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Uday Pratap Singh Vs. State of M.P. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMisc. Criminal Case No. 1435 of 1980
Judge
Reported inAIR1982MP173
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1974 - Sections 95 and 96
AppellantUday Pratap Singh
RespondentState of M.P.
Appellant AdvocateS.C. Dutt, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.V. Tamaskar, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredState of U. P. v. Lalai Singh
Excerpt:
.....r. 5. in the return filed on behalf of the state government, the ground disclosed for issuing the impugned notification is, in substance that 'satnamis, though initially were chamars, they gradually had developed into a separate well knownidentity and no longer treated as chamars' and, therefore, describing them as chamars in the article at pages 15, 17, and 19 of the 'smaranika',makes these portions offending. in column 2 at page 15, the portion indicated says that it is believed that their good physique is on account of marriage at a mature age and non-vegetarian food, but this impression is erroneous since child marriage, like other castes, is prevalent also amongst them, and sometimes the non-vegetarian food which they take is not fresh; and it has also to be remembered that many..........anniversary in 1980. it was for this purpose that the 'smaranika' referred to in clause (a) of the impugned notification dated 7-9-1980 was published. from pages 13 to 22, an article is printed in the 'smaranika' about late rajendra kumar singh and his personality as a research scholar in anthropology, which contains a hindi translation made by rajesh kumar singh, of the aforesaid research paper written by late rajendrakumar singh on satnamis. it is in this manner that the research paper of late shri rajendra kumar singh, based on extracts from the standard works on the subject, appears translated in hindi in the 'smaranika' published to commemorate him on the occasion of his first death anniversary, dealing mainly with the diverse aspects of the personality and achievements of late.....
Judgment:

J.S. Verma, J.

1. This is an application under Section 96 of the Criminal P. C. 1973, to set aside a declaration of forfeiture made under Section 95 of the Code, contained in the notification F. No. 41-5-80-X-I dated Bhopal, the 7th September 1980, published in the M. P. Rajpatra (Extraordinary) dated the 7th September 1980, which is as under :--

'Bhopal, the 7th September 1980--Bhadra 16, 1902 F. No. 41-5-80-X-I--Whereas it appears to the State Government that-

(a) Portions appearing at pages 15, 17 and 19 of 'Smaranika' issued by the late Shri Rajendra Kumar Singh Commemoration Samiti, Akaltara, District Bilaspur and edited by Shri Ram Adhir, published by Shri Uday Pratap Singh Chandel and printed at Gita printing Press, Raipur.

(b) portions of the article written by Shri Satish Jaiswal under the caption 'Nagari; Kaam aur kaam-ki-batt' appearing at page 30 of the issue of weekly 'Raviwar' dated 10th August 1980, edited by Shri Surendra Pratap Singh and published by Shri Vashpaditya Roy and printed at Anand Offset Private Limited and Jivan Satya Printing Press, Calcutta: are likely to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different castes, i.e., Satnamis on the one hand, the caste Hindus on the other on the grounds that the aforesaid publications-

(i) cast derogatory aspersions on Sant Raidas, who has been held in high esteem by the Satnamis;

(ii) describe Satnamis in most malicious manner stating that they eat meat of animals; and

(iii) describe the women-folk of the Salnamis in most insulting manner, and whereas in the aforesaid publications, the customs, food and other habits havebeen described in most humiliating manner; which caused disturbances in Akaltara town of Bilaspur District and is likely to disturb public tranquillity.

And whereas printing of the said publication is punishable under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (No. 45 of 1860).

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 95 of tha Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (No. 2 of 1974), the State Government hereby declare every copy of the above souvenir and Weekly Raviwar, dated 10th August 1980, to be forfeited to the State Government.

By order and in the name of the Governor of Madhya Pradesh,Brahma Swarup, Addl. Chief Secy.'

The relief sought in this application is only in respect of the publication described in Clause (a) of the above notification, i.e. 'Smaranika' or souvenir.

2. Late Shri Rajendra Kumar Singh was a resident of Akaltara in district Bilaspur and was a scholar in anthropology, having obtained Master's degree therein. His father late Dr. Indrajeet Singh, was also a well known scholar of this State in anthropology and had obtained a Doctorate in that subject The said late Shri Rajendra Kumar Singh, in the course of his research work in anthropology, had written a research paper based on extracts from the books 'Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India' By R. V. Russel and R. B. Hira Lal first published in 1916 and reprinted in 1975; and 'The Religious Life of India. The Chamars' by G. W. Biggs, published in the year 1920. The research paper deals with the background and social habits of the sect known as 'Satnami' in that area.

