The Allahabad High Court has held that charging a person who had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat convention with offence of attempt to murder under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) prima facie reflects an abuse of power, reported Bar and Bench.
Reportedly, the observations were made by the Allahabad High Court while staying criminal proceeding against a Tablighi Jamaat attendee, under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the IPC.
The Allahabad High Court, reportedly, said:
“From a perusal of the material, charge sheeting the applicant under Section 307 IPC prima facie reflects abuse of the power of law.”
What Had the Prosecution Claimed?
The prosecution, according to Bar and Bench, claimed that the petitioner and others accused had visited the Tabligi Jamat congregation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and returned home without informing the administration about their arrival or entering voluntary quarantine.
It was also reportedly claimed by the prosecution that the accused knew the pandemic had been declared and that a large number of people at the Markaz congregation in New Delhi were infected. But went anyway.
Further, the prosecution alleged that the petitioner and others accused had hidden their visit to Delhi and “deliberately indulged in negligent and condemnable acts,” reported Bar and Bench.
What Did the Petitioner Claim?
The petitioner’s lawyer, according to Bar and Bench, pointed out that even if the evidence collected during the probe as well as the FIR registered on their face value, no offence had been disclosed against the petitioner.
Senior advocate Javed Habib, appearing for the petitioner, further told the court that the original charge sheet was filed under Sections 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 of the IPC. However, the original charge sheet was recalled and a fresh charge sheet was filed under Section 307 (attempt to murder), on orders passed by the Circle Officer (CO).
The petitioner, on the other hand, had in the meantime, tested negative for the virus, informed the advocate.
What Did the Court Say?
Justice Bhanot, of the Allahabad High Court, according to Bar and Bench, noted that the matter required consideration, and asked the concerned SSP and CO to file a personal affidavit explaining how the offence of attempt to murder had been construed in the case.
“CO shall also file his personal affidavit indicating as to how the ingredients of Section 307 IPC are made out from the facts in the record from the material collected during the investigation and justify the amendment directed by him to the charge sheet.”The High Court order
The matter has been listed for further hearing on 15 December, reported Bar and Bench.
(With inputs from Bar and Bench.)