Wandering on the streets late at night when there is no night curfew is not an offence, the Metropolitan Magistrate at Girgaon, Mumbai NA Patel ruled in the case of The State of Maharashtra versus SumitKumar Basantram Kashyap, acquitting a 29-year-old man charged with sitting on a road in South Mumbai “under suspicious circumstances.” The court stated that 1.30 a.m. is “not too late” in a city like Mumbai.
The verdict was handed down on Thursday, just three days after the man was arrested by the police.
“Around 1.30 a.m., the accused was apprehended in Mumbai. 1.30 a.m. is not too late in a city like Mumbai. On or near the road, anyone can stand. As a result, it cannot be classified as concealing one’s identity with the intent to commit a crime. Even if it is assumed that 1.30 a.m. is too late, wandering the streets when there is no night curfew is not a crime. The court stated that because there is no night curfew in Mumbai, the accused’s presence on the road is not an offence.
Sumit Kashyap, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, was arrested by the police on June 13 in Cadbury Junction, South Mumbai, under Section 122 (b) of the Maharashtra Police Act. A person found between sunrise and sunset can be arrested for “having his face covered or otherwise disguised with intent to commit an offence,” according to the section.
Kashyap was “hiding his face with a handkerchief,” according to police, who did not provide a proper explanation for why he was sitting there. He was then arrested under the Act, claiming he was planning to steal. According to the court, the police must prove that the accused was concealing his identity in order to commit an offence under the Act’s provisions.
The court stated, “Nowhere in the present case is it stated by the witnesses what offence the accused intended to commit.” In addition, the court did not agree with the police that the accused was guilty as was hiding his face by using a handkerchief.
“It’s the Covid period, and people are accustomed to donning a mask for protection. Although wearing a mask is not required, it is strongly recommended. If someone doesn’t have a mask, they use a handkerchief as one, and just because the accused is covering his mouth with a handkerchief doesn’t mean he’s hiding his identity,” the court said. It was pointed out that the accused had told the police his name when asked, so it couldn’t be said that he was concealing his identity.
As a result, it held that the accused was not guilty and acquitted him.