Andhra High Court
Pulla Bhaskar vs Superintendent Of Police, ... on 13 August, 1999
Equivalent citations: 1999 (5) ALD 155, 1999 (4) ALT 681
Bench: B Nazki
1. Rule nisi.
2. The petitioner claims to be owner of a petrol filling station in Warangal district. He submits that he makes his livelihood from the income derived from the petrol pump. He also states that he is involved in politics and is connected to the Congress party. He had been elected as a Corporator of Warangal Municipal Corporation for two consecutive terms and he had been Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Warangal Municipal Corporation for the last four years. He is also President of the Warangal District Youth Congress. He was also a Member of the Civil Supplies Advisory Board of Warangal District and he was also a Member of Telecom Advisory Committee, Warangal. He submits that since he is in politics he has many well wishers and also many enemies. On his recent visit to Mattawada Police Station he found that his name was listed as a rowdy sheeter and was displayed in the notice board of the said Police Station. The petitioner further submits that he made enquiries with 3rd respondent as to why his name was included in the rowdy sheeters list although he was not involved in any criminal activity, the respondent No.3 informed him that it had been done at the instance of respondents 1 and 2. Thereafter, according to the petitioner, he met respondents 1 and 2 and requested them to remove his name from the rowdy sheeters list but his name was not removed from the list so far, therefore he filed this petition seeking a direction to the respondents to remove his name from the list of rowdy sheeters.
3. The respondents have filed their counter and the parties have been heard in detail, therefore this petition is being disposed of finally.
4. In the counter filed by Sub-Inspector of Police, Mathwada Police Station, it is stated that rowdy sheet was opened against the petitioner in the year 1998 and his name was displayed in the list of rowdy sheeters. It has been admitted that the petitioner is holding several public positions but it is denied that the petitioner has made any request for removal of his name form the list of rowdy sheeters. It is also denied that the petitioner is not involved in any criminal activity. It is stated that on 5-7-1997 a case was registered against the petitioner being STC No.59/97 under Sections 290, 323 IPC, the petitioner was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs.200A, and the petitioner has also paid the fine. He was also accused in Cr.No.445/91, 255/92 and 124/94 under Sections 353 IPC and 353, 504, 506 IPC and 148, 452, 427, 506 IPC and he had been acquitted of those charges. There was another crime registered against the petitioner on 4-4-1994 being Cr.No.47/94 under Sections 147, 452, 427, 506 read with 149 IPC and the said case ended in acquittal. It is further stated that on 12-6-1998 the petitioner and other Corporator by name Mohammed attacked the Municipal Commissioner and beat him, they also destroyed the public property and a case was registered against the petitioner in Cr.No. 116/98 under Sections 186, 332, 353, 506 IPC and Section 3 of Prevention of Damage to the Public Property Act. In this case charge-sheet had been filed and the case was numbered as CC No.525/98. A petition had been filed by the petitioner in this case under Section 239 Cr.PC for discharging him from the case which was dismissed by the Court. Again on 12-6-1998 i.e., the same day when the Cr.No. 116/98 was registered against the petitioner, another crime being Cr.No.1 17/98 was registered against him under Sections 324, 353 IPC. Charge-sheet had been filed in this case also. In this case the petitioner was alleged to have thrown a flower pot on an employee of Municipal Corporation causing injuries to her.
5. So, in all, according to the counter, two cases being Cr.No.116/98 and 117/98 are pending against the petitioner in the appropriate Court. It is submitted by the learned Counsel for the respondents that the petitioner is a habitual offender in accordance with Clause (a) of Police Standing Order 742, therefore he was rightly named as a rowdy sheeter. Clause (a) of Standing Order 742 states;
"742(a) persons who habitually commit, attempt to commit or abet the Commission of, Offences involving a breach of the peace."
6. This provision of the Police Standing Orders has been interpreted by this Court on various occasions. The Supreme Court while considering the similar provision in Bihar Control of Crimes Act, 1981 had the occasion of interpreting the word' "habitual" used in a similar provision in Vijay Narain Singh v. State of Bihar, . Speaking for the majority, Justice E.S. Venkataramaiah as his Lordship then was, held :
"The expression 'habitually' means 'repeatedly' or 'persistently'. It implies a thread of continuity stringing together similar repetitive acts. Repeated, persistent and similar, but not isolated, individual and dissimilar acts are necessary to justify an inference of habit..... A single act or omission ..... cannot therefore be characterised as a habitual act or omission ..... Because the idea of 'habit' involves an element of persistence and tendency to repeat the acts or omissions of the same class or kind, if the acts or omissions in question are not of the same kind or even if they are of the same kind when they are committed with a long interval of time between them they cannot be treated as habitual ones."
Going by the definition as laid down by Supreme Court to the word 'habitual' if one sees the facts of the present case, there had been cases against the petitioner which resulted in acquittal in the year 1994 and from 1994 till 1997 there were no cases against the petitioner when, on 5-7-1997 a case had been registered against him and he had been fined with Rs.200/-. Then, after 5-7-1997 two cases of similar nature were registered against the petitioner on 12-6-1998. There have been long intervals between the occurrences and therefore in accordance with the judgment of the Supreme Court Vijay Narain Singh v. State of Bihar (supra), the petitioner cannot be termed a 'habitual offender' within the meaning of Standing Order 742(a). The Division Bench of this Court in Puttagunta Pasi v. Commissioner of Police, and the learned single Judge in Mohammed Quadeer and others v. Commissioner of Police, , have also laid down the same law as was laid down by the Supreme Court.
7. For the reasons given herein above, I do not find that the petitioner can be termed as a habitual offender, as such the writ petition is allowed and the respondents are directed to remove the name of the petitioner from the rowdy sheeters list. No costs.