Surinder Singh, J.
1. This order will dispose of Criminal Miscellaneous Applications Nos. 1947/M and 2195/M of 1976. The present petition on behalf of Narinder Singh and three other petitioners has been filed under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the grant of anticipatory bail to the petitioners, with the allegations which are these. The petitioners are office-bearers of Ludhiana Sant Fateh Singh Nagar House Building Society. Ludhiana (hereinafter referred to as the Society) and are respectable citizens of the town. Mohinder Singh Bakshi, S.S. Bindra, S.G. Kataria and Satpal Singh were also previously members of the Society but about six months ago they had been expelled from the said membership on account of their activities prejudicial to the interests of the Society. On April 18, 1976 at 10-30 a.m. a meeting of the Society was held in front of the factory of Narinder Singh petitioner which was attended by the members of the Society and some invitees. It is said that Mohinder Singh and some others came there and wanted to attend the meeting, They were, however, told that they were no longer members of the Society and they should desist from creating any disturbance. The allegation further is that the party of Mohinder Singh hurled abuses upon the petitioners and others and issued threats. It is also stated that on a false representation a case was registered against the petitioners and about fifteen other persons under Sections 506, 336, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25/ 27 of the Arms Act. In fact, a First Information Eeport No. 149 dated April 18, 1976 was lodged at Police Station Division No. VI, Ludhiana. The petitioners submitted that in consequence of the report aforesaid, they apprehended their arrest. The petitioners, therefore, sought relief by way of grant of anticipatory bail.
2. When the petition came up for motion hearing on April 20, 1976, notice was issued to the State and in the meanwhile it was directed that the petitioners, if arrested, shall be released on bail.
3. During the pendency of this petition. Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 2195/M of 1976 was filed on behalf of the opposite party (Manmohan Singh and four others) in which a counter version of the incident which took place on April 18, 1976 was given, the same being that the petitioners in Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 1947/M of 1976 had wrongly obstructed Manmohan Singh and others from attending the meeting as these persons had never been expelled from the Society and had, therefore, a right to attend the meeting. It was also alleged that Narinder Singh and others had indulged in rioting after having armed themselves with various weapons. It was, thus, asserted that no relief under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure should be afforded to them.
4. I have heard the learned Counsel for the parties in the two connected applications referred to above. Both the Parties appear to be influential persons and have made the contest unnecessarily prestigious, A perusal of the First Information Report lodged in this case goes to show that during the alleged incident an unknown person fired two shots in the air with a gun. It is nobody's case that any one was hurt by those shots. So far as the investigation of the case is concerned, the learned Counsel for the State has stated that during the span of about three weeks since the occurrence (which took place on April 18, 1976). the statements of twelve persons on the side of Narinder Singh and his associates and three witnesses on the side of the complainants had been recorded but in these statements there is no indication as to who had fired the shots in the air. In the First Information Report also there is no specific overt act attributed to the petitioners except that the persons who were armed had come at the instance of Narinder Singh Petitioner, In these circumstances it is a fit case for the issue of a direction for anticipatory bail. It is, however, made clear that no observations made in this order shall be deemed to be an expression of opinion in regard to the merits of the case.
In this view of the matter, the interim order passed by this Court on April 20, 1976 is made absolute with the direction that the petitioners, if arrested, shall be released on bail. The petitioners shall also associate with the investigation as and when called upon to do so.