Bilaspur, Oct 13 (PTI) The Chhattisgarh High Court has quashed an FIR registered by the police against a woman who had tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in her hometown Rajnandgaon from New Delhi in June, holding wrong legal provision was applied in the case.
The HC observed that no FIR can be lodged under section 154 of the CrPC for an offence under section 188 of the IPC and cited Supreme Court and Madras High Court judgements in this regard.
Section 154 in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) relates to providing relevant information in cognizable cases, while the IPC section 188 deals with disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.
Justice Sanjay K Agrawal on October 7 delivered the judgment on a writ petition filed by the woman, a medical graduate, seeking quashing of the FIR lodged against her at the Ambagarh chowki police station of Rajnandgaon district, petitioners lawyer Shalvik Tiwari said.
The 25-year-old, who was staying in New Delhi for preparation of civil services exam, had got stranded in the national capital after the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in March-end.
When curbs on movement eased, she had applied for e- pass for travelling from New Delhi to her home in Ambagarh Chowki in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh, Tiwari said.
After she was granted e-pass by the Chhattisgarh government, she reached Rajnandgaon on June 7 and next day, she got herself examined at a local Community Health Centre and also informed the Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Rajnandgaon on June 10 about her arrival.
However, she failed to inform the Chief Municipal Officer, Ambagarh Chowki Nagar Panchayat, that she came from another state as required by an order dated May 18 issued by the Rajnandgaon Collector, he said.
Thereafter, she had tested COVID-19 positive following which the CMO of Ambagarh Chowki Nagar Panchayat had lodged an FIR under section 154 of the CrPC at the Ambagarh Chowki police station on June 18 against her.
The FIR was lodged on the ground that the woman did not inform about her arrival from another state during the pandemic as mandated by the Collector, Tiwari said.
The medical graduate moved the HC seeking to quash the FIR on the ground that by virtue of the provision in section 195(1)(a)(i) of the CrPC for offence under IPC section 188, no cognizance can be taken by the magistrate unless a complaint in writing is made by the public servant concerned.
Section 195(1) (a)(i) the CrPC says that cognizance in respect of offence under sections 172 to 188 the IPC cannot be taken except on the complaint in writing of the public servant concerned'.
Therefore, the police cannot register an FIR under section 154 of the CrPC and investigate the case, the woman said in her plea in the HC.
During hearing of the matter in August, Tiwari had argued in the HC that the order alleged to be promulgated by the Collector was not never duly promulgated.
Therefore, the petitioner was not aware of the said order and thus, it cannot be held that she has committed the offence under Section 188 of the IPC, particularly when she has submitted herself for medical examination to the CHC and informed medical authorities about her arrival, Tiwari said.
After hearing the arguments, the HC had reserved its order on August 27.
Referring to SC and Madras High Court judgments, Justice Agrawal, while quashing the FIR, observed that, 'For the offence punishable under section 188 of the IPC, no FIR can be registered under section 154 of the CrPC.' PTI COR TKP RSY RSY