Dismissing the petition filed by Uma Shankar Mohapatra and 22 others, Justice K Natarajan noted there is prima facie material to show (as depicted in photographs/video clippings) that there is a cognisable offence for conducting investigation against the petitioners.
“There is a clear case of invoking section 353 of IPC against the petitioners for having obstructed the complainant along with BBMP officials and assistant director for land records (ADLR) while surveying the encroachment and putting up fence as per the order of this court (HC),” the judge added.
“It is an admitted fact that subsequent to lodging the case against the petitioners, BBMP officials were able to fence the area recovered from the encroachment. Therefore, it can’t be said that the offences are not made out for investigating the matter,” Justice Natarajan said, indicating that police are at liberty to proceed with the probe.
The case was registered following a complaint lodged by Malathi, executive engineer, BBMP, Mahadevapura division, on March 21, 2020.
The complainant alleged that pursuant to a direction issued by the high court on January 16, 2020 for removing encroachment over the rajakaluve in various survey numbers of Mahadevapura village, the officials took up the survey work on March 9.
It was further alleged in the complaint that when they went along with the ADLR and police personnel for removing the encroachment and executing wire-fencing work, the apartment owners/residents illegally gathered and prevented the public servant from discharging duty and executing the HC order.
Challenging the proceedings initiated against them, Mohapatra and the others argued that the BBMP officials had already removed the encroachment in an area of 0.3 guntas and fenced it so there was nothing more to survey. According to them, they peacefully went on strike and didn’t agitate against police or BBMP officials.
They further claimed since they are residents of the said apartment, it can’t be termed unlawful assembly and there was no obstruction.