While hearing a petition of a juvenile Tablighi Jamaat member who had challenged the police chargesheet filed against him, the Allahabad High Court said charging a person with attempt to murder for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi “prima facie reflects an abuse of the power of law”.
Directing the Mau SSP and the Circle Officer (CO) concerned to file personal affidavits, Justice Ajay Bhanot asked the CO to “indicate as to how the ingredients of Section 307 of the IPC (attempt to murder) were made out from the facts in the record from the material collected during the investigation”.
The court also asked the CO to “justify the amendment directed by him to the chargesheet”.
According to Javed Habib, the counsel for the 15-year-old applicant, police in their original chargesheet had charged his client under IPC sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life). The initial chargesheet was recalled and a fresh chargesheet was submitted under Section 307 of the IPC on orders passed by CO, Habib told the High Court.
In an order passed on December 2, the High Court also stayed the criminal proceedings against the applicant till further orders. The court will hear the matter next on December 15.
During the hearing, Habib told the court that according to the prosecution, the applicant had visited a religious congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi, and he and others booked by the police had returned home on different dates.
It is alleged by the prosecution that the applicant and other accused did not inform the local administration about their arrival and did not go under voluntary quarantine, and they were quarantined on different dates after receiving information from an informant, the lawyer said.
Habib contended that even if the evidence collected during the probe as well as the FIR “are taken on their face value, no offence is disclosed against the applicants”.
The High Court has given 10 days to Additional Advocate General to file a counter-affidavit.