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Sec.319 of Cr.P.C. - in view of various opinions - matter was referred to constitution Bench - and inview of decision of the Constitution Bench in the case of Dharam Pal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Anr., AIR 2013 SC 3018 [hereinafter called ‘Dharam Pal (CB)’], - The matters be placed before the appropriate Bench for final disposal in accordance with law explained herein above. = Hardeep Singh …Appellant Versus State of Punjab & Ors. …Respondents = 2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C. / FILE NAME = 41145

posted 15 Jan 2014 07:54 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

         Sec.319 of Cr.P.C. -    in view of various opinions - matter was referred to constitution Bench -   and inview of decision of the Constitution Bench in the case of Dharam Pal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Anr., AIR  2013  SC 3018 [hereinafter called ‘Dharam Pal (CB)’],   -   The matters be placed before the  appropriate  Bench  for  final disposal in accordance with law explained herein above. =


 “319 Cr.P.C. -Power to proceed against other  persons  appearing

           to be guilty of offence.-



           (1) Where, in the course of any inquiry into, or  trial  of,  an

           offence, it appears from the evidence that any person not  being

           the accused has committed any  offence  for  which  such  person

           could be tried together with the accused, the Court may  proceed

           against such person for the offence which  he  appears  to  have

           committed.



           (2) Where such person is not attending  the  Court,  he  may  be

           arrested or summoned, as  the  circumstances  of  the  case  may

           require, for the purpose aforesaid.



           (3) Any person attending the Court, although not under arrest or

           upon a summons, may be detained by such Court for the purpose of

           the inquiry into, or trial of, the offence which he  appears  to

           have committed.



           (4) Where the Court  proceeds  against  any  person  under  sub-

           section (1), then-



           (a) the proceedings in respect of such person shall be commenced

           afresh, and the witnesses re-heard;



           (b) subject to the  provisions  of  clause  (a),  the  case  may

           proceed as if such person had been an accused  person  when  the

           Court took cognizance of the offence upon which the  inquiry  or

           trial was commenced.”




This reference before us arises out of a variety of views  having

      been expressed by this Court and several High Courts of the country on

      the scope and extent of the powers of the courts  under  the  criminal

      justice system to arraign any person as an accused during  the  course

      of inquiry or trial as contemplated under Section 319 of the  Code  of

      Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the `Cr.P.C.’).

The reference was desired to be resolved by a three-Judge  Bench

      whereafter the same came up for consideration  and  vide  order  dated

      8.12.2011, the Court opined that in view of the reference made in  the

      case of Dharam Pal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Anr., (2004) 13 SCC 9,

      the issues involved being identical in  nature,  the  same  should  be

      resolved by a Constitution Bench consisting of at least  five  Judges.

      The Bench felt that since a three-Judge Bench has already referred the

      matter of Dharam Pal (Supra) to a Constitution  Bench,  then  in  that

      event it would be appropriate that such overlapping issues should also

      be resolved by a Bench of similar strength. =


The said reference was answered by the Constitution Bench

      in the case of 

Dharam Pal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Anr., AIR  2013

      SC 3018 [hereinafter called ‘Dharam Pal (CB)’], 

wherein  it  was  held

      that a Court of Sessions can with  the  aid  of  Section  193  Cr.P.C.

      proceed to array any other person and summon him for being tried  even

      if the provisions of Section 319  Cr.P.C.  could  not  be  pressed  in

      service at the stage of committal.

   Thus, after the reference was made by a three-Judge Bench in the

      present case, the powers so far as the Court of Sessions is concerned,

      to invoke Section  319  Cr.P.C.  at  the  stage  of  committal,  stood

      answered finally in the aforesaid background.


On the consideration of the submissions raised and  in  view  of

      what has been noted above, the following questions are to be  answered

      by this Bench:


           ?(i) What is the stage at which power under Section  319  Cr.P.C.

           can be exercised?


           (ii) Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1)  Cr.P.C.

           could only mean evidence  tested  by  cross-examination  or  the

           court can exercise the power under the said  provision  even  on

           the basis of the statement made in the  examination-in-chief  of

           the witness concerned?


           (iii) Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1) Cr.P.C.

           has been used in a comprehensive sense and includes the evidence

           collected during investigation or the word "evidence" is limited

           to the evidence recorded during trial?


           (iv) What is the nature of the satisfaction required  to  invoke

           the power under Section  319  Cr.P.C.  to  arraign  an  accused?

           Whether the power under Section 319(1) Cr.P.C. can be  exercised

           only if the court is satisfied that the accused summoned will in

           all likelihood convicted?


           (v) Does the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. extend  to  persons

           not named in the FIR or named in the FIR but not charged or  who

           have been discharged?

=



Thus, it is evident that power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. can  be

      exercised against a person not subjected to investigation, or a person

      placed in the Column 2 of the Charge-Sheet and against whom cognizance

      had not been taken, or a person  who  has  been  discharged.  However,

      concerning a person who has been discharged,  no  proceedings  can  be

      commenced against him  directly  under  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  without

      taking recourse to provisions of Section 300(5) read with Section  398

      Cr.P.C.


      ?


      110. We accordingly sum up our conclusions as follows:


      Question Nos.1 & III


 Q.1 What is the stage at which power under Section 319  Cr.P.C. can be

      exercised?


                                     AND


      Q.III Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1)  Cr.P.C.  has

      been used in a comprehensive sense and includes the evidence collected

      during investigation or the word "evidence" is limited to the evidence

      recorded during trial?


      A. In Dharam Pal's case, the Constitution Bench has already held  that

      after committal, cognizance of an  offence  can  be  taken  against  a

      person not  named  as  an  accused  but  against  whom  materials  are

      available from the papers filed by  the  police  after  completion  of

      investigation. Such cognizance can be taken under Section 193  Cr.P.C.

      and the Sessions Judge need not wait till 'evidence' under Section 319

      Cr.P.C. becomes available for summoning an additional accused.


      ?      Section 319 Cr.P.C., significantly, uses  two  expressions  that

      have to be taken note of i.e.  (1)  Inquiry  (2)  Trial.  

As  a  trial

      commences after framing of charge, an inquiry can only  be  understood

      to be a pre-trial inquiry. 

Inquiries  under  Sections  200,  201,  202

      Cr.P.C.; and under Section 398 Cr.P.C.  are  species  of  the  inquiry

      contemplated by Section 319 Cr.P.C. Materials coming before the  Court

      in course of such enquiries can  be  used  for  corroboration  of  the

      evidence recorded in the court after  the  trial  commences,  for  the

      exercise of power under Section  319  Cr.P.C.,  and  also  to  add  an

      accused whose name has been shown in Column 2 of the chargesheet.


           In view of the above position the word 'evidence' in Section 319

      Cr.P.C. has to  be  broadly  understood  and  not  literally  i.e.  as

      evidence brought during a trial.


      Question No. II


      Q.II Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1) Cr.P.C.  could

      only mean evidence  tested  by  cross-examination  or  the  court  can

      exercise the power under the said provision even on the basis  of  the

      statement made in the examination-in-chief of the witness concerned?


      ?A. Considering the fact  that  under  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  a  person

      against whom material is disclosed is only summoned to face the  trial

      and in such an event  under  Section  319(4)  Cr.P.C.  the  proceeding

      against such person is  to  commence  from  the  stage  of  taking  of

      cognizance, the Court need not  wait  for  the  evidence  against  the

      accused proposed to be summoned to be tested by cross-examination.


      Question No. IV


      Q.IV What is the nature of the satisfaction  required  to  invoke  the

      power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. to arraign  an  accused?  Whether  the

      power under Section 319 (1) Cr.P.C. can be exercised only if the court

      is satisfied that the accused  summoned  will  in  all  likelihood  be

      convicted?


      A. Though under Section 319(4)(b)  Cr.P.C.  the  accused  subsequently

      impleaded is to be treated as if he had been an accused when the Court

      initially took cognizance of the offence, the degree  of  satisfaction

      that will be required for summoning a person under Section 319 Cr.P.C.

      would be the same as for ?framing  a  charge.  The  difference  in  the

      degree of satisfaction  for  summoning  the  original  accused  and  a

      subsequent accused is on account of the fact that the trial  may  have

      already commenced against the original accused and it is in the course

      of such trial that materials are disclosed against the newly  summoned

      accused. Fresh summoning of an accused will result  in  delay  of  the

      trial - therefore the degree of satisfaction for summoning the accused

      (original and subsequent) has to be different.


      Question No.V


      Q.V Does the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C.  extend  to  persons  not

      named in the FIR or named in the FIR but not chargesheeted or who have

      been discharged?


      A.    A person not named in the FIR or a person though  named  in  the

      FIR but has not been chargesheeted or a person who has been discharged

      can be summoned under Section 319 Cr.P.C. provided from  the  evidence

      it appears that such person  can  be  tried  along  with  the  accused

      already facing trial. However, in so far as an accused  who  has  been

      discharged is concerned the  requirement  of  ?Sections  300  and   398

      Cr.P.C. has to be complied with before he can be summoned afresh.


           The matters be placed before the  appropriate  Bench  for  final

      disposal in accordance with law explained hereinabove.




2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C. / FILE NAME = 41145


                                                            


P SATHASIVAM, B.S. CHAUHAN, RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI, RANJAN GOGOI, S.A. BOBDE



                                                         REPORTABLE




                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  1750 OF 2008




      Hardeep Singh
      …Appellant

                                   Versus

      State of Punjab & Ors.
  …Respondents

                                    With

                     CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  1751  of 2008

      Manjit Pal Singh
          …Appellant

                                   Versus

      State of Punjab & Anr.
     …Respondents

                                    With

              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.  9184  of 2008

      Babubhai Bhimabhai Bokhiria & Anr.
      …Appellants




                                   Versus

      State of Gujarat & Ors.
       …Respondents

                                    With







              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.  7209  of 2010

      Rajendra Sharma & Anr.
      …Appellants




                                   Versus

      State of M.P. & Anr.
      …Respondents

                                    With

              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.  5724  of 2009




      Ravinder Kumar & Anr.
       …Appellants

                                   Versus

      State of Haryana  & Ors.
      …Respondents

                                    With

              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.  5975  of 2009




      Tej Pal & Anr.
      …Appellants

                                   Versus

      State of Haryana & Ors.
      …Respondents

                                    With

              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.  9040  of 2010

      Juned Pahalwan
      …Appellant

                                   Versus

      State of U.P.& Anr.
      …Respondents

                                    With

           SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.  5331 of 2009

      Rajesh @ Sanjai
      …Appellant

                                   Versus

      State of U.P. & Anr.
      …Respondents

                                    With

        SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.  9157  of 2009

      Ramdhan Mali & Anr.
      …Appellants

                                   Versus

      State of Rajasthan & Anr.
      …Respondents

                                    With

            SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NOS. 4503-4504 of 2012

      Tej Singh
      …Appellant

                                   Versus

      State of U.P.
          …Respondent







                               J U D G M E N T

      Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.

      1.   This reference before us arises out of a variety of views  having
      been expressed by this Court and several High Courts of the country on
      the scope and extent of the powers of the courts  under  the  criminal
      justice system to arraign any person as an accused during  the  course
      of inquiry or trial as contemplated under Section 319 of the  Code  of
      Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the `Cr.P.C.’).




      2.    The initial reference was made by a two-Judge Bench  vide  order
      dated 7.11.2008 in the leading case of Hardeep Singh (Crl. Appeal  No.
      1750 of 2008)  where noticing the conflict between  the  judgments  in
      the case of Rakesh v. State of Haryana, AIR 2001 SC 2521; and  a  two-
      Judge Bench decision in the case of Mohd. Shafi v. Mohd. Rafiq & Anr.,
      AIR 2007 SC 1899, a doubt was expressed about the correctness  of  the
      view in the case of Mohd. Shafi (Supra). The doubts as categorised  in
      paragraphs 75 and 78 of the reference order led to the framing of  two
      questions by the said Bench which are reproduced hereunder:

           “(1)  When the power under sub-section (1) of Section 319 of the
           Code of addition of accused can be exercised by a Court? Whether
           application under Section 319 is  not  maintainable  unless  the
           cross-examination of the witness is complete?

           (2)   What is the test and what are the guidelines of exercising
           power under sub-section (1) of Section 319 of the Code?  Whether
           such power can be exercised only if the Court is satisfied  that
           the accused summoned in all likelihood would be convicted?




      3.    The reference was desired to be resolved by a three-Judge  Bench
      whereafter the same came up for consideration  and  vide  order  dated
      8.12.2011, the Court opined that in view of the reference made in  the
      case of Dharam Pal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Anr., (2004) 13 SCC 9,
      the issues involved being identical in  nature,  the  same  should  be
      resolved by a Constitution Bench consisting of at least  five  Judges.
      The Bench felt that since a three-Judge Bench has already referred the
      matter of Dharam Pal (Supra) to a Constitution  Bench,  then  in  that
      event it would be appropriate that such overlapping issues should also
      be resolved by a Bench of similar strength.




      4.    Reference made in the case of Dharam  Pal  (Supra)  came  to  be
      answered in relation to the power of a Court  of  Sessions  to  invoke
      Section 319 Cr.P.C. at the stage of committal of the case to  a  Court
      of Sessions. The said reference was answered by the Constitution Bench
      in the case of Dharam Pal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Anr., AIR  2013
      SC 3018 [hereinafter called ‘Dharam Pal (CB)’], wherein  it  was  held
      that a Court of Sessions can with  the  aid  of  Section  193  Cr.P.C.
      proceed to array any other person and summon him for being tried  even
      if the provisions of Section 319  Cr.P.C.  could  not  be  pressed  in
      service at the stage of committal.

            Thus, after the reference was made by a three-Judge Bench in the
      present case, the powers so far as the Court of Sessions is concerned,
      to invoke Section  319  Cr.P.C.  at  the  stage  of  committal,  stood
      answered finally in the aforesaid background.




      5.    On the consideration of the submissions raised and  in  view  of
      what has been noted above, the following questions are to be  answered
      by this Bench:

           ?(i) What is the stage at which power under Section  319  Cr.P.C.
           can be exercised?

