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Ram Kamal Bezboruah Vs. Chandra Nath Kalita and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Criminal
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Judge
AppellantRam Kamal Bezboruah
RespondentChandra Nath Kalita and ors.
Excerpt:
.....also kept under lock and key as well as the drawer in the office. the facts clearly show that the accused principal had been suspended by the ad hoc governing body. this order clearly directed suspension of all his legitimate functions as a principal. the learned magistrate is, therefore, clearly wrong in holding that the document (ext. 7. on a perusal of the evidence, we are satisfied that there is no sufficient evidence of wrongful confinement nor of rioting in the entire circumstances of the case. at one stage, having seen the judgment which is somewhat unsatisfactory from the point of view of section 367 of the code of criminal procedure, we were considering whether we should not send the case back on remand for disposal, but in view of the fact that the case relates to an incident..........any steps for convening a meeting of that governing body.it is complained that in that meeting the accused principal along with others and with the backing of his students, numbering about 100, succeeded in creating an atmosphere in which the complainant and his brother and another member of the ad hoc governing body were threatened to execute a document, which is marked as ext. 2 in the case. by this document it was written that the suspension order of the principal was illegal and that the same was unconditionally withdrawn. the office-door had been also kept under lock and key as well as the drawer in the office. these were also broken open by the complainant under the threatening orders of the accused. these are, in short, the allegations in the complaint. there is a further.....
Judgment:

P.K. Goswami, C.J.

1. This appeal by .special leave is against an order of acquittal passed by a Magistrate, First Class, in a case instituted on a complaint.

2. The facts to which we will soon briefly refer, throw a lurid light over the affairs of an educational institution at Teok within Sibsagar District. The complainant in this case is the son of late C. K. Bezbarua, in whose name this college has been functioning. It is said, he and his other brothers donated a sum of nearly Rs. 90,000/- for the college which was initially sponsored by the public of the area and given the name of Purbachal College. Later on, perhaps, on the land being donated by these Bezbaruas and some funds being also made available by them, the original sponsors agreed that the college would be named after their late father C. K. Bezbarua. At first, there was a Steering Committee of the College whose members initiated the whole project and came to be known as the Ad hop Governing Body of the College. This governing body functioned under the Presidentship of Shri Golok Chandra Barua, M. A., B. L., examined as P.W. 4 in the case. The complaint which was filed on 19th October, 1964 is with reference to an incident which was said to have taken place in the College premises on 8th October, 1964, The delay of 11 days as explained by the complainant is for his mental shock for one or two days and the Puja vacation intervening.

On 8th October, 1964 a meeting of the new governing body was called by the Principal-Secretary, who is accused No. 1, and the same was held in a room of the College building. The whole atmosphere of the college was humming with hilarious activities on account of the 'College Week' which was going on. It is unfortunate that during such a week some contentious matters had to be discussed in a very uncongenial atmosphere with conflicting ideas across the table. It is equally unfortunate that on 4th October, 19G4 the Ad hoc Governing Body had to decide to suspend the Principal who was perhaps taking various steps and organising the 'College Week' during that week. Be that as it may, the complaint is that the two brothers along with P.W. 3 Indre-swar Chakravarty and another went to the meeting only to protest about the constitution of the new governing body by the Principal. Their case is that the Principal had been already suspended and, therefore, had no authority to constitute the governing body and to take any steps for convening a meeting of that governing body.

It is complained that in that meeting the accused Principal along with others and with the backing of his students, numbering about 100, succeeded in creating an atmosphere in which the complainant and his brother and another member of the Ad hoc Governing Body were threatened to execute a document, which is marked as Ext. 2 in the case. By this document it was written that the suspension order of the Principal was illegal and that the same was unconditionally withdrawn. The Office-door had been also kept under lock and key as well as the drawer in the office. These were also broken open by the complainant under the threatening orders of the accused. These are, in short, the allegations in the complaint. There is a further complaint that they were kept confined inside the room for nearly three hours.

3. On the above allegations, the following charges were framed by the learned Magistrate against all the six accused persons:

First— That you, on or about the 8th day of October, 19G4 at C. K. Bezbarua College, Teok were member of an unlawful assembly and in prosecution of the common object of such assembly in obtaining a withdrawal order of suspension order issued on the accused Principal and for opening the lock by breaking it open committed the offence of rioting and thereby committed an offence punishable Under Section 147 of the Indian Penal Code;

Secondly— That you, on or about the same day and place and time wrongfully confined Dr. N. K. Bezbarua, R. K. Bezbarua and Indreswar Chakravarty for the purpose of extorting from the said R. K. Bezbarua and Indreswar Chakravarty to write a document and signed by them both—the withdrawal order of suspension issued against C. Kalita and thereby committed an offence punishable Under Section 347, of the Indian Penal Code.

