Though the act of removal is likely to hurt the feelings of his followers, the same would not amount to constituting any illegal act, attracting the penal provisions either under SC & ST Act or IPC and the same does not warrant initiation of any criminal action against the Judge concerned. When no case is even prima facie made out against the Judge concerned for any offence under any of the provisions, the question of issuing any direction to the respondent police to register the case and to proceed against him either under the provisions of SC & ST Act or under the provisions of IPC does not arise herein.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS
DATED: 27.04.2015
CORAM:
THE HON'BLE Ms.JUSTICE K.B.K.VASUKI
Crl.O.P.No.13548 of 2014

Tindivanam Advocates Association
by its President K.G.Subbaiyyaa .. Petitioner
                     
Vs.

1.The Director General of Police,
   O/o.The Director General of Police,
   No.5, Kamarajar Salai,
   Mylapore, Chennai-4.

2.The District Superintendent of Police,
   O/o.the District Superintendent of Police,
   Villupuram, Villupuram Taluk & District.

3.The Deputy Superintendent of Police,
   Tindivanam, Tindivanam Taluk,
   Villupuram District.

4.The Inspector of Police,
   Tindivanam Law & Order,
   Tindivanam, Villupuram District.

5.Tindivanam Bar Association
   rep. By its President
   K.Ashokan         ..  Respondents            
(R5 impleaded as per the order
of this court dated 18.6.2014 made in MP.1/2014)

Criminal Original Petition is filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, praying to direct the first respondent to direct the respondents 2 to 4 to register a case against S.Devanathan, Additional Sub Judge of Tindivanam, Villupuram District on the basis of the petitioner's complaint dated 21.5.2014 on the file of the respondents 1 to 4 herein.
For Petitioner   : Mr.Dalit Tiger C.Ponnusamy
For Respondents : Mr.C.Emalias, APP
 M/s.K.Balu and
       M.R.Elavarasan(R2)

O R D E R
This Criminal Original Petition is filed by Tindivanam Advocates Association, seeking direction to the first respondent, Director General of Police, Chennai to direct the Police officials i.e., District Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police and Inspector of Police of the concerned District, to register a case against one Thiru.S.Devanathan, Additional Sub Judge of Tindivanam, Villupuram District, on the basis of the petitioner's complaint dated 21.5.2014.

2.The circumstances under which the complaint dated 21.5.2014 came to be sent, are as follows:
The learned members of the Bar of Tindivanam, Villupuram District do belong to two different Associations viz., (i)Tindivanam Advocates Association and (ii)Tindivanam Bar Association. While one Thiru K.G.Subbaiyyaa, BA., BL., is the President of Tindivanam Advocates Association during May 2014, one K.Ashokan BA., BL., is the president of Tindivanam Bar Association, during May 2014. One Thiru S.Devanathan was during April 2014, transferred to and he assumed as Additional Sub Judge, Tindivanam during summer vacation. There were three portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, Thiruvalluvar and Dr.B.R.Ambedkar fixed above the Dias of the Presiding officer in the Additional Sub Court premises. After assuming office as the Additional Sub Judge, the Presiding Officer concerned called his Office Assistant by name R.Ravichandran and asked him to remove the portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar and the Office Assistant, as per the instructions of the President Officer, removed the same and thereafter, the same was refixed in the same place. The factum of removal and refixation of portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar came to be known to the Advocates and others and the act of removal by the Presiding officer concerned, according to the members of the petitioner Association amounts to an act of degrading and humiliating Dr.B.R.Ambedkar in the public view and is an act of disgrace and disrespect shown by the Presiding Officer to the National Leader. Thereafter, the act of removal of portrait took a different turn and was sought to be given a different colour not only by the learned members of the Tindivanam Advocates Association, but also by Arunthathiar People Movement, Gukai, Salem District, Ex-Adi Dravidar Welfare Committee, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Government of India, Chennai and all India Dr.B.R.Ambedkar Advocates' Association, High Court Building, Chennai, who convened the meeting of their respective members and passed resolutions, condemning the act of the Presiding Officer in removing the portrait and in threatening his Office Assistant to remove the same, with further request to the High Court, Madras to take appropriate action against the Sub Judge concerned and forwarded due representations along with their resolutions to the Registrar General of High court, Madras and the District Judge.

3.Pending any decision on the representations sent by the Association and Organisations as mentioned above, by the High court of Madras on administrative side in consultation with then learned portfolio Judge of Villupuram District, the petitioner Association addressed a complaint to the fourth respondent, Inspector of Police, Tindivanam on 21.5.2014 to register a case against the Sub Judge under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 (hereinafter shortly referred to as 'SC & ST Act') and under other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. The allegations raised in the complaint are that the Additional Sub Judge, S.Devanathan called his Office Assistant and ordered him to remove the portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar alone from its original position and when the Office Assistant refused to do so, the Sub Judge threatened him with dire consequences and scolded him to remove him from service, if he failed to obey his instructions and the Office Assistant was thus compelled to remove the portrait and on coming to know about the same, serious protest was raised for such degrading and humiliating act of the Sub Judge concerned.

