Restricted road lawyers agitation: High court quash FIR on one

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source internet

Shimla, Feb 25

The State High court has granted a big relief to the Shimla lawyer by quashing an FIR registered. Allegedly the lawyer was opposing permitted entry to a restricted road of the city by way of an agitation two years before. Maintaining that holding peaceful processions, raising slogans, would not be and cannot be an offence under India’s Constitution, the Himachal Pradesh High Court quashed an FIR filed recorded on an Advocate under various Sections (341, 143, 147, 149, 353, 504, and 506 IPC). The Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara took this decision while hearing a plea of a female Advocate who prayed before the Court to quash the FIR.

The matter was pertaining to a agitation of lawyers in 2019, against the city administration regarding restriction of entry on a shorter route. The lawyers were of the opinion that by not letting them on this route route without valid permit, the city administration was forcing them to take a longer way, which had traffic jams, and thus resulted in delay for attending courts.

The Petitioner’s submitted that the Police registered a concocted FIR due to wreaking vengeance with malicious intentions to scuttle the agitation and that the Police framed her as an accused for the reason that she was supporting the cause.

Putting forward their plea the prosecution stated that a large number of Advocates had assembled at Boileauganj Bazar of Shimla town and they were insisting on taking their vehicles through the restricted road, though they did not have any valid permits to do so. On this, the complainant SHO reached the spot of agitation and noticed many advocates assembled at the place, where the Petitioner was also one of them. Thereafter, the SHO asked them the reasons for creating the traffic jam by halting their vehicles.

Further, when the SHO asked the lawyers to show the permits for driving on the restricted road, the lawyers turned very aggressive and started pushing the police officials, inflicted fist blows, and hurled abuses on them, plead the petitioner. On this, the complainant tried to calm them down, but they kept on hurling abuses, gave pushes, fist blows, threatened to burn the police station, and told the SHO that they would teach him a lesson never forget in his life. After that, these lawyers sat in protest at the spot and raised slogans. Thereafter, an FIR was registered against the lawyers and the petitioner was named as the person present at the spot.

Court’s Observations

At the outset, the High Court noted that it need not wait for the completion of investigation and taking of cognizance by the Magistrate to quash the FIR. The Court also observed that the offences that are not listed as compoundable, under Section 320 CrPC can also be compounded, and the procedure to follow would be by quashing the FIR, and consequent proceedings.

Significantly, the Court observed that the FIR nowhere mentions the role of the petitioner and even if is presumed that the petitioner was present at the spot, it would still not lead to an automatic inference of her acting with a common object with those who had inflicted fist blows, hurled abuses, and threatened the SHO, and also threatened to burn the Police Station.

The Court further noted that although the police got a video recording of the incident, the State did not refer to the said portion of the disk at which time frame, the Petitioner was video recorded inflicting fist blows, hurling abuses, or threatening the SHO, or threatening to burn the Police station.

The Court remarked, “Mere presence at the spot in the demonstration would not invite criminal act in the facts and nature of allegations made in the present FIR… therefore, naming the petitioner as an accused is a gross abuse of the process of law. If proceedings are allowed to be continued, it shall amount to the miscarriage of Justice.”

Consequently, the petition was allowed, and the FIR No.164/2019 was quashed along with all the consequential proceedings.

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