Thirdly— That you, on or about the same day and place and time committed extortion by putting Dr. N. K. Bezbarua, R. K. Bezbarua and Indreswar Chakara-vsrty in fear of instant physical injury to their persons and thereby dishonestly induced R. K. Bezbarua and Indreswar Chakravarty to deliver you a document written by them under your dictation and thereby committed an offence punishable Under Section 383 (it is perhaps an error for Section 384) of the Indian Penal Code.

4. Prosecution examined seven witnesses including the complainant and the material evidence with respect to the charges is given by P.Ws. 1, 2 and 3. P.W. 4 Golok Chandra Barua was not present and happened to be the President of the College Ad hoc Governing Body. Search warrant was issued for recovery of the documents which were said to be extorted and these were found in the house of the accused Principal,

5. The learned Magistrate acquitted all the accused persons, firstly on the ground that the document which was said to be extorted from the complainant is not a valuable security within the meaning of Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code. If that was the only reason for acquittal, much could have been said against the order. At this stage we may turn to Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code. The words 'valuable security' denote a document which is or purports to be a document whereby any legal right is created, extended, transferred, restricted, extinguished or released, or whereby any person acknowledges that he lies under legal liability, or has not a certain legal right. The facts clearly show that the accused Principal had been suspended by the Ad hoc Governing Body. This order clearly directed suspension of all his legitimate functions as a Principal. He would not be able to exercise his rights as a Principal while this suspension order was in force. If in this context an order is extorted from certain persons under threat and pressure to the effect that the earlier suspension order is non est, it is such a document which is a valuable security within the meaning of Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code.

This later document gives him a right to function as a Principal which right had already been extinguished or, at any rate, suspended by the earlier suspension order. The learned Magistrate is, therefore, clearly wrong in holding that the document (Ext. 2) is not a valuable security within the meaning of Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code.

6. In the view we have taken of this document, it is not even necessary to refer to the two decisions of the Madras and Allahabad High Courts. respectively, cited at the Bar. The first decision is reported in A.I.R. 1918 Mad 150 (G. S. Ramasami Iyer v. Emperor) where on difference between two Judges of that Court, Oldfield, J. held that even if the document at a later stage during the course of judicial proceeding is held to be invalid, that would not make the document as being not a valuable security for the purpose of Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code. This view seems to have received support in a later decision in the Allahabad High Court. namely A.I.R. 1926 All 57 (Ram Harakh Pathak v. Emperor). Without any further discussion of the question, we may say that we are in respectful agreement with the views expressed in the above two decisions. Even though the two members together could not legally and validly decide for the entire Ad hoc Governing Body, the document does not for that reason cease to be a valuable security under the law as it is obtained to create a right on the accused Principal to claim to be rid of the suspension order.

7. On a perusal of the evidence, we are satisfied that there is no sufficient evidence of wrongful confinement nor of rioting in the entire circumstances of the case.

8. The next important thing for consideration is whether there is any element of extortion in taking the document from the complainant, as alleged in the complaint. We have very anxiously examined all the evidence produced before the learned Magistrate not only by the complainant but also by the accused. We have noticed that while all the four persons, namely, the complainant, his brother P.W. 3. Indreswar Chakravarty and Hem Dutta, were threatened and called upon under threat to execute the document (Ext. 2) two of them successfully resisted the pressure and refused to sign the document without ado. It is only the complainant and Indreswar Chakravarty who signed this document. The plea of the defence is that there was no element of extortion and the two members of the governing body willingly gave the document. Side by side with the evidence of P.Ws. 1. 2 and 3, we have the evidence of D. W. 1 or the point. D. W. 1 who is a Professor 5of the College and was giving evidence on 5th February 1966 in the same capacity when the accused Principal was no more in the College, deposed to the following effect:

P.W. N. K. Bezbarua did not sign Ext. 2 stating that without the consent of the ad hoc committee members (sic) and so we did not press for his signature. One another member Sri Hem Dutta also refused to sign Ext. 2.

This does not appear to be seriously challenged in cross-examination. It is clear from the above evidence, which we have no reason to disbelieve, that while there might have been some persuasion to the members of the governing body to obtain an order to the effect that the earlier order of suspension was illegal and should be rescinded, and that persuasion might even at times have been hard-run, the element of extortion which is necessary for the purpose of establishing a charge Under Section 384 of the Indian Penal Code is lacking in this case. At one stage, having seen the judgment which is somewhat unsatisfactory from the point of view of Section 367 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, we were considering whether we should not send the case back on remand for disposal, but in view of the fact that the case relates to an incident of the year 1964 in an educational institution, we have ourselves carefully examined the entire evidence and we are satisfied that the final conclusion arrived at by the learned Magistrate need not be interfered with in a case of this description.

9. In the result the appeal fails and is accordingly dismissed.

G.M. Sen, J.

10. I agree.


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