27 March 2023 4:17 AM GMT
The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has recently observed that a mere act of insulting a person would not satisfy the ingredients of section 504 IPC ( Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), rather insulting should be of such a nature as would give provocation to the person insulted to break the public peace or to commit any other offence, in order to attract...
The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has recently observed that a mere act of insulting a person would not satisfy the ingredients of section 504 IPC ( Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), rather insulting should be of such a nature as would give provocation to the person insulted to break the public peace or to commit any other offence, in order to attract the offence.
Justice Sanjay Dhar made these observations while hearing a plea in terms of which the petitioners challenged the complaint filed against them alleging commission of offences under section 504 and 506(1) RPC, stated to be pending before the Court of Judicial Magistrate 1st Class. The petitioners had also thrown challenge to an order passed by the Magistrate, whereby process had been issued against them.
The bench noted that the respondent/complainant in his complaint before the trial court had alleged that the petitioners had forged the record to show that Karthik Japotra is the son of Petitioner No.1. The bench further recorded that these allegations had not been established during the preliminary enquiry conducted by the Magistrate and in the impugned order it has been specifically observed by the Magistrate that ingredients of Section 420 RPC are not made out against the petitioners.
The complainants alleged that it was in this background that when she asked the petitioners as to why they had forged the record, the petitioners used filthy language against her and also threatened her.
The question that arose for determination was as to whether mere assertion that a person has been threatened or filthy language has been used against her, would be sufficient enough to hold that offences under sections 504 and 506(1) RPC are made out against the accused.
Addressing the issue the bench observed that Section 504 IPC is amply clear that in order to satisfy the ingredients of Section 504 IPC, prosecution has to show that the accused has intentionally insulted the complainant so as to give him provocation, intending or knowing it that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace or to commit any other offence. Thus, mere act of insulting a person would not satisfy the ingredients of section 504 IPC. Act of insulting should be of such a nature as would give provocation to the person insulted to break the public peace or to commit any other offence, the bench underscored.
The bench pointed out that statement of the complainant and her witnesses contain general allegations of insult by the petitioners and it is no where alleged that this act of insulting by the petitioners has provoked the complainant to commit breach of public peace or to commit any other offence.
"What was the nature of the insult inflicted upon the complainant by the petitioners is also not coming forth from the statements of the complainant and her witnesses recorded during the enquiry. Therefore, from the material on record, the ingredients of offence under section 504 IPC", the bench observed.
Deliberating on Section 506 IPC with which the petitioners had been charged, the court said mere expression of any words without any intention to cause alarm to the complainant or to make him to do or omit to do any act, would not be sufficient to bring the act within the definition of “criminal intimidation”.
"In the instant case, it has been alleged by the complainant in the complaint as well as in her statement during enquiry that she was threatened by the petitioners. What kind of threat was extended to her is not discernible from the material on record", the bench pointed while adding, "In these circumstances, even the ingredients of section 506 RPC, are not made out against the petitioners from the material on record".
While acknowledging that at the time of issuing of process a Magistrate is not expected to embark upon detailed discussion of merit/demerit of the case, the court however clarified that the order directing issuance of process against an accused has to reflect application of mind on the part of a Magistrate.
In the instant case, the material on record coupled with the allegations made in the complaint did not make out offences under sections 504 and 506(1) RPC and hence it was not open to the Magistrate to hold that the said offences are made out against the petitioners and to issue process against them, Court said.
"Issuance of process against an accused is a serious business and same should exhibit application of mind on the part of the Magistrate to the record available before him", the bench emphasised.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the petition and impugned complaint as well as the proceedings emanating therefrom were quashed.
Case Title: Jia Lal Vs UT of J&K & Anr
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (JKL) 65
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