'Posters on wall no defacement, but writing is'

'Posters on wall no defacement, but writing is'

Holding that defacement implies only writing or marking on a wall with ink, chalk, paint and other material, a Delhi court has let off four persons accused of defacing public property by pasting posters.

The court held that a person cannot be tried on charges of defacing public property under West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act for sticking posters on walls as the same did not fall within the ambit of 'defacement' under the law.

It said the term defacement in the Act referred only to such defacements for the purpose of prosecution as is done by writing or marking with ink, chalk, paint or other materials.

The order was passed by Additional Sessions Judge Mahesh Chander on an appeal by Deepak, Sunny, Amit and Ajay, all residents of a north Delhi village, against the order of the magisterial court, which had ordered framing of notice against them.

Educational institute

All of them were found pasting posters of an educational institute, preparing students for various competitive exams, on December 12, 2008 night at Bawana Chowk in north Delhi.

The magisterial court had held "in this case, the writing is exhibited in the form of posters and merely on the basis that the first writing work is done on poster and later on affixed on wall does not take the act of defacement out of the clutches of Section 3 of WB Act".

The judge, however, held that the magisterial court order "cannot be sustained".