           (ii) Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1)  Cr.P.C.
           could only mean evidence  tested  by  cross-examination  or  the
           court can exercise the power under the said  provision  even  on
           the basis of the statement made in the  examination-in-chief  of
           the witness concerned?

           (iii) Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1) Cr.P.C.
           has been used in a comprehensive sense and includes the evidence
           collected during investigation or the word "evidence" is limited
           to the evidence recorded during trial?

           (iv) What is the nature of the satisfaction required  to  invoke
           the power under Section  319  Cr.P.C.  to  arraign  an  accused?
           Whether the power under Section 319(1) Cr.P.C. can be  exercised
           only if the court is satisfied that the accused summoned will in
           all likelihood convicted?

           (v) Does the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. extend  to  persons
           not named in the FIR or named in the FIR but not charged or  who
           have been discharged?




      6.    In this reference what we are primarily concerned with,  is  the
      stage at which such powers can be invoked and, secondly, the  material
      on the basis whereof the invoking of such powers can be justified.  To
      add as a corollary to the same, thirdly,  the  manner  in  which  such
      power has to be exercised, also has to be considered.




      7.   The Constitutional mandate  under  Articles  20  and  21  of  the
      Constitution  of  India,  1950  (hereinafter  referred   to   as   the
      ‘Constitution’)  provides  a  protective  umbrella  for   the   smooth
      administration of justice making adequate provisions to ensure a  fair
      and efficacious trial so that the  accused  does  not  get  prejudiced
      after the law has been put into motion to try him for the offence  but
      at the same time also gives equal protection to  victims  and  to  the
      society at large to ensure that the guilty does not get away from  the
      clutches of law.  For the empowerment of the courts to ensure that the
      criminal  administration  of  justice  works  properly,  the  law  was
      appropriately codified and  modified  by  the  legislature  under  the
      Cr.P.C. indicating as to how the courts should  proceed  in  order  to
      ultimately find out the  truth  so  that  an  innocent  does  not  get
      punished but at the same time, the guilty are brought  to  book  under
      the law. It is these ideals as enshrined under  the  Constitution  and
      our laws that  have  led  to  several  decisions,  whereby  innovating
      methods and progressive tools have been forged to find  out  the  real
      truth and to ensure that the   guilty  does  not  go  unpunished.  The
      presumption of innocence is the general law of the land as  every  man
      is presumed to be innocent unless proven to be guilty.




      8.   Alternatively, certain  statutory  presumptions  in  relation  to
      certain class of offences have been raised against the accused whereby
      the presumption of guilt prevails  till  the  accused  discharges  his
      burden upon an onus being cast upon him under the law to prove himself
      to be innocent.  These competing theories have been kept  in  mind  by
      the legislature. The entire effort, therefore, is  not  to  allow  the
      real perpetrator of an offence to get away unpunished. This is also  a
      part of fair trial and in our opinion, in order to achieve  this  very
      end that the  legislature  thought  of  incorporating   provisions  of
      Section 319 Cr.P.C.

      9.    It is with the said object  in  mind  that  a  constructive  and
      purposive interpretation should be adopted that advances the cause  of
      justice and does not dilute the intention of  the  statute  conferring
      powers on the court to carry out the above mentioned avowed object and
      purpose to try the person to the  satisfaction  of  the  court  as  an
      accomplice in the commission of the offence that is subject matter  of
      trial.




      10.  In order to answer the aforesaid  questions  posed,  it  will  be
      appropriate to refer to Section 351 of the  Criminal  Procedure  Code,
      1898 (hereinafter referred to  as  `Old  Code’),  where  an  analogous
      provision existed, empowering the court to  summon  any  person  other
      than the accused if he is found to be connected with the commission of
      the offence. However, when the new Cr.P.C. was being  drafted,  regard
      was had to 41st  Report of the Law Commission where in the  paragraphs
      24.80 and 24.81 recommendations were made to make this provision  more
      comprehensive. The said recommendations read:

           “24.80  It happens sometimes, though  not  very  often,  that  a
           Magistrate hearing a case against certain accused finds from the
           evidence that some person, other than the accused before him, is
           also concerned in that very offence or in a  connected  offence.
           It is proper that Magistrate should have the power to  call  and
           join him  in  proceedings.  Section  351  provides  for  such  a
           situation, but only if that person happens to be  attending  the
           Court. He can then be detained and proceeded against.  There  is
           no express provision in Section 351 for summoning such a  person
           if he is not present in  court.  Such  a  provision  would  make
           Section 351 fairly comprehensive, and  we  think  it  proper  to
           expressly provide for that situation.

           24.81  Section 351 assumes that the Magistrate proceeding  under
           it has the power of taking cognizance of the new case.  It  does
           not, however, say in what manner  cognizance  is  taken  by  the
           Magistrate. The modes of  taking  cognizance  are  mentioned  in
           Section 190, and are apparently  exhaustive.  The  question  is,
           whether   against   the   newly   added   accused,    cognizance

                                                                  will   be
           supposed to have been taken on the Magistrates  own  information
           under Section 190(1), or only in the manner in which  cognizance
           was first taken of the offence against the accused. The question
           is important, because the methods of inquiry and  trial  in  the
           two cases differ. About the true  position  under  the  existing
           law, there has been difference  of  opinion,  and  we  think  it
           should be made clear. It seems to us that the  main  purpose  of
           this particular provision is that the  whole  case  against  all
           known  suspects  should  be  proceeded  with  expeditiously  and
           convenience requires that cognizance  against  the  newly  added
           accused should be taken in the same  manner  against  the  other
           accused. We, therefore, propose to recast Section 351 making  it
           comprehensive and providing that there will be no difference  in
           the mode of taking cognizance if a new person  is  added  as  an
           accused during the proceedings. It is, of course, necessary  (as
           is already provided) that in such a situation the evidence  must
           he reheard in the presence of the newly added accused.”




      11.   Section 319 Cr.P.C. as it exists today, is quoted hereunder:


           “319 Cr.P.C. -Power to proceed against other  persons  appearing
           to be guilty of offence.-


           (1) Where, in the course of any inquiry into, or  trial  of,  an
           offence, it appears from the evidence that any person not  being
           the accused has committed any  offence  for  which  such  person
           could be tried together with the accused, the Court may  proceed
           against such person for the offence which  he  appears  to  have
           committed.


           (2) Where such person is not attending  the  Court,  he  may  be
           arrested or summoned, as  the  circumstances  of  the  case  may
           require, for the purpose aforesaid.


           (3) Any person attending the Court, although not under arrest or
           upon a summons, may be detained by such Court for the purpose of
           the inquiry into, or trial of, the offence which he  appears  to
           have committed.


           (4) Where the Court  proceeds  against  any  person  under  sub-
           section (1), then-


           (a) the proceedings in respect of such person shall be commenced
           afresh, and the witnesses re-heard;


           (b) subject to the  provisions  of  clause  (a),  the  case  may
           proceed as if such person had been an accused  person  when  the
           Court took cognizance of the offence upon which the  inquiry  or
           trial was commenced.”




      12.   Section 319 Cr.P.C. springs out of the doctrine  judex  damnatur
      cum nocens absolvitur (Judge is condemned when  guilty  is  acquitted)
      and this doctrine must be used as a beacon light while explaining  the
      ambit and the spirit underlying the enactment of Section 319 Cr.P.C.

            It is the duty of the Court to do justice by punishing the  real
      culprit. Where the investigating agency for any reason does not  array
      one of the real culprits as an accused, the court is not powerless  in
      calling the said accused to face trial.  The  question  remains  under
      what circumstances and at what stage should  the  court  exercise  its
      power as contemplated in Section 319 Cr.P.C.?

           The submissions that were raised before us covered a  very  wide
      canvas  and  the  learned  counsel  have  taken  us  through   various
      provisions of Cr.P.C. and the judgments that have been relied  on  for
      the said purpose. The controversy centers around the  stage  at  which
      such powers can be invoked by the court and the material on the  basis
      whereof such powers can be exercised.




      13.   It would be necessary to put on record that the power  conferred
      under Section 319 Cr.P.C. is only on the court.

           This has to be  understood  in  the  context  that  Section  319
      Cr.P.C. empowers only the court to proceed against  such  person.  The
      word “court” in our hierarchy of  criminal  courts  has  been  defined
      under Section 6  Cr.P.C.,  which  includes  the  Courts  of  Sessions,
      Judicial Magistrates, Metropolitan Magistrates as  well  as  Executive
      Magistrates. The Court of Sessions is defined in Section 9 Cr.P.C. and
      the Courts of Judicial Magistrates has been defined under  Section  11
      thereof.  The Courts of  Metropolitan  Magistrates  has  been  defined
      under Section 16 Cr.P.C. The courts which can try  offences  committed
      under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 or any offence under any other  law,
      have been specified under Section 26 Cr.P.C. read with First Schedule.
      The explanatory note (2)  under  the  heading  of  “Classification  of
      Offences”  under  the  First   Schedule   specifies   the   expression
      ‘magistrate  of  first  class’  and  ‘any   magistrate’   to   include
      Metropolitan Magistrates who are empowered to try the  offences  under
      the said Schedule but excludes Executive Magistrates.




      14.   It is at this stage the  comparison  of  the  words  used  under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C. has to be understood distinctively from  the  word
      used under Section 2(g) defining an inquiry other than the trial by  a
      magistrate or a court. Here the legislature has used two words, namely
      the magistrate  or  court,  whereas  under  Section  319  Cr.P.C.,  as
      indicated above, only the word “court” has  been  recited.   This  has
      been done by the legislature to emphasise that the power under Section
      319 Cr.P.C. is exercisable only by the court and not  by  any  officer
      not acting as  a  court.  Thus,  the  magistrate  not  functioning  or
      exercising powers as  a  court  can  make  an  inquiry  in  particular
      proceeding other than a trial but the material so collected would  not
      be by a court during  the  course  of  an  inquiry  or  a  trial.  The
      conclusion therefore, in short, is that in order to invoke  the  power
      under Section 319 Cr.P.C., it is only a Court of Sessions or  a  Court
      of  Magistrate performing the duties as a court under the Cr.P.C. that
      can utilise the material  before  it  for  the  purpose  of  the  said
      Section.




      15.   Section 319 Cr.P.C. allows the  court  to  proceed  against  any
      person who is not an accused in a case before it.   Thus,  the  person
      against whom summons are issued in exercise of  such  powers,  has  to
      necessarily not be an accused already facing trial. He can either be a
      person named in Column 2 of the chargesheet filed  under  Section  173
      Cr.P.C. or a person whose name has  been  disclosed  in  any  material
      before the court that is to be considered for the  purpose  of  trying
      the offence, but not  investigated.  He  has  to  be  a  person  whose
      complicity may be indicated and connected with the commission  of  the
      offence.




      16.   The legislature cannot be presumed  to  have  imagined  all  the
      circumstances and, therefore, it is the duty of the court to give full
      effect to the words used by the legislature so  as  to  encompass  any
      situation which the court may have to tackle while proceeding  to  try
      an offence and not allow a person who deserves to be tried to go  scot
      free by being not arraigned in the trial in spite  of  possibility  of
      his complicity which can be gathered from the documents  presented  by
      the prosecution.




      17.   The court is the sole repository of justice and a duty  is  cast
      upon it to  uphold  the  rule  of  law  and,  therefore,  it  will  be
      inappropriate to deny the existence of such powers with the courts  in
      our criminal justice system where it is not  uncommon  that  the  real
      accused, at times, get away by manipulating the  investigating  and/or
      the prosecuting agency.  The desire to avoid trial is so  strong  that
      an accused makes efforts at times to get himself absolved even at  the
      stage of investigation or inquiry even though he may be connected with
      the commission of the offence.




      18.  Coming to the stage at which power under Section 319 Cr.P.C.  can
      be exercised, in Dharam  Pal  (Supra),  this  Court  had  noticed  the
      conflict in the decisions of Kishun Singh & Ors  v.  State  of  Bihar,
      (1993) 2 SCC 16 and Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 1998 SC 3148,
      and referred the matter to the  Constitution  Bench.   However,  while
      referring the matter to a Constitution Bench, this Court affirmed  the
      judgment in Kishun Singh (Supra) and doubted the  correctness  of  the
      judgment in Ranjit Singh (Supra). In Ranjit Singh (Supra), this  Court
      observed that from the stage of  committal  till  the  Sessions  Court
      reaches the stage indicated in Section 230  Cr.P.C.,  that  court  can
      deal with only the accused referred to  in  Section  209  Cr.P.C.  and
      there is no intermediary stage till then for the Sessions Court to add
      any other person to the array of the accused, while  in  Kishun  Singh
      (Supra), this Court came to the  conclusion  that  even  the  Sessions
      Court has power under Section 193 Cr.P.C. to take  cognizance  of  the
      offence and summon other persons whose complicity in the commission of
      the trial can prima facie be gathered from the materials available  on
      record and need not wait till the stage  of  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  is
      reached. This Court in Dharam Pal (Supra)  held  that  the  effect  of
      Ranjit Singh (Supra) would be that in less serious offences triable by
      a Magistrate, the said Court would have the power to  proceed  against
      those who are mentioned in Column 2 of the  charge-sheet,  if  on  the
      basis of  material  on  record,  the  Magistrate  disagrees  with  the
      conclusion reached by the police, but,  as  far  as  serious  offences
      triable by the Court of Sessions are concerned, that court  will  have
      to wait till the stage of Section 319 Cr.P.C. is reached.




      19.   At the very outset, we may explain that the issue that was being
      considered by this Court in  Dharam Pal (CB), was the exercise of such
      power at the stage of committal of a case and the court held that even
      if Section 319 Cr.P.C. could not be invoked at that stage, Section 193
      Cr.P.C. could be invoked for the said purpose. We are not delving into
      the said issue which had been answered by the five-Judge Bench of this
      Court. However, we may clarify that the opening words of  Section  193
      Cr.P.C. categorically recite that the power of the Court  of  Sessions
      to take cognizance would commence only after committal of the case  by
      a magistrate. The said provision  opens  with  a  non-obstante  clause
      “except as otherwise expressly provided by this code or by  any  other
      law for the time being in force”. The Section therefore  is  clarified
      by the said opening words which clearly means that  if  there  is  any
      other provision  under  Cr.P.C.,  expressly  making  a  provision  for
      exercise of powers by the court to  take  cognizance,  then  the  same
      would apply and the provisions of Section 193  Cr.P.C.  would  not  be
      applicable.




