Court dismisses chargesheets in 9 FIRs filed against COVID19 lockdown violators

Representational Pic

A local court here on Thursday dismissed the chargesheets in nine separate FIRs filed against pandemic lockdown violators in Srinagar.

The cases were registered in different police stations including Nowhatta, Karan Nagar, Soura, Saddar and Shergari.

After hearing prosecution and defence counsel Muhammad Abdullah Pandit, Court of Judge Small Causes Srinagar Yahaya Firdous said facts of the chargesheets have not been disputed by the defence counsels. However, they have raised the question of maintainability of the charge sheets in the eye of law.

The accused was alleged of violating the lockdown by opening shops where many civilians gathered, giving apprehensions of spreading infection. One Rari wala (vendor) and one auto driver was also among accused booked for the allegations.

In its detailed judgment, the court said that all the final reports (chargesheets) are based on the same facts, as such, involves same question of law for determination, adding, “Therefore, all the final reports (chargesheets) are clubbed together for adjudication.”

While referring to various High Court and Supreme Court judgments, the court said that for an offence under section 188 IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), the courts are prohibited from taking cognizance, except on a complaint in writing of the Magistrate who promulgated the order disobeyed or by some other public servant to whom he is subordinate.

The court said that if orders issued by District Magistrate (DM) were disobeyed, the DM has to himself file a complaint and not by any other third person.

Elaborating further, the court said DM cannot direct the SDM, tehsildar, or SHO to file the complaint. “In other words, the delegation of powers to file the complaint (for 188 IPC) by the public servant is not permissible,” court said.

For the offence under the section 270 IPC (spreading infection dangerous to life), court said persons chargesheeted must know or has direct appeal to their senses that they are suffering from a disease which is likely to spread infection.

“In the chargesheets in hand, there is no evidence on record to suggest that any of the accused were suffering from any kind of such disease which is likely to spread infection. Hence, it is held that there is no material on record to proceed against the accused for the commission of crime,” court said.

“Thus, all the final reports (chargesheets) are dismissed, accused are relieved,” court said.

Earlier, defence counsel advocate Muhammad Abdullah Pandit pleaded against maintainability of chargesheets.

He submitted that the court cannot take cognizance of offence under section 188 IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) for the reason that there is no proper complainant by the competent person as required under law.

He further contended there is not even a single iota of evidence on record on the basis of which the court can proceed against the accused and take cognizance for the offences under section 269 (spreading infection dangerous to life) and 270 IPC (malignant to spread infection).