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Gujarat High Court quashes FIR against Hardik Patel for taking out roadshow in 2017

The court of Justice Gita Gopi also quashed the chargesheet that stemmed from the FIR and the subsequent criminal case before the additional chief judicial magistrate in Ahmedabad.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: December 4, 2021 3:36:29 pm
Hardik PatelGujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel

The Gujarat High Court in a verdict dated December 1, quashed and set aside an FIR filed at the Bopal police station here against Congress leader Hardik Patel for taking out a roadshow in December 2017. The 15-km-long roadshow from Bopal to Nikol had passed through several localities dominated by the Patidar community in Ahmedabad and was taken out even after the police refused to grant permission.

The court of Justice Gita Gopi also quashed the chargesheet that stemmed from the FIR and the subsequent criminal case before the additional chief judicial magistrate in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel, along with two others – Rajubhai Patel and Sureshbhai Patel – were arraigned as accused persons in the FIR. The FIR alleged that Rajubhai and Sureshbhai had requested permission to carry out a rally, which was rejected on December 10, 2017, despite which, the accused persons along with others had taken out a roadshow the next day, thus violating the order promulgated by the additional district magistrate.

Advocate Anand Yagnik, who was representing Hardik, had submitted during the course of arguments that the “FIR is nothing but an abuse of process of law and is filed with ulterior motive,” and that it was lodged “only on the basis of conjecture and surmises.”

It was Yagnik’s case that the cognizance taken by the magisterial court to register a criminal case on the basis of an FIR and chargesheet is itself not maintainable under Section 188 of the IPC without there being any complaint by the public servant concerned. It was also submitted that the magisterial court taking cognisance on the basis of the police report and not on the basis of any complaint by the public servant concerned, makes the trial itself void ab initio, without jurisdiction and deserves to be quashed and set aside.

While the prosecution opposed the quashing plea, the court adjudging solely on the maintainability of the FIR under Section 188 of the IPC, held that provisions of the CrPC “has not been complied with” by the magisterial court and thus the magistrate cannot take cognisance of the chargesheet.

Notably, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Hardik in February 2020 by the Ahmedabad rural magisterial court for being absent on successive dates of hearing in connection with the Bopal case of 2017. This was modified by the Gujarat High Court in March this year to a bailable warrant, subject to an undertaking from Hardik that he shall remain present before the trial court on every date of hearing, unless exempted by the trial court.

 

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