Offence U/S 186 IPC Indicates Public Servant Obstructed In Discharging Function Should Voluntarily Come Forward & Allege Obstruction: Bombay HC
The Bombay High Court has observed that in order to constitute any offence punishable under Section 186 of the Indian Penal Code a public servant must be voluntarily obstructed by another in discharge of his public functions and such obstruction must have direct connection with the discharge of public functions of such public servant.
The Court added that the offence also indicates that the public servant who has been obstructed in discharge of his public functions should voluntarily come forward and allege the obstruction.
The bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice M.M. Sathaye observed thus-
“In order to constitute any offence punishable under Section 186 of the IPC, it is necessary that there must be a public servant who is voluntarily obstructed by another in discharge of his public functions and such obstruction must have direct connection with the discharge of public functions of such public servant. This offence would also indicate that it is for the public servant who has been obstructed in discharge of his public functions to voluntarily come forward and allege the obstruction.”
The Court was dealing with a plea by a man who had sought quashing of FIR registered against him for allegedly sending offensive messages to IAS officer who was at the relevant time working as Managing Director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation which was then engaged in construction of a car-shed in the land belonging to Aarey Dairy and this work envisaged cutting of several trees.
Senior Advocate Gayatri Singh appeared for the Petitioner and APP K.V. Saste appeared for State.
The allegation is that certain messages were received on the official cell phone of the IAS officer, due to which she felt offended and obstructed in discharge of her official functions.
In those messages, it was stated that Aarey Forest was a green lung for the city of Mumbai just as Cubbon Park is for the city of Bangalore and, therefore, he has pleaded with the IAS officer to look for alternatives so that the trees, which he has stated to be about 3,500 in number, can be saved.
The Court noted that the concerned IAS officer did not herself come forward and make any such allegations.
The Court also pointed out that the alleged offending messages do not by themselves show that the sender of those messages had at any point of time intended to obstruct the officer or had any knowledge that by those messages, he would create the effect of obstructing the officer from discharging her public functions.
The Court added that the messages show at their face-value that the sender of the messages was the person who had intention to make efforts for preservation of the trees in the larger interest of society.
“These messages do not contain any offensive material or any obscenities. Rather, they appear to have been sent in assertion of a democratic right of citizen of this country to put forth his view point, to object, to protest, to persuade, to urge, and so on.”, the Court observed.
Thus the Court allowed the petition and quashed the FIR.
Cause Title- Avijit Michael v. State