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Lilabati Kanjilal and ors. Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1966CriLJ838
AppellantLilabati Kanjilal and ors.
RespondentThe State
Excerpt:
- .....the said notice was given by the s.d.o., ranaghat, as an administrator of the nasra girls' high school. lilabati kanjilal took steps for avoiding that termination of her employment in the school and it appears that a letter, dated 26th of december 1963 was written by the secretary, board of secondary education, west bengal, to the administrator, nasra girls' high school requesting the latter to maintain 'status quo' in respect of the teacher pending further investigation by the district inspectors of schools, nadia and final orders of the board in that respect. in that letter it had also been mentioned that it appeared from the director of public instruction's report that the aforesaid termination of service of sm. lilvbati kanjilal, an assistant headmistress of the school was.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Amaresh Roy, J.

1. This Rule was issued upon an application of tour persons against whom a proceeding was pending in the Court of the Magistrate at Ranaghat and a charge under Section 342, I.P.C. has been framed. The prayer of those petitioners was for quashing the proceeding

2. The background in which this proceeding was commenced appears from the materials on the record and also certain other records to which reference has been made in the petition upon which the Rule was issued. Those are that one Lilabati Kanjilal, the first petitioner, is a teacher in a school named Nasra Girls' School at Ranaghat in the district of Nadia. The S.D.O., Ranaghat, is also the Administrator of that School. The said Lilabati Kanjilal had been served with a notice of termination of her employment as a teacher of that school on 29th of September 1.963 giving her three months notice for the termination to take effect from 1st of January 1964. The said notice was given by the S.D.O., Ranaghat, as an Administrator of the Nasra Girls' High School. Lilabati Kanjilal took steps for avoiding that termination of her employment in the school and it appears that a letter, dated 26th of December 1963 was written by the Secretary, Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal, to the Administrator, Nasra Girls' High School requesting the latter to maintain 'status quo' in respect of the teacher pending further investigation by the District inspectors of Schools, Nadia and final orders of the Board in that respect. In that letter it had also been mentioned that it appeared from the Director of Public Instruction's report that the aforesaid termination of service of Sm. Lilvbati Kanjilal, an Assistant Headmistress of the School was irregular as un charge sheet was issued against her before the notice was served. Copies of these letters appeared to have been sent to the Director of Public Instruction, West Bengal, Lilabati Kanjilal and Satyapriya Roy, General Secretary, All Bengal Teachers' Association. It was alleged that on 2nd January 1964 at about 7 A.M. the said Lilabati Kanfilal had gone to the school and wanted to sign the attendance register of the teachers by showing to the Headmistress a copy of the letter of the Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal, abovementioned. The Headmistress of the school Sm. Usha Majumdar objected to Lilabati Kanjilal's signing the attendance register. At about 8 A.M. that morning three other teachers of Nasra Higher Secondary School, Ajit Kumar Sanyal, Hiralal Kritanya and Chandra Binode Das first went into the office room of the school and then also entered into the room of the Headmistress and sat down in the chairs in front of the Headmistress, Sm. Usha Majumdar and insisted that Sm. Lilabati Kanjilal should be allowed to sign the attendance register and detained the Headmistress, Sm. Usha Mujumdar by such insistence and also roused fear in the mind of Sm. Usha Majumdar. After some time Sm. Usha Majumdar could go out of that room on her giving the assurance that she would get the orders of the Administrator of the school (bat very morning.

3. On those allegation Sm. Usha Majumdar as the Headmistress wrote a letter and addressed it to the S.D.O. and Administrator of the school on 2nd of January 1964. That letter appears to have been forwarded by the S.D.O. to the officer-in-charge, Ranaghat police station, for to taking necessary action. The police filled up a First Information Report on that information and started a case for alleged offences under Sections 143, 448 and 342, I.P.C. and also under Section 11 of the West Bengal Security Act. Order sheet of the learned Magistrate shows that on 3rd of January 1964, Ajit Sanyal, Hiralal Kritanya and Chandra Binode Das were produced before him under arrest. They moved for being enlarged on bail, but it was strongly opposed by the Court sub-inspector. Bail was refused by the learned Magistrate because he thought that the allegations were very serious. On 4th January 1964, Sm. Lilabati Kanjilal was produced under arrest. She also prayed for bail and also the other three accused persons on that date and it was opposed by the Court sub-inspector on the ground.

that apart from the previous allegation against her the situation is very tense and her enlargement may touch off serious trouble.

