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Gauhati HC stays order to register FIR against Assam CM for inflammatory remarks about eviction drive

Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the Darrang eviction drive was revenge for the 1983 Assam agitation

Sabrangindia 17 Mar 2022

Assam eviction
Image Courtesy:rdtv24x7.com

In a shocking twist to the Assam eviction controversy, the Gauhati High Court has quashed an order of a lower court to file a First Information Report (FIR) against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his remarks about the evictions that took place in Daarang last year.

An application was filed before the Hon’ble Guwahati High Court under Section 482 of the Cr.PC seeking that the order dated  March 05, 2022 passed by the learned Sub- Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup (Metro) in CR Case No. 1598/2022 be quashed.

On March 11, 2022, Hon’ble Justice Hitesh Kumar Sarmaof the Gauhati HC stayed the order passed by the lower court where it had directedthe Dispur Police to file an FIR against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his inflammatory remarks about the Darrang eviction drive held in September 2021. Sarma had said that it was revenge for the 1983 Assam agitation.

The HC order said, “On consideration of the contents of the petition, facts leading to the passing of the impugned order by the learned court below, and on hearing the submissions made by the learned Advocate General, Assam for the petitioners, this Court is of the view that serious issues having enormous legal implications have been raised in the instant application requiring this Court to examine the matter thoroughly and in detail.” It further said, “This Court is inclined to stay the operation of the impugned order dated 05.03.2022 passed by the learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate.”

Facts of the case

Awrittencomplaint was filed by Congress MP Abdul Khalequeto the Officer-in-Charge of the Dispur Police Station in Guwahati, referring to a part of a speech delivered by the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmain Morigaon district on December 10, 2021, on the occasion of Shahid Divas (Martyrs’ Day) wherein Sarma had reportedly referred to the deaths of young Assamese boys in 1983 (during the Assam agitation) in Darrang district, and said that Assam was “bound to take some degree of revenge for those deaths.”

The complaint also referred to the eviction drive that was conducted by the administration in Assam’s Darrang district on September 23, 2021. The Complaint sought an FIR against Sarma under Sections 153 and 153-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)for commission of offences under Sections 153/153A of the IPC as well as under any other appropriate provisions of law against him.

Khaleque had alleged that the Officer-In-Charge of the Dispur Police Station did not register a case on the basis of the FIR, as a result of which he resorted to the provisions of Section 154(3) of the Cr.PC and approached the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), Commissionerate of Police, Guwahati with a prayer to investigate the case by himself or to direct any other competent officer to investigate into the case after registering the FIR.

The Dispur police station failed to file an FIR against the Assam CM. Thereafter, Khaleque approached the learned court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate with an application under Section 156(3) of the Cr.PC vide CR Case No. 1598C /2022 seeking an order to forward the same to the Officer-In-Charge of the Dispur Police Station with a further direction to register the FIR under Sections 153/153A of the IPC.

Arguments and Submissions

The learned Advocate General for the State of Assam, appearing for the petitioners, questioned the propriety of the impugned order and submitted that the entire allegation in the FIR was based on the speech dated December 10, 2021 at Morigaon, in which it is alleged that Sarma made communally sensitive statements intending to promote enmity, hatred and illwill towards the Muslim population of Assam.

The AG further referred to the transcripts of the Assamese version of the speech, as well as the translated English version and submitted, “There is not a single word in the statement in respect of any particular community, not to speak of Muslim community to create the feeling of enmity, hatred, illwill, etc as well as to provoke the people for act of rioting against any community.”

It was further submitted that thetranscription of the speech on which the complaint was based, was not there with the complaint and the learned court below, did not went through the documents annexed with the application as well as the cassette containing the speech of Sarma.

Mr. Saikia, learned Advocate General, Assam also submitted that a preliminary enquiry was made as per the provisions of Section 157(1)(b) of the Cr.PC upon  receipt of the FIR dated  December 29, 2021 and the matter was closed as there was no material found to initiate the investigation and this was not in the notice of the learned court below as a result of which the impugned order was passed.

Further referring to the decision of Lalita Kumari that on which the court relied, it was submitted that the Court failed to look into the aspects that the Lalita Kumari (supra) has not made Section 157 of the Cr.PC inapplicable so far registration as well as investigation of a case/FIR is concerned  and that the impugned order is passed by the learned court below on incomplete information.

Further referring to the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Bilal Ahmed Kaloo vs. State of A.P. ((1997) 7 SCC 431) it was submitted that the offences alleged in the instant case are not attracted against Sarma and therefore, there is no question of registration of a case on the basis of the facts alleged.

