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  • In Rilgin V. George & Anr v. State of Kerala & Anr, the Kerala High Court has held that merely being in uniform does not attract the provisions of section 353 CrPC which talk about assault on a public servant to prevent discharge of official duties.
  • The Court allowed the application for anticipatory bail filed by two lawyers accused of harassing a police officer in uniform while he was at the Court for an ongoing enquiry against him. 
  • The background of this case is that a lawyer, one of the accused, was taken in police custody in relation to a traffic accident. 
  • The accused made an allegation of ill-treatment against the police officers which led to several advocates gathering in front of the police station seeking his release.
  • Consequently, an enquiry was conducted in the High Court premises where the lawyer was taken by a Circle Inspector of Police.
  • On his way out, the Circle Inspector was confronted by several lawyers who allegedly formed an unlawful assembly, hurled abuses at him, and assualted him with deadly weapons.
  • All of them were booked under sections 143, 147, 148, 353, 323, 294(b) r/w 149 of IPC. 
  • The counsel for the petitioners argued that section 353 IPC is the only non-bailable offence made out against the petitioners and the rest of the charges are for bailable offences.
  • The cousel futher contended that the petitioners were falsely implicated under section 353 IPC to incriminate them under a non-bailable offence.
  • The Ld. Court observed that in order to attract provisions of section 353 IPC, the assault should be to deter the public servant from discharging his official duty. 
  • The Court further observed that as the complainant police officer was attending an enquiry in the High Court based on a complaint filed by a lawyer when the alleged incident took place and merely because he is in uniform, Section 353 IPC will not be attracted.
  • The Court agreed with the contentions raised by the petitioners and held that section 353 was added just to incriminate the lawyers in a non-bailable offence.
  • Accordingly, the Court directed that if the petioners are arrested, they would be released at a bail-bond of INR 50,000/-.
     
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