3. The said Rajendra Kumar Singh was also a member of the State Legislature and he died in July 1979. A decision was taken to compile and publish a 'Smaranika' or souvenir to commemorate him on the occasion of his first death anniversary in 1980. It was for this purpose that the 'Smaranika' referred to in Clause (a) of the impugned notification dated 7-9-1980 was published. From pages 13 to 22, an article is printed in the 'Smaranika' about late Rajendra Kumar Singh and his personality as a research scholar in anthropology, which contains a Hindi translation made by Rajesh Kumar Singh, of the aforesaid research paper written by late RajendraKumar Singh on Satnamis. It is in this manner that the research paper of late Shri Rajendra Kumar Singh, based on extracts from the standard works on the subject, appears translated in Hindi in the 'Smaranika' published to commemorate him on the occasion of his first death anniversary, dealing mainly with the diverse aspects of the personality and achievements of late Rajendra Kumar Singh, who had achieved social and political recognition in that area. The heading of the article printed on p. 13 in the souvenir is 'KUMAR SAHAB : A RESEARCH SCHOLAR -- STUDY OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC STRUCTURE OF SATNAMIS'. It is portions of this research paper translated in Hindi appearing at pages 15, 17 and 19, which have been treated offending resulting in the action taken by the State Government under Section 95 of the Code.

4. In the impugned notification, the particular portions, which are treated as offending in the 'Smaranika' has been indicated merely by saying 'portions appearing at pages 15, 17, and 19 of Smaranika' without further specifying the exact portions at the specified pages and it is stated that they are likely to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different castes. i.e., Satnamis on the one hand and the caste Hindus on the other on the ground that the aforesaid publications:--

(i) cast derogatory aspersions on Sant Raidas, who has been held in high esteem by the Satnamis;

(ii) describe Satnamis in most malicious manner stating that they eat meat of animals; and

(iii) describe the women-folk of the Satnamis in most insulting manner. It has further been stated that in the aforesaid publications, the customs, food and other habits have been described in most humiliating manner, which caused disturbances in Akaltara town of Bilaspur district and is likely to disturb public tranquillity and the printing of the said publication is punishable under Section 153A of the Penal Code, 1860. These are the only reasons given in the impugned notification, without specifying the particular portions to which they refer at pages 15, 17 and 19 of the Smaranika.

5. In the return filed on behalf of the State Government, the ground disclosed for issuing the impugned notification is, in substance that 'Satnamis, though initially were Chamars, they gradually had developed into a separate well knownidentity and no longer treated as Chamars' and, therefore, describing them as Chamars in the article at pages 15, 17, and 19 of the 'Smaranika', makes these portions offending. Even at the hearing before us, the learned Government Advocate reiterated the same stand which was taken in the return and stated that Chamars are distinct from Satnamis and, therefore, describing Satnamis as Chamars has offended the feelings of the Satnamis and that this is the real reason for issuing the impugned notification. It was stated that the publication of this article in the 'Smaranika' caused disturbances in Akaltara in August, 1980 and, therefore, the State Government took action of issuing the impugned notification.

6. It is obvious that the ground disclosed in the return and reiterated at the hearing is not disclosed in the impugned notification itself and, therefore, the attempt is to support the impugned notification on this ground, disclosed for the first time in the return filed in this case and then during arguments at the hearing before us.

7. We asked the learned Government Advocate to point out the specific portions at pages 15, 17 and 19, which have been treated as offending portions, even though they have not been specified in the impugned notification. The gist of the portions so indicated by the learned Government Advocate is stated hereafter. At page 15, offence is taken to the portion in column 1, which says that it has been found that in the census most of the Chamars mentioned their caste as Satnami, when Satnami as such is not a caste but only a religious sect, to which almost all the Chamars belong and that the Chamars are spread all over the State of Madhya Pradesh. In column 2 at page 15, the portion indicated says that it is believed that their good physique is on account of marriage at a mature age and non-vegetarian food, but this impression is erroneous since child marriage, like other castes, is prevalent also amongst them, and sometimes the non-vegetarian food which they take is not fresh; and it has also to be remembered that many Satnamis and Ramramis, who have completely given up non-vegetarian food for several generations, also have good physique. At page 17, reference is made to the portion in the first para of column 2, which says that Ahirwars trace their origin to Chamar father and Ahir mother and they claim to be descendantsof Sant Raidas, about whom it is said that he had seven wives of different castes of whom one was Ahir and the son begotten from the Ahir wife is known as Ahirwar. At page 19, the portion is in column 1 of para 2, which says that the society treats Chamars as a low class and does not permit them to draw water from public wells and to use other public places, including temples and schools; and they usually reside in the outskirts in a separate locality. These are all the portions at pages 15. 17 and 19, even though not mentioned in the impugned notification, yet pointed out at the hearing before us, to be offending portions in the 'Smaranika', as justification for the impugned notification. Admittedly, these are extracts from a research paper dealing with social and economic structure of Satnamis, written long back by an ardent student of anthropology and they find place in an article published in a souvenir to commemorate the author on his first death anniversary. Accordingly, they have to be read in the context and not in isolation for the purpose of a proper appreciation.

