1. The petitioners
are accused Nos. 1 and 2 in C.C. No. 120 of 1998 on the file of the
learned Judicial First Class Magistrate, Medchal, Ranga Reddy District.
They invoke the inherent jurisdiction of this Court and pray this Court
to quash the proceedings in C.C. No. 120 of 1998 on the file of the
adverting to the question as to whether the petitioners are entitled
for any relief, it may be necessary to briefly notice few relevant facts
for the purpose of disposal of this petition.
3. The second
respondent herein filed complaint before the learned Judicial First
Class Magistrate, Medchal inter alia alleging that on 30-12-1997 the
inspection squad consisting of Sri. M.S. Rama Krishna and the complainant
and one Sri Sharada Manjunadh, Office Superintendent of the E.S.I, have
visited the factory of the accused to conduct inspection under the E.S.I.
Act and the Regulations made thereunder. On the said date, both the
petitioners herein were present in the factory premises and attended
on the Inspectors. It is the case of the respondent-complainant that
the squad comprising of two Inspectors and one Superintendent demanded
the accused for production of registers and records required under E.S.I.
Act and the Regulations made thereunder. But the petitioners herein
refused to produce the same. It is further alleged that the petitioners
did not allow the said team to go round the factory for interrogating
the workers in the factory. It is further alleged that the petitioners
herein failed to produce complete set of Registers and records atleast
for one accounting year and therefore, the inspection could not be conducted.
When the Inspectors wanted to take extract of the balance sheet and
other documents produced before them, the first accused refused to allow
the inspection squad to do so. The petitioners have also refused to
receive the visit note prepared by the Inspection squad and the watchman
did not allow the Inspection Squad to leave the factory until specific
instructions of the accused were given.
4. On 16-1-1998
again the inspection team including the complainant had been to Jeedimetla
Police Station and sought the help of the Station House Officer, Jeedimetla
Police Station for providing help of police personnel for entering the
premises of the accused for conducting inspection. When the Inspectors
along with two police constables and one Head Constable went to the
main gate of the factory and revealed their identity, the lady assistant
by name Smt George came to the main gate and she did not allow the Inspectors
as well as the Police Constables to enter into the premises for conducting
the Inspection under the E.S.I. Act. Even the representative of the
accused did not open the gate. The other details mentioned in the complaint
are not necessary to be noticed for the purpose of disposal of this
5. The learned
Magistrate upon perusing the complaint and the sworn statement of the
complainant took the case on file against the petitioners herein under
Section 186 of I.P.C.
Counsel for the petitioners Sri Milind Gokhale contends that the whole
of the complaint even if taken to be true does not reveal commission
of any offence by the petitioners herein. It is submitted that the contents
of the complaint even if read together as true would not attract Sec.
186 of I.P.C. It is also urged by the learned Counsel that the petitioners
herein are not liable for the action of obstruction if any by their
employees. According to the learned Counsel for the petitioners that
mere obstruction is not enough unless it is accompanied by use of some
criminal force. , Learned Public Prosecutor submits that the expression
'obstruction' used in Section 186 of I.P.C. no doubt connotes some overt
act but not necessarily use of criminal force as such.
7. Sri B.G.
Ravinder Reddy, learned Standing Counsel appearing on behalf of the
first respondent-complainant also submits that the expression 'obstruction'
used in Section 186 of I.P.C. does not connote any act of use of criminal
proceeding further to discuss as to whether mere obstruction itself
would be enough or the act of obstruction is to be accompanied by use
of some criminal force, it may be necessary to notice one particular
allegation made against the petitioners herein in the complaint. In
the complaint, it is alleged that the petitioners herein have refused
to receive the visit note prepared by the Inspection squad. The watchman
did not allow the Inspection Squad to leave the factory until specific
instructions of the accused were given. It is alleged in the complaint
that both the petitioners herein did not allow the said team to go around
the factory for interrogating the workers in the factory. The presence
of the accused Nos. 1 and 2 along with their representatives and workmen
is clearly spelt out in the complaint.
