Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Sections 34, 143, 147, 149, 323, 427, 447 and 477 – The Petitioner herein instead of resorting to the normal procedure for enforcement of his decree in the above mentioned suit resorts to the present contempt case and vehemently argues that the life and property of the Petitioner and his family members are under threat at the hands of the third Respondent. On the other hand, Sri. C.M. Mohammed Iquabal, the learned Counsel appearing for the third Respondent, submits that it is the Petitioner who is threatening the life of the third Respondent. Whatever be the truth on either of the allegations, the above narration, in our view, clearly demonstrates that neither of the parties is absolutely innocent and are of doubtful respect of the process of law.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM
J. Chelameswar, C.J. and Thomas P. Joseph, J.
Con. Case (C) No. 1584 of 2010 (S)
Dated this the 6th day of January, 2011
Hussain Vs. N.V. Abdul Khader
For Petitioner: T.V. George, Adv.; For Respondents: Government Pleader
J U D G M E N T
J. Chelameswar, C.J.
1. The contempt case is filed complaining that the directions given by this Court in Annexure VII order dated 4th August, 2009 in R.P. No. 745 of 2009 in W.P.(C) No. 3563 of 2009 are deliberately violated.
2. The Petitioner and the third Respondent own properties adjoining each other. There appears to be a dispute regarding the right of passage asserted by the third Respondent.
3. In the background of the above dispute the Petitioner herein lodged a complaint with the police which was registered as Crime No. 805 of 2008 of the Tirurangadi Police Station under Sections 447, 427 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code against the third Respondent and others in connection with an incident which is alleged to have taken place on 28.12.2008. It is the case of the Petitioner that there was recurrence of the incident again on 15.1.2009 and another complaint was made by the Petitioner came to be registered as Crime No. 45 of 2009 of the same Police Station under Sections 143, 147, 323, 427, 447 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code against the third Respondent and others.
4. In the background of the above mentioned situation the Petitioner and two others jointly filed a civil suit, O.S. No. 285 of 2008 before the Munsiff’s Court, Parappanangadi seeking a permanent prohibitory injunction against the third Respondent and his men. It appears, initially an interim injunction was passed on 5.12.2008 by the trial court in the above mentioned suit. The said suit subsequently came to be withdrawn. The reasons for the withdrawal may not be necessary for the present purpose. However, a second suit came to be filed by the Petitioner as O.S. No. 5 of 2009 before the same court for the same relief such as the one sought in the earlier suit. It may also be mentioned that another suit came to be filed as O.S. No. 16 of 2009 on the file of the very same court by one Koonari Marakkar alleged to be an associate of the third Respondent herein seeking a prohibitory injunction against the Petitioner herein from causing any obstruction to the right of passage to the Plaintiff.
5. Eventually the suit, O.S. No. 5 of 2009, filed by the Petitioner came to be decreed and O.S. No. 16 of 2009 was dismissed.
6. In the meanwhile the Petitioner made certain representations to Respondents 1 and 2 herein seeking adequate and effective police protection to the lives of the Petitioner and his family and his properties.
7. Complaining that Respondents 1 and 2 did not take any action on the above mentioned representations, the Petitioner and others approached this Court by filing W.P.(C) No. 3563 of 2009 seeking a direction for effective police protection. Admittedly, by an interim order dated 3.2.2009 a Division Bench of this Court directed as follows:
Admit. Issue notice by speed post with A/D. Meanwhile, police to see that law and order is maintained and life of both sides are not endangered, and also to see that private property is not encroached upon and construction is not made without an acquisition of the land under the Land Acquisition Act.
8. By another order dated 9th February, 2009 this Court further ordered as follows:
Post after ten days.
Status quo should be maintained till further orders.
Respondent to produce copy of settlement if any.
9. It may not be profitable to enquire into what would be the legal effect of such an order except to take note that such an order was passed. The above mentioned writ petition came to be disposed of by judgment dated 23rd July, 2009 which reads as follows:
A detailed order was passed by this Court in this Writ Petition on 6.2.2009. The said order is still continuing in force. After hearing the parties, we find that the dispute is regarding a pathway. This Court, by the above said order, has made it clear that the property belonging to a private party without acquiring the same, cannot be used as a pathway and it is also directed that the property should be restored to its original position.
