High Court (India)

June 05, 2019

Madras HC Stays Criminal Proceedings Against 'Nakeeran' Gopal

[ By Titus Manickam Rock ]


The Madras High Court has stayed criminal proceedings against 'Nakeeran' Gopal accused under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code. The order of Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Egmore, which rejected the request to remand 'Nakeeran' Gopal was upheld by the Madras High Court earlier.

Nakeeran Gopal is accused for publication of allegedly fake and derogatory news about the Governor of Tamil Nadu in his bi-weekly Tamil magazine Nakeeran.

Subsequently, Nakeeran Gopal and others filed petition seeking to quash the FIR registered against them on this issue. Considering their petition, Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed that this is the first case after independence wherein the Court has been called upon to examine whether the publication will have the effect of overawing his Excellency the Governor so as to prevent him from exercising his lawful powers and duties?

The court has held that in order to satisfy the requirements of the term “overawe” there must be something more than the creation of an apprehension, alarm or fear. Do the materials collected by the Investigating Officer satisfy the requirements of Section 124 of IPC? Even if assuming the publication made is construed as malicious and harmful to the reputation of the Governor of Tamil Nadu, can that by itself satisfy the requirement of the term “overawe” under Section 124 of IPC?

The court recalled another Section 353 of IPC with similar ingredients to Section 124 of IPC and wanted to know if publishing a post is equivalent to a criminal force or an assault. The High Court will also deal with the contention that a lower court ought not to have taken cognizance of the final report filed by the police since Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure makes it mandatory that no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under Chapter VI or under Section 505 of IPC except with previous sanction of the Central Government or the State Government.

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