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Appellants succeed in getting Interim Protection, as court says place of assault doubtful as to whether it can be considered as a place which was “within public view”: Bombay High Court.

The Bombay High Court passed a judgement on Friday, the 22nd of July, in the year 2022 in favour of the appellants and allowed them to be granted an interim protection order. This judgment was passed in the case of Narayan S/o Ganpatrao Ghuge & Anr. vs. The State of Maharashtra & Anr. (Criminal Appeal No.469 Of 2022) and the case was presided over by The Honourable Ms. Justice V. V. Kankanwadi.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

In this case, The First Information Report tells us that the informant of the FIR, is the owner of 2 and ½ acres of land in village Dabha. The appellants have their land adjacent to the land of the informant and the informant had grievance against the appellants on the count that the cattle belonging to the appellants came in the field of the informant causing damage to his crops. He requested the appellants, multiple times that they should not let their cattle roam around, but as per the informant, the appellants used to abuse him. The informant states that on 19th May 2022 at about 11.00 a.m. he was digging earth from the well and was placing it on the boundary near his land with the help of a J.C.B. At that time both the appellants went to the informant and asked that he should not put earth on the boundary of the land and then abused the informant in the name of caste and assaulted him and after threatening him they left. According to the informant, the incident was witnessed by Mr. Gajanan Tulshiram Dumne.

It was later established through investigation, that the well in concern, was being dug in the fields of Mr. Gajanan Tulshiram Dumne. Also, the mud that was being placed at the boundary was being placed at the boundary between Mr. Dumne and the Informant. Mr. Dumne said he came to visit the dispute and only his story somewhat matched with the informant.

The appellants were being charged under Section 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(s) of the Atrocities Act and in this section, there is need to prove the presence of “within Public view”.

J.C.B. driver Mr. Rajeshkumar as well as the J.C.B. owner Mr. Gangadhar Aghav, claim that they were present at the said place and had not witnessed any dispute or assault.

JUDGEMENT:

The court proclaimed that it is doubtful as to whether the place in concern can be considered to be a place which was “within public view”. In view of the two other witnesses, whose presence is indirectly indicated by the informant as well as Mr. Gajanan Dumne, who say that no such incident had taken place in their presence, it will have to be held that prima facie case attracting the offences under the Atrocities Act is not made out and therefore there was no bar under Section 18 of the Atrocities Act for the bail application that was filed by the appellants before the learned Special Judge. The interim protection granted by the Court on 6th July 2022 deserves to be confirmed and the appellants should be released on bail on PR and SB of Rs.15,000 each, if already not released. The appellants should also remain present before the Investigating Officer as and when called and co-operate with the investigation.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.

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