The Allahabad High Court held that mere use of abusive language or being discourteous to the opponent will not attract Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Court held thus in an application preferred against the summoning order of the Judicial Magistrate in a case under Sections 379, 504, and 506 of IPC.

A Single Bench of Justice Vikram D. Chauhan observed, “Mere use of abusive language or being discourteous to the opponent or rude would not by itself amount to any intention insult within the meaning of Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code. It has to be shown that the nature of abusive language or insult is such as is likely to insult a person or to commit breach of peace or commit an offence.”

The Bench noted that as per Section 504 of IPC, whoever intentionally insults and gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace or to commit any other offence, then the said offence comes within the meaning of intentional insult with the intent to provoke breach of peace.

Advocate Rakesh Dubey appeared for the applicants while AGA appeared for the State/opposite party.

Factual Background -

The complainant preferred a complaint against the applicants/accused alleging that he had tied up his goat just outside his house and went out of village in the morning. When he came back on the same day and reached his house, he found that his goat was missing. While searching, he was informed by the neighbours that the accused had taken away his goat by way of theft. It was further alleged that he found the said goat in the house of the accused.

When the complainant confronted the accused persons, they started abusing him and asked him to go away from his house. They also threatened to kill him if he came to house again for taking the goat. Hence, he made a complaint to the police but no action was taken nor his report was lodged. Therefore, the complainant was before the court.

The High Court in the above context of the case said, “The question of sufficiency of evidence is to be looked upon by the trial court and at this stage only allegations stated in the complaint are required to be examined treating them to be correct. In view of the allegations in the complaint, case under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code is set to be prima facie made out against the applicants.”

The Court further took note of the fact that the only allegations are that abusive language was used by the applicants, however, the nature of abusive language has neither been elaborated in the complaint nor in the statements of witnesses.

“The complainant in his complaint has not stated the nature of abusive language used by the applicants. The allegations in the complaint in this respect are wholly vague in nature. It has not been stated in the complaint that the abusive language used by the applicants was of such nature as would have in ordinary course of events let person insulted to the break the peace or commit an offence under the law”, it also noted.

The Court said that where the complainant has not disclosed the nature of abusive language used by applicants and general and vague allegations with regard to the language has been made in the complaint without specification, then it cannot be said that the provision of Section 504 of IPC is attracted in the facts and circumstances of the case.

“The court concerned has incorrectly summoned the accused – applicants under Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code. … The court concerned is directed to proceed with the case under Sections 379 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code in accordance with law”, it concluded and directed.

Accordingly, the High Court partly allowed the application.

Cause Title- Dhirendra and 2 Ors. v. State of U.P. and Another

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