According to the latest reports, a Mumbai court in an order on Thursday, June 16 stated that wandering on the street late at night when there is no curfew is not an offence. It did so while acquitting a man (29) booked by the Mumbai Police for sitting on a road in south Mumbai under “suspicious circumstances”.
Based on accounts the court added that in Mumbai, 1.30 am is not that late. While delivering the verdict within three days of the man being booked, the judiciary pronounced that anyone can be standing on or near the road. Thus, it cannot be named as hiding one’s identity while trying to commit a crime.
It further pronounced that if one assumes 1.30 am to be too late, wandering on the roads even then is not an offence when there is no night curfew. Therefore, since there is no night curfew in the city, the accused who was standing on the road did not commit an offence.
Narratives suggest that Sumit Kashyap, a resident of Uttar Pradesh was booked under Section 122 (b) of the Maharashtra Police Act at the Cadbury Junction in south Mumbai on June 13. The section reportedly has provisions for booking an individual if they are found between sunrise and sunset for having covered their face or being disguised with the intention of committing a crime.
It has been reported that the police claim that Kashyap was not only hiding his face with a handkerchief but also did not offer an adequate explanation about why he was sitting there. Thus, he was booked under the Act, alleging that he was seeking to commit a crime.
In light of this, the court pronounced that the Act requires the police to prove that the accused was looking to commit an offence by hiding his identity. The judiciary pronounced that in the said matter witnesses have not mentioned what offence the accused was looking to commit.
Moreover, it also did not concur with the police that Kashyap was hiding his face with a handkerchief. It voiced that considering the prevalence of COVID-19, while masks are not compulsory, people have been advised to wear them. Additionally, if people do not have a mask, they tend to use a handkerchief. Owing to this, if the accused was using the handkerchief to cover his mouth, he was not hiding his identity. Since the accused had also mentioned his name to the police, it cannot be said that he was hiding his identity.