      20.   In our opinion, Section 319 Cr.P.C.  is  an  enabling  provision
      empowering the court to take appropriate steps for proceeding  against
      any person not being an accused for also having committed the  offence
      under trial.  It is this part which is  under  reference  before  this
      Court and therefore in  our  opinion,  while  answering  the  question
      referred to herein, we do not find any conflict so as  to  delve  upon
      the situation that was dealt by this Court in Dharam Pal (CB).




      21.   In Elachuri Venkatachinnayya & Ors. v. King-Emperor  (1920)  ILR
      43 Mad 511, this Court held that an inquiry  is  a  stage  before  the
      committal to a higher court. In fact, from a careful  reading  of  the
      judgments under reference i.e. Ranjit Singh (Supra) and  Kishun  Singh
      (Supra), it emerges that there is no dispute even in these  two  cases
      that the stage of committal is neither an inquiry nor a trial, for  in
      both the cases, the real dispute was whether Section 193  Cr.P.C.  can
      be invoked at the time of committal to summon an accused to face trial
      who is not already an accused. It can safely be  said  that  both  the
      cases are in harmony as to the said stage neither  being  a  stage  of
      inquiry nor a trial.




      22.   Once the aforesaid stand is clarified in relation to  the  stage
      of committal before the Court of Sessions, the answer to the  question
      posed now, stands focussed only on the stage at which such powers  can
      be exercised by the court other than the stage of  committal  and  the
      material on the basis whereof such powers can be invoked by the court.



      Question No.(i) What is the stage at which  power  under  Section  319
      Cr.P.C. can be exercised?




      23.   The stage of inquiry and trial upon cognizance being taken of an
      offence, has been considered by a large number of  decisions  of  this
      Court and that it may be useful to  extract  the  same  hereunder  for
      proper appreciation of the stage  of  invoking  of  the  powers  under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C. to understand the meaning that can  be  attributed
      to the word ‘inquiry’ and ‘trial’ as used under the Section.




      24.   In Raghubans Dubey v. State of Bihar, AIR  1967  SC  1167,  this
      Court held :

           “…once cognizance has been taken by  the  Magistrate,  he  takes
           cognizance of an offence and not the offenders;  once  he  takes
           cognizance of an offence it is his duty  to  find  out  who  the
           offenders really are and once he comes to  the  conclusion  that
           apart from the persons sent up by the police some other  persons
           are involved, it is his duty to proceed against  those  persons.
           The  summoning  of  the  additional  accused  is  part  of   the
           proceeding initiated by his taking cognizance of an offence.”




      25.   The  stage  of  inquiry  commences,  insofar  as  the  court  is
      concerned, with the filing of the charge-sheet and  the  consideration
      of the material collected by the prosecution, that is mentioned in the
      charge-sheet for the purpose of trying the accused.  This  has  to  be
      understood in terms of Section 2(g) Cr.P.C., which defines an  inquiry
      as follows:

           “2(g)  “inquiry”  means  every  inquiry,  other  than  a  trial,
           conducted under this Code by a Magistrate or Court.”




      26.   In State of U.P. v. Lakshmi Brahman & Anr.,  AIR  1983  SC  439,
      this Court held that from the  stage  of  filing  of  charge-sheet  to
      ensuring the compliance of provision  of  Section   207  Cr.P.C.,  the
      court is only at the stage of inquiry and no trial can be said to have
      commenced. The above view has been held to  be  per  incurium  in  Raj
      Kishore Prasad v. State of Bihar & Anr., AIR  1996  SC  1931,  wherein
      this Court while observing that Section 319 (1) Cr.P.C. operates in an
      ongoing inquiry into, or trial of, an offence, held that at the  stage
      of Section 209 Cr.P.C., the court is neither at the stage  of  inquiry
      nor at the stage of trial. Even at the stage of ensuring compliance of
      Sections 207 and 208 Cr.P.C., it cannot be said that the court  is  at
      the stage of inquiry because there is no judicial application of  mind
      and all that the Magistrate is required to do  is  to  make  the  case
      ready to be heard by the Court of Sessions.




      27.   Trial is distinct from an inquiry and must  necessarily  succeed
      it. The purpose of the trial is to fasten the  responsibility  upon  a
      person on the basis of  facts  presented  and  evidence  led  in  this
      behalf. In Moly & Anr. v. State of Kerala,  AIR  2004  SC  1890,  this
      Court observed that though the word ‘trial’  is  not  defined  in  the
      Code, it is clearly distinguishable from inquiry. Inquiry must  always
      be a forerunner to the trial. A three-Judge Bench of this Court in The
      State of Bihar v. Ram Naresh Pandey & Anr., AIR 1957 SC 389 held:

           “The words 'tried' and  'trial'  appear  to  have  no  fixed  or
           universal meaning. No doubt, in quite a number  of  sections  in
           the Code to which our attention has been drawn the words 'tried'
           and 'trial' have been used in the sense of reference to a  stage
           after the inquiry. That meaning attaches to the words  in  those
           sections having regard to the context in which  they  are  used.
           There is no reason why where these words  are  used  in  another
           context in the Code, they should necessarily be limited in their
           connotation and significance.  They  are  words  which  must  be
           considered with regard to the particular context in  which  they
           are used and with regard  to  the  scheme  and  purpose  of  the
           provision                 under                  consideration.”
               (Emphasis added)




      28.   In Ratilal Bhanji Mithani v. State of Maharashtra  &  Ors.,  AIR
      1979 SC 94, this Court held :

           “Once a charge is framed, the  Magistrate  has  no  power  under
           Section 227 or any other provision of the  Code  to  cancel  the
           charge, and reverse the proceedings to the stage of Section  253
           and discharge the accused. The trial in a  warrant  case  starts
           with the framing of charge; prior to it the proceedings are only
           an inquiry. After the framing of charge if  the  accused  pleads
           not guilty, the Magistrate is required to proceed with the trial
           in the manner provided in Sections 254 to 258 to a logical end.”
                                                                  (Emphasis
           added)




      29.   In V.C. Shukla v. State through C.B.I., AIR 1980  SC  962,  this
      Court held:

           “…The  proceedings  starting  with  Section  238  of  the   Code
           including any discharge or framing of charges under Section  239
           or 240 amount to a trial…”




      30.   In Union of India & Ors.   v.  Major  General  Madan  Lal  Yadav
      (Retd.), AIR 1996 SC 1340, a three-Judge Bench while dealing with  the
      proceedings in General Court Martial under the provisions of the  Army
      Act 1950, applied  legal  maxim  “nullus  commodum  capere  potest  de
      injuria sua propria” (no one can take advantage of his own wrong), and
      referred to various dictionary meanings of the word ‘trial’  and  came
      to the conclusion:

           “It would, therefore, be clear that trial means act  of  proving
           or judicial examination or determination of the issues including
           its own jurisdiction or authority  in  accordance  with  law  or
           adjudging guilt or innocence of the accused including all  steps
           necessary thereto. The trial commences with the  performance  of
           the first act or steps necessary or essential  to  proceed  with
           the                                                       trial.
           (Emphasis supplied)

                                 X  X  X  X

           Our conclusion further gets fortified by the scheme of the trial
           of a criminal case under the Code of Criminal  Procedure,  1973,
           viz.,  Chapter  XIV  “Conditions  requisite  for  initiation  of
           proceedings” containing  Sections  190  to  210,  Chapter  XVIII
           containing Sections 225 to 235 and dealing with “trial before  a
           Court of Sessions” pursuant to committal order under Section 209
           and in Chapter XIX  “trial  of  warrant  cases  by  Magistrates”
           containing Sections 238 to 250 etc. It is settled law that under
           the said Code trial  commences  the  moment  cognizance  of  the
           offence is taken and process is issued to the  accused  for  his
           appearance  etc.  Equally,  at  a  sessions  trial,  the   court
           considers  the  committal  order  under  Section  209   by   the
           Magistrate and proceeds further.  It  takes  cognizance  of  the
           offence from that stage and proceeds with the trial.  The  trial
           begins with the taking of the  cognizance  of  the  offence  and
           taking further steps to conduct the trial.”


             (Emphasis supplied)




      31.   In “Common Cause”, A Registered Society  thr.  its  Director  v.
      Union of India & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 1539, this Court while dealing with
      the issue held:

           “(i)  In case of trials before Sessions Court the  trials  shall
           be treated to have  commenced  when  charges  are  framed  under
           Section 228 of the Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,  1973  in  the
           concerned cases.

             ii) In cases of trials of warrant cases by Magistrates  if  the
                 cases are instituted upon police reports the  trials  shall
                 be treated to have commenced when charges are framed  under
                 Section 240 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,  while
                 in trials of warrant cases by Magistrates  when  cases  are
                 instituted otherwise than  on  police  report  such  trials
                 shall be treated to have commenced when charges are  framed
                 against the concerned accused under Section 246 of the Code
                 of Criminal Procedure, 1973.


            iii) In cases of trials of  summons  cases  by  Magistrates  the
                 trials would be  considered  to  have  commenced  when  the
                 accused who appear or are brought before the Magistrate are
                 asked under Section 251 whether they plead guilty  or  have
                 any defence to make.”

             (Emphasis added)



      32.   In Raj Kishore Prasad (Supra), this Court said that as  soon  as
      the prosecutor is present before the court and that  court  hears  the
      parties on framing of charges and discharge, trial  is  said  to  have
      commenced and that there is no intermediate stage between committal of
      case and framing of charge.




      33.   In In Re: Narayanaswamy Naidu v. Unknown 1 Ind Cas 228,  a  Full
      Bench of the Madras High Court  held  that   “Trial  begins  when  the
      accused is charged and called on  to  answer  and  then  the  question
      before the Court  is  whether  the  accused  is  to  be  acquitted  or
      convicted and not whether the complaint is  to  be  dismissed  or  the
      accused discharged.” A similar view has  been  taken  by  Madras  High
      Court subsequently in Sriramulu v.  Veerasalingam,  (1914)  I.L.R.  38
      Mad. 585.

      34.   However, the Bombay High Court in Dagdu Govindshet Wani v. Punja
      Vedu Wani (1936) 38 Bom.L.R. 1189 referring to Sriramulu (Supra)  held
      :

            “There is no doubt that the Court did take the view that  in  a
           warrant case the trial only commences from the  framing  of  the
           charge …..But, according to my experience of the  administration
           of  criminal  justice  in  this   Presidency,   which   is   not
           inconsiderable,  the  Courts  here  have  always  accepted   the
           definition of trial which has been given in Gomer Sirda v. Queen-
           Empress, (1898) I.L.R. 25 Cal. 863, that is to say,   trial  has
           always been understood to mean the  proceeding  which  commences
           when the case is called on with the Magistrate on the Bench, the
           accused in the dock and the representatives of  the  prosecution
           and, defence, if the accused be defended, present in  Court  for
           the hearing of the case.”




           A similar view has been taken by the Lahore High Court in  Sahib
      Din v. The Crown, (1922) I.L.R. 3 Lah. 115, wherein it was  held  that
      for the purposes of Section 350 of the Code, a trial cannot be said to
      commence only when a charge is framed. The trial covers the  whole  of
      the  proceedings  in  a  warrant  case.  This  case  was  followed  in
      Fakhruddin v. The Crown, (1924) I.L.R. 6 Lah. 176; and in Labhsing  v.
      Emperor, (1934) 35 Cr.L. J. 1261.

      35.   In view of the above, the law can be summarised  to  the  effect
      that as ‘trial’ means determination of issues adjudging the  guilt  or
      the innocence of a person, the person has to be aware of what  is  the
      case against him and it is only at the stage of framing of the charges
      that the court informs him of the same, the ‘trial’ commences only  on
      charges being framed. Thus, we do not approve the view  taken  by  the
      courts that in a criminal case, trial commences  on  cognizance  being
      taken.




      36.   Section 2(g) Cr.P.C.  and  the  case  laws  referred  to  above,
      therefore, clearly envisage inquiry before the actual commencement  of
      the trial, and is an act conducted under Cr.P.C. by the Magistrate  or
      the court. The word ‘inquiry’ is, therefore, not any inquiry  relating
      to the investigation of the case by the investigating agency but is an
      inquiry after the case is brought to the notice of the  court  on  the
      filing of the charge-sheet.  The court can thereafter proceed to  make
      inquiries and it is for this reason that an inquiry has been given  to
      mean something other than the actual trial.




      37.    Even the  word  “course”  occurring  in  Section  319  Cr.P.C.,
      clearly indicates that the power can  be  exercised  only  during  the
      period when the inquiry has been commenced and  is  going  on  or  the
      trial which has commenced and is going on.  It  covers the entire wide
      range of the process of the pre-trial and the trial stage.   The  word
      “course” therefore, allows the court to invoke this power  to  proceed
      against any person from the initial stage of inquiry upto the stage of
      the conclusion of the  trial.   The  court  does  not  become  functus
      officio even if cognizance is taken so far as it is looking  into  the
      material qua any other  person  who  is  not  an  accused.   The  word
      “course” ordinarily conveys a meaning of a  continuous  progress  from
      one point to the next in time and conveys the  idea  of  a  period  of
      time; duration and not a fixed point of time.  (See:  Commissioner  of
      Income-tax, New Delhi (Now Rajasthan)  v.  M/s.  East  West  Import  &
      Export (P) Ltd. (Now known as Asian  Distributors  Ltd.)  Jaipur,  AIR
      1989 SC 836).




      38.   In a somewhat similar manner, it has  been  attributed  to  word
      “course” the meaning of being a gradual and continuous  flow  advanced
      by journey or passage from one place  to  another  with  reference  to
      period of time when the  movement  is  in  progress.  (See:  State  of
      Travancore-Cochin & Ors. v. Shanmugha Vilas Cashewnut Factory, Quilon,
      AIR 1953 SC 333).