8. Shri Dutt, learned counsel for the petitioner pointed out to us that each and every part of the extracts appearing in the article at pages 15, 17 and 19 of the 'Smaranika' which is pointed out as offending, is verbatim reproduction from the standard works on the subject, which were printed and published long back and that they do not contain the original opinion or views of the author of this research paper. Shri Dutt cited the 'Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, by R. V. Russel and R- B. Hira Lal, Vol. II published in 1916 and reprinted in 1975, and referred to the Chapter on Chamar commencing at page 403 of that book. We find that all these portions appearing at pages 15, 17 and 19 of the 'Smaranika', pointed out by the learned Government Advocate as the offending portions to justify issuance of the impugned notification including that relating to Sant Raidas, are a mere reproduction from this book by Russel and Hira Lal, which was first published in the year 1916 and reprinted in 1975. Admittedly, no similar action was ever taken to forfeit this book by Russel and Hira Lal, or other such books, including that by G. W. Briggs, on the same subject, the contents of which, while dealing with Chamars of this State, are the same.

9. We would, however, prefer to confine our decision to a narrow ground raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner. Placing reliance on Narayan Das v. State of M. P., AIR 1972 SC 2086 : (1972 Cri LJ 1323); State of U. P. v. Lalai Singh, AIR 1977 SC 202 : (1977 Cri LJ 186), learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the statement of grounds of Government's opinion is not contained in the impugned notification and for this reason alone, the notification in respect of the 'Smaranika' referred to in Clause (a) therein, must be quashed. It is also contended that the Court cannot take into account the justification for the impugned notification revealed in the return or given out at the hearing and must confine its decision only to that which is contained in the impugned notification. It is urged that the requisite statement of grounds of the Government's opinion not being contained in the impugned notification, furnishing the same at the hearing or even in the return cannot cure the defect. In our opinion, this contention must be accepted.

10. In Narayan Das's case (supra), the order gave no indication of the facts or the statements or the representations contained in the book, which would come within the mischief of the section. The State Government merely gave its opinion and not a statement of grounds for its opinion. It was held that the grounds must be distinguished from the opinion ultimately formed on that basis and in the absence of the grounds of opinion, the order of the Government had to be quashed. It was pointed out that the grounds of opinion mean the conclusion of facts whereupon the opinion is based. In Lalai Singh's case (supra), the impugned notification contained an appendix setting out in tabular form particulars of the relevant pages and lines of the offending publication, which, presumably, were the materials which were regarded as scandalising. The question was whether this much compliance was sufficient to meet the statutory requirement before forfeiture of the book, mentioning in the impugned notification that in the opinion of the Government, 'this book was sacrilegiously, outrageously objectionable, being deliberately and maliciously intended to outrage the religious feelings of a class of citizens of India, viz. Hindus by insulting their religion and religious beliefs and the publication whereof is punishable under Section 295A, I. P. C. These contents of the impugned notification were held to be insufficientfor its sustenance as a valid order and in reaching that conclusion the Supreme Court indicated the requirements of a valid order under this provision.

11. One of the three essential requirements of a valid order was indicated as 'a statement of the grounds of Government's opinion. It was also held that if the grounds were not specifically stated, they could not be treated as implied and the absence thereof was fatal to the validity of the impugned order. It waa further pointed out that the Court cannot make a roving enquiry beyond the grounds set forth in the order and if the grounds are altogether left out, there is nothing for the Court to examine, since this omission or absence, careless or calculated, resulted in a valuable right of the aggrieved party to approach the Court being defeated. It is for an effective exercise of the statutory right given to the aggrieved party to approach the Court under Section 96 of the new Code that an express mention is necessary in the impugned order of the 'statement of grounds of the Government's opinion'.

12. In Lalai Singh's case, the impugned notification contained far more particulars than are present in the instant case, inasmuch as the notification contained an appendix setting out in tabular form particulars of the relevant pages and lines considered to be offending requiring issuance of the notification. Even then the statutory requirement of stating the grounds of Government's opinion was held to be not fulfilled. In the instant case, even these particulars are not contained in the impugned notification and they have been disclosed for the first time at the hearing before us and not even in the return. The justification given in the return and at the hearing to support the impugned notification is not even indicated much less mentioned therein. In view of the essential requirements of a valid order indicated by the Supreme Court in these decisions, it is difficult to uphold the notification, challenged in the present case, as valid. Applying the test indicated by the Supreme Court, it is obvious that the essential requirement of a statement of the grounds of Government's opinion', is not contained in the impugned notification and for that reason alone, the notification issued in respect of the 'Smaranika' mentioned in Clause (a) of the notification, must be quashed.

13. It may be reiterated that the real reason or ground for issuing the impugned notification in the present case has been given out only at the hearing before us and that the same is wholly absent in the impugned notification. The State Government itself cannot, therefore, support the impugned notification merely on the contents thereof, which alone, as indicated by the Supreme Court, has to be seen by the Court for judging its validity and a roving enquiry beyond the grounds set forth in the notification is not legally permissible. We would, therefore, confine our decision to quash the impugned notification, on this short ground alone.

14. Consequently, this petition is allowed and the impugned notification dated 7th September, 1980, quoted above, is quashed in so far as it relates to forfeiture of the 'Smaranika' described in Clause (a) of the notification, No order as to costs.


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