4.According to the petitioner/complainant, the portrait was removed wantonly, willfully with criminal intimidation as he belongs to Scheduled Caste community and in the event of his being continued as Additional Sub Judge in any court in Tamil Nadu, the entire Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes people will be affected, as such, appropriate criminal proceedings is warranted by registering the complaint under the provisions of the SC & ST Act and other provisions of IPC. The petitioner Association has, within 5 days from the date of the complaint dated 21.5.2014, also come forward with the present criminal original petition for issuing appropriate direction to register the case on the basis of the complaint dated 21.5.2014.

5.During the pendency of this Criminal Original Petition, the petitioner Association had also been pursuing the issue on administrative side. The learned portfolio judge, when being consulted, kept the issue in abeyance stating that it is not possible for taking up the matter on administrative side, pending adjudication of the Criminal Original Petition. In the mean while, Tindivanam Bar Association appears to have an issue with the petitioner Association in not consulting them in sending the representation and in lodging the criminal complaint against the Judge concerned for appropriate departmental and criminal action against him. The Sub Judge has also, through the District Judge sent a representation to the High Court, Madras regarding what was, according to him actually transpired on 2.5.2014 in the matter of removal of portrait and on the subsequent days following the same. The representation was also sent along with the statement of the Office Assistant R.Ravichandran purported to be obtained on 16.5.2014. However, the issue is not proceeded with on the administrative side in view of the pendency of this Criminal Original Petition and is now pending on the administrative side.

6.Be that as it may, the petitioner Association has in this petition, seriously contended that out of three portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, Thiruvalluvar and Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, the portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar was alone asked to be removed and the same amounts to degrading and humiliating Dr.B.R.Ambedkar in the public view and is also an act of disgrace and disrespect shown to the National Leader by the Judge concerned and it happened as Dr.B.R.Ambedkar belonged to Scheduled Caste community and unless appropriate action is taken against the Judge concerned for his disrespect shown to the father of the Constitution of India, the same will seriously hurt the feelings of the public, who held Dr.B.R.Ambedkar in high esteem and the members of the petitioner Association will suffer from heavy mental agony.

7.Pending this Criminal Original Petition, the President of Tindivanam Bar Association filed a petition in MP.No.1 of 2014 to implead themselves as one of the respondents in this Criminal Original Petition. It is stated by the Tindivanam Bar Association in the supporting affidavit that the portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar was removed along with two other portraits for the purpose of cleaning and the portraits were refixed in the same place, as per the statement given by the Office Assistant concerned and the complaint filed by the petitioner Advocates' Association was without consulting the Tindivanam Bar Association, which is the oldest Association and the complaint was given by some of the Advocates to create problem in the issue and there was no intention to disrespect Dr.B.R.Ambedkar in removing his portrait for cleaning purpose. It is their further case that both the Associations held a meeting on 2.6.2014 and discussed the issue and the petitioner Association agreed to withdraw this criminal Original petition to maintain peace and harmony, but went back and the same compelled the Tindivanam Bar Association to pass a resolution to implead themselves in this criminal original petition to express the truth and to seek dismissal of this petition. The Miscellaneous Petition was ordered on 18.6.2014 and Tindivanam Bar Association was impeladed as 5th respondent herein.

8.Heard the rival submissions made on both sides and perused the records.

9.The cause of action for sending the representation and the complaint dated 21.05.2014 is the removal of the portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.  There are two versions available regarding the circumstances and the reason for which the portrait was asked to be removed.  According to the petitioner Advocates' Association, out of three portraits, the portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar alone was asked to be removed, thereby showing disgrace and disrespect to the national leader. Such version is supported by the Office Assistant R.Ravichandran, who removed the portrait, in his second statement recorded during June 2014. Whereas, according to the fifth respondent Bar Association, all the three portraits of Mahatma Gandhiji, Tiruvalluvar and Dr.B.R.Ambedkar were asked to be removed by the Judge concerned for cleaning purpose and all the three portraits, after removing and cleaning, were refixed in the same place.  This version is also supported by the same Office Assistant in his first statement dated 16.5.2014 and that of the statement of the Judge concerned in his representation sent to the High Court.  It is not stated in the complaint that either of the members of both associations were present in the scene of occurrence and witnessed and the actual conversation between the Judge and Office Assistant concerned as to whether all the portraits were asked to be removed for cleaning purpose or the portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar alone was asked to be removed and when the Office Assistant was allegedly threatened by the Judge concerned to remove the portrait. It is also not stated therein that any member of the Bar or staff or any other  outsiders was present, when the portrait was removed and again refixed.  It is nowhere whispered in the complaint that the Judge concerned, while asking the Office Assistant to remove either all the three portraits or one of the portraits, uttered any words, disgracing or disrespecting the National Leader or in any manner humiliating the community, to which the national leader belong to. The complainant has only stated in their complaint that the act of removal of the portrait amounts to degrading and humiliating Dr.B.R.Ambedkar for the reason of his being born in SC community and the continuance of the Judge concerned as Additional Sub Judge will affect the people belonging to SC and ST community. In my considered view, the conduct on the part of the Judge concerned in asking his Office Assistant to remove the portrait without anything more, that too, not in the presence of any other person, will not constitute any act of atrocities as defined under Section 3(1)(i) to (xv) and punishable under the same SC & SC Act.

