Kerala HC Refuses To Quash Criminal Case Against A Man Who Displayed Placard Against Distribution Of Compensation To The Endosulfan Victims [Read Order]

first_imgNews UpdatesKerala HC Refuses To Quash Criminal Case Against A Man Who Displayed Placard Against Distribution Of Compensation To The Endosulfan Victims [Read Order] Sparsh Upadhyay10 Oct 2020 6:55 AMShare This – xThe Kerala High Court on Tuesday (06th October) refused to quash criminal proceedings against a retired worker of the Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd. who asserted (by way of displaying a placard poster) that there is no menace related to the use of Endosulfan in Kasargode district.The Bench of Justice M. R. Anitha was hearing a criminal miscellaneous case which was filed under Section…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Kerala High Court on Tuesday (06th October) refused to quash criminal proceedings against a retired worker of the Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd. who asserted (by way of displaying a placard poster) that there is no menace related to the use of Endosulfan in Kasargode district.The Bench of Justice M. R. Anitha was hearing a criminal miscellaneous case which was filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash Charge-sheet in C.C.No.1471/2017 of the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court-I, Kasargode against the Petitioner/Accused (Gangandharan Nair).Significantly, the Petitioner was engaged in spraying Endosulfan pesticide mainly used for the control of Tea Mosquitoes (during his term of employment with Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd.). The petitioner retired from employment in the year 2014.[BRIEF NOTE: It may be noted that till the year 2011, Endosulfan pesticide was used extensively on crops like paddy, fruits, cashew, cotton, tea, and others in the State of Kerala.However, in 2011, observing that Right to life is a paramount consideration and taking into consideration its harmful effects, the Supreme Court banned the manufacture, sale and use of pesticide endosulfan in the country.The health effects of the chemical include neurotoxicity, late sexual maturity, physical deformities, poisoning, among others. People, especially newborns have suffered deformities, health complications and loss of family members due to exposure to the agrochemical.Later on, in the year 2017, the Supreme Court directed the Kerala government to disburse Rs 500 crore as compensation for over 5,000 persons who suffered from various deformities, health complications and lost family members after using Endosulfan pesticides in the state.]Facts of the CaseOn 30.03.2017, a meeting was convened in the compound of Collectorate, Kasargode to distribute compensation to the Endosulfan affected victims by the Chief Minister.According to the petitioner, to bring the issue of malpractice in the preparation of list and fake claims to the direct notice of the Chief Minister as a common-man he displayed a placard poster.The writings on the Placard (in Malayam Language) stated that:-Endosulfan issue,There are no such health issues in Kasargod districtStop the plundering of the state treasury in the name of endosulfanPublish the report of Kasargod vigilance departmentFind out the truth by conducting an impartial investigationSatyameva JayatheThe Petitioner contended that by erecting the placard with the writings referred above, the petitioner/accused only wanted to show his protest in distributing the compensation to non-deserving persons which would affect the public exchequer and the act of the accused is a right guaranteed under the Constitution of India and hence the accused is entitled to protection under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.According to the Public Prosecutor, the writings in the placard itself confirm that the offence under Section 153 IPC and also Section 2 of the Kerala Prevention of Disturbances of Public Meetings Act, 1961 are attracted.He also contended that at this stage, this Court is to be satisfied only about a prima facie case and whether any offence as alleged has been made out.He contended that on a mere glance through the FIR and the Final Report, this Court can very well be satisfied of the prima facie case in favour of the respondent/State.Court’s AnalysisThe Court noted that as per the Apex Court’s judgment in W.P.(C)No.213/2011, directions were given to the State Government to formulate a scheme for providing compensation to the victims of the use of Endosulfan in the State.In this context, the Court noted,”When the Apex Court had made a finding and directed the State Government to formulate a scheme for providing compensation to the victims of the use of Endosulfan. It goes without saying that it is the law of the land. So, the writings in the placard, that there is no menace related to the use of endosulfan in Kasargode District, appear as prima facie illegal.”The Court noted that the placard with the abovesaid writings had been erected by the Petitioner in a meeting held at the collectorate, Kasargode and the Chief Minister was speaking on the occasion.So the question before the Court was – whether the conduct of the petitioner in such an event would attract the offence under Section 153 IPC prima facie.The Court observed that on close scrutiny of Section 153 IPC, it could be gathered that whoever malignantly or wantonly does any act, which is illegal and give provocation to any person intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation would cause the offence of rioting to be committed; the offence would be attracted in two ways:(1) If the offence of rioting is committed in consequence of such provocation, and(2) If the offence of the rioting is not committed.While examining the words ‘Malignantly’ and ‘Wantonly’, the Court referred to the Ratanlal & Dhirajlal’s Commentaries on the IPC 33rd Edition and concluded that any unlawful act done intentionally without just cause or excuse would come within the purview of the malignant act.Further, the Court said that the word ‘wantonly’ is far wider and having a more comprehensive application than is implied by the word malignantly. So any reckless or thoughtless act without any regard for right or consequences would amount to a wanton act.The Court further observed that in this case, what has been done by the petitioner is the erection of a placard in a public meeting where Chief Minister of the State was speaking in connection with the distribution of compensation to the victims of Endosulfan.So naturally, the Court said, the participants in the meeting would be the victims of endosulfan who would have come in the list prepared by the authorities. Probably, some persons in the list of beneficiaries may not be deserving persons. But it cannot be forgotten that there would be persons who are eligible also would be participating in the meeting.In this context, the Court said,”So what would be their feeling on seeing such a placard with writing that there is no such menace of Endosulphan in Kasargode district? So the act of the petitioner would prima facie amounts to a reckless or thoughtless act without any regard for the consequence. The possibility of the genuine victims of Endosulphan getting provoked by seeing the placard cannot be ruled out prima facie.”Further, examining Section 2 of the Kerala Prevention of Disturbances of Public Meetings Act, 1961, the Court said that if anybody acts in a disorderly manner at a public meeting for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the meeting was called, the offence under Section 2 would be attracted.So, the Court opined, when the petitioner displays a placard containing the writings quoted above in a meeting held for distribution of compensation to the victims of endosulfan and that too at the time when the Chief Minister is making a speech in connection with the function, there won’t be any doubt that the act of the petitioner/accused would cause confusion or disturbances of the normal working of mind of the victims who were assembled there prima facie.Lastly, the Court also stated,”Section 153 IPC and Section 2 of Kerala Prevention of Disturbances of Public Meetings Act, 1961 expressly prohibit certain acts in a public meeting by any citizen. So it will come under the reasonable restriction on the exercise of the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a).”In the result, Crl.M.C. was found to be devoid of any merit and accordingly, it was dismissed.Click Here To Download Order[Read Order]Next Storylast_img read more

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