On. that date the learned Magistrate allowed bail to Sm. Lilabati Kanjilal on conditions that she was forbidden to visit Nasra colony area and that she was precluded from staying within the jurisdiction of the district of Nadia, but she was permitted to attend Court on dates fixed for hearing of the case. By this order she was directed emphatically to leave the jurisdiction of the district by 6 P.M. of that date. The prayer for bail of the other three accused persons was disallowed, Thereafter it appears that the Sessions Judge of Nadia was moved by all the four, accused persons Lilabati Kanjilal for removal of the conditions attached to the order granting bail to her and the other three accused persons for being enlarged on bail. The Sessions Judge by his order, dated ,13th of January 1964 granted bail to the three male accused persons and by his order, dated 14th January 1964 struck down the conditions, at had been imposed by the learned Magistrate on Lilabati Kanjilal. While that was a stage in the proceeding we are now dealing with, it also appears that on 31st of January 1964 a proceeding under Section 144, Cr.P.C. was started against Lilabati Kanjilal and a preliminary order was passed which restrained her from entering upon, the school premises and compound thereof and she was directed by an ex parte order, That order was moved against in this Court and in Criminal Revision No. 152 of 1964 a Rule was issued on 10th of February 1984 and at the final hearing of that Rule on 25th February 1964 the proceeding under Section 144, Cr.P.C. was quashed.

4. The charge sheet was submitted by the police and the learned Magistrate appears to have taken cognizance of the case upon that charge sheet on 15th of March 1964. At that stage all the four accused persons were on bail. On 18th of March 1964 the Magistrate made an order of transfer under Section 192, Cr.P.C. by taking the case to his own file. The order, dated 16th of April 1964 shows that the learned Magistrate directed by that order for furnishing copies of documents to the accused persons by 13th of May 1964. Obviously, the procedure under Section 251-A, Cr.P.C. was being followed. But in the same order the learned Magistrate before copies had been furnished and before any charge had been framed had fixed 9th of July 1964 and 10th of July 1964 for examination of prosecution witnesses in batches and directed issue of summons on those witnesses. This is in gross violation of Sub-section (1) of Section 251-A which enjoins that the

Magistrate shall satisfy himself that the documents referred to in Section 173 have been furnished to the accused and if he finds that the accused had not been furnished with such documents or any of that he shall cause them to be so furnished.

On the next date, that is, on 13th of May 1964, the learned Magistrate noted in his order sheet that the accused persons had got copies of the documents and then recorded in his order that I the date of hearing was not fixed through over sight and he fixed 5th of June 1964 for hearing. The violation of Sub-section (1) of Section 251-A, Cr.P.C. was obviously an overdoing and not an oversight. On 5th of June 1964 it appears that the prosecution prayed for calling for attendance register and a report said to have been submitted by the clerk of the school to the Administrator through the Headmistress. The learned Magistrate observed that the investigating officer should have seized those documents before, but curiously again he said in that order

it will suffice if the copies of these documents are given to the accused before examination of the witnesses.

He called for the documents and then proceeded to consider the materials for deciding whether the charge would be framed or not. That was obviously following Sub-section (2) of Section 251-A, Cr.P.C. How it will be sufficient the copies of documents proposed to be relied on by the prosecution were given after, the framing of the charge and only before the examination of the witnesses and now it complies with the provisions of Section 251-A particularly Sub-sections. (1) and (2) of that section has baffled us? However; that may be, in that order the learned Magistrate discussed the materials for holding that titers was no material that would warrant framing of a charge either under Section 448, I.P.C. or under Section 11 of the West Bengal Security Act, but he did hot say anything with regard to the allegation of an offence under Section 143, I.P.C. and with regard to the allegation of an offence under Section 342, I.P.C. He did not consider any material but simply said: 'charge under Section 342, I.P.C. framed against the accused persons and fixed 9th and 10th of July 1004 for examination of the prosecution witnesses, Before those dates, however, this Court was moved on 6th of July 1984 and present Rule Issued and the proceeding before the Magistrate had been directed to be stayed.