      39.   To say that powers under Section 319 Cr.P.C.  can  be  exercised
      only during trial would be reducing the impact of the  word  ‘inquiry’
      by the court.  It is a settled principle of law that an interpretation
      which leads to the conclusion that a word used by the  legislature  is
      redundant,  should  be  avoided  as  the  presumption  is   that   the
      legislature has  deliberately  and  consciously  used  the  words  for
      carrying out the purpose of the Act. The legal maxim "A  Verbis  Legis
      Non Est Recedendum" which means, "from the words of law, there must be
      no departure" has to be kept in mind.




      40.   The court cannot proceed with an assumption that the legislature
      enacting the statute has committed a mistake and where the language of
      the statute is plain and unambiguous, the court cannot go  behind  the
      language of the statute so as to add or subtract a  word  playing  the
      role of a political reformer or of a wise counsel to the  legislature.
      The court has to proceed on the footing that the legislature  intended
      what it has said and even if there is some defect in  the  phraseology
      etc., it is for others than the  court  to  remedy  that  defect.  The
      statute requires to be interpreted without doing any violence  to  the
      language used therein. The court cannot re-write,  recast  or  reframe
      the legislation for the reason that it has no power to legislate.




      41.   No word in a statute has to be construed as surplusage. No  word
      can be rendered ineffective or purposeless.  Courts  are  required  to
      carry  out  the  legislative  intent  fully  and   completely.   While
      construing a provision, full effect is to be  given  to  the  language
      used therein, giving reference to the context and other provisions  of
      the Statute. By construction, a provision should not be reduced  to  a
      “dead letter” or “useless lumber”. An interpretation which  renders  a
      provision an otiose should be avoided otherwise it would mean that  in
      enacting such  a  provision,  the  legislature  was  involved  in  “an
      exercise in futility” and the product came as a “purposeless piece” of
      legislation and that  the  provision  had  been  enacted  without  any
      purpose and the entire exercise to enact such a  provision  was  “most
      unwarranted  besides  being  uncharitable.”  (Vide:  Patel   Chunibhai
      Dajibha etc. v. Narayanrao Khanderao Jambekar  &  Anr.,  AIR  1965  SC
      1457; The Martin Burn Ltd. v. The Corporation of Calcutta, AIR 1966 SC
      529; M.V. Elisabeth & Ors.  v. Harwan Investment & Trading  Pvt.  Ltd.
      Hanoekar House, Swatontapeth, Vasco-De-Gama, Goa, AIR  1993  SC  1014;
      Sultana Begum v. Prem Chand Jain, AIR 1997 SC 1006; State of  Bihar  &
      Ors. etc.etc. v. Bihar Distillery Ltd. etc. etc.,  AIR 1997  SC  1511;
      Institute of Chartered Accountants of India v. M/s. Price Waterhouse &
      Anr., AIR 1998 SC 74; and The  South  Central  Railway  Employees  Co-
      operative Credit Society Employees Union, Secundrabad v. The Registrar
      of Co-operative Societies & Ors., AIR 1998 SC 703).


      42.   This Court in Rohitash Kumar & Ors. v. Om Prakash Sharma & Ors.,
      AIR 2013 SC 30, after placing reliance on various earlier judgments of
      this Court held:

           “The Court has to keep in mind the fact that, while interpreting
           the provisions of a Statute, it can neither  add,  nor  subtract
           even a single word… A section is to be  interpreted  by  reading
           all of its parts together, and it is not  permissible,  to  omit
           any part thereof. The Court cannot proceed with  the  assumption
           that the legislature, while enacting the Statute has committed a
           mistake; it must proceed on the  footing  that  the  legislature
           intended what it has said; even if there is some defect  in  the
           phraseology used by it in framing the statute,  and  it  is  not
           open to the court to add and amend, or by construction, make  up
           for the deficiencies, which  have  been  left  in  the  Act……The
           Statute is not to be construed in light of certain notions  that
           the legislature might have had in mind, or what the  legislature
           is expected to have said, or what  the  legislature  might  have
           done, or what the duty of the legislature to have said  or  done
           was. The Courts have to administer the law as they find it,  and
           it is not permissible for the Court to twist the clear  language
           of the enactment, in order  to  avoid  any  real,  or  imaginary
           hardship which such literal interpretation may cause…….under the
           garb of interpreting the provision, the Court does not have  the
           power to add or subtract even a single word,  as  it  would  not
           amount to interpretation, but legislation.”



            Thus, by no means it can be said that provisions of Section  319
      Cr.P.C. cannot be pressed into service during the course of ‘inquiry’.
      The word ‘inquiry’ is not surpulsage in the said provision.


      43.   Since after the filing of the charge-sheet,  the  court  reaches
      the stage of inquiry and as soon as the court frames the charges,  the
      trial commences, and therefore, the power under Section 319(1) Cr.P.C.
      can be exercised at any time  after  the  charge-sheet  is  filed  and
      before the pronouncement of  judgment,  except  during  the  stage  of
      Section 207/208 Cr.P.C., committal etc., which  is  only  a  pre-trial
      stage, intended to put the process into motion. This stage  cannot  be
      said to be a judicial step in the true sense for it only  requires  an
      application of mind rather than a judicial application of mind.




      44.   At this pre-trial stage, the Magistrate is required  to  perform
      acts in the nature of administrative work rather than judicial such as
      ensuring compliance of Sections 207 and 208  Cr.P.C.,  and  committing
      the matter if it is exclusively triable by Sessions Court.  Therefore,
      it would be legitimate for us to conclude that the Magistrate  at  the
      stage of   Sections 207  to  209  Cr.P.C.  is  forbidden,  by  express
      provision of Section 319 Cr.P.C., to apply his mind to the  merits  of
      the case and determine as to whether any accused needs to be added  or
      subtracted to face trial before the Court of Sessions.


      45.   It may be pertinent to refer to the decision in the case of  Raj
      Kishore Prasad (supra) where, in order to avoid any  delay  in  trial,
      the court emphasised that such a power should be exercised keeping  in
      view the context in which the words “inquiry” and  “trial”  have  been
      used under Section 319 Cr.P.C. and came to the conclusion that such  a
      power is not available at the pre-trial stage and  should  be  invoked
      only at the stage of inquiry or after evidence is recorded.


      46.   A two-Judge Bench of this Court in M/s. SWIL Ltd.  v.  State  of
      Delhi & Anr.,  AIR 2001 SC 2747, held that once the process  has  been
      issued, power under Section 319 Cr.P.C.  cannot  be  exercised  as  at
      that stage, since it is neither an inquiry nor a trial.
                  In Ranjit Singh (Supra), the Court held :
           “So from the stage of committal till the Sessions Court  reaches
           the stage indicated in Section 230 of the Code, that  court  can
           deal with only the accused referred to in  Section  209  of  the
           Code. There is no intermediary stage till then for the  Sessions
           Court to add any other person  to  the  array  of  the  accused.
           Thus, once the Sessions Court takes cognizance  of  the  offence
           pursuant to the committal order, the only other stage  when  the
           court is empowered to add any other person to the array  of  the
           accused is after reaching evidence collection when powers  under
           Section 319 of the Code can be invoked”




      47.   In  Kishun  Singh  (Supra),  the  Court  while  considering  the
      provision of the old Code, the Law Commission’s Recommendation and the
      provisions in the  Cr.P.C.,  held  that  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  is  an
      improved provision upon the earlier one. It has removed the difficulty
      of taking cognizance as cognizance against the added person  would  be
      deemed to have been taken as originally against the other  co-accused.
      Therefore, on Magistrate committing the case under Section 209 Cr.P.C.
      to the Court of Sessions, the bar of Section 193 Cr.P.C.  gets  lifted
      thereby investing  the  Court  of  Sessions  complete  and  unfettered
      jurisdiction of the court of original jurisdiction to take  cognizance
      of the offence which would include the  summoning  of  the  person  or
      persons whose complicity in the commission  of  the  crime  can  prima
      facie be gathered from the material available on record, though who is
      not an accused before the court.



      48.   In Dharam Pal (CB), the Constitution Bench approved the decision
      in Kishun Singh (Supra) that the Sessions Judge has original power  to
      summon accused holding that “the Sessions Judge was entitled to  issue
      summons under Section 193 Code of Criminal  Procedure  upon  the  case
      being committed to him by the Magistrate. The key words in Section 193
      are that "no Court of Session shall take cognizance of any offence  as
      a Court of original jurisdiction unless the case has been committed to
      it by a Magistrate under this Code." The above provision entails  that
      a case must, first of all, be committed to the Court of Session by the
      Magistrate. The second condition is that only after the case had  been
      committed to it, could the Court of Session  take  cognizance  of  the
      offence exercising original jurisdiction.  Although,  an  attempt  has
      been   made   to   suggest   that   the   cognizance   indicated    in
      Section 193 deals not with  cognizance  of  an  offence,  but  of  the
      commitment order passed by the learned Magistrate, we are not inclined
      to accept such a submission in the clear wordings of Section 193  that
      the Court of Session may take cognizance of  the  offences  under  the
      said Section”



      49.   It is thus aptly clear that until  and unless the  case  reaches
      the stage of inquiry or trial by the court, the  power  under  Section
      319 Cr.P.C. cannot be exercised. In fact, this  proposition  does  not
      seem to have been disturbed by the Constitution Bench  in  Dharam  Pal
      (CB). The dispute therein was resolved visualizing a situation wherein
      the court was concerned with procedural delay and was of  the  opinion
      that the Sessions Court should not necessarily wait till the stage  of
      Section 319 Cr.P.C. is reached to direct a person, not  facing  trial,
      to appear and face trial as an accused. We are in full agreement  with
      the interpretation given by the Constitution Bench  that  Section  193
      Cr.P.C. confers power of original jurisdiction upon the Sessions Court
      to add an accused once the case has been committed to it.



      50.   In our opinion, the stage of inquiry does  not  contemplate  any
      evidence in its strict legal sense, nor  the  legislature  could  have
      contemplated this inasmuch as the  stage  for  evidence  has  not  yet
      arrived.  The only material that  the  court  has  before  it  is  the
      material collected by the prosecution and  the  court  at  this  stage
      prima facie can apply its mind to find out as to whether a person, who
      can be an accused, has been erroneously omitted from  being  arraigned
      or has been deliberately excluded by the prosecuting  agencies.   This
      is all the more necessary in order to ensure  that  the  investigating
      and the prosecuting agencies have acted fairly in bringing before  the
      court those persons who deserve to be tried and to prevent any  person
      from being deliberately shielded when they ought to have  been  tried.
      This is necessary to usher faith in the judicial  system  whereby  the
      court should be empowered to exercise such powers even at the stage of
      inquiry and it is for this reason that the legislature has consciously
      used separate terms, namely, inquiry or trial in Section 319 Cr.P.C.

            Accordingly, we hold that the court can exercise the power under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C. only after the trial proceeds and  commences  with
      the recording of the evidence and also in exceptional circumstances as
      explained herein above.



      51.   There is yet another  set  of  provisions  which  form  part  of
      inquiry  relevant  for  the  purposes  of  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  i.e.
      provisions of Sections 200, 201, 202, etc. Cr.P.C. applicable  in  the
      case of Complaint Cases. As has been discussed herein, evidence  means
      evidence adduced before the  court.  Complaint  Cases  is  a  distinct
      category of criminal trial where some sort of evidence in  the  strict
      legal sense of Section  3  of  the  Evidence  Act  1872,  (hereinafter
      referred to as the ‘Evidence Act’) comes before the court.  There does
      not seem to be any  restriction  in  the  provisions  of  Section  319
      Cr.P.C. so as to preclude such evidence as coming before the court  in
      Complaint Cases even before charges have been framed  or  the  process
      has been issued.  But at that stage as there is no accused before  the
      Court, such evidence can be used  only  to  corroborate  the  evidence
      recorded during the trial for the purpose of Section 319  Cr.P.C.,  if
      so required.


      52.   What is essential for the purpose of the section is  that  there
      should appear some evidence against a person not proceeded against and
      the stage of the proceedings is irrelevant. Where the  complainant  is
      circumspect in proceeding against several persons, but the court is of
      the opinion that there appears to be some  evidence  pointing  to  the
      complicity of some other persons as well, Section 319 Cr.P.C. acts  as
      an empowering provision  enabling  the  court/Magistrate  to  initiate
      proceedings against such other persons. The  purpose  of  Section  319
      Cr.P.C. is to do complete justice and to ensure that persons who ought
      to have been tried as well are also tried. Therefore, there  does  not
      appear to be any difficulty in invoking powers of Section 319  Cr.P.C.
      at the stage of trial in a complaint case when  the  evidence  of  the
      complainant as well as his witnesses is being recorded.



      53.   Thus, the application of the provisions of Section 319  Cr.P.C.,
      at  the  stage  of  inquiry  is  to  be  understood  in  its   correct
      perspective. The power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. can be exercised only
      on the basis of the evidence adduced before the court during a  trial.
      So far as its application during the course of inquiry  is  concerned,
      it remains limited as referred to hereinabove, adding a person  as  an
      accused, whose name has been mentioned in Column 2 of the charge sheet
      or any other person who might be an accomplice.

      Question No.(iii) : Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1)
      Cr.P.C. has been used  in  a  comprehensive  sense  and  includes  the
      evidence collected during investigation  or  the  word  "evidence"  is
      limited to the evidence recorded during trial?




      54.   To answer the questions and to resolve the  impediment  that  is
      being faced by the trial courts in exercising of powers under  Section
      319 Cr.P.C., the  issue  has  to  be  investigated  by  examining  the
      circumstances which give rise to a situation for the court  to  invoke
      such powers. The circumstances that lead to such inference being drawn
      up by the court for summoning a person arise out of  the  availability
      of the facts and material that comes up before the court and are  made
      the basis for summoning such a person as an accomplice to the  offence
      alleged to have been committed.   The  material  should  disclose  the
      complicity of the person in the commission of the offence which has to
      be the material that appears from the evidence during  the  course  of
      any inquiry into or trial of offence. The words as used in Section 319
      Cr.P.C. indicate that the material has to be “where ….it appears  from
      the evidence” before the court.




