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  • The High Court of Karnataka refused to quash the criminal case registered against residents of an apartment who allegedly prevented the officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) from entering the premises for surveying and removing encroachment over Rajakaluve, stormwater drain, as per the court orders.
  • The single judge bench of Justice K Natarajan rejected the petitioner’s contention stating that they were residents of the Apartment and there was no illegal intention to assemble.
  • The petitioners and owners of the apartment together prevented the public authority from discharging his duty which attracts Section 149 IPC for common object and Section 143 IPC for committing an offence on a public servant.
  • The complaint was registered by Malathi, the Executive Engineer of BBMP.
  • The officials had gone to remove the encroachment and for fencing work.
  • The petitioner staying at Shilpitha Splendour Annex had illegally gathered and prevented the authorities from discharging their duty and executing the High Court’s order.
  • The petitioner argued that they went on a peaceful strike and did not agitate against the police or BBMP officials.
  • It was also argued that the offence against petitioners under Section 353 IPC shall not be attracted as they were the residents and dint intend on any unlawful or illegal assembly.
  • The right to assemble falls under Article 19 of the Constitution as a fundamental right and hence the assembly is not illegal.
  • The bench observed the photos and videos of the incident which prima facie revealed that the BBMP officials were prevented by petitioners.
  • The court held that it attracts Section 353 IPC for petitioners constructing the BBMP officers and the ADLR from surveying the encroachment and laying fences as per the orders of the court.
  • It is an admitted fact that after registering the case against petitioners, BBMP was able to fence the area of encroachment.
  • Therefore, it cannot be held that offences were not made for investigating the matter.
  • It was prima facie evident that there was a cognizable offence from conducting an investigation and the petition was dismissed.
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