CHENNAI: Observing that the mere gathering of more than five persons will not amount to any offense, the Madras High Court has quashed a case booked against 11 youths, including law students, who protested against the then Sri Lankan President and raised their demands in connection with the Tamil Eezham issue near Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai in 2014.
“At any event, the mere gathering of more than 5 persons will not amount to offense, unless the action of such persons fit into any of provisions found in Section 141 to constitute such assembly as unlawful assembly. In such a view of the matter, this Court is of the view that continuation of prosecution is nothing but an abuse of the process of law, ” Justice N Sathish Kumar ruled on closing a criminal original petition filed by the accused named Aravinth, Kasirajan, and nine others.
The petitioners’ sought a direction to quash the case pending with the Metropolitan Magistrate Court No VII, George Town, Chennai.
The petitioner’s counsel R Thamarai Selvan submitted that except in the present case no other allegation was made against these petitioners.
“The petitioners made such protest in a democratic way and even when the entire prosecution case is taken as face value, the same would not constitute any offense, and continuing the prosecution is nothing but abuse of process of law, ” the counsel submitted.
Recording the submissions, the judge held that the materials collected by the prosecution do not show that the accused had shown any criminal force to commit any mischief, crime, or offense or by way of criminal force or tried to take possession of the property or right to use of incorporeal right which is in possession of enjoyment of others or rights.
“The petitioners have not unlawfully assembled to commit any offense. Of course, they have democratically raised protests for the inaction on the part of the police for not taking action and such gathering cannot be said to be an unlawful assembly,” the judge held while quashing the case.