      55.   Before we answer this issue, let us examine the meaning  of  the
      word  ‘evidence’.  According  to  Section  3  of  the  Evidence   Act,
      ‘evidence’ means and includes:

            (1) all statements which the Court permits or  requires  to  be
           made before it by witnesses, in  relation  to  matters  of  fact
           under inquiry; such statements are called oral evidence;

            (2)  all documents including electronic  records  produced  for
           the  inspection  of  the  Court,  such  statements  are   called
           documentary evidence;




      56.   According to Tomlin’s Law Dictionary,  Evidence  is  “the  means
      from which an inference may logically be drawn as to the existence  of
      a fact. It consists of proof by testimony of witnesses, on oath; or by
      writing or records.” Bentham defines  ‘evidence’  as  “any  matter  of
      fact, the effect, tendency or design of which presented to mind, is to
      produce in the mind a persuasion  concerning  the  existence  of  some
      other  matter  of   fact-   a   persuasion   either   affirmative   or
      disaffirmative of its existence. Of the two facts  so  connected,  the
      latter may be distinguished as the principal fact, and the  former  as
      the evidentiary fact.” According  to  Wigmore  on  Evidence,  evidence
      represents “any knowable fact or group of facts,  not  a  legal  or  a
      logical principle, considered with a view to its being offered  before
      a legal tribunal for the purpose of producing a  persuasion,  positive
      or negative, on the part of  the  tribunal,  as  to  the  truth  of  a
      proposition, not of law, or of logic, on which  the  determination  of
      the tribunal is to be asked.”

      57.    The  provision  and  the  above-mentioned  definitions  clearly
      suggest that it is an  exhaustive  definition.    Wherever  the  words
      “means and include” are used, it is an indication of the fact that the
      definition ‘is a hard and fast definition’, and no other  meaning  can
      be assigned to the expression that is put down in the  definition.  It
      indicates an exhaustive explanation of  the  meaning  which,  for  the
      purposes of the Act, must invariably be attached  to  these  words  or
      expression. (Vide: M/s. Mahalakshmi Oil Mills v. State  of  A.P.,  AIR
      1989 SC 335; Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation Ltd.,
      Chandigarh v. Presiding Officer,  Labour  Court,  Chandigarh  &  Ors.,
      (1990) 3 SCC 682; P. Kasilingam & Ors. v. P.S.G. College of Technology
      & Ors., AIR 1995 SC 1395;  Hamdard (Wakf) Laboratories v.  Dy.  Labour
      Commissioner & Ors., AIR 2008 SC 968; and  Ponds  India  Ltd.  (merged
      with H.L. Limited) v. Commissioner of Trade Tax,  Lucknow,   (2008)  8
      SCC 369).




      58.   In Feroze N. Dotivala v. P.M. Wadhwani & Ors., (2003) 1 SCC 433,
      dealing with a similar issue, this Court observed as under:

               “Generally, ordinary meaning is to be assigned to  any  word
           or phrase used or defined in a statute. Therefore, unless  there
           is any  vagueness  or  ambiguity,  no  occasion  will  arise  to
           interpret the term in a manner which may add  something  to  the
           meaning of the word which ordinarily does not  so  mean  by  the
           definition itself, more particularly, where it is a  restrictive
           definition. Unless  there  are  compelling  reasons  to  do  so,
           meaning of a restrictive and exhaustive definition would not  be
           expanded or made extensive to embrace things which are  strictly
           not within the meaning of the word as defined.”




           We, therefore proceed to  examine  the  matter  further  on  the
      premise that the definition of word “evidence” under the Evidence  Act
      is exhaustive.




      59.   In Kalyan Kumar Gogoi v. Ashutosh Agnihotri & Anr., AIR 2011  SC
      760, while dealing with the issue this Court held :

           “18. The word “evidence” is used in  common  parlance  in  three
           different  senses:  (a)  as  equivalent  to  relevant,  (b)   as
           equivalent to proof, and (c) as equivalent to the  material,  on
           the basis of  which  courts  come  to  a  conclusion  about  the
           existence or non-existence of disputed  facts.  Though,  in  the
           definition of the word “evidence” given  in  Section  3  of  the
           Evidence Act one finds only oral and documentary evidence,  this
           word  is  also  used  in  phrases   such   as   best   evidence,
           circumstantial  evidence,  corroborative  evidence,   derivative
           evidence,  direct  evidence,   documentary   evidence,   hearsay
           evidence, indirect evidence, oral evidence,  original  evidence,
           presumptive evidence, primary evidence, real evidence, secondary
           evidence, substantive evidence, testimonial evidence, etc.”




      60.   In relation to  a  Civil  Case,  this  court  in  Ameer  Trading
      Corporation Ltd. v. Shapoorji Data Processing Ltd., AIR 2004  SC  355,
      held that the examination of  a  witness  would  include  evidence-in-
      chief, cross-examination or re-examination. In Omkar Namdeo  Jadhao  &
      Ors v. Second Additional Sessions Judge Buldana & Anr.,  AIR  1997  SC
      331; and Ram Swaroop & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 2004  SC  2943,
      this Court held that statements recorded  under  Section  161  Cr.P.C.
      during the investigation are not evidence.   Such  statements  can  be
      used at the trial  only  for  contradictions  or  omissions  when  the
      witness is examined in the court.

      (See also: Podda Narayana & Ors. v. State of A.P., AIR 1975  SC  1252;
      Sat Paul v. Delhi Administration, AIR 1976 SC 294;  and  State  (Delhi
      Administration) v. Laxman Kumar & Ors., AIR 1986 SC 250).


      61.   In Lok Ram v. Nihal Singh & Anr., AIR 2006 SC 1892,  it was held
      that it is evident that a person, even though had initially been named
      in the FIR as an accused, but not charge-sheeted, can also be added as
      an accused to face the trial. The trial court can take such a step  to
      add such persons as accused only on  the  basis  of  evidence  adduced
      before it and not on the basis of materials available in  the  charge-
      sheet or the case diary,  because  such  materials  contained  in  the
      charge-sheet or the case diary do not constitute evidence.


      62.   The majority view of the Constitution Bench in Ramnarayan Mor  &
      Anr. v. The State of Maharashtra, AIR 1964 SC 949 has been as under:
           “9.  It  was  urged  in  the  alternative  by  counsel  for  the
           appellants that even if the expression  “evidence”  may  include
           documents, such documents would only be  those  which  are  duly
           proved at the enquiry for commitment, because what may  be  used
           in a trial, civil or criminal, to  support  the  judgment  of  a
           Court is evidence duly proved  according  to  law.  But  by  the
           Evidence Act which applies to the trial of all  criminal  cases,
           the expression “evidence” is defined in Section 3 as meaning and
           including all statements which the Court permits or requires  to
           be made before it by witnesses, in relation to matters  of  fact
           under enquiry and documents produced for the inspection  of  the
           Court. There is no restriction in this definition  to  documents
           which      are       duly       proved       by       evidence.”
                                           (Emphasis                 added)



      63.   Similarly, this Court in Sunil Mehta & Anr. v. State of  Gujarat
      & Anr., JT 2013 (3) SC 328, held  that  “It  is  trite  that  evidence
      within the meaning of the Evidence Act and so also within the  meaning
      of Section 244 of the Cr.P.C.  is  what  is  recorded  in  the  manner
      stipulated under Section 138 in the case of oral evidence. Documentary
      evidence would similarly be evidence only if the documents are  proved
      in the manner recognised and  provided  for  under  the  Evidence  Act
      unless of course a statutory provision makes the  document  admissible
      as evidence without any formal proof thereof.”


      64.   In Guriya @ Tabassum Tauquir & Ors. v. State of  Bihar  &  Anr.,
      AIR 2008 SC 95, this Court held that in exercise of the  powers  under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C., the court can add a new accused only on the basis
      of evidence adduced before it  and  not  on  the  basis  of  materials
      available in the charge sheet or the case diary.


      65.   In Kishun Singh (Supra),  this Court held :


           “11. On a plain reading of sub-section (1) of Section 319  there
           can be no doubt that it must appear from the  evidence  tendered
           in the course of any inquiry or trial that any person not  being
           the accused has committed any offence  for  which  he  could  be
           tried together with  the  accused.  This  power  (under  Section
           319(1)), it seems clear to us, can be exercised only  if  it  so
           appears from the  evidence  at  the  trial  and  not  otherwise.
           Therefore,  this  sub-section  contemplates  existence  of  some
           evidence appearing in the course of trial  wherefrom  the  court
           can prima facie conclude that the person not arraigned before it
           is also involved in the commission of the crime for which he can
           be tried with those already named by the police. Even  a  person
           who has earlier been discharged would fall within the  sweep  of
           the power conferred by S. 319 of the  Code.  Therefore,  stricto
           sensu, Section 319 of the Code cannot be invoked in a case  like
           the present one where no  evidence  has  been  led  at  a  trial
           wherefrom it can be said that the appellants appear to have been
           involved in the commission of the crime along with those already
           sent up for trial by the prosecution.

           12. But then it must be conceded that  Section  319  covers  the
           post-cognizance stage where in the course of an inquiry or trial
           the involvement or complicity of a person or persons  not  named
           by the investigating agency has surfaced which necessitates  the
           exercise of  the  discretionary  power  conferred  by  the  said
           provision…..”



      66.   A similar view has been taken  by  this  Court  in  Raj  Kishore
      Prasad (Supra), wherein it was held that in order to apply Section 319
      Cr.P.C., it is essential that the need to proceed against  the  person
      other than the accused appearing to be guilty of offence  arises  only
      on evidence recorded in the course of an inquiry or trial.


      67.   In Lal Suraj @ Suraj Singh & Anr. v. State of Jharkhand,  (2009)
      2 SCC 696, a two-Judge Bench of this Court held that “a court  framing
      a charge would have before it all the materials on record  which  were
      required to be proved by the prosecution. In a  case  where,  however,
      the court exercises its jurisdiction under Section  319  Cr.P.C.,  the
      power has to be exercised on the basis of the fresh  evidence  brought
      before the court. There lies a fine but clear distinction.”




      68.   A similar view has been reiterated by  this  Court  in  Rajendra
      Singh v. State of U.P. & Anr., AIR 2007 SC 2786, observing that  court
      should not exercise the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. on  the  basis
      of materials available in the charge-sheet or the case diary,  because
      such materials contained in the charge-sheet or the case diary do  not
      constitute evidence.  The  word  ‘evidence’  in  Section  319  Cr.P.C.
      contemplates the evidence of witnesses given in the court.




      69.   Ordinarily, it is only after the charges  are  framed  that  the
      stage of recording of evidence is reached. A bare perusal  of  Section
      227 Cr.P.C. would show that the legislature has used the terms “record
      of the case” and the “documents submitted therewith”. It  is  in  this
      context that the word ‘evidence’ as appearing in Section  319  Cr.P.C.
      has to be read and understood. The material collected at the stage  of
      investigation can at best be used for a limited  purpose  as  provided
      under  Section  157  of  the  Evidence  Act  i.e.  to  corroborate  or
      contradict the statements of the witnesses recorded before the  court.
      Therefore, for the exercise of power under Section  319  Cr.P.C.,  the
      use of word `evidence’ means material that has come before  the  court
      during an inquiry or trial by  it  and  not  otherwise.  If  from  the
      evidence led in the trial the court is of the opinion  that  a  person
      not accused before it has also committed the offence,  it  may  summon
      such person under Section 319 Cr.P.C.


      70.   With respect to documentary evidence, it is sufficient,  as  can
      be seen from a bare perusal of Section 3 of the Evidence Act  as  well
      as the decision of the Constitution Bench, that a document is required
      to be produced and proved according to  law  to  be  called  evidence.
      Whether  such  evidence  is  relevant,   irrelevant,   admissible   or
      inadmissible, is a matter of trial.

      71.   It is, therefore, clear that the word “evidence” in Section  319
      Cr.P.C. means only such evidence as  is  made  before  the  court,  in
      relation to statements, and as produced before the court, in  relation
      to documents. It is only such evidence that can be taken into  account
      by the Magistrate or the Court to decide whether power  under  Section
      319 Cr.P.C. is to be exercised  and  not  on  the  basis  of  material
      collected during investigation.



      72.   The  inquiry  by  the  court  is  neither  attributable  to  the
      investigation nor  the  prosecution,  but  by  the  court  itself  for
      collecting information to draw back a  curtain  that  hides  something
      material. It is the duty of the court to do so and therefore the power
      to perform this duty is provided under the Cr.P.C.




      73.   The unveiling of facts other than the material collected  during
      investigation before the magistrate or  court  before  trial  actually
      commences is part of the process of inquiry. Such facts when  recorded
      during trial are evidence. It is evidence only on  the  basis  whereof
      trial can be held, but can the same definition  be  extended  for  any
      other material collected during inquiry by the magistrate or court for
      the purpose of Section 319 Cr.P.C.?




      74.   An inquiry can be conducted by the magistrate or  court  at  any
      stage during the proceedings before the court. This power is preserved
      with the court and has to be  read  and  understood  accordingly.  The
      outcome of any such exercise should not be an impediment in the speedy
      trial of the case.




      75.   Though the facts so received by the magistrate or the court  may
      not be evidence, yet it is some material that makes things  clear  and
      unfolds  concealed  or  deliberately  suppressed  material  that   may
      facilitate the trial. In the context of Section 319 Cr.P.C. it  is  an
      information of complicity. Such material therefore, can be  used  even
      though not an evidence in stricto sensuo, but an information on record
      collected by the  court  during  inquiry  itself,  as  a  prima  facie
      satisfaction for exercising the powers as presently involved.




