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Will Publication Harming Governor's Reputation By Itself Amount To Offence U/s 124 IPC? Madras HC Stays Criminal Proceedings Against 'Nakeeran' Gopal [Read Order]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 Jun 2019 3:53 PM GMT
Will Publication Harming Governors Reputation By Itself Amount To Offence U/s 124 IPC? Madras HC Stays Criminal Proceedings Against Nakeeran Gopal [Read Order]
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"This is the first case after independence wherein the Court has been called upon to consider whether a publication by itself will have the effect of overawing his Excellency the Governor to prevent him from exercising his lawful powers and duties"

The Madras High Court has stayed criminal proceedings against 'Nakeeran' Gopal accused under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code. Nakeeran Gopal is accused for publication of allegedly fake and derogatory news about the Governor of Tamil Nadu in his bi-weekly Tamil magazine Nakeeran. The order of Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Egmore, which rejected the request to remand...

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The Madras High Court has stayed criminal proceedings against 'Nakeeran' Gopal accused under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code.

Nakeeran Gopal is accused for publication of allegedly fake and derogatory news about the Governor of Tamil Nadu in his bi-weekly Tamil magazine Nakeeran. The order of Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Egmore, which rejected the request to remand 'Nakeeran' Gopal  was upheld by the Madras High Court earlier.

Thereafter, Nakeeran Gopal and others filed petition seeking to quash the FIR registered against them in this regard. 

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh, while considering their plea, observed that this is the first case after independence wherein the Court has been called upon to consider whether a publication by itself will have the effect of overawing his Excellency the Governor to prevent him from exercising his lawful powers and duties?

"In order to satisfy the requirements of the word "Overawe", there must be something more than the creation of an apprehension, alarm or even perhaps fear. There is definitely a point for consideration in this case as to whether the materials collected by the Investigating Officer by itself satisfy the requirements of Section 124 of IPC."

The court said that another issue is that, even if assuming the publication made is construed as malicious and it harms the reputation of the Governor of Tamil Nadu, can that by itself satisfy the requirement of the term "Overawe" under Section 124 of IPC? It said:

".. To understand the issue even more better, Section 124 of IPC has the ingredients similar to Section 353 of IPC. The latter is a generic version of Section 124 of IPC which applies to public servants. The Judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Manik Taneja and another Vs. State of Karnataka and another reported in 2015 7 SCC 423 dealt with the case under Section 353 of IPC and it was held that a criminal force or an assault could not be said to have occurred by publishing a post in Facebook, however malicious it may be."

The High Court will also deal with the contention raised that the Court below ought not to have taken cognizance of the final report filed by the police since Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure makes it mandatory to the effect that no Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under Chapter VI or under Section 505 of IPC except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or the State Government. Staying further proceedings in the case, the bench said:

"Since this Court finds a prima facie case in favour of the petitioners, the proceedings in P.R.C.No.68 of 2019, pending on the file of the learned II Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, Chennai is hereby stayed pending disposal of the criminal original petition"

Read Order


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