The Session Judge, Imphal West rejected anticipatory bail applications of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee member Achoibam Deben Singh and Manipur Pradesh Youth Congress Committee member Ningthoujam Popilal.
They were charged for allegedly attacking and attempting to drag the uniforms of the civil police personnel during the Mass Peace Rally organised by 10 Political Party in Manipur from BT Road to Kangla Park Nityapat Chuthek on October 13 led by the senior leaders of the Political Parties.
According to the FIR, the SI of City police station lodged a complaint, stating that during his duty hour some members of Manipur Pradesh Youth Congress committee (MPYCC) and other Political Parties numbering about 250-300 marched toward Raj Bhawan, Imphal by breaking the duly promulgated prohibitory orders u/s. 144 Cr.P.C vide order No. DM(IW)/I/57/CON/2009-Pt(IH) dtd. 8/10/2023 of ADM- Imphal West.
So, he along with police personnel tried to stop them from marching toward Raj Bhavan. The security personnel including women Police officers and men gave proper warning to disperse the marching group. “Instead of following the instructions, the protesters became more aggressive towards the security personnel and they provoked the police personnel by obstructing the lawful discharge of duty,” as per the complaint.
The police personnel led by additional SP (Law and order)-Imphal West, SDPO-Imphal, OC, City-Police Station tried to disperse the mob.
Some protesters led by Achoibam Deben Singh, 42, son of A Rabango Singh of Lamlai and Ningthoujam Popilal Singh, 27, son of N Ramesh Singh of Phayeng assaulted him, resulting in injury to his body and they also tore his uniform, as per the complaint. He was admitted to RIMS, Imphal for medical treatment.
While, Popilal and A Deben through their counsel stated that during on the mass peace rally one of the civil police personnel of the City Police Station, SI N, Gavaskar Singh under the guidance of Senior Officers of the Police, Imphal-West District to try hit and blow with unparliamentary words to the volunteers of the mass peace rally i.e., provocation of the occurrence started the SI N Gavaskar Singh of City Police.
The counsel of the accused persons submitted that Popilal and A Deben never attempted or caused hurt to any policeman in the rally, and they did not assault any policeman out there, thus there is also no question of attempting murder of anybody.
The counsel submitted that there were other Congress leaders in the rally but both are being targeted. They also contested the election and have a standing in the public and in the event of arresting him it will be of unnecessary harassment causing mental agony and inconvenience to him. It was also submitted that “the informant was not carrying any gun and thus snatching of revolver is ruled out and that as the injury caused is simple, there is no question of section 307 IPC.”
The public prosecutor submitted that Deben and Popilal assaulted the informant, causing injury and they also tore his uniform. It was submitted that they brutally assaulted the informant while the police officer was performing his official duty in his full uniform and the accused with his associates/mob tried to snatch his service gun and they attempted to take his life in broad daylight. It was further submitted that the accused with the youths/rioters even snatched his wireless handset which was recovered later.
It was submitted that the investigation is at initial stage and providing protection to the accused without affording a chance of investigation at the root would defeat justice. It was further submitted that if the people who assaulted in broad daylight get pre-arrest bail, it would send a negative message to the public. It was also submitted that the petitioners are named in the FIR because they took part in the assault of the informant, and they were avoiding police summons and not cooperating with the investigation of the case.
After hearing the submission, the court opined that even though section 147/149/188/325 IPC are bailable and Sec. 353/332/307 IPC are non-bailable, ingredients of 307 IPC is not seen but there are prima facie materials regarding Sec. 353/332 IPC.
The court stated that the police are the backbone of the country. They are the warriors on the frontline safeguarding the people from crimes. “There is a constant debate around about the atrocities by police authorities but the other side of the coin is often overlooked. The policemen are also being assaulted on various occasions. They are subjected to assault including beating, verbal assault and what not. The investigation is in its initial stage,” the court observed.
The court stated that anticipatory bail may be given to other persons who were not apparently involved in the case. “But granting anticipatory bail to those persons who have been directly named by the victim/police would not be proper. It would be like a signal to the public not to care about assaulting police persons while discharging their duty, especially at such an hour of frequent rallies in Manipur,” the court stated.
For the foregoing reasons and relying on the decisions of the Courts, the application for anticipatory bail is dismissed, stated that court.
However, the investigating officer is to abide due process of law in the further investigation of the case and not automatically arrest the accused, the court stated.