      76.   This pre-trial stage is a stage where  no  adjudication  on  the
      evidence of the offences involved takes place and therefore, after the
      material alongwith the charge-sheet has been brought before the court,
      the same can be inquired into in order  to  effectively  proceed  with
      framing of charges. After the charges are framed, the  prosecution  is
      asked to lead evidence and till that is done,  there  is  no  evidence
      available in the strict legal sense of Section 3 of the Evidence  Act.
      The actual trial of the offence by bringing  the  accused  before  the
      court has still not begun. What is available is the material that  has
      been submitted before the court along with the charge-sheet.  In  such
      situation, the court only has the preparatory material that  has  been
      placed before the court for its consideration in order to proceed with
      the trial by framing of charges.




      77.   It is, therefore, not any material that can be utilised,  rather
      it is that material after cognizance is taken  by  a  court,  that  is
      available to it while making an inquiry into  or  trying  an  offence,
      that the court can utilize or take into consideration  for  supporting
      reasons to summon any person on the basis of evidence  adduced  before
      the Court, who may be on the basis of such material, treated to be  an
      accomplice in the commission of the offence.  The inference  that  can
      be drawn is that material  which  is  not  exactly  evidence  recorded
      before the court, but is a material collected by  the  court,  can  be
      utilised to corroborate evidence already recorded for the  purpose  of
      summoning any other person, other than the accused.




      78.   This would harmonise such material with the word  ‘evidence’  as
      material  that  would  be  supportive  in  nature  to  facilitate  the
      exposition of any other accomplice whose complicity in the offence may
      have either been suppressed or escaped the notice of the court.




      79.   The word “evidence” therefore has to be understood in its  wider
      sense both at the stage of trial and, as discussed  earlier,  even  at
      the stage of inquiry, as used under Section  319  Cr.P.C.  The  court,
      therefore, should be understood to have the power to  proceed  against
      any person after summoning him on the basis of any  such  material  as
      brought forth before it.  The duty and obligation of the court becomes
      more onerous to invoke such powers cautiously on such  material  after
      evidence has been led during trial.


      80.   In  view  of  the  discussion  made  and  the  conclusion  drawn
      hereinabove, the answer to the aforesaid question posed is that  apart
      from evidence recorded  during  trial,  any  material  that  has  been
      received by the court after cognizance is taken and before  the  trial
      commences, can be utilised only for corroboration and to  support  the
      evidence recorded by the court to invoke the power under  Section  319
      Cr.P.C.  The ‘evidence’ is thus,  limited  to  the  evidence  recorded
      during trial.
      Q.(ii)       Does the word ‘evidence’ in Section 319 Cr.P.C. means  as
      arising  in  Examination-in-Chief  or  also   together   with   Cross-
      Examination?


      81.   The second question referred to herein is  in  relation  to  the
      word `evidence` as used under Section 319  Cr.P.C.,  which  leaves  no
      room for doubt that the evidence as understood under Section 3 of  the
      Evidence Act is the statement  of  the  witnesses  that  are  recorded
      during trial and the  documentary  evidence  in  accordance  with  the
      Evidence Act, which also includes the document and  material  evidence
      in the Evidence Act.  Such evidence begins with the statement  of  the
      prosecution witnesses,  therefore,  is  evidence  which  includes  the
      statement during examination-in-chief.  In Rakesh (Supra), it was held
      that “It is true that finally at the time of trial the accused  is  to
      be given an opportunity to  cross-examine  the  witness  to  test  its
      truthfulness. But that stage would  not  arise  while  exercising  the
      court’s power under Section 319 CrPC. Once the deposition is recorded,
      no doubt there being no cross-examination, it would be a  prima  facie
      material which would enable  the  Sessions  Court  to  decide  whether
      powers under Section 319 should be exercised or not.” In Ranjit  Singh
      (Supra), this Court held that “it is not necessary for  the  court  to
      wait until the entire evidence is collected,” for exercising the  said
      power. In Mohd. Shafi (Supra), it was held that the pre-requisite  for
      exercise of power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. was  the  satisfaction  of
      the court to proceed against a  person  who  is  not  an  accused  but
      against whom evidence occurs, for which the court can even  wait  till
      the cross examination is over and that there would be no illegality in
      doing so. A similar view has been taken by a two-Judge  Bench  in  the
      case of Harbhajan Singh & Anr. v. State of Punjab & Anr. (2009) 13 SCC
      608. This Court in Hardeep Singh (Supra) seems  to  have  misread  the
      judgment in Mohd.  Shafi  (Supra),  as  it  construed  that  the  said
      judgment laid down that for the exercise of power  under  Section  319
      Cr.P.C., the court has to necessarily wait till the witness  is  cross
      examined and  on  complete  appreciation  of  evidence,  come  to  the
      conclusion whether there is  a  need  to  proceed  under  Section  319
      Cr.P.C.


      82.   We have given our thoughtful consideration to the diverse  views
      expressed in the aforementioned cases.  Once  examination-in-chief  is
      conducted, the statement becomes part of the record. It is evidence as
      per law and in the true sense, for at best, it may be  rebuttable.  An
      evidence  being  rebutted  or  controverted  becomes   a   matter   of
      consideration, relevance and belief, which is the stage of judgment by
      the court. Yet it is evidence and it is material on the basis  whereof
      the court can come to a prima facie opinion as to complicity  of  some
      other person who may be connected with the offence.




      83.   As held in Mohd. Shafi (Supra) and Harbhajan Singh (Supra),  all
      that is required for the exercise  of  the  power  under  Section  319
      Cr.P.C. is that, it must appear to the court that  some  other  person
      also who is not facing the trial, may also have been involved  in  the
      offence. The pre-requisite for the exercise of this power  is  similar
      to the prima facie view which the magistrate must come to in order  to
      take cognizance of the offence. Therefore, no straight-jacket  formula
      can and should be  laid  with  respect  to  conditions  precedent  for
      arriving at such an opinion and, if the Magistrate/Court is  convinced
      even on the basis of evidence appearing  in  Examination-in-Chief,  it
      can exercise the power under  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  and  can  proceed
      against such other person(s). It is essential to note that the Section
      also uses the words ‘such person could be tried’ instead of should  be
      tried. Hence, what is required is not to have  a  mini-trial  at  this
      stage by  having  examination  and  cross-examination  and  thereafter
      rendering a decision on the overt act of  such  person  sought  to  be
      added. In fact, it is this mini-trial that would affect the  right  of
      the person sought to be arraigned as an accused rather than not having
      any cross-examination at all, for in light of sub-section 4 of Section
      319 Cr.P.C., the person would be entitled to a fresh  trial  where  he
      would have all  the  rights  including  the  right  to  cross  examine
      prosecution witnesses and examine defence witnesses  and  advance  his
      arguments upon the same. Therefore, even on the basis of  Examination-
      in-Chief, the Court or the Magistrate can proceed against a person  as
      long as the court is satisfied that  the  evidence  appearing  against
      such person is such that it prima  facie  necessitates  bringing  such
      person to face trial. In fact, Examination-in-Chief untested by  Cross
      Examination, undoubtedly in itself, is an evidence.


      84.   Further, in our opinion, there does not seem  to  be  any  logic
      behind waiting till the cross-examination of the witness is  over.  It
      is to be kept in mind that at the time  of  exercise  of  power  under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C., the person sought to be arraigned as an  accused,
      is in no way participating in the trial. Even if the cross-examination
      is to be taken into consideration, the person sought to  be  arraigned
      as an accused cannot cross examine the witness(s) prior to passing  of
      an order under Section  319  Cr.P.C.,  as  such  a  procedure  is  not
      contemplated by the Cr.P.C. Secondly, invariably the State  would  not
      oppose or object to naming of more persons as an accused as  it  would
      only help the prosecution in completing the chain of evidence,  unless
      the witness(s) is obliterating the  role  of  persons  already  facing
      trial.  More so, Section 299  Cr.P.C.  enables  the  court  to  record
      evidence in absence of the  accused  in  the  circumstances  mentioned
      therein.


      85.   Thus, in view of the above, we hold that power under Section 319
      Cr.P.C. can be exercised at the stage of completion of examination  in
      chief and court does not need to wait till the said evidence is tested
      on cross-examination for it is the satisfaction of the court which can
      be gathered from the reasons recorded by  the  court,  in  respect  of
      complicity of some other  person(s),  not  facing  the  trial  in  the
      offence.

      Q. (iv) What is the degree of satisfaction required for  invoking  the
      power under Section 319 Cr.P.C.?




      86.   Section 319(1) Cr.P.C. empowers the  court  to  proceed  against
      other persons who appear to  be  guilty  of  offence,  though  not  an
      accused before the court.

            The word “appear” means  “clear  to  the  comprehension”,  or  a
      phrase near to, if not synonymous with “proved”.  It imparts a  lesser
      degree of probability than proof.




      87.   In Pyare Lal Bhargava v. The State of  Rajasthan,  AIR  1963  SC
      1094, a four-Judge Bench of this Court was concerned with the  meaning
      of the word ‘appear’. The court held that the appropriate  meaning  of
      the  word  ‘appears’  is  ‘seems’.  It  imports  a  lesser  degree  of
      probability than proof. In Ram Singh & Ors.   v.  Ram  Niwas  &  Anr.,
      (2009) 14 SCC 25, a two-Judge Bench of this Court was  again  required
      to examine the importance of the word ‘appear’  as  appearing  in  the
      Section. The Court held that for the fulfillment of the condition that
      it appears to the court that a person had committed  an  offence,  the
      court must satisfy  itself  about  the  existence  of  an  exceptional
      circumstance enabling it to exercise  an  extraordinary  jurisdiction.
      What is, therefore,  necessary  for  the  court  is  to  arrive  at  a
      satisfaction that the evidence adduced on behalf of  the  prosecution,
      if unrebutted, may lead to conviction of  the  persons  sought  to  be
      added as an accused in the case.

      88.   At the time of taking cognizance, the court has to see whether a
      prima facie case is made out to proceed against  the  accused.   Under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C., though the test of prima facie case is the  same,
      the degree of satisfaction that is required is much stricter.  A  two-
      Judge Bench of this Court in Vikas v. State of  Rajasthan,  2013  (11)
      SCALE 23, held that on the  objective  satisfaction  of  the  court  a
      person may be 'arrested' or 'summoned', as the  circumstances  of  the
      case may require, if it appears from the evidence that any such person
      not being the accused has committed an offence for which  such  person
      could be tried together with the already arraigned accused persons.




      89.   In Rajendra Singh (Supra), the Court observed:

            “Be it noted, the court need  not  be  satisfied  that  he  has
           committed an offence. It need only appear  to  it  that  he  has
           committed an offence. In other words, from the evidence it  need
           only appear to it that someone else has committed an offence, to
           exercise jurisdiction under Section 319 of the Code. Even  then,
           it has a discretion not to proceed, since the expression used is
           “may” and not “shall”.  The  legislature  apparently  wanted  to
           leave that discretion to the trial court so as to enable  it  to
           exercise its jurisdiction under  this  section.  The  expression
           “appears” indicates an application of mind by the court  to  the
           evidence that has come before it and then taking a  decision  to
           proceed under Section 319 of the Code or not.”




      90.   In Mohd. Shafi (Supra), this Court held that it is evident  that
      before a court exercises its discretionary jurisdiction  in  terms  of
      Section 319 Cr.P.C., it must  arrive  at  a  satisfaction  that  there
      exists a possibility that the accused so summoned  in  all  likelihood
      would be convicted.




      91.   In Sarabjit Singh & Anr. v. State of Punjab & Anr., AIR 2009  SC
      2792, while explaining the scope of Section 319 Cr.P.C.,  a  two-Judge
      Bench of this Court observed:

           “….For the aforementioned purpose, the courts  are  required  to
           apply stringent tests; one of the tests being  whether  evidence
           on record is such which would reasonably lead to  conviction  of
           the person sought to be  summoned……Whereas  the  test  of  prima
           facie case may be sufficient for taking cognizance of an offence
           at the stage of framing of charge, the court must  be  satisfied
           that there exists a strong suspicion. While  framing  charge  in
           terms of Section 227 of the Code, the court  must  consider  the
           entire materials on record to form an opinion that the  evidence
           if unrebutted would lead to a judgment of conviction. Whether  a
           higher standard be set  up  for  the  purpose  of  invoking  the
           jurisdiction under Section 319 of the Code is the question.  The
           answer to these questions should be rendered in the affirmative.
           Unless a higher standard for the purpose of forming  an  opinion
           to summon a person as an additional accused is  laid  down,  the
           ingredients thereof viz. (i) an extraordinary case, and  (ii)  a
           case for sparingly (sic sparing) exercise of jurisdiction, would
           not be satisfied.”
                                                         (Emphasis added)


      92.   In Brindaban Das &  Ors. v. State of West Bengal,  AIR  2009  SC
      1248, a two-Judge Bench of this Court took a  similar  view  observing
      that the court is required to consider whether such evidence would  be
      sufficient to convict the person being  summoned.  Since  issuance  of
      summons under Section 319 Cr.P.C. entails a de novo trial and a  large
      number of witnesses may have been examined  and  their  re-examination
      could prejudice the prosecution and delay the trial, the  trial  court
      has to exercise such discretion with great care and perspicacity.
            A similar view has been re-iterated by  this  Court  in  Michael
      Machado & Anr. v. Central Bureau of Investigation & Ors., AIR 2000  SC
      1127.


      93.   However, there is a series of cases  wherein  this  Court  while
      dealing with the provisions of Sections 227, 228, 239, 240,  241,  242
      and 245 Cr.P.C., has consistently held that  the court at the stage of
      framing of the charge has to apply its mind to the question whether or
      not there is any ground for presuming the commission of an offence  by
      the accused.  The court has to see as to whether the material  brought
      on record reasonably connect the accused  with  the  offence.  Nothing
      more is required to be enquired into. While dealing with the aforesaid
      provisions, the test of prima facie case is to be applied.  The  Court
      has to find out whether the materials offered by the prosecution to be
      adduced as evidence are sufficient for the court  to  proceed  against
      the accused further. (Vide: State of  Karnataka  v.  L.  Munishwamy  &
      Ors., AIR 1977 SC 1489; All India Bank Officers' Confederation etc. v.
      Union of India & Ors.,  AIR  1989  SC  2045;  Stree  Atyachar  Virodhi
      Parishad v. Dilip Nathumal Chordia, (1989) 1 SCC 715; State of M.P. v.
      Dr. Krishna Chandra Saksena, (1996) 11 SCC 439; and State of  M.P.  v.
      Mohan Lal Soni, AIR 2000 SC 2583).