9. In Nishi
Kanta Pal v. Emperor, AIR 1917 Calcutta 180. the accused who are not
parties to a suit in which a public right of way was claimed, did not
allow a Munsif, in whose Court the suit was pending, to pass in a boat
through a ditch which was their private property, when the Munsif wanted
to pass through it for the purpose of making a local inspection in connection
with the suit, the Calcutta High Court held that the accused did not
commit any offence under Section 186 of I.P.C. The Court took the view
that there was no right of way as such and to pass through it for the
purpose of making a local inspection and therefore, the accused are
right in obstructing the Munsif from passing through their lands.
10. In Jaswant
Singh v. King Emperor, AIR 1925 Lahore 139. the Lahore High Court held
that the use of the word voluntarily in Section 186 of I.P.C. indicates
that the Legislature contemplated the commission of some overtact of
obstruction, and did not intend to render penal mere passive conduct.
The learned Counsel for the petitioners however, places strong reliance
upon the decision of the Allahabad High Court in Phudki v. State, MANU/UP/0036/1955.
in which the Allahabad High Court held that the word obstruction in
Section 186 connotes some overtact in the nature of violence or show
of violence. It cannot be said that a man obstructed another if that
man runs away from arrest or if he does not actually submit to the arrest,
The learned Counsel also would place heavy reliance upon the Judgment
of the Patna High Court in Janki Prasad Tibrewal v. The State of Bihar,
1975 Crl. L.J. 575 (Patna). The Patna High Court while construing the
expression 'obstruct' used in Section 186 observed that the expression
obstruct envisages actual resistance and obstacle in the way of public
servant and it implies use of criminal force. However, the Patna High
Court in Diljam Sahu v. Emperor, AIR 1937 Patna 633. observed that sufficient
indication that any attempt to effect attachment by a public servant
having warrant of attachment would be resisted by force is quite enough
to constitute obstruction within the meaning of Section 186 of the Act.
Mere resistance of warrant of attachment by a public servant is an offence
punishable under Section 186 of I.P.C.
11. The Bombay
High Court in Emperor v. Suleman Abba, AIR 1935 Bom. 24. also took the
similar view that mere obstruction or prevention of tolls man in discharge
of duties may be enough to constitute an offence under Section 186 of
the Penal Code. A Division Bench of Bombay High Court in State v. Babulal
Gaurishanker Misar, AIR 1957 Bombay 10. held that to constitute 'obstruction'
within Section 186 it is not necessary that there should be actual criminal
force. It is sufficient if there is either a show of force or threat
or any act preventing the execution of the process of the civil Court.
It is held by the Court that if an accused obstructs a public servant
in the. discharge of his public function (execution of a warrant of
possession) he commits two offences. One offence committed by him is
the alleged obstruction which comes within Sec. 186 and the other offence
committed by him is the offence of having been guilty of undermining
the authority of the Court.
the police is not confined to physical obstruction (Sykes v. Director
of Public Prosecutions, (1962) A.C. 528.
13. The word
'obstruction' in Section 186 of the Penal Code is not confined to physical
obstruction only., Threats of violence made in such a way as to prevent
the public servant from carrying out his duty might easily amount to
an obstruction of the public servant, 1937 A.LJ. 1344, Law Lexicon,
Reprint Edition 1987.
14. In Santosh
Kumar Jain v. The State, MANU/SC/0024/1951
the General Manager of the Jagdishpur Zamindary Co. who were the lessees
of a sugar factory was prosecuted for obstructing the District Magistrate
and the Special Officer of Rationing, Patna, in the discharge of their
official functions when they went to the factory on 6-12-1947 to remove,
5,000 maunds of sugar which had been seized out of the stock held by
the Company pursuant to an order of the Government of Bihar dated 5-12-1947.
The named officers Went to the Factory on 6-12-1947 to carry out the
order of the Government. The Officers were told by the accused General
Manager that he would do everything possible to obstruct the removal
of the sugar and accordingly it was found that the sugar godowns had
been locked and the road leading to them blocked by heaps of coal, firewood
and tins placed across, so as to make vehicular traffic impossible.
