A quarrel between two neighbours over a pomegranate has escalated to a court battle with both sides accusing the other of allegedly molesting his wife.
There is more to the story. Apprehending that the dispute may lead to breach of “public peace” and “tranquillity”, police approached a special executive magistrate under Section 107/111 of CrPC. The magistrate issued a showcause notice to one of the neighbours, Saurav Kumar Chaudhary, and to furnish an interim bond of Rs 10,000 with surety of like amount for keeping peace during inquiry proceedings.
Chaudhary, through criminal revision, challenged the special executive magistrate’s order. A Delhi court, after looking into the facts, has quashed the order of the special executive magistrate.
It all began over a pomegranate. Chaudhary, the owner of the pomegranate tree, accused his neighbour Suresh Gaur’s child of plucking a pomegranate. Chaudhary and Gaur are neighbours in North Rohini.
According to police, Gaur alleged his child had only picked up a pomegranate that had fallen on the ground. Police were called as the two neighbours quarrelled over whether the pomegranate was plucked from the tree or picked from the ground.
The quarrel took a new turn when both Chaudhary and Gaur accused the other of molesting his wife, said the police. Police said a separate complaint of molestation has been filed in the same case.
Police, apprehending breach of public peace, then approached the special executive magistrate, who issued notices under Section 107/111 CrPC to Chaudhary.
Quashing the magistrate’s order, a city court has said the “underlying object” of Section 107 CrPC is “preventive and not penal”. “The sole objective of initiating proceedings under Section 107 CrPC is to maintain public peace and tranquility and cannot be used as a handle in case of a private dispute between individuals, where there is no material of disturbance to public tranquility and peace,” the court said.
The court observed that the public was not affected by the alleged acts or conduct of the petitioner. The petitioner’s counsel argued that “minimal inquiry” that was required to be conducted in the case was not done and that the magistrate’s order was passed in a “mechanical manner”.
However, the public prosecutor contended that there is no infirmity in the impugned order passed by the executive magistrate.