Decided on May 13,1970

STATE Respondents


- (1.) THIS is an application under sections 435, 439 and 561a of the Code of Criminal Procedure and under Article 227 of the Constitution. The Gun and Shell Factory at Cossipore (hereinafter called "the factory") is administered by the Director General of Ordnance Factories, under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. This factory manufactures guns and shells or components thereof being ammunitions for the Indian Army. Besides executive and other staff, about 8,000 people (hereinafter referred to as "the workers") were or are employed in the factory. The workers are divided into two shifts. The security of the factory and the property lying therein of the Government of India, was and is entrusted with the Indian Army. At all material times commissioned and non-commissioned officers as well as officers belonging to other ranks under the command of Major P. Bhagat have been serving in the Eastern Command of the Indian Army and have been manning the factory. On the 8th April, 1969, sentries were posted at the factory gate under orders of Major P. Bhagat and army personnel including Major Bhagat were stationed in or about the factory. At 7. 30 a. m. , on April 8, 1969, amongst others, (1) L/naik B. Karioyan, (2 ). Sepoy Mohan Singh and (3 ). Sepoy Petappa Bamme, were on sentry duty in the factory. All the three sentries were enrolled personnel of the regular Indian Army and, as such, were governed, it is alleged, by the provisions of the Army Act. The three sentries are hereinafter referred to as "the army personnel" and they were attached to the Defence Security Force, a part of the Indian Army. The petitioner contends that the army personnel were and are deemed to be on "active service" within the meaning of Army Act.
(2.) ON April 8, 1969, the army personnel were posted as Sentries on guard duty at the gate of the factory. The allegation against them is that at about 7-30 a. m. when the workers were entering the factory the army personnel unlawfully fired on them as a result of which some of the workers were killed and some other injured.
(3.) THE Detective Department of the Calcutta Police took up investigation and with the assistance of the local police station arrested four civilian personnel of the factory and on April, 9, 1969, produced them before Shri R. K. Ganguly, Police Magistrate, Sealdah.;

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