      94.   In Dilawar Babu Kurane v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2002 SC 564,
      this Court while dealing with the provisions of Sections 227  and  228
      Cr.P.C., placed a very heavy reliance on the earlier judgment of  this
      Court in Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal & Anr.,  AIR  1979  SC
      366 and held that while  considering  the  question  of   framing  the
      charges, the court may weigh the evidence for the limited  purpose  of
      finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused  has
      been made out and whether  the  materials  placed  before  this  Court
      disclose grave suspicion  against  the  accused  which  has  not  been
      properly explained.  In such an eventuality, the court is justified in
      framing the charges and proceeding with the trial.  The court  has  to
      consider the broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of  the
      evidence and the documents produced before the court but court  should
      not make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons  of  the  matter  and
      weigh evidence as if it is conducting a trial.


      95.   In Suresh v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2001 SC 1375, this  Court
      after taking note of the earlier judgments  in  Niranjan  Singh  Karam
      Singh Punjabi v. Jitendra Bhimraj Bijjaya, AIR 1990 SC 1962 and  State
      of Maharashtra v. Priya Sharan Maharaj,  AIR 1997  SC  2041,  held  as
      under:
            “9.……at the stage of Sections 227 and 228 the Court is required
           to evaluate the material and documents on record with a view  to
           finding out if the facts emerging therefrom taken at their  face
           value disclose the existence of all the ingredients constituting
           the alleged offence. The Court may, for  this  limited  purpose,
           sift the evidence as it cannot be expected even at that  initial
           stage to accept all that the prosecution states as gospel  truth
           even if it is opposed to common sense or the broad probabilities
           of the case. Therefore, at the stage of framing  of  the  charge
           the Court has to consider the material with a view to  find  out
           if there is ground for presuming that the accused has  committed
           the  offence  or  that  there  is  not  sufficient  ground   for
           proceeding against him and not for the purpose  of  arriving  at
           the conclusion that it is not likely to lead to  a  conviction.”
                           (Emphasis supplied)




      96.   Similarly in State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh, AIR 1977  SC  2018,
      while dealing with the issue, this Court held:
           “……If the evidence which the Prosecutor proposes  to  adduce  to
           prove the guilt of the accused even if fully accepted before  it
           is challenged in cross-examination or rebutted  by  the  defence
           evidence, if any, cannot show that  the  accused  committed  the
           offence, then there will be no sufficient ground for  proceeding
           with the trial…..”




      97.   In Palanisamy Gounder & Anr. v. State, represented by  Inspector
      of Police, (2005) 12 SCC 327, this Court deprecated  the  practice  of
      invoking the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. just to conduct a fishing
      inquiry, as in that case, the trial court exercised that power just to
      find out the real truth, though there was no valid ground  to  proceed
      against the person summoned by the court.


      98.   Power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. is a discretionary and an extra-
      ordinary power. It is to be exercised  sparingly  and  only  in  those
      cases where the circumstances of the case so warrant. It is not to  be
      exercised because the Magistrate or  the  Sessions  Judge  is  of  the
      opinion that some other person may also be guilty of  committing  that
      offence. Only where strong and cogent evidence occurs against a person
      from the evidence led before the  court  that  such  power  should  be
      exercised and not in a casual and cavalier manner.




      99.   Thus, we hold that though only a  prima  facie  case  is  to  be
      established from the evidence led before  the  court  not  necessarily
      tested on the anvil of Cross-Examination, it  requires  much  stronger
      evidence than mere probability of his complicity. The test that has to
      be applied is one which is more than prima facie case as exercised  at
      the time of framing of charge, but short of satisfaction to an  extent
      that the evidence, if goes unrebutted, would lead  to  conviction.  In
      the absence of  such  satisfaction,  the  court  should  refrain  from
      exercising power under Section 319 Cr.P.C.  In Section 319 Cr.P.C. the
      purpose of providing if ‘it appears from the evidence that any  person
      not being the accused has committed any offence’  is  clear  from  the
      words “for  which  such  person  could  be  tried  together  with  the
      accused.”  The words used are not ‘for  which  such  person  could  be
      convicted’.  There is, therefore, no scope for the Court acting  under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C. to form  any  opinion  as  to  the  guilt  of  the
      accused.

      Q.(v)  In  what  situations  can  the  power  under  this  section  be
      exercised: Not named in FIR; Named in the FIR but  not  charge-sheeted
      or has been discharged?



      100.  In Joginder Singh & Anr. v. State of Punjab & Anr., AIR 1979  SC
      339, a three-Judge Bench of  this  Court  held  that  as  regards  the
      contention  that  the  phrase  “any  person  not  being  the  accused”
      occurring in Section  319  Cr.P.C.  excludes  from  its  operation  an
      accused who has been released by the police under Section 169  Cr.P.C.
      and has been shown in Column 2 of the charge-sheet, the contention has
      merely to be rejected. The said expression clearly covers  any  person
      who is not being tried already by the Court and the  very  purpose  of
      enacting such a provision like Section 319 (1) Cr.P.C.  clearly  shows
      that  even  persons  who  have  been  dropped  by  the  police  during
      investigation but against whom evidence showing their  involvement  in
      the offence comes before the criminal court, are included in the  said
      expression.


      101.  In Anju Chaudhary v. State of U.P. & Anr., (2013) 6 SCC  384,  a
      two-Judge Bench of this Court held that even in the cases where report
      under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. is filed in the court  and  investigation
      records the name of a person in Column 2, or even does  not  name  the
      person as an accused at all, the  court  in  exercise  of  its  powers
      vested under Section 319 Cr.P.C. can summon the person as  an  accused
      and even at that stage of summoning, no hearing is contemplated  under
      the law.


      102.  In Suman v. State of Rajasthan & Anr., AIR 2010 SC 518,  a  two-
      Judge Bench of this Court  observed  that  there  is  nothing  in  the
      language of this sub-section from which it  can  be  inferred  that  a
      person who is named in the FIR or complaint, but against whom  charge-
      sheet is not filed by the police, cannot  be  proceeded  against  even
      though in the course of any inquiry into or trial of any offence,  the
      court finds that such person has committed an  offence  for  which  he
      could be tried together with the other accused. In Lal Suraj  (supra),
      a two-Judge Bench held  that  there  is  no  dispute  with  the  legal
      proposition that even if a person had not been charge-sheeted, he  may
      come within the purview  of  the  description  of  such  a  person  as
      contained in Section 319 Cr.P.C. A similar view had been taken in  Lok
      Ram  (Supra), wherein it was held that a person, though had  initially
      been named in the FIR as an accused, but not charge-sheeted, can  also
      be added to face the trial.


      103.  Even the Constitution Bench in Dharam Pal (CB) has held that the
      Sessions Court can also exercise its original jurisdiction and  summon
      a person as an accused in case his name appears in  Column  2  of  the
      chargesheet, once the case had been committed to it.  It means that  a
      person whose  name  does  not  appear  even  in  the  FIR  or  in  the
      chargesheet or whose name appears in the FIR and not in the main  part
      of the chargesheet but in Column 2 and has not  been  summoned  as  an
      accused in exercise of the powers under Section 193 Cr.P.C. can  still
      be summoned by the court, provided the court  is  satisfied  that  the
      conditions provided in the said statutory provisions stand  fulfilled.




      104.  However, there is a great difference with regard to a person who
      has been discharged. A person who has  been  discharged  stands  on  a
      different  footing  than  a  person  who  was   never   subjected   to
      investigation or if subjected  to,  but  not  charge-sheeted.  Such  a
      person has stood the stage  of  inquiry  before  the  court  and  upon
      judicial examination of the material collected  during  investigation;
      the court had come to the conclusion that there is not  even  a  prima
      facie case to proceed against such person.  Generally,  the  stage  of
      evidence in trial is merely  proving  the  material  collected  during
      investigation and therefore, there is not much change as  regards  the
      material existing against the person so discharged.  Therefore,  there
      must exist compelling circumstances to exercise such power. The  Court
      should keep in mind that the witness when giving evidence against  the
      person so discharged, is not doing so merely to  seek  revenge  or  is
      naming him at the behest of  someone  or  for  such  other  extraneous
      considerations. The court has  to  be  circumspect  in  treating  such
      evidence and try to separate the chaff from the grain. If  after  such
      careful examination of the evidence, the court is of the opinion  that
      there does exist evidence to proceed against the person so discharged,
      it may take steps but only in  accordance  with  Section  398  Cr.P.C.
      without resorting to the provision of Section 319 Cr.P.C. directly.


      105.  In Sohan Lal & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan, (1990) 4 SCC  580,  a
      two-Judge Bench of this Court held  that  once  an  accused  has  been
      discharged, the procedure for  enquiry  envisaged  under  Section  398
      Cr.P.C. cannot be  circumvented  by  prescribing  to  procedure  under
      Section 319 Cr.P.C.
      106.  In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Ram Kishan Rohtagi &  Ors.,
      AIR 1983 SC 67, this Court held that if the  prosecution  can  at  any
      stage produce evidence which satisfies the court that those  who  have
      not been arraigned as accused or against whom  proceedings  have  been
      quashed,  have  also  committed  the  offence,  the  Court  can   take
      cognizance against them under Section 319 Cr.P.C. and try  them  along
      with the other accused.


      107.  Power under Section 398 Cr.P.C. is in the nature  of  revisional
      power which can be exercised only by the High Court  or  the  Sessions
      Judge, as the case may be. According to Section  300  (5)  Cr.P.C.,  a
      person discharged under Section 258 Cr.P.C. shall not be  tried  again
      for the same offence except with the consent of the Court by which  he
      was discharged or of any other  Court  to  which  the  first-mentioned
      Court is subordinate. Further, Section 398 Cr.P.C. provides  that  the
      High Court or  the  Sessions  Judge  may  direct  the  Chief  Judicial
      Magistrate by himself or by any of the Magistrate subordinate  to  him
      to make an inquiry into the case against any person  who  has  already
      been discharged.



      108.  Both these provisions contemplate an  inquiry  to  be  conducted
      before any person, who has already been discharged, is asked to  again
      face trial if some evidence appears  against  him.  As  held  earlier,
      Section 319 Cr.P.C. can also be invoked at the stage of inquiry. We do
      not see any reason why  inquiry  as  contemplated  by  Section  300(5)
      Cr.P.C. and Section 398 Cr.P.C. cannot be an inquiry under Section 319
      Cr.P.C. Accordingly, a person discharged can also be  arraigned  again
      as an accused but only after an inquiry as  contemplated  by  Sections
      300(5) and 398 Cr.P.C. If during or after such inquiry, there  appears
      to be an evidence against such person, power under Section 319 Cr.P.C.
      can be exercised. We may clarify that the word ‘trial’  under  Section
      319 Cr.P.C. would be eclipsed by virtue of above  provisions  and  the
      same cannot be invoked so far as a person discharged is concerned, but
      no more.




      109.  Thus, it is evident that power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. can  be
      exercised against a person not subjected to investigation, or a person
      placed in the Column 2 of the Charge-Sheet and against whom cognizance
      had not been taken, or a person  who  has  been  discharged.  However,
      concerning a person who has been discharged,  no  proceedings  can  be
      commenced against him  directly  under  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  without
      taking recourse to provisions of Section 300(5) read with Section  398
      Cr.P.C.

      ?

      110. We accordingly sum up our conclusions as follows:

      Question Nos.1 & III

      Q.1 What is the stage at which power under Section 319  Cr.P.C. can be
      exercised?

                                     AND

      Q.III Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1)  Cr.P.C.  has
      been used in a comprehensive sense and includes the evidence collected
      during investigation or the word "evidence" is limited to the evidence
      recorded during trial?

      A. In Dharam Pal's case, the Constitution Bench has already held  that
      after committal, cognizance of an  offence  can  be  taken  against  a
      person not  named  as  an  accused  but  against  whom  materials  are
      available from the papers filed by  the  police  after  completion  of
      investigation. Such cognizance can be taken under Section 193  Cr.P.C.
      and the Sessions Judge need not wait till 'evidence' under Section 319
      Cr.P.C. becomes available for summoning an additional accused.

      ?      Section 319 Cr.P.C., significantly, uses  two  expressions  that
      have to be taken note of i.e.  (1)  Inquiry  (2)  Trial.  As  a  trial
      commences after framing of charge, an inquiry can only  be  understood
      to be a pre-trial inquiry. Inquiries  under  Sections  200,  201,  202
      Cr.P.C.; and under Section 398 Cr.P.C.  are  species  of  the  inquiry
      contemplated by Section 319 Cr.P.C. Materials coming before the  Court
      in course of such enquiries can  be  used  for  corroboration  of  the
      evidence recorded in the court after  the  trial  commences,  for  the
      exercise of power under Section  319  Cr.P.C.,  and  also  to  add  an
      accused whose name has been shown in Column 2 of the chargesheet.

           In view of the above position the word 'evidence' in Section 319
      Cr.P.C. has to  be  broadly  understood  and  not  literally  i.e.  as
      evidence brought during a trial.

      Question No. II

      Q.II Whether the word "evidence" used in Section 319(1) Cr.P.C.  could
      only mean evidence  tested  by  cross-examination  or  the  court  can
      exercise the power under the said provision even on the basis  of  the
      statement made in the examination-in-chief of the witness concerned?

      ?A. Considering the fact  that  under  Section  319  Cr.P.C.  a  person
      against whom material is disclosed is only summoned to face the  trial
      and in such an event  under  Section  319(4)  Cr.P.C.  the  proceeding
      against such person is  to  commence  from  the  stage  of  taking  of
      cognizance, the Court need not  wait  for  the  evidence  against  the
      accused proposed to be summoned to be tested by cross-examination.

