The Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside a show cause notice issued by a special executive magistrate over an FIR filed by the customers of a hotel regarding their altercation with the hotel owner over demonetised notes.
The incident, which occurred on November 10, 2016, was two days after the Central government’s decision to demonetise Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000-denomination currency notes announced on the night of November 8.
Although a buffer period was provided by the Centre for exchanging these notes, the hotel owner refused to accept payment from the complainant customers who had old Rs. 500 notes. This led to an altercation.
An FIR was registered against the hotel owner and his staff for offences punishable under Sections 141, 143, 147, 149, 323, 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code.
On the basis of this FIR, a show cause notice was issued by the special executive magistrate under Section 107 of the CrPC asking why they should not be asked to furnish a bail bond of Rs. 5,000 for keeping peace for a period of one year.
Upon hearing the facts of the case, a division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai observed: “The said incident was basically a quarrel between two groups on non-acceptance of Rs. 500 notes. Suffice it to say that a proceeding under Section 107 is only preventive measure aimed at preserving public peace and tranquillity. In the instant case, there was no material to indicate that the petitioners were likely to commit a breach of peace or disturb the public tranquility or do any wrongfulact which was likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity. On the contrary, allegations in the FIR reveal that the incident in question had occurred over non-acceptance of old notes.”
Thus, the court opined that the magistrate had exceeded his jurisdiction under Section 107 by invoking it over “a trivial incident”.
Read the Judgment here.