The order may be read here:

Related:

Assam Court orders FIR against CM Sarma for inflammatory remarks on eviction drive

Gauhati HC stays order to register FIR against Assam CM for inflammatory remarks about eviction drive

Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the Darrang eviction drive was revenge for the 1983 Assam agitation

Assam eviction
Image Courtesy:rdtv24x7.com

In a shocking twist to the Assam eviction controversy, the Gauhati High Court has quashed an order of a lower court to file a First Information Report (FIR) against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his remarks about the evictions that took place in Daarang last year.

An application was filed before the Hon’ble Guwahati High Court under Section 482 of the Cr.PC seeking that the order dated  March 05, 2022 passed by the learned Sub- Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup (Metro) in CR Case No. 1598/2022 be quashed.

On March 11, 2022, Hon’ble Justice Hitesh Kumar Sarmaof the Gauhati HC stayed the order passed by the lower court where it had directedthe Dispur Police to file an FIR against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his inflammatory remarks about the Darrang eviction drive held in September 2021. Sarma had said that it was revenge for the 1983 Assam agitation.

The HC order said, “On consideration of the contents of the petition, facts leading to the passing of the impugned order by the learned court below, and on hearing the submissions made by the learned Advocate General, Assam for the petitioners, this Court is of the view that serious issues having enormous legal implications have been raised in the instant application requiring this Court to examine the matter thoroughly and in detail.” It further said, “This Court is inclined to stay the operation of the impugned order dated 05.03.2022 passed by the learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate.”

Facts of the case

Awrittencomplaint was filed by Congress MP Abdul Khalequeto the Officer-in-Charge of the Dispur Police Station in Guwahati, referring to a part of a speech delivered by the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmain Morigaon district on December 10, 2021, on the occasion of Shahid Divas (Martyrs’ Day) wherein Sarma had reportedly referred to the deaths of young Assamese boys in 1983 (during the Assam agitation) in Darrang district, and said that Assam was “bound to take some degree of revenge for those deaths.”

The complaint also referred to the eviction drive that was conducted by the administration in Assam’s Darrang district on September 23, 2021. The Complaint sought an FIR against Sarma under Sections 153 and 153-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)for commission of offences under Sections 153/153A of the IPC as well as under any other appropriate provisions of law against him.

Khaleque had alleged that the Officer-In-Charge of the Dispur Police Station did not register a case on the basis of the FIR, as a result of which he resorted to the provisions of Section 154(3) of the Cr.PC and approached the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), Commissionerate of Police, Guwahati with a prayer to investigate the case by himself or to direct any other competent officer to investigate into the case after registering the FIR.

The Dispur police station failed to file an FIR against the Assam CM. Thereafter, Khaleque approached the learned court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate with an application under Section 156(3) of the Cr.PC vide CR Case No. 1598C /2022 seeking an order to forward the same to the Officer-In-Charge of the Dispur Police Station with a further direction to register the FIR under Sections 153/153A of the IPC.

Arguments and Submissions

The learned Advocate General for the State of Assam, appearing for the petitioners, questioned the propriety of the impugned order and submitted that the entire allegation in the FIR was based on the speech dated December 10, 2021 at Morigaon, in which it is alleged that Sarma made communally sensitive statements intending to promote enmity, hatred and illwill towards the Muslim population of Assam.

The AG further referred to the transcripts of the Assamese version of the speech, as well as the translated English version and submitted, “There is not a single word in the statement in respect of any particular community, not to speak of Muslim community to create the feeling of enmity, hatred, illwill, etc as well as to provoke the people for act of rioting against any community.”

It was further submitted that thetranscription of the speech on which the complaint was based, was not there with the complaint and the learned court below, did not went through the documents annexed with the application as well as the cassette containing the speech of Sarma.

Mr. Saikia, learned Advocate General, Assam also submitted that a preliminary enquiry was made as per the provisions of Section 157(1)(b) of the Cr.PC upon  receipt of the FIR dated  December 29, 2021 and the matter was closed as there was no material found to initiate the investigation and this was not in the notice of the learned court below as a result of which the impugned order was passed.

Further referring to the decision of Lalita Kumari that on which the court relied, it was submitted that the Court failed to look into the aspects that the Lalita Kumari (supra) has not made Section 157 of the Cr.PC inapplicable so far registration as well as investigation of a case/FIR is concerned  and that the impugned order is passed by the learned court below on incomplete information.

Further referring to the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Bilal Ahmed Kaloo vs. State of A.P. ((1997) 7 SCC 431) it was submitted that the offences alleged in the instant case are not attracted against Sarma and therefore, there is no question of registration of a case on the basis of the facts alleged.

The order may be read here:

Related:

Assam Court orders FIR against CM Sarma for inflammatory remarks on eviction drive

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