The Bombay High Court at Aurangabad bench recently quashed an FIR lodged against a man, husband of a former local corporator, who allegedly obstructed some civic workers from imposing fine on some men, who weren't wearing masks during the first lockdown.
A bench of Justices Vishwas Jadhav and Sandipkumar More was hearing a writ petition filed by one Rafat Khan, 39, who sought to quash the FIR lodged against him under sections 186 and 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which penalises any person, who obstructs any public servant from performing any official duty.
As per the prosecution case, a worker from the solid waste management (SWM) department, who was appointed as a member of the squad constituted to take action against those violating the Covid19 norms, had been to the famous Mills corner area in Aurangabad city. There, he saw some men sitting near a shop without wearing masks. He asked them to pay fines for the same but then Rafat came to the spot with some other men and obstructed the worker from collecting fines.
Rafat, allegedly asked the men not to pay the fines and even misbehaved with the worker. Accordingly, an FIR was lodged against him under sections 186 and 188 of the IPC.
Before the bench, Rafat cited some decisions of the Supreme Court wherein it is held that no courts can take cognizance of offences under these provisions.
"In the present case, the informant i.e. the worker is not a public servant as contemplated in Section 186 of the law. He was merely a member of squad which was formed to take prohibitory measures in spreading of Covid-19 at the relevant time," the judges noted.
"From the FIR itself it appears that he
was merely working in Corporation, Aurangabad in the SWM department," the bench noted, adding, "Further, at the time of the alleged incident he was not discharging any duty of public servant, but was merely appointed for taking precautionary measures during the spread of Covid-19."
Accordingly the bench quashed the FIR.