5. Appearing in support of the Rule for quashing the proceeding Mr. Kishore Mukherjee, learned Advocate for the petitioners, has contended that the materials before the learned Magistrate do not at all justify framing of a charge under Section 342, I.P.C. against any of the accused persons. Mr. Mukherjee refers to the order, dated 5th of June 1964 for pointing out that while the learned Magistrate had discussed the materials for holding that no charge under Section 448, I.P.C. and Section 11 of the West Bengal Security Act could be framed the learned Magistrate had not referred to any material as would justify framing of a charge under Section 342, I.P.C. in that order. Mr. Mukherjee, therefore, submits that this proceeding as a whole and in particular framing of the charge under Section 342, I.P.C. has not only been an abuse of the process of the Court but also a misuse of the powers of the criminal Court which misuse of powers is only a projection of the misuse that has been struck down by this Court against one of these petitioners, that is Sri Lilabati Kanjilal by quashing the proceeding under Section 144, Cr.P.C. The events which I have related in narrating the outline of the facts taken by reference to the particular dates thereof do point powerfully to support Mr. Mukherjee's contention.

6. On behalf of the State the learned Advocate Mrs. J. Nag has taken me through the entire order sheet, Mrs. Nag in her learning could not support the violation of the mandatory provisions under Section 251-A, Cr.P.C. when procedure prescribed in that section was being followed as allegations of offences triable by warrant procedure were before the Magistrate at that stage. Mrs. Nag also points out that the offence for which only a charge has been framed, that is an offence under Section 342, I.P.C. is punishable with a term of imprisonment which does not exceed one year and, therefore, would be triable as a summons case under Chap. XX of the Code and not as an warrant case under Chap XXI, In that respect Section 251, Cr.P.C. would not be applicable at all. How ever, that may be Mrs. Nag has referred to the materials that were before the learned Magistrate for framing the charge when he was for lowing the procedure under, 251-A, Cr.P.C. that is, the information upon which the First Information Report was drawn up and the 'copies of the statement recorded by the police' under Section 161. Cr.P.C. during investigation. She contended that those materials would fiscal justification for framing the charge under Section 342, I.P.C. against all the four accused persons. I have devoted my consideration to Filose materials and to the forceful argument of Mrs. Nag and have reached the definite, con erosion that the materials do not warrant framing of a charge under Section 342. I.P.C. at all. At the most there was an allegation of some insistence by words of mouth to be allowed to sign the attendance register and in a way the Headmistress Sm. Usha Majumdar might have been detained by such insistence. But this allegation, even at the highest, clearly shows that at the material time Sm. Lilabati Kanjilal was not in the room of the Headmistress at all and other three accused persons had kept them selves seated in chairs by the position of which Sm. Usha Majumdar felt that she was being ungrounded. Neither the insistence by word of mouth nor mere sitting around a person would satisfy the requirements of wrongful confinement was requires that there must be voluntary obstruction to that person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed and such wrongful restraint had prevented that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribed limit. In the whole of the materials before the learned Magistrate there is no basis for thinking that Sm. Usha Majumdar was either obstructed or prevented from proceeding. In fact, the materials show that she did proceed to go to the Administrator of the school who was no other than the S.D.O. I am, therefore, clearly of the view that the charge framed under Section 342, I.P.C. cannot be sustained and has been so framed on insufficient materials and by abuse of the powers of the criminal Court. It is to be noticed that the S.D.O. of Ranaghat was also the Administrator of the school and it was his action that was at the bottom of this trouble, If the early orders in the order sheet of the Magistrate to which I have made reference has been made by that Magistrate, that is the S.D.O. of Ranaghat, then it was reprehensible abuse of that power indeed by a person who was interested in the case. I, however, put it on record that it does not appear clear from the order sheet of the learned Magistrate nor the learned Advocate for the State, Mrs. Nag could throw any light on the identity of the Magistrate who had passed those orders, whether he was the S.D.O. B.M. Mandal or any other Magistrate, because the signatures appearing in the order sheet are so cryptic as to be illegible.

7. The Rule is accordingly made absolute. The charge framed against petitioners under Section 342, I.P.C. and the whole proceeding in the Court of the Magistrate is quashed.


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