The Orissa High Court has upheld the decision of the Magistrate wherein it was held that the then Chief District Veterinary Officer, Koraput had not committed any offence under Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) by speaking about the demand of meat of Indian Cows and bulls abroad, while delivering a speech in a meeting.

The Bench of Justice Radha Krishna Pattanaik observed that "The petitioner attended the said function as the Chief District Veterinary Officer, Koraput and according to the learned SDJM, Koraput, he had been invited there in his official capacity and the alleged speech was delivered which was without any criminal intent, rather, it was based on his experience and essentially to be an opinion shared or view expressed by him in good faith."

In this case, the Complainant (opposite party) had filed the complaint in the year 2012 before the SDJM, Koraput alleging that the petitioner (Chief District Veterinary Officer and a Veterinary Surgeon) had committed an offence under Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), while attending a meeting organised to address issues related to prevention of cruelty to animals where he delivered a speech and stressed upon the demand of meat of the Indian cows and bulls abroad.

The SDJM dismissed the complaint concluding that no prima facie case for an offence under Section 505(2) IPC was made out against the petitioner as the speech was delivered without any criminal intent and it did fall within the exception of Section 505 IPC.

The Complainant, aggrieved of the decision of SDJM, approached the Additional District & Sessions Judge cum-Special Judge (Vigilance), Jeypore wherein the order passed by the SDJM was set aside and the matter was remitted back to once again record the statement of the complainant and of the witnesses and dispose of in the light of the decision of the Apex Court in the case of Raghunath Anant Govilkar Vrs. State of Maharashtra and Others (2008) 39 OCR (SC) 716.

Assailing the order of Session Court, the petitioner approached the High Court under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Advocate D.R. Bhokta appeared for the petitioner and ASC Sonak Mishra appeared for the opposite party.

The Court said that it was pertinent to note that the Sessions Court considered the rival contentions on the premise as to whether sanction under Section 197 Cr.P.C was required or otherwise whereas the SDJM did not base his conclusion on ground of sanction rather based it on the ground that the petitioner having participated in a meeting though in his official capacity has had no mens rea to create hatred or ill-will among any of the communities.

The Court observed that Sessions Court should not have interfered with the conclusion of dismissal of complaint by SDJM as it was entirely based upon the evidence received from the opposite party after an enquiry conducted under Section 202 Cr.P.C. and said that "the conclusion of the Court is that the complaint was rightly dismissed with a decision that there was no any such culpable intent from the side of the petitioner to promote enmity or hatred or ill-will between any communities and such a finding since was based on evidence and after holding an enquiry, the learned Sessions court ought not to have disturbed it."

The Court further relied upon the decision of the Apex Court in the Case of Bilal Ahmed Kaloo Vrs. State of AP AIR 1997 SC 3483 wherein it was held that "mens rea is an equally necessary postulate for the offence of Section 505(2) IPC also as could be discerned from the expression 'with an intent to create or promote or which is likely to create or promote' as appearing therein emphasizing and restating the law on the point referring to an earlier decision in Balwant Singh and Another Vrs. State of Punjab (1995) 3SCC 214."

Accordingly, the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was allowed.

Cause Title- Santanu Kumar Takri v. Gangadhar Nanda

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