The Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that when an accused person has been acquitted of criminal cases pending against him and no more criminal cases are pending against him, then continuing a 'Rowdy Sheet' against such a person is not justified.
A single bench constituting of Justice Cheekati Manavendranath observed,
"It is not disputed before this Court that the petitioners have been acquitted in the said two murder cases. Admittedly, no criminal case is pending against the petitioners now in any Court of law. Therefore, when the petitioners are acquitted in the said two murder cases and when no case is pending against them in any Court at present, there is absolutely no justification to continue the said rowdy sheets that were opened against them when the two crimes for the offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC are pending against them. The respondents ought to have closed the said rowdy sheets after they were acquitted in the said two murder cases."
The Court was hearing a writ petition for a mandamus to declare the actions of respondents in opening, and later continuing, rowdy sheets against the petitioners as illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and sought to quash the said rowdy sheets.
A crime punishable under Sections 302, 307, 324 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 25 of the Indian Arms Act was registered against the petitioners, along with other accused persons. Another case was registered against them for the offences punishable under Sections 147, 148, 435, 302 read with Section 34 of IPC and Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act. Charge sheets were filed against the Petitioners and both cases were committed to trial. In one trial, the Petitioners were convicted by the Additional Sessions Judge, but they were acquitted in appeal. In the other case, the Petitioners were acquitted in the trial court. Before their acquittal, the police opened the impugned rowdy sheets against the Petitioners.
The Petitioners submitted that the police had been illegally continuing the rowdy sheets opened against them in 2014, despite their acquittal in both cases and no pending case against them. The Petitioners sought a declaration that opening and continuing rowdy sheets against them was illegal and a direction that they be quashed.
The Respondents retained that even though the petitioners were acquitted in the two murder cases, they had been indulging in unlawful activities, and that their actions were posing threat and are prejudicial to the public interest. They claimed that the rowdy sheets were being continued to deter them from committing any such offenses.
The Court went back to the case of Tadiboyina Peraiah @ Mahesh v. State of Andhra Pradesh, in which it was held that when there are no crimes pending against the petitioner and when no material is produced to show that the acts of the petitioner are posing threat to the inmates of the locality, that continuation of the rowdy sheet is not justified.
The court found the continuation of the impugned rowdy sheets against the Petitioners illegal and directed authorities to close them.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AP) 87