The Bombay High Court refused to quash a 2010 case against former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Nara Chandrababu Naidu saying that there is no illegality in the registration of crime against him.

Naidu had filed a criminal application before the Aurangabad Bench in relation to the crime registered for the offences punishable under Sections 353, 324, 332, 336, 337, 504, 506 read with Sections 109 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sought quashment of crime, chargesheet, and criminal case.

A Division Bench of Justice Mangesh S. Patil and Justice Shailesh P. Brahme observed, “Suffice for the purpose to observe that the applicants are being charged for the offences punishable under different sections of the Indian Penal Code. Even if some ingredients like use of criminal force is a prison offence under Section 45 of the Act and the offence punishable under Section 353, and as the applicants are being charged for various other offences which are not even similar leave aside the same as the prison offences, since the Act and the Punishments Rules framed there under do not expressly provide for any specific procedure debarring registration of F.I.R. and crime under Section 154 and preventing a Magistrate from taking cognizance thereof in respect of the offences under the Indian Penal Code committed within the premises of a prison, we find no illegality in registration of the crime against the applicants, its investigation by the police and the cognizance taken by the Magistrate. Consequently, even this objection being raised by Mr. Luthara is not legally sustainable.”

Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra appeared on behalf of the applicant while APP V.K. Kotecha appeared on behalf of the respondents.

Facts of the Case -

Chandrababu Naidu and Peoples Representatives along with their associates totalling 66 persons were arrested for an alleged crime under Sections 143 and 188 of IPC and Section 135 of the Maharashtra Police Act. They were remanded to magisterial custody in 2010. As per the instructions of the D.I.G. Prisons, Maharashtra State and in view of the security arrangements, the jailer was directed to shift all the prisoners including the applicant to the Central Jail Aurangabad. Accordingly, the Superintendent of Police, Nanded made necessary arrangement and deputed police officers and constables and provided vehicles. Since the applicants and other accused refused to cooperate and started making arguments and started insisting for air-conditioned buses to be provided for shifting them, they were confined in the temporary prison during that night.

It was alleged that as per the requests made, the air-conditioned buses were kept ready in the morning. However, they refused to board buses and in an arrogant manner hurled abuses in Telugu and English. When the informant-jailer and police constables told them that the buses were ready and requested them to board, the applicant refused to do so and declared that if they were forced to board the buses, there would be an unrest and conflict between Maharashtra and Telangana and flatly denied to be taken to Aurangabad. He also instigated the other prisoners and all of them in a concerted manner created terrorizing atmosphere, started hurling abuses, and used criminal force and even assaulted the police constables. Some were pushed, others were kicked and slapped. Couple of police constables were seriously injured and some police officers and constables also sustained different injuries. Thereafter additional force was called and one by one each of the accused were made to board the bus.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case said, “We, therefore, are unable to accept these submissions of Mr. Luthara laying emphasis on Rule 25 that the informant who was a senior jailer could not have lodged the F.I.R. and the police could not have registered and investigated it. As is mentioned earlier, the offences with which the applicants have been charged inter alia include Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code which is incidentally is mentioned in the list of the offences under the Indian Penal Code in the proviso to Rule 25. Again, the rest of the offences with which the applicants are being charged like 353, 324, etc. of the Indian Penal Code are independent offences and cannot be said to be identical to any prison offence defined under Section 45.”

The Court added that the Act and the Punishments Rules framed under clause 4 of Section 59 of the Act do not lay down any mechanism or procedure for setting the criminal law in motion in respect of the crimes under the IPC committed within the premises of a prison which are neither prison offences nor are the offences similar to the prison offences.

“It is to be remembered that the whole exercise in comparing the offences which have been made punishable under the special statutes which incidentally are offences under the general law that is Indian Penal Code is to obviate double jeopardy. The issue has bothered the Supreme Court as well as several High Courts. Interplay between the provisions of two different penal statutes wherein some ingredients of the offences are overlapping has been considered by the Supreme Court and the High Courts in several matters, the recent being The State Of Uttar Pradesh vs Aman Mittal; (2019) 19 SCC 740”, it noted.

Accordingly, the High Court rejected the application and refused to quash the case against the applicant.

Cause Title- Nara Chandrababu Naidu v. State of Maharashtra & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2024:BHC-AUG:10273-DB)


Applicant: Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, Advocates Aayush Kaushik, Satyajit S. Bora, and Pratibha Choudhari.

Respondents: APP V.K. Kotecha

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