T.N.R. Tirumalpad, J.C.
1. This is a revision against the conviction and sentence of the petitioners in Criminal Case No 44-B of 1960 and in Criminal Appeal No 48 of 1960 by the Sessions Judge under Sections 188 and 143 I.P.C. The sentences of one month's S.I. under Section 188 I.P.C. and six month's R.I. under Section 143 I.P.C. were reduced by the appellate Court to 15 clays S.I. and 2 months' R.I. respectively.
2. Now in revision, it is contended that the order under Section 144 Cr.P.C. was not duly promulgated and hence there was no violation of the said order and so no offence under Section 188 I.P.C. was committed and further that even granting that there Was proper promulgation of the order under Section 144 Cr.P.C., it was not proved by the prosecution, that the violation of the order caused or tended to cause annoyance to any person lawfully employed and hence the petitioners were wrongly convicted under Section 188 I.P.C. It was also pointed out that as the violation was said to have been only by the S petitioners, there was no question of any unlawful assembly and the conviction under Section 143 I.P.C. was in any case illegal.
3. The facts are as follows:
The District Magistrate had promulgated an order under Section 144 Cr.P.C. on 25.4.1960. Portions of the said order were set aside by this Court in Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 11 of 1960 dated the 14th day of May, 1960 Thokchom Augou Singh v. Union Territory of Manipur AIR 1961 Manipur 12. Thereafter a fresh order under Section 144 Cr.P.C. — Ext. A/4 was issued by the District Magistrate on 15.5.1960 directing the public of Imphal to abstain from various acts including participation, organising, or attempting to organic any demonstration or meeting or procession or picketing or shouting of slogans or delivering speeches etc. This order was issued in order to check the illegal activities of certain political parties and groups of individuals who were carrying on agitation for the establishment of responsible Government in Manipur. The petitioners heroin were among the agitators and the first petitioner way a member of the Praja Socialist Party, which was taking part in the agitation. They were aware of the order Ext. A/4 and in spite of it they had decided to carry on the agitation.
4. On 20.6.1960, at about 3-40 p.m. the 3 petitioners held a meeting at the Tikendrajit Park, There were 14 or 15 other persons also present at the meeting. At that time P.Ws. 1 and 2 arrived at the place. The first petitioner was then delivering a speech and the petitioners were shouting some slogans like 'Inquilab Jinndabad', 'Ain Sobhu Pigadabani' and 'C. Cigi Sashon Pamde'. P.W. 1 who was a Magistrate told the assembly that they were violating the order of the District Magistrate and directed them to disperse within 5 minutes. According to P.W. 1, the assembly did not obey his direction and under his orders the Police prepared to arrest them, whereupon others of the party except the 3 petitioners ran away and so the petitioners alone were arrested. P.W. 1 said that the slogans shouted by the petitioners caused annoyance to him and to the public.
P.W. 2, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, who was the only other witness examined gave a slightly different version. He said that when he and P.W. 1 arrived at the place, the first petitioner was delivering a speech at which the other two petitioners and 14 or 15 others were present, while a crowd of about 2,000 peoples had assembled on the main road near the meeting place, that thereupon P.W. 1 declared the assembly as unlawful and directed them to disperse within 5 minutes, that all the other persons except the 3 petitioners dispersed, that P.W. 1 then told the 3 petitioners, that the time of warning had expired, but the first petitioner continued his speech and started to shout slogans), that as a result of the meeting and the touting of slogans the crowd on the road obstructed the pedestrians and vehicular traffic and that the shouting of slogans excited and caused annoyance to the public and to himself.
5. It was on this evidence that the 3 petitioners were convicted. Now it will be clear from the evidence of P.W. 2, the Dy.S.P. that within the time given by the Magistrate, the 14 or 15 persons assembled at the meeting had dispersed within the time given by the Magistrate (P.W. 1) after he had declared the assembly to be an unlawful one and that only the 3 petitioners remained and that the 3 petitioners were arrested because the first petitioner continued to deliver his speech and the 3 petitioners were shouting slogans. The evidence of P.W. 2 thus differed from the evidence of P.W. 1 and according to P.W. 2's evidence there was no unlawful assembly of more than 5 persons. No doubt P.W. 2 said that about 2,000 persons were standing in the main road, but that was not part of the assembly which wag declared unlawful. Nor did they form part of the meeting, at which the first petitioner delivered the speech. Even if the evidence of P.W. 1 was to be accepted, there was no proof of any common object on the part of the so-called unlawful assembly. Thus, in any case, the conviction under Section 143 I.P.C. of the three petitioners on the ground that they were members of the unlawful assembly of more than 5 was wrong, as they were arrested only for shouting slogans and the first petitioner in particular for delivering the speech.
6. The next question is about the conviction under Section 188, I.P.C. I am not at all impressed with the argument of the petitioners' counsel that Ex. A/4 was not duly promulgated. The order Ext. A/4 was a fresh order passed by the District Magistrate on 15.5.1960, in modification of his previous order and it was to remain in force till 24.8.1960 and the alleged violation took place on 20.6.1960. The petitioners admitted that they knew of the promulgation of the said order. In fact, it was clear from the answers given under Section 342 that they were deliberately violating the order by organising the meeting and by shouting the slogans. Thus, it is clear that there was disobedience of the order duly promulgated by the District Magistrate.
7. The only other question is whether the disobedience of the order by the petitioners caused or tended to cause obstruction, annoyance on injury to any person lawfully employed. This is a question of fact. It was pointed out for the petitioners relying on the decision in Pradip Chowdhury v. State AIR 1960 Assam 20, that the annoyance has to be proved as a fact and that it cannot be presumed in the absence of evidence that mental annoyance has been caused to the authorities; by the very disobedience of the order. I have perused the said decision. In that case, there was no evidence by any witness that annoyance was, in fact, caused by the violation of the order in that case. But in our present case we have the evidence of 'I witnesses — one a Magistrate and the other a, Dy. Superintendent of Police, that the delivering of speech and shouting of slogans caused annoyance to them. It was pointed out that the two P.Ws. had no cause to be present at the meeting or to hear the shouting of slogans and that if they deliberately went to the meeting in order to get themselves annoyed by the shouting of slogans, the petitioners cannot be blamed for it. I am not impressed with that argument at all. The two P.Ws. namely, the Executive Magistrate and the Deputy Superintendent of Police and the Police Party were in charge of law and order. The agitation was in full swing at the time. The Police party and the P.Ws. had to go round to see that there was no disturbance to peace and that law and order were kept. They were thus engaged in their legitimate duties. If in the midst of such duties, annoyance was caused to them by such disobedience of lawful order on the part of the petitioners, it will certainly come within the purview of Section 188, I.P.C., The conviction of the petitioners under Section 188, I.P.C. was therefore quite correct. Nor can the sentence of 15 days' S.I. be called severe.
8. The conviction and sentence of the petitioners under Section 188, I.P.C. are therefore confirmed. I have already held that the conviction under Section 143 I.P.C., was wrong. The conviction and sentence of the petitioners under Section 143, I.P.C., are set aside.