Hon’ble Justice Nirmal Kumar in the instant case observed that “mere threat would not constitute an offence and reiterated what supreme court held about the protest that right to protest is a fundamental right.
The petition herein is filed by the petitioner for the quashing of charges against the petitioner.
Firstly, in the case herein a case is lodged against the petitioner herein and another accused under Sections 294(b), 124A, 353, and 505(1)(b) of the Indian penal code(hereinafter referred to as ‘IPC’) on the allegation that petitioner along with other accused had assembled and distributing provocative handbills to the public against the State and Central Government.
The contention of the petitioner herein is that it is a false case lodged against him and the complainant himself is an investigating officer in the case.
It is further contended that “it only appears from the handbill which is distributed that 13 civilians who are innocent were brutally killed when they participated in the Anti-Sterlite protest in the year 2018 and that they are only raising their voice in protest which cannot be termed as sedition.”
Further, the petitioner relied on the support of his arguments on the decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme court in Kedarnath Singh Vs. The state of Bihar and Balwant Singh Vs. The state of Punjab.
The Hon’ble bench held in the case herein that “as the accused is charged under a provision of Section 505 (1)(b) of IPC it is mandatory as per Section 196 of Cr.P.C., that court shall take cognizance of offence punishable under Section 505(1)(b) of IPC., only after sanction of Central or State or of the District Magistrate failing to comply the charge will be quashed”
Moreover, the court noted that “there cannot be inferred anything from the handbill which is seditious and none of the witnesses has stated that on going through the handbills it was found provocative, causing any disturbance or hatred among the public.”
With the above observations, hon’ble bench quashed the proceedings against the petitioner and another accused.