Karnataka High Court quashed criminal proceedings against PFI-student wing members
Recently, the Karnataka High Court quashed criminal proceedings against PFI-student wing members who were accused of installing posters and protesting against the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid judgment (passed by the SC in 2019) within the premises of Mangaluru University. The police had filed a complaint against them in a suo moto manner under Section 153-A and 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3 of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981, in November 2019. The accused was suspected of being a member of the Campus Front of India (CFI), a part of the recently-banned Popular Front of India (PFI). Under the said case, a single-judge bench comprising Justice K Natarajan noted that such an act encouraged religious hostility, hatred, or ill will between the two groups, namely, the Hindus and the Muslims. Thus, the accused’s actions were considered detrimental to the maintenance of harmony and could not be treated lightly. Haleema Ameen, the advocate for the petitioner, pleaded that there was no direct evidence against the petitioner and the complaint was registered based upon hearsay evidence, which is not admissible in a court of law. Further, there were no eyewitnesses against the petitioner, and nothing was seized from his possession.
Hence, the petitioner was falsely implicated in the case and was not a member of any aforesaid organizations. Whereas the learned counsel for the respondent state argued that the name of the petitioner was mentioned by the police constable, who was on patrol on the date of the incident. All the witnesses also stated about the incident. However, the court dismissed the proceedings against the petitioner, Safwan, and five other accused due to the lack of government sanction according to the FIR. The prosecution had not acquired state sanction, leading to a lack of consequence for the offence committed against the state. The magistrate failed to take this procedural aspect (as required by Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code) into account. Moreover, even the police had not specified that such sanctions had been acquired in the charge sheet. Hence, the court pronounced that “the criminal proceedings against the petitioner are liable to be annulled for lack of sanction.” [Refer to the Judgment for more details: Safwan vs the State of Karnataka, CRIMINAL PETITION NO.513 OF 2022, decided on 14-10-2022]
Tags : #Highcourt #Karnataka #Section153A #IPC #PFI #sanction #CPC #CFI