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Emperor Vs. Sorab Shavaksha Batlivala - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Application for Revision Nos. 320, 321 and 322 of 1934
Judge
Reported in(1934)36BOMLR1129
AppellantEmperor
RespondentSorab Shavaksha Batlivala
Excerpt:
.....v of 1898), sections 144 - order should be clear in terms-prohibition of meetings on any road, public thoroughfare, highway, street, or by-lane-construction of such order-meeting in public place whether prohibited by such order-order prohibiting processions in public or private streets of town-whether such order is sufficiently definite.; as section 144, criminal procedure code, empowers a magistrate to interfere materially with the liberty of the subject, it is necessary that he should promulgate his order in terms sufficiently clear to enable the public, or persons affected by it, to know exactly what it is which they are prohibited from doing.; an order under section 144, criminal procedure code, directing the public to restrain from organising or taking part in meetings on any..........visitors of sholapur city were restrained from organizing or taking part in meetings, on any road, public thoroughfare, highway, street or bye-lane, situate within certain limits. the offence is alleged to have taken place not on any road, public thoroughfare, highway, street or bye-lane, but in one case, in a temple, and, in the other, in a grave-yard, the learned sessions judge construed the orders as prohibiting in substance the doing of certain acts in any public place, but that is not in my view what the orders mean. the learned government pleader has contended that the expression 'public thoroughfare ' is not an accurate translation of the marathi word used. the order was signed both in english and in marathi, and in the order in english, signed by the district magistrate, who is.....
Judgment:

John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.

1. These are three applications in revision in which the accused complains of his convictions by the City Magistrate of Sholapur, under Sections 143 and 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The convictions were upheld by the Sessions Judge of Sholapur. The cases have certain features in common, because in all the cases the District Magistrate had made orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and the accused was charged with having broken the orders and thereby committed an offence under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. In all the cases the validity of the orders was challenged. In the first two cases, viz., Criminal Revisions 320 and 321 of 1934, it is not necessary, in my opinion, to deal with that point.

2. The substance of the orders made in Criminal Revisions 320 and 321 of 1934 was that the residents, frequenters, and visitors of Sholapur city were restrained from organizing or taking part in meetings, on any road, public thoroughfare, highway, street or bye-lane, situate within certain limits. The offence is alleged to have taken place not on any road, public thoroughfare, highway, street or bye-lane, but in one case, in a temple, and, in the other, in a grave-yard, The learned Sessions Judge construed the orders as prohibiting in substance the doing of certain acts in any public place, but that is not in my view what the orders mean. The learned Government Pleader has contended that the expression 'public thoroughfare ' is not an accurate translation of the Marathi word used. The order was signed both in English and in Marathi, and in the order in English, signed by the District Magistrate, who is an Englishman, the word 'thoroughfare' is used, and I see no reason to suppose that it was not the word which the District Magistrate intended. It is suggested that the arathi word should be translated as ' a place of public resort'. If that expression was used, I should say that the order was plainly bad as being much too vague to come within the terms of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. However, I see no reason to hold that a vague phrase of that sort was used by the District Magistrate, and I take the word as being 'public thoroughfare '. That being so, the convictions in cases Nos. 320 and 321 of 1934 were, in my opinion, plainly bad, because the offences alleged did not take place within the prohibited area.

3. The case No. 322 of 1934 stands on a different footing. There, the order made was that the residents, frequenters, and visitors of Sholapur city should abstain from organizing or taking part in processions other than customary processions therein mentioned, on any road, public thoroughfare, highway, street or bye-lane, situate within the limits of the undermentioned municipal wards and of the undermentioned places adjoining or in the neighbourhood of the said wards. Then detailed descriptions of the boundaries of the wards were given, but it is said that the description is too vague and that the order is not one justified by the terms of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It has been held many times that, as Section 144 empowers a Magistrate to interfere materially with the liberty of the subject, it is necessary that he should promulgate his order in terms sufficiently clear to enable the public, or persons affected by it, to know exactly what it is which they are prohibited from doing. Under Sub-section (3) of Section 144, an order may be directed to a particular individual or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place. We have been referred to certain cases in which it has been held that the order was not sufficiently precise in relation to the particular places in which the act prohibited was not to be done, and it is probable that it was in order to escape from the reasoning in some of those cases that the District Magistrate framed his order in the present case, not by reference to the city of Sholapur, but by reference to the wards which made up the city. Whether the adoption of that device really affects the validity of the order I doubt. But it is to be noticed that the order is not directed to the prohibition of acts in Sholapur city or the wards constituting the same, but only on any road in the wards of the city. In my opinion an order directed to the public when frequenting public or private streets in a particular city is sufficiently definite as to place to comply with the requirements of Section 144. People can have no real difficulty in recognising when they are in the streets of a particular town, and it is only when in that situation that people are forbidden to organise or take part in processions.

4. The charge against the applicant in this case is that he held a meeting outside the limit of the city referred to in the order. After the meeting, people who had attended the meeting proceeded through the streets of Sholapur city and the accused went with them and shouted out labour slogans, and other people joined him in so doing. I think that there was clear evidence on which the Magistrate could find that the accused took part in a procession on public thoroughfares within the prohibited area. I think also that there was evidence of annoyance caused to at least one member of the public so as to bring the offence within the terms of Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. That being so, I think that the conviction in case No. 322 of 1934 was justified, and that the application must be dismissed. The sentence will run from the date of the accused's conviction, that is, May 7.

Sen, J.

5. I agree.


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