10.The learned counsel for the petitioner Association has, at this juncture, drawn the attention of this court to clause 4(i)(1)(t) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014, which will have the effect of substituting sub section (1) of section 3 of the Principal Act 1989, providing punishments for offences of atrocities. The particular clause of the Ordinance is extracted hereunder:
"Whoever not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe,
destroys, damages or defiles any object generally known to be held sacred or in high esteem by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes.
Explanation For the purposes of this clause, the expression "object" means and includes statue, photograph and portrait.

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine".

11.As the amendment is yet to be introduced, the petitioner cannot be permitted to resort to the same. Even otherwise, as it is the admitted case that the portrait was removed and thereafter refixed and neither destroyed, damaged nor defiled, the allegations made in the complaint, even if it is read in entirety, do not constitute any offence either under the provisions of the SC & ST Act or Indian Penal Code.

12.Before concluding, I am inclined to place Dr.B.R.Ambedkar is one of the greatest national leaders and is the father of our Constitution. The contribution of Dr. Ambedkar in Indian Democracy is not to be forgotten. As a chairman of the Constitutional Committee, he gave a shape to our country of a complete Sovereign, Democratic and Republic based on adult franchise. Baba Saheb Ambedkar s name will be written in golden letters in the history of India as a creator of social justice. This fact is doubtless. He was not only the man of age and builder of the Constitution but also the creator of social justice and betterment of the downtrodden. He was one of the few sons in the History of India that he can be said to be the gift of Indian freedom movement. If Mahatma Gandhi gave direction and lesson of morality then Baba Saheb gave shape to social aspect without exploitation. In true sense of the word, he gave democratic and anti caste aim. The great leader spent his whole life for the betterment of the poor, exploited, untouchables and troubled classes. Thus, Dr. Ambedkar s contribution to the Indian Constitution is undoubtedly of the highest order. Indeed he deserved to be called the father or the Chief Architect of the Indian Constitution. Dr.Ambedkar rose as the political icon and he played a significant role in national politics and as the Chairman of drafting Committee of Indian Constitution. His life is a classic and most inspiring example of what a man can achieve by hard work, knowledge, and clear-cut priorities.  It is his words that "in an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared. Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men". He wanted to annihilate caste system not by revenge, hatred and violence, but by rethinking, reason and reformation. He, therefore, taught untouchables To organize, educate and agitate with an aim to finishing caste prejudices, the arrogance. He wanted his people to improve their condition by education, enlightenment and enterprise not by animosity, anger and abuse. The leader who professed and aimed at anti caste system was not looked at as one belonged to any particular caste or community. The father of our constitution, is one of the few national leaders, who was, is and will always be held in high esteem and adored, admired and worshipped by every citizen of our Country.

13.However, such respect shown to our great leader is in no way degraded by the act of removal of his portrait regarding the reason for which two different versions available and over the issue both the Associations of Tindivanam also got divided. Though the act of removal is likely to hurt the feelings of his followers, the same would not amount to constituting any illegal act, attracting the penal provisions either under SC & ST Act or IPC and the same does not warrant initiation of any criminal action against the Judge concerned. When no case is even prima facie made out against the Judge concerned for any offence under any of the provisions, the question of issuing any direction to the respondent police to register the case and to proceed against him either under the provisions of SC & ST Act or under the provisions of IPC does not arise herein. Hence, the petitioner is dis-entitled to get any relief in this petition.

14.In the result, this Criminal Original Petition is dismissed.

rk 27-04-2015
Index:Yes/No
Internet:Yes/No



To
1.The Director General of Police,
   O/o.The Director General of Police,
   No.5, Kamarajar Salai,
   Mylapore, Chennai-4.

2.The District Superintendent of Police,
   O/o.the District Superintendent of Police,
   Villupuram, Villupuram Taluk & District.

3.The Deputy Superintendent of Police,
   Tindivanam, Tindivanam Taluk,
   Villupuram District.

4.The Inspector of Police,
   Tindivanam Law & Order,
   Tindivanam, Villupuram District.

5.The Public Prosecutor, High court, Madras.




























     K.B.K.VASUKI, J.

rk









  Crl.OP No.13548 of 2014












27.04.2015

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