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Madras High Court quashes case against persons for raising slogans against PM Modi

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The Madras High Court has quashed a case against persons who had raised various slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for announcing demonetization.

A single-judge bench of Justice N. Sathish Kumar passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Jegan @ Ellamaran and another.

The criminal original petition has been filed to call for the records and quash the Final Report as against the petitioners and other accused for the offences under Sections 143, 188 of IPC @ 143, 149, 353 IPC read with 7 (1) a of CL Act.

The allegation in the FIR indicates that on 20.11.2016 at about 5.30 pm, the members of May 17 Organization along with its Leader and 100 of participants indulged in the protest/agitation near Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam and raised various slogans against Prime Minister for announcing demonetization as void. And thereby, the present FIR has been registered.

The counsel for the petitioners submitted that the prosecution has been launched with false allegations and even when the entire prosecution case is taken at face value, the same would not constitute any offence and continuing the prosecution is nothing but abuse of process of law. Therefore, the counsel submitted that the same may be quashed.

The Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that the accused unlawfully assembled and caused disturbance to the public, thereby, they have been prosecuted.

The Court held,

It is to be noted that while exercising the power under Section 482 of CrPC, the Court should be slow, at the same time, if the Court finds that from the entire materials collected by the prosecution taken as a whole, would not constitute any offence, in such situation, directing the parties to undergo ordeal of trial will be a futile exercise and it will infringe the right of the persons and in this regard, the Apex Court in State of Haryana and others Vs. Bhajan Lal and Others reported in 1992 Supp (1) Supreme Court Cases 335.

Even as per the FIR, it is not the case of the defacto complainant that the petitioners along with other accused have unlawfully assembled and used force or violence and hence, offences under Section 143 of IPC is not attracted.

Further, it is not the case of the prosecution that the accused have used criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his official duty to attract the offence under Section 353 of IPC and Section 7 (1) (a) of Criminal Law Amendment Act.

Considering the above, the Court is of the view that mere launching of FIR by the prosecution itself is not sufficient to reach the conclusion that offences are made out and the materials collected by the prosecution do not support for proving the case and continuing the prosecution on shaky or without any materials is clear abuse of process of law.

“Accordingly, the Criminal Original Petition is allowed and proceedings against the petitioners in C.C No 210 of 2019 on the file of the XIV Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, Chennai is quashed. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed,” the Court ordered.

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