allowed.[Mahendra Bhatt v. State of Uttarakhand,2018 SCC OnLine Utt 1022, decided on 14-12-2018]