Upholding the dismissal of complaint against CPI (M) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jharna Das Baidya, the Tripura High Court observed that mere use of abusive words or filthy language and body posture during the speech of a political leader will not come within the ambit of the provisions of Section 503/504/506 of the Indian Penal Code.
As per the complainant, the CPI(M) leader, in her speech, said that, after the 2018 assembly elections were over, the president of State BJP, Biplab Deb and its Chief Campaigner, Sunil Deodhar would not be in the State but the BJP party workers, being the people of the State, would remain in the State and they would have to face dire consequences.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Udaipur, Gomati, Tripura refused to take cognizance of the offence mainly on two grounds: (i) The accused being a Member of Parliament cannot be prosecuted without obtaining sanction under Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure; and (ii) The statements and allegations leveled against the accused in the complaint do not attract the ingredients of Section 503 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.
Political Speech Was Not In Discharge Of Her Duty As MP
Justice Arindam Lodh, in the revision petition filed by the complainant initially considered the question whether obtaining of sanction under Section 196 of CrPC is necessary when a person commits any act not in the discharge of his/her official duty. The bench noted that, while making this political speech, the MP was not discharging any official duty in that capacity and at the relevant point of time she was only discharging her obligations as a leader of a political party which is not related to any of her official duties and responsibilities. The bench rejected this interpretation of the CJM and observed:
"She was addressing a political meeting as a part of campaign in favour of her party. She was not, in any way, in the discharge of her official or state duty as Member of Parliament, being a public servant."
Mere Political Speech
With regard to contents of the speech, the court observed that, to attract the ingredients of Section 503, Section 504 or Section 506 there must be provocation and the provocation should be of such a grave nature that it would force someone to cause bodily harm or grievous hurt to any other person and it should be a real one. Perusing the contents of the speech made, the judge said:
"Mere use of abusive words or filthy language and body posture during speech of a political leader will not come within the ambit of the provisions of Section 503/504/506 IPC.. In the case at hand, the complainant himself was not the witness of the speech delivered by the respondent. He heard the contents of the speech from PW2. He gained knowledge about the speech from the newspaper and from TV. More so, he could not show any instance to justify that the provocation, as alleged, made anyone from either of the parties, i.e. BJP or the CPI(M) to cause any harm or grievous hurt prejudicial to public peace in any of the localities."
These are mere political speeches with so many irrelevant deliberations; nothing concrete and with lots of ambiguities deficient to take cognizance of offence punishable under Sections 504 or 506 of IPC, said the court while dismissing the revision petition.