Mere Display Of Word ‘POLICE’ On Front/Rear Screen Of Personal Vehicle Would Not Attract Penalty Under IPC: Calcutta HC
While observing that the Court complaint filed by the opposite party is totally based on apprehension and allegation that by using the personal vehicle with the word “POLICE” written thereon, the Petitioner (Police Inspector) may violate traffic signal, the Calcutta High Court said that Magistrate who issued process against the petitioner failed to consider that an apprehension that a person may commit an offence cannot be a basis of the allegation.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri observed that "there is no violation of any penal provision under the IPC only for displaying the word “POLICE” on the front and rear screen of the personal vehicle of the Petitioner".
Advocate Sabir Ahmed appeared for the Petitioner, whereas Advocate Rudradipta Nandy appeared for the Respondent and Advocate Debabrata Ray appeared for the de-facto complainant.
Going by the background of the case, a court complaint was alleged by the first opposite against the Petitioner stating that he had noticed involvement of a private vehicle with the word “POLICE” on the back screen in order to create a false impression in the mind of general public as well as the public authorities that the said vehicle belongs to Police Department. Seeing the said vehicle, one Parag Mukherjee, Advocate made an application under the provision of Right to Information Act to the State Public Information Officer of West Bengal Police Directorate to ascertain as to whether the said vehicle belongs to the Police Department or not. After getting the said information, it was found that the Petitioner had committed cheating by personation, forgery of valuable security either to make or transfer or receive valuable security money etc punishable under Section 419/420/467/468/471/170 of the IPC.
The Magistrate took cognizance of offence under Section 190(1)(a) of the Code and issued process against the Petitioner under Sections 419/420/467/468/471/170 of the IPC. Hence, the present petition assailing said order.
After considering the submissions, the High Court elucidated that it is not only the police personnel but officials of the State and Central Government the Judicial Officers, the representatives of the people, i.e., member of legislative assembly and members of parliament and other dignitaries indiscriminately used their designation and the name of the office etc in their personal vehicles.
“It is almost regular experience of this Court that in spite of specific directions, even the High Court has not been able to stop this practice regularly committed by the judicial officers displaying their designation in their personal vehicles. However the question that falls for consideration in the instant case is as to whether such display of designation in the personal vehicle amounts to an offence under the Indian Penal Code or it is a violation of the traffic rules”, added the Court.
The Bench found that in the instant case, no specific overt act has been complained by the opposite party against the petitioner which may come within the meaning of an offence under the penal code, and the complaint was filed against the Petitioner only on suspicion.
Noticing that the only allegation which has specifically made against the Petitioner was that he had parked his vehicle in no parking zone, the Bench clarified that such an act is punishable under the motor vehicle act and he was prosecuted under the Motor Vehicle Act and paid a fine of Rs.600/-.
Accordingly, the High Court allowed the criminal revision petition.
Cause Title: Sanjib Chakraborty v. Subir Ranjan Chakraborty & Anr.