The Calcutta High Court August 17 refused to quash a case lodged against a school teacher accused of forcefully celebrating ‘Nabi Diwas’ in the school premises along with several Muslim students thereby creating communal disturbance
Single-judge Justice Shampa Dutt (Paul) noted that the First Information Report (FIR) registered on January 28, 2017, in Howrah district’s Uluberia stated that the petitioner-teacher and several other Muslim students resorted to unlawful assembly, rioting and injuring a public servant (police officer), who had tried to stop the celebration of the ‘Nabi Diwas’ as there was no prior permission for the same.
A single bench of Justice Shampa (Dutt) Paul held: The alleged time of occurrence as shown in the formal FIR is between 6 hrs to 16:30 hrs. The petitioner has shown by documents that on 28.01.2017 he was not present from 10.30 am onwards till 7 pm but no explanation is there for the period from 6.00 hrs (am) to 10.30 am.
The case diary contains an injury report in respect of the Police personnel, who sustained injuries in due course of carrying out their official duty to maintain law and order. Considering the nature of the offences alleged and materials on record, there appears a prima facie case against the petitioner to proceed toward trial.
It was further submitted that the Managing Committee, as well as Teacher in Charge of the school had objected to the celebration of Nabi Diwas, but after several meetings, no fruitful conclusion could be arrived at.
Notably, on January 28, 2017 at about 6:00 am, without any prior permission from any authority, Muslim students formed an unlawful assembly in front of the school.
When the police got information about the same, they reached the spot and requested the students not to celebrate without getting any order from the appropriate authority. However, they did not pay any heed.
Thereafter, it was alleged that some outsiders entered the school premises and provoked the Muslim students.
The police officers requested all the students and outsiders not to create any communal disturbance and ultimately at about 4:30 pm the police party managed to stop the celebrations.
However, some local people again provoked the students and it led to an assault on the police with lathis and rods as a result of which some police personnel sustained injuries.
Accordingly, an FIR was lodged at the Uluberia Police Station against nine men including the petitioner.
On the other hand, the petitioner claimed to be innocent. Advocate Syed Nurul Arefin appeared for the petitioner.
He contended that on the day of the incident, he was present in the office of the Gram Panchayat in Uluberia since he is an elected member of the Panchayat Samiti
He even adduced evidence to show that he was present in the Panchayat Office for ‘Digital Ration Card’ sorting on the relevant day from 1:40 pm to 7:00 pm.
Upon hearing both sides, and perusing the case diary produced by the State, the Court directed the case to proceed to trial, and noted that on a prima facie glance, it appeared that the petitioner had not been able to produce an alibi for his whereabouts during 6am-10:30am on the date of occurrence, and that police personnel had indeed sustained injuries in carrying out their duty of maintaining law and order.
The Court, however, found that the material on record was sufficient to prosecute the petitioner and, therefore, rejected his plea to quash the case.
Advocate Sujata Das represented the State.