2. In so far as the situation has not been peaceful, it is necessary to continue the order of police protection to maintain law and order. We do so. If there is any dispute regarding the pathway, it is open to either of the parties to approach the civil court.
The Writ Petition is disposed of as above.
10. The said judgment of this Court was again reconsidered in a review petition, R.P. No. 745 of 2009. The relevant portion of the said order reads as follows:
In view of these orders, we are satisfied that a mistake has crept in. Accordingly, the judgment dated 23.7.2009 is set aside and the matter was re-heard.
3. This is a matter pertaining to the police protection. The dispute is regarding the alleged pathway/road which according to the Petitioners is made encroaching upon their property. Though the party Respondents would say that there was a settlement, according to the Petitioners, no such settlement was reached. Since the matter is pending before the civil court, the respective contention of the parties will have to be gone into and appropriate decision will be taken by the court below.
4. In such circumstances, we direct the parties to maintain status quo as on today. There will be a direction to the 3rd Respondent, Circle Inspector of Police, to afford protection to the lives of the Petitioners and also to maintain law and order. The civil court will decide the matter, untrammelled by whatever interim orders earlier passed by this Court, in accordance with law.
11. In the background of all the litigations, the present contempt case came to be filed. The allegations which form the basis of the present contempt case are contained in paragraphs 24, 25 and 26 of the contempt case which read as follows:
24. As part of the same, on 14/12/2010, the Petitioner and his family members were attacked by the 3rd Respondent and his men. On the same day, Petitioner moved a complaint before the Subj Inspector of Police, Tirur who refused to accept the same. Thereupon Petitioner preferred a complaint before the 1st Respondent on 14/12/2010 itself and a receipt was issued from the office of the 1st Respondent. True copy of the said petition is produced herewith and marked as Annexure AVIII. No action was taken against the assailants by the 1st or 2nd Respondents.
25. Thereafter on 15/12/2010 Petitioner and his family members were again assaulted by the 3rd Respondent and his men. Petitioner and others sustained injuries. They went over to Tirurangadi Govt. Hospital and got treatment. A complaint was filed before the 2nd Respondent by the Petitioner stating the atrocities committed by the 3rd Respondent and his men on 15/12/2010 itself. No action was taken by the 2nd Respondent. Thereupon Petitioner moved a similar petition before the 1st Respondent. True copy of the said complaint filed before the 1st Respondent is produced herewith and marked as Annexure AIX. Tickets issued from the Govt. Hospital for Petitioner’s treatment is produced herewith and marked as Annexure AX. Tickets issued from Govt. Hospital to Petitioner’s nephews namely, Shri. Abdul Nasar and Shamsudeen are produced herewith and marked as Annexures AX and AXI respectively. Even thereafter, no action was taken against the assailants by the Respondents, even though 3 persons were assaulted by the 3rd Respondent and his men.
26. Thereafter on 16/12/2010 also, the 3rd Respondent and his men encroached into Petitioner’s property and assaulted the Petitioner and his family members. Thereupon on 17/12/2010 Petitioner filed a complaint before the Respondents 1 and 2. No action is seen taken. Thereupon a separate petition was filed before the Superintendent of Police, Malappuram on 17/12/2010 jointly by the Petitioner and his brother’s daughter-in-law named, Jamsheela and a receipt was obtained from the office of the Superintendent of Police, on 17/12/2010 itself. Even after receipt of all these petitions, Respondents are not taking any proper action in the matter and has also been disobeying the orders of this Hon’ble Court.
12. It can be seen from paragraph 26 of the contempt case that there is an allegation that the third Respondent and his men encroached upon the Petitioner’s property and assaulted the Petitioner. Irrespective of the truth of the said allegation, the allegation of trespass if proved, would constitute defiance of the decree passed by the competent civil court in favour of the Petitioner in O.S. No. 5 of 2009 referred to earlier which came to be transferred to the Sub Court, Tirur and re-numbered as O.S. No. 1 of 2010.