As a result of such obstruction, the officers had to seek the aid of
armed police to break open the locks, repair the railway line and clear
the road block before the sugar could be removed from the factory. The
main defence of the accused was that on a proper construction of Section
3 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary powers) Act, 1946 it was not
competent for the Government to pass the order dated 5-12-1947, which
was consequently illegal and void and that obstruction to the execution
of that order could not constitute an offence under Section 186, Penal
Code. The contention was rejected by the Court below and the accused
was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three weeks
under Section 186 of I.P.C. The Patna High Court confirmed the conviction
and the sentence. The revision came up before the Supreme Court. The
Supreme Court observed that the seizure of the Company's sugar must
therefore be regarded as duly authorised and lawful and the accused
by obstructing its removal committed an offence under Section 186 of
15. In Collector
of Customs and Central Excise v. Paradip Port Trust, MANU/SC/0495/1990.
the Supreme Court while construing the expression obstruction' used
in Section 133 of the Customs Act, 1962 observed that "On the authority
of Hinchliffe v. Sheldon, (1955) 1 WLR 1207. it can be said that obstruction
is not confined to physical obstruction and it includes anything which
makes,, it more difficult for the police or public servant to carry
out their duties." (emphasis is of mine).
16. It may
be necessary to have a look at Section 133 of the Act which is analogous
to Section 186 of IPC. Section 133 reads:
Obstruction of officer of customs:- If any person intentionally obstructs
any officer of customs in the exercise of any powers conferred under
this Act, such person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term
which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both."
17. Now let
us compare Section 133 of the Customs Act with Section 186 of IPC Section
186 of IPC reads:
Obstructing public servant in discharge of public, functions:- Whoever
voluntarily obstructs any public servant in the discharge of his public
functions, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description
for a term which may extent to three months, or with fine which may
extend to five hundred rupees, or with both".
18. In Section
186 the expression whoever voluntarily obstructs any public servant
in the discharge of his public functions is used and whereas in Section
133 of the Customs Act the expression if any person intentionally obstructs
any officer of customs is used. In my considered opinion, the expression
'intentionally' used in Section 133 of the Customs Act and the expression
'voluntarily' used in Section 186 of IPC connote the same meaning. The
decision of the Supreme Court in Collector of Customs's case (11 supra)
concludes and decides the issue. Therefore, I hold that the expression
'obstruction' used in Section 186 of IPC is not confined to physical
obstruction- It need not be an act of use of criminal force. The act
need not be a violent one. It is enough if the act complained of results
in preventing a public servant in discharge of his lawful duties. Any
act of causing impediment by unlawfully preventing public servant in
discharge of his functions would be enough to attract Section 186 of
IPC. Any other interpretation would be to encourage people to take the
law into their hands, frustate the investigation of the crimes and thwart
public justice. Such an interpretation cannot be commended by the Courts.
19. We have
already noticed the averments made in the complaint against the petitioners
herein. Their acts prima facie, in my considered opinion amount to obstructing
the public servant in the. discharge of their public functions. Therefore,
the complaint itself, in my considered opinion does not suffer from
any legal infirmity.
20. It is
entirely a different matter altogether that the allegations levelled
against the petitioners may be true or not. The same has to be enquired
into by the trial Court in accordance with law uninfluenced by the observations
relating to the acts themselves, as this Court has not expressed any
opinion whatsoever on the merits of the case. But if the allegations
are true dad established as is required in law, they certainly constitute
an offence punishable under Section 186 of IPC.
fails and shall stand accordingly dismissed.
22. The learned
Counsel for the petitioners after pronouncing the order submits that
leave may be granted to the petitioners to file an application for dispensing
with their presence on every date of hearing in the trial Court.
granted to the petitioners to file such an application and the learned
Magistrate is directed to consider the application on merits and dispense
with the presence of the petitioners on every date of hearing except
on such crucial dates of hearing as the learned Magistrate may consider
fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.