In Re: Umesh Chandra Kar And Anr. vs Unknown on 9 July, 1887

Calcutta High Court
In Re: Umesh Chandra Kar And Anr. vs Unknown on 9 July, 1887
Equivalent citations: (1888) ILR 14 Cal 656
Bench: W C Petheram, Beverley


1. This rule has been obtained for the purpose of setting aside a conviction and sentence passed upon the petitioners for committing a public nuisance by obstructing a navigable river. Now the facts which are absolutely undisputed are that there is a navigable river somewhere in Bengal across which the defendants in this case have set up a bamboo dam of some kind for the purpose of catching fish. That bamboo-dam seems to extend all the way across the river, but there is a place which is opened at times, and through which boats can then proceed. This place is also kept lighted and guarded by men for the purpose of seeing that no accidents happen. The first question, and in fact the only question, is whether this is a public nuisance under Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code. I do not think there can be the slightest doubt about it myself, because this being a navigable river, the public have a right to navigate over the whole place, and any one who interferes with the free navigation of it, without any right to do so, commits a public nuisance. It is admitted that this obstruction extends over the whole width of the river with the exception of a small outlet, through which boats can pass by using considerable precaution. Under these circumstances I do not feel any doubt that this is a public nuisance. Then the only other question is whether this is an offence which can be punished by fine under the Indian Penal Code. When this rule was applied for it was moved and granted upon the ground that there was no evidence of injury to any particular individual and no complaint by any one of any such injury, and that for that reason the petitioners were not liable to be punished under Section 283, which contemplates an injury to some particular person; but on looking further to Section 290 that section provides for cases in which there is no special punishment provided for a public nuisance, and it is clear that when a person is guilty of a public nuisance of any kind he may be punished under Section 290. Under these circumstances I do not think that there is the slightest doubt that this was a public nuisance under Section 268 of the Code, and as I said before, although I had some doubt whether it was punishable under Section 283, I have no doubt that it is punishable under Section 290 of the Indian Penal Code, and the fine of Rs. 25, which has been imposed in this case, is not too heavy.

2. We think therefore that this rule must be discharged.

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