13. The Petitioner herein instead of resorting to the normal procedure for enforcement of his decree in the above mentioned suit resorts to the present contempt case and vehemently argues that the life and property of the Petitioner and his family members are under threat at the hands of the third Respondent. On the other hand, Sri. C.M. Mohammed Iquabal, the learned Counsel appearing for the third Respondent, submits that it is the Petitioner who is threatening the life of the third Respondent. Whatever be the truth on either of the allegations, the above narration, in our view, clearly demonstrates that neither of the parties is absolutely innocent and are of doubtful respect of the process of law.
14. The learned Government Pleader has filed a memo enclosing the report submitted by the first Respondent. The relevant portion of the said report reads as follows:
3. Pursuant to Annexure A-VII Order, Police have been giving protection to the lives and also ensuring law and order in the area, insisting on maintenance of the status quo, till the issue is finally settled duly through the civil court. Police have always tried to avoid any law and order situation in the area with timely action whenever there were apprehensions in that regard. As a matter of fact, two Policemen were deployed at the disputed site for about 7 months i.e. from 07/02/2009 to 14/04/2009 and from 26/07/2009 to 26/12/2009.
4. Subsequently, there was a further rake up of the issue in mid-December 2010 with the Petitioner complaining of trespass and the 3rd Respondent and those with him complaining that the Petitioner blocked the road at the disputed site, disturbing the status quo position. On such complaints the Police party had gone to the site on 15/12/2010 and both sides went on justifying their respective stand points. No allegation of any physical assault was levelled by either side at that time. The police had asked both sides to come to the police station to ascertain the position and to enforce law and order. However the Petitioner failed to turn up. On 16/12/2010 evening also the Police party went to the site to meet the Petitioner, but he remained non-cooperative. After the Police party returned, some persons who had been using the road in question irked by the Petitioner’s attitude removed the stones/obstructions laid by the Petitioner in the road. Learning about the same, the Police immediately suo-motu registered Crime 833/2010 under Sections 477 & 427 IPC and the offenders were arrested soon.
5. On the basis of the complaint of the Petitioner regarding violations against his property, the Police have in fact registered six cases. The five crimes in this regard, apart from the latest one already mentioned hereinabove are: (i) Crime 805/2008; (ii) Crime 45/2009; (iii) Crime 66/2009; (iv) Crime 243/2010; and (v) Crime 588/2010. The accused in all the above cases were arrested and charge sheeted. As against the Petitioner also there is a Crime viz; Crime 252/10 wherein he has been charge sheeted. Such crimes arose when the parties haggled over the user of the road i.e. on the civil dispute pending in Court, without waiting for a resolution of the dispute and execution thereof through the civil Court.
6. Each of the rival parties, who did not have any allegation of physical assault on 15/12/2010 when the Police were at the spot, later got admitted in the Hospital and have been alleging assault by the other. Both sides have been making many complaints and allegations against each other, as afterthought. At the time of visit of the Police on 15/12/2010 the complaints were in fact confined to the use of the disputed road/property and the blockade created thereto.
15. In the circumstances, we deem it appropriate to dispose of the contempt case directing the Petitioner as well as the third Respondent to execute a bond for maintenance of peace before the concerned Executive Magistrate. It is further directed that each of the parties should also make a deposit for an amount of Rs. 1,00,000/ (Rupees one lakh) each towards the security of the commitment to be given in the bond pursuant to this order. It goes without saying that Respondents 1 and 2 are still bound to maintain the law and order in accordance with the procedure established by law as and when either of the parties complains of any breach of law by the opposite side. The execution of bond and the deposit of money mentioned above should be made within a period of two weeks from today and the second Respondent shall ensure the same. The second Respondent should move this Court at the expiry of six months from today regarding the need to continue the validity of either the bond or deposit. Contempt case is accordingly disposed of.