14 Oct 2023 4:49 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings initiated against a 51-yr-old woman accused of threatening and hurling abuses at a police officer over phone, upon finding that the same would not attract the offence under Section 294(b) ('Obscene acts and songs') of IPC, that she had been charged with.Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan discerned that in order to attract the offence...
The Kerala High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings initiated against a 51-yr-old woman accused of threatening and hurling abuses at a police officer over phone, upon finding that the same would not attract the offence under Section 294(b) ('Obscene acts and songs') of IPC, that she had been charged with.
Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan discerned that in order to attract the offence under Section 294(b), two ingredients as highlighted in James Jose v. State of Kerala (2019) would be necessary: 1. that the offender has done any obscene act in any public place or has sung, recited or uttered any obscene song or word in or near any public place; and 2. that the act has caused annoyance to others.
"Admittedly the allegation is that the petitioner contacted the defacto complainant over phone and used abusive language. Even if the petitioner used abusive words over phone, that would not attract an offence under section 294(b) IPC in the light of the dictum laid down by this court in James Jose case (supra). Moreover, the abusive words mentioned in Annexure A complaint would not attract the ingredients of offence under section 294(b) IPC," the Court observed.
The prosecution case against the petitioner was that she had called the de facto complainant in his official mobile number and after identifying him as Circle Inspector of Police, North Police Station Alappuzha, threatened him by using abusive words. It was alleged that the conduct was repeated multiple times on the same day, and the FIR was thus registered against the petitioner alleging the aforementioned offenses.
The petitioner, on her part, however, alleged that she had initially approached the Superintendent of Police, Alappuzha with a complaint regarding a prayer hall of the Penta Costal Society in her neighbouring property, being the source of noise pollution, for which the Superintendent of Police had directed the Station House Officer of Alappuzha North Police Station (de facto complainant) to conduct an inspection. She added that it was to know the outcome of the complaint that she had called the de facto complainant in his official phone, and that the latter had verbally abused her by making unnecessary and unwanted remarks.
Court noted that the FIR against the petitioner had reached the jurisdictional court only a day after the petitioner's complaint against the de facto complainant reached the District Police Chief. Thus, Court was of the prima facie view that the FIR in itself was a 'counterblast' to the petitioner's complaint. It held,
"Here the prosecution alleged that the petitioner, a 51-year-old citizen, used abusive language to the Station House Officer of Alappuzha North Police Station over phone. Even if the entire allegation in the final report is accepted, I am of the considered opinion that the offences under Section 294(b), Section 506(i) of IPC and Section 120(o) of the Police Act are not made out in this case," Justice Kunhikrishnan observed.
The Court also ordered departmental enquiry against the de facto complainant, if he was still in service.
Public Prosecutor M.P. Prasanth appeared on behalf of the State in this Case.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Ker) 564
Case Title: Ramla Kabeer v. State of Kerala
Case Number: CRL.MC NO. 1196 OF 2021
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