The Gujarat High Court Refuses To Drop The Criminal Charge of Dacoity Against Anti-CAA Protester

The Gujarat HC Refuses to drop the criminal charge of Dacoity against Anti-CAA protester

– Shiksha Pathak

In Anti- CAA protests of December 2019, Satish Pravinbhai was arrested and the High Court of Gujarat had declined to drop the criminal charges of dacoity which were imposed on him.

On the request of Deputy Superintendent of Police, the criminal charge of dacoity was also added in the FIR which was filed against the accused. During the unlawful protest, it was claimed that the petitioner had forcefully taken away the keys of the State Transport bus that was travelling on the way.

The court had observed that during the commission of theft of the keys of the State Transport Bus, the driver had been put in the fear of instant death by the petitioner and he had wrongfully restrained the bus driver from proceeding to the destination.

Background of the case

Basically from the relevant authorities, Vansola and three other protesters had taken permission for holding an anti-CAA protest. But on a day before the protest, the permission was cancelled and then Vasola and others were detained.

It was claimed that the news of the cancellation of the permission had not reached to protesters which leads to a huge gathering that turned violent.

Under sections 143, 147, 149, 308, 152, 153, 120B, 336, 353, 427, 506(2), 341, and section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act, 1984 and Section 395 of the IPC, the FIR was registered against Vasola and others.

The Bench of the High Court on January 15, 2020, had dismissed the proceedings for the quashing of this FIR. In the present case, the charge of Dacoity had been challenged by Vasola on the ground that his presence at the time of offense at the said time was impossible as a day prior to it, he was taken into police custody.

However, the single bench of Justice Gita Gopi said that Vansola’s presence at the scene of the incident was evident from the observations that were made by the coordinate Bench in its January order.

Application for quashing not maintainable

Referring to the January order of the coordinate Bench, the court proceeded to hold that the present proceedings under section 482 of CrPC were not maintainable. The petitioner had already challenged the FIR once before the High Court.

According to Justice Gopi, the petitioner could have agitated the issue charge of section 395 IPC in the earlier proceedings before the High Court. But the Court observed that the said point was never agitated in the earlier proceedings, otherwise, the same would have found mentioned in the order passed by the learned single Judge.

In the present case, the court observed that during the course of committing theft of the keys of the State Transport Bus, the petitioner had placed the driver of the said bus under the fear of instant death.

In the present case, 3000 persons had assembled at the place, the court recorded from the charge-sheet, and concluded that all the elements for the offense of Dacoity were prima facie made out.

The Court after considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court held that it does not deem this to be a fit case, however, the inherent powers under section 482 Cr.P.C could be exercised in favor of the petitioner. Consequently, the petition is dismissed. The rule had been discharged by the Court.

Details of the case:

Title of the case: Satish Pravinbhai Vansola v. the State of Gujarat

Case no.: R/Spcl Crl Application No. 2414/2020

Quorum: Justice Gita Gopi

Appearance: Advocates Utkarsh j Dave and Rahul Sharma(for petitioner) Public Prosecutor Mitesh Amin with Addl. Public Prosecutor Pranav Trivedi(for State)