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Apartment Residents Coming Together To Prevent Public Authority From Discharging Its Duty Amounts To Unlawful Assembly U/S 143 IPC: Karnataka HC

Raashi Saxena ,
  30 November 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka
Brief :

Citation :
CRIMINAL PETITION NO.6123 OF 2020

Case title: 
UMA Shankar Mohapatra & Ors Vs State Of Karnataka

Date of Order: 
9th November 2022

Bench: 
Justice K Natarajan

Parties: 
Petitioner- UMA SHANKAR MOHAPATRA & ORS.
             Respondents- State of Karnataka

SUBJECT

A criminal case filed against apartment dwellers who allegedly congregated and hindered Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) employees from measuring and removing encroachment over Rajakaluve (storm water drain) in accordance with court orders has been rejected by the Karnataka High Court. The petitioners' argument that they are occupants of the apartment and that their gathering together is not unlawful was rejected by a single-judge bench of Justice K Natarajan.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

Section 143 of the IPC

Anyone who participates in an unlawful assembly is subject to punishment under Section 143 of the I.P.C., which mentions either a fine or imprisonment for a time that may not exceed six months, or both.

BRIEF FACTS

  • The BBMP executive engineer Malathi filed a complaint, and as a result, the officials went to remove the encroachment and complete wire fencing work. 
  • However, the petitioners, who reside in the Shilpitha Splendor Annex, assembled illegally and hindered them from carrying out their duties and carrying out the High Court's ruling.

ISSUES RAISED

Whether FIR No. 119/2020 registered by Mahadevapura police for the offences punishable under Sections 143, 353, 149 of IPC quashable or not and whether the present petition was valid or not. 

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT

  • The petitioners claimed that they went on strike peacefully and that they had not incited unrest against the police or BBMP officials. 
  • It was further contended that because the petitioners are apartment dwellers and there is no unlawful intent in their gathering together, the petitioners would not be found guilty of the offence described in Section 353 of the IPC. 
  • Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to assemble as a Fundamental Right.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • The learned pleader on behalf of the High Court was of the opinion that the petitioners have impeded the BBMP authorities from carrying out the court's order to remove the encroachment and erect a fence over the Rajakaluve.
  • When the police and BBMP officials went to survey the land, the petitioners gathered illegally and interfered with the public servant's performance of his or her duties.
  • The images and videos show how the petitioners and accused parties prevented the public servant from carrying out the High Court's ruling.
  • Therefore, the attorney pleaded for the petition to be dismissed and requested that the police be instructed to look into the situation.

ANALYSIS BY THE COURT

  • The bench took note of the images and video of the occurrence, which appear to show that the petitioners blocked the BBMP personnel from intervening.
  • It was of the opinion that the petitioners should be charged under Section 353 of the IPC for obstructing the complainant, BBMP personnel, and the ADLR while they assessed the encroachment and erected fencing in accordance with the court's order.
  • It also noted that the BBMP officials were able to install fencing on the land that had been freed from encroachment after filing a case against the petitioners.
  • Therefore, it cannot be claimed that the offences do not warrant further investigation.

CONCLUSION

After a thorough consideration of all the facts of the case the court established that there was prima facie evidence to prove that a cognizable offence had taken place and further dismissed the petition.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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