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Allahabad High Court dismisses petition challenging FIR giving rise to UP Gangsters and Anti-social Activities Act

The Allahabad High Court dismissed the petition challenging the first information report dated 30.6.2023 giving rise to Case under Section 2/3 of the U.P Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, Police Station-Kasganj, District-Kasganj.

The Division Bench of Justice Anjani Kumar Mishra Justice Shiv Shanker Prasad passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Deepak Kumar @ Deepak Maratha and Another.

The submission of the counsel for the petitioners is that the offences alleged in the first information report do not fall within the category of offences specified in the Act of 1986.

In any case, the petitioner does not fall within the definition of the word ‘gang’ as occurring in Section 2(b) of the Act. Another ground taken in the writ petition is that the proceedings under the Gangsters Act are mala fide. No cognizable offence is disclosed from the allegations made in the first information report.

The petitioners in the writ petition are Deepak Kumar @ Deepak Maratha and Monu Maheshwari @ Manoj Kumar. The provisions of the Gangsters Act have been imposed against them on the basis of a single case being Case under Sections 3/4 of the Public Gambling Act wherein the petitioners are stated to be on bail.

The contention of the counsel for the petitioners is that a person singly or collectively can constitute a gang only if (i) by violence, or threat or show of violence, or intimidation, or coercion or otherwise tries to gain any undue temporal, pecuniary, material or other advantage for himself or any other person. The emphasis of the counsel for the petitioners is on the words “violence, threat or show of violence, or intimidation or coercion”.

The Court held that, bare reading of the provision itself shows that violence, threat or show of violence, or intimidation or coercion are not the only conditions specified under Section 2(b) of the Act. What is important and material at least for the case at hand, is the word “otherwise”.

The word “otherwise” in our opinion means that the words in Section 2(b) occurring before it, namely violence, or its threat, intimidation & coercion are not exhaustive but only indicative or illustrative. The word “otherwise” would include within its ambit any act which disturbs public order or is aimed at acquiring temporal, pecuniary, material or other advantage and such act is anti-social.

Thus, in view of the word “otherwise” a person who disturbs public order or gains undue temporal, pecuniary or material advantage for himself by indulging any anti-social activities would fall within the scope of the word “gang” occurring in Section 2(b) of the Gangsters Act.

Section 2(b)(vi) of Gangsters Act provides that an offence punishable under Section 3 of the Public Gambling Act, 1867 also falls within the definition of the word “gang”. It is not in dispute that the base case against the petitioners is one under Section 3/4 of the Public Gambling Act.

“Under the circumstances, therefore, the submission that the petitioners do not fall within the definition of the word “gang” as occurring in Section 2(b) of the Act, cannot be accepted.

It is also not in dispute that the provisions of the Gangsters Act can be slapped against a person on the basis of a single case.

The charge-sheet in the base case against the petitioners had been filed on 29.04.2023 and the impugned FIR has been lodged against them on 30.06.2023.

Under the circumstances, we do not find any illegality in the manner in which the first information report had been lodged. Moreover, the allegations in the first information report, in our considered opinion, contain the ingredients of a cognizable offence.

In view of the foregoing, we do not find any ground to interfere in the impugned first information report”, the Court observed while dismissing the petition.

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