The Bombay high court refused to grant reprieve to a businessman, who had filed a petition to quash a complaint lodged against him by a sitting corporator, who also works as a coolie for livelihood, and said that there's no reason to disbelieve a corporator's "coolie" status as absurd.
Petitioner Ramnarayan Nawandar had sought quashing of the complaint on the grounds that it was absurd that Ashok Khajekar, an elected councillor of Gangapur Municipal Council in Aurangabad, and his being a coolie at present, and seeking unrecovered dues of Rs 4,660, is unworthy of reliance.
Khajekar in his complaint filed under section 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and sections 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code had stated that Nawandar owed him Rs 4,660 towards his coolie charges. Khajekar said that Nawandar was enraged by his demand and had abused him over his caste.
A division bench of justice AH Joshi and justice AR Joshi said that the only question that needs to be answered here was whether the version contained in the first information report is absurd.
The petitioner contended that a coolie can't continue to be a coolie, even after being elected as a councillor. The judges held that though this can be argued convincingly, it is not necessary that its existence could be absurd. "An elected councillor's former employment and calling and even necessity to continue in that calling can never be regarded as absurd," the court said.
The judges held that the complainant's version that he has money to recover from the accused towards unpaid remuneration, which he has refused to pay, might appear absurd to somebody, yet it would never be capable of being described as untenable, and hence a fiction.