The Kerala High Court of 14th October noticed that to get protection under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Prosecution of Judges and public servants).
The single-judge bench of Justice N. Anil Kumar was hearing the petition filed under Section 397 (Calling for records to exercise powers of revision) read with Section 401 (High Court's Powers of revisions) of the Criminal Procedure Code. It was seeking to set aside the order of the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court- II of Pathanamthitta. According to this, the Magistrate had taken the understanding of the offenses punishable under Section 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and Section 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code against the plaintiff. The provision provided under Section 197 of CrPC is to help the Government officials execute their responsibilities fairly without any fear of mischievous prosecution.
On 15th March 2005, the complainant was called appear before the station before the police station claiming that he assaulted Mohanan. On reaching the station, he was called inside the room of the defendant and hit him on his cheeks. After filing a complaint, the accused was called to the Court but got a bail. It was defended saying that the incident would not have happened if no notice was issued to the petitioner under CrPC Section 160 (Police officer's power to require the attendance of witnesses) in association with inquiry in the petition. Hence it was opposed that the act occurred in his official capacity. The Public Prosecutor stated that the action of the accused was not in due discharge of his official calling and therefore no sanction under Section 197 of CrPC is mandatory.
The Court stated that the act and the duty are interrelated that it would be hard to separate them, it can be reasonably assumed that the act was done in the performance of duty still possibly above the requirements and necessities of the situation.