Published on: June 17, 2022 at 15:40 IST
The Kerala High Court granted Anticipatory Bail to two lawyers accused of assaulting a police officer in uniform while he was at the Court for an ongoing enquiry against him.
After suspecting that they were booked under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in a deliberate attempt to implicate them in a non-bailable offence, Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan decided to admit the plea.
The Court was of the opinion that. “To attract Section 353 IPC, one of the main ingredients is that the assault or criminal force should be to deter the public servant who was discharging his official duty…. At no stretch of imagination, it can be said that the defacto complainant was in lawful discharge of his duty as a public servant, at the time of the alleged incident. Simply because he is in uniform, Section 353 IPC will not attract.”
The Cherthala Police took into custody a lawyer as an accused in a traffic incident, after which he alleged ill treatment from police officials. Several advocates gathered in front of the Police Station to urge his release.
On 15.02.2021, the higher Police Officers and the Advocate General initiated an enquiry at the Advocate General’s office within the High Court premises. The same lawyer and a Circle Inspector of Police had arrived at the High Court to attend the enquiry.
Following the enquiry, as the Circle Inspector was leaving the court premises, several lawyers, including the petitioners, reportedly formed an unlawful assembly, committed a riot armed with deadly weapons, shouted insults and assaulted him .The petitioners and others were charged under IPC Sections 143, 147, 148, 353, 323, 294(b) r/w 149.
Advocate Babu S. Nair appeared for the petitioners and argued that the only non-bailable offence alleged against the petitioners is under Section 353 of the IPC. He contended that Section 353 was added with the malicious goal of implicating the lawyers in a non-bailable offence.
Sreeja V, the Public Prosecutor, represented the State in the case.
The Court agreed with the petitioners because the only non-bailable offence alleged against them was under Section 353 IPC.
However, it was noted that these observations were made solely in the context of the bail application. As a result, if the petitioners were arrested, it was ordered that they be discharged on self-bond of Rs. 50,000/-.