High Court quashes plaint against public representatives over peaceful protest : The Tribune India

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High Court quashes plaint against public representatives over peaceful protest

Complaint against Punjab former CM Charanjit Singh Channi quashed

High Court quashes plaint against public representatives over peaceful protest


Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7

Every citizen in a democratic setup has a legitimate right to raise his grievances reasonably under Article 19 of the Constitution without violating law, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled.

Complaint against Punjab former CM Charanjit Singh Channi quashed

  • Justice Anoop Chitkara has set aside a complaint and challan against Punjab’s former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. An FIR for an offence under Section 188 of the IPC regarding disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant was registered against him and Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala
  • Justice Chitkara’s Bench was told that Mansa District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner forwarded a complaint to the SSP on February 18, 2022, alleging that Channi, along with Moosewala, was asking for votes by going door to door after the expiry of campaigning time. Based on the information, the SHO concerned registered an FIR against the two

Justice Anoop Chitkara has also made it clear that merely bringing an important issue to the Chief Minister’s attention through a peaceful protest will not amount to an offence under Section 188 of the IPC regarding disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant.

Allowing petitions filed by Madan Mohan Mittal and other petitioners, including sitting and former MLAs and ministers of Punjab and Chandigarh, Justice Chitkara quashed the complaint dated February 25, 2021, and the police report or challan in an FIR registered on August 21, 2020.

The petitioners’ stand was that there was a hue and cry in the state and the people were demanding action against the guilty responsible for the death of 100 innocent persons because of illicit alcohol consumption. As such, they decided to visit the Chief Minister at his residence to apprise him of the public sentiments toward the government and seek some aid for the devastated families.

Justice Chitkara asserted it remained undisputed that the petitioners were not going to the Chief Minister’s residence for personal work, but for a cause. It also remained undisputed that more than 100 persons had died in the hooch tragedy.

Justice Chitkara observed: “When such a massive number of people died due to illicit and spurious liquor, there has to be a lot of grief and unrest among people, which, if not addressed in time, could have led to massive protests and the possibility of such agitations turning violent, resulting into riots and in turn causing further loss of human life and a massive loss to the public property and private property could not have been ruled out. Being public representatives, the petitioners were peacefully going to meet the Chief Minister to bring his attention to their grievances”.

Justice Chitkara added the petitioners had every right to protest democratically and they did so in peace. They were legally raising their grievances with the intent to meet the Chief Minister. Referring to the technical aspect of the matter, the Bench observed prosecution was launched by filing a police report for an offence punishable under Section 188. But Section 195 (1) (a) (i) barred the court from taking cognizance of any offence under Section 188 unless there was written complaint by public servant concerned for contempt of their lawful order. The police report, being not a complaint, could not have been made the basis for taking cognizance of the offence under Section 188.

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#Charanjit Channi #Sidhu Moosewala



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