      Question No. IV

      Q.IV What is the nature of the satisfaction  required  to  invoke  the
      power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. to arraign  an  accused?  Whether  the
      power under Section 319 (1) Cr.P.C. can be exercised only if the court
      is satisfied that the accused  summoned  will  in  all  likelihood  be
      convicted?

      A. Though under Section 319(4)(b)  Cr.P.C.  the  accused  subsequently
      impleaded is to be treated as if he had been an accused when the Court
      initially took cognizance of the offence, the degree  of  satisfaction
      that will be required for summoning a person under Section 319 Cr.P.C.
      would be the same as for ?framing  a  charge.  The  difference  in  the
      degree of satisfaction  for  summoning  the  original  accused  and  a
      subsequent accused is on account of the fact that the trial  may  have
      already commenced against the original accused and it is in the course
      of such trial that materials are disclosed against the newly  summoned
      accused. Fresh summoning of an accused will result  in  delay  of  the
      trial - therefore the degree of satisfaction for summoning the accused
      (original and subsequent) has to be different.

      Question No.V

      Q.V Does the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C.  extend  to  persons  not
      named in the FIR or named in the FIR but not chargesheeted or who have
      been discharged?

      A.    A person not named in the FIR or a person though  named  in  the
      FIR but has not been chargesheeted or a person who has been discharged
      can be summoned under Section 319 Cr.P.C. provided from  the  evidence
      it appears that such person  can  be  tried  along  with  the  accused
      already facing trial. However, in so far as an accused  who  has  been
      discharged is concerned the  requirement  of  ?Sections  300  and   398
      Cr.P.C. has to be complied with before he can be summoned afresh.

           The matters be placed before the  appropriate  Bench  for  final
      disposal in accordance with law explained hereinabove.




                                             ….………………...................CJI.
                            (P. SATHASIVAM)







                                   .….………………......................J.
                                             (DR. B.S. CHAUHAN)




      .............................................J.
                                                (RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)






                                   …........................................
                                   ......J.
                                             (RANJAN GOGOI)




                       …...............................................J.
                                                                       (S.A.
                       BOBDE)

      New Delhi,
                          January 10, 2014



      -----------------------
5




Sections 363, 369, 376, 394, 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 135(1) of the Bombay Police Act. - 6 years old child was raped murdered and her legs were chopped upto anklets for silver ornaments - Prosecution meshed up story of prosecution with all shorts of defects - all the case appears to be doubtful - sessions court awarded death sentence - High court set aside the order of sessions court and released accused under benefit of doubt - Apex court confirmed the same and with great pain gave directions to Home Department to frame guidelines to fasten accountability on erred prosecution agencies = State of Gujarat … Appellant Versus Kishanbhai Etc. … Respondents = 2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41139

posted 10 Jan 2014 06:59 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

Sections 363, 369, 376, 394,  302  and  201  of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 135(1) of the  Bombay  Police  Act. - 6 years old child was raped murdered and her legs were chopped upto anklets for silver ornaments - Prosecution meshed up story of  prosecution with all shorts of defects - all the case appears to be doubtful - sessions court awarded death sentence - High court set aside the order of sessions court and released  accused under benefit of doubt - Apex court confirmed the same and with great pain  gave directions to Home Department to frame guidelines to fasten accountability on erred prosecution agencies =

 It was alleged, that the accused had enticed Gomi with a “gola”  (crushed  ice,with sweet flavoured syrup), and thereupon had taken her  to  Jivi’s  field, where he raped her.  

He had murdered her by inflicting injuries on her  head and other parts of the body with bricks. 

In order to  steal  the  “jhanjris” (anklets) worn by her, he had chopped off her feet just  above  her  ankles. =

Prosecution failed to establish its case miserably = 


 Accordingly  we  direct,  the  Home

Department of every State Government, to formulate a  procedure  for  taking

action  against  all  erring  investigating/prosecuting  officials/officers.

All such erring officials/officers identified, as  responsible  for  failure

of a prosecution  case,  on  account  of  sheer  negligence  or  because  of

culpable lapses, must  suffer  departmental  action.   The  above  mechanism

formulated would infuse seriousness in the performance of investigating  and

prosecuting duties, and would ensure that investigation and prosecution  are

purposeful and decisive.  The instant direction shall also be  given  effect

to within 6 months.


22.   A copy of the instant judgment shall be transmitted  by  the  Registry

of this Court, to the Home Secretaries of all State  Governments  and  Union

Territories, within one week.  All the  concerned  Home  Secretaries,  shall

ensure  compliance  of  the  directions  recorded  above.   The  records  of

consideration, in compliance with the above direction, shall be maintained.


23.   We hope and trust the Home Department of the State  of  Gujarat,  will

identify the erring officers in the instant case, and will take  appropriate

departmental action against them,  as  may  be  considered  appropriate,  in

accordance with law.


24.   The instant criminal appeal is accordingly disposed of.


2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41139


                                                              ‘REPORTABLE’


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1485 OF 2008



State of Gujarat                                   … Appellant


                                   Versus


Kishanbhai Etc.                                    … Respondents




                               J U D G M E N T



Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.



1.    A complaint was  lodged  at  Navrangpura  Police  Station,  Ahmedabad,

alleging the  kidnapping/abduction  of  a  six  year  old  girl  child  Gomi

daughter of Keshabhai Mathabhai Solanki and Laliben on 27.2.2003  at  around

6:00 p.m. by the accused Kishanbhai son of Velabhai  Vanabhai  Marwadi.

 It was alleged, that the accused had enticed Gomi with a “gola”  (crushed  ice,with sweet flavoured syrup), and thereupon had taken her  to  Jivi’s  field, where he raped her.  

He had murdered her by inflicting injuries on her  head

and other parts of the body with bricks. 

In order to  steal  the  “jhanjris” (anklets) worn by her, he had chopped off her feet just  above  her  ankles.

The aforesaid complaint was lodged, after the body of the deceased Gomi  was

found from Jivi’s field, at the instance of the accused Kishanbhai.  

On  the

receipt of the above complaint, the first  information  report  came  to  be

registered at Navrangpur Police Station, Ahmedabad.


2.  The prosecution version which emerged consequent upon the completion  of

the investigation  reveals,  that  the  family  of  the  deceased  Gomi  was

distantly related to the family of the accused Kishanbhai.  In  this  behalf

it would be pertinent to mention that  Baghabhai  Naranbhai  Solanki  was  a

resident of Gulbai Tekra, in the Navrangpura area of Ahmedabad.  He  resided

there, along with his  family.   For  his  livelihood,  Baghabhai  Naranbhai

Solanki was running a shop in the name of Mahakali  Pan  Centre.   The  said

shop was located near  his  residence.    Baghabhai  Naranbhai  Solanki  was

running the business of selling “pan  and  bidi”  in  his  shop.   Naranbhai

Manabhai Solanki, father of Baghabhai Naranbhai Solanki used to live in  the

peon’s quarters at Ambavadi in Ahmedabad.  Modabhai Manabhai Solanki,  uncle

of Baghabhai Naranbhai Solanki, had expired.  His  son  Devabhai’s  daughter

Laliben, was married to Keshabhai Mathabhai  Solanki.   Keshabhai  Mathabhai

Solanki  and  Laliben  were  residing  at  Shabamukhiwas,  Gulbai  Tekra  in

Ahmedabad.  Keshabhai Mathabhai Solanki and  Laliben  had  two  children,  a

daughter Gomi aged six years, and a son Himat aged three  years.   Laliben’s

sister-in-law (her husband’s, elder brother’s  wife)  Fuliben  Valabhai  was

residing near the residence of  Keshabhai  Mathabhai  Solanki  and  Laliben.

Kishanbhai the accused, is the brother of Fuliben,  and  was  residing  with

her.  It is therefore, that the family of the deceased as also the  accused,

besides being distantly related, were acquainted with one  another  as  they

were residing close to one another.


3.    Insofar as the occurrence is concerned, according to the  prosecution,

on 27.2.2003 Laliben, niece of Baghabhai, was confined to her residence,  as

she was expecting.  

At about 6:00  p.m.  her  daughter  Gomi,  then  aged  6

years, had wandered out of her house.  

The accused Kishanbhai then  aged  19

years, entice her by giving  her  a  “gola”.   

Having  enticed  her  he  had

carried Gomi to Jivi’s field.  On the way to Jivi’s field, he stole a  knife

with an 8 inch blade from Dineshbhai  Karsanbhai  Thakore  PW6,  a  “dabeli”

(bread/bun, with spiced  potato  filling)  seller.   Having  taken  Gomi  to

Jivi’s field he had raped her.  He had then killed her by  causing  injuries

on her head and other parts of the body with bricks.   In  order  to  remove

the “jhanjris” worn by her, he had amputated her legs with the knife  stolen

by him, from just above her ankles.  He had then covered her body  with  his

shirt, and had left Jivi’s field.  Kishanbhai the  accused,  then  took  the

anklets stolen by him to  Mahavir  Jewellers,  a  shop  owned  by  Premchand

Shankerlal.  He pledged the  anklets  at  the  above  shop,  for  a  sum  of

Rs.1,000/-.  

The accused Kishanbhai was confronted by Baghabhai  and  others

constituting the search party,  whilst  he  was  on  his  way  back  to  his

residence.  

Kishanbhai, despite stating that he had not taken her away,  had

informed those searching for Gomi, that she could be at  Jivi’s  field.   On

the suggestion of Kishanbhai, the search party  had  gone  to  Jivi’s  farm,

where they found the body of Gomi.


4.     Based  on  the  aforesaid  fact  situation,  confirmed  through   the

investigation carried on by the Police, a charge-sheet  was  framed  against

the accused Kishanbhai under Sections 363, 369, 376, 394,  302  and  201  of

the Indian Penal Code, and Section 135(1) of the  Bombay  Police  Act.  

The

above charge-sheet was filed before the Metropolitan Magistrate,  Ahmedabad.

 Since the offences involved could be tried only by a Court of Session,  the

Metropolitan Magistrate, committed the matter to the Court of  Session.   On

8.3.2004, the Sessions Court to which the matter came to  be  assigned,  for

trial, framed charges.  Since the accused Kishanbhai denied his  involvement

in the matter, the court permitted the prosecution to lead evidence.


5.  The prosecution examined 14 witnesses.  The  statement  of  the  accused

Kishanbhai was  thereafter  recorded  under  Section  313  of  the  Code  of

Criminal Procedure.  In his above statement, the accused  Kishanbhai  denied

his involvement.  Even though an opportunity was afforded to Kishanbhai,  he

did not lead any evidence in his  defence.  

After  examining  the  evidence

produced by the  prosecution,  the  Trial  Court  vide  its  judgment  dated

18.8.2004, arrived at  the  conclusion  that  prosecution  had  successfully

proved its  case  beyond  reasonable  doubt.   By  a  separate  order  dated

18.8.2004 the Trial Court sentenced Kishanbhai to death by hanging,  subject

to confirmation of the said  sentence  by  the  High  Court  of  Gujarat  at

Ahmedabad (hereinafter referred to as the ‘High Court’)  under  Section  366

of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


6.  In the above view of the matter, the proceedings conducted by the  Court

of Session, were placed before the High Court at the behest of the State  of

Gujarat,  as  Confirmation  Case  No.  7  of  2004.  

Independently  of  the

confirmation proceedings, the accused Kishanbhai, aggrieved by the  judgment

and order of sentence dated 18.8.2004, in Sessions Case  No.  346  of  2003,

filed Criminal Appeal No. 1549 of 2004 before the High Court.


7.    The criminal appeal filed by the accused Kishanbhai  was  accepted  by

the High Court.  Kishanbhai was acquitted  by  giving  him  the  benefit  of

doubt.  The Confirmation Case No. 7 of 2004 was turned down in view  of  the

judgment of acquittal rendered by the High  Court  while  allowing  Criminal

Appeal no. 1549 of 2004.


8.  Dissatisfied with the order passed by  the  High  Court,  the  State  of

Gujarat approached this Court  by  filing  Petition  for  Special  Leave  to

Appeal (Crl.) No. 599 of 2006.  On 11.9.2008 leave to  appeal  was  granted.

Thereupon, the matter came to be registered as Criminal Appeal No.  1485  of

2008.


9.    Before this Court, learned counsel for  the  appellant,  in  order  to

substantiate the guilt of the accused-respondent Kishanbhai,  has  tried  to

project that the prosecution was successful  in  demonstrating  an  unbroken

chain  of  circumstances,  clearly  establishing  the  culpability  of   the

accused.  In fact, the endeavour at the hands of  the  learned  counsel  for

the  appellant  was  to  project  an  unbroken  chain  of  circumstances  to

establish the guilt of the accused.  Despite the  defects  in  investigation

and the prosecution of the case, as also,  the  inconsistencies  highlighted

by the High Court in the  evidence  produced  by  the  prosecution,  learned

counsel for the State expressed confidence, to establish the  guilt  of  the

accused-respondent.  In this behalf, it is essential to record  the  various

heads under which submissions were advanced at  the  hands  of  the  learned

counsel for the appellant-State.  We  shall,  therefore,  briefly  summarise

all the contentions, and while doing so, refer to the  evidence  brought  to

our notice by the learned counsel for the appellant, to establish the  guilt

of the accused-respondent, Kishanbhai.

The submissions advanced  before  us

are accordingly being recorded hereunder :


(a)   First and foremost, learned counsel for the  appellant,  in  order  to

connect the accused with the crime under reference, extensively relied  upon

the  evidence  produced  by  the  prosecution  to  show  that  the  accused-

respondent Kishanbhai was last seen with the victim.   He  was  seen  taking

away the victim Gomi.  For the above, reliance was placed on  the  statement

of Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5, who had deposed  that  he  had  seen  the

deceased Gomi with the accused-respondent Kishanbhai on 27.2.2003 at  around

6:00 p.m.  As per his deposition, he had seen Gomi eating a  “gola”  outside

his (the witness’s) residence.  At the same juncture, he had also  seen  the

accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  coming  from  the   side   of   Polytechnic.

Kishanbhai, according  to  the  deposition  of  PW5,  had  approached  Gomi.

Thereafter, as per the statement of PW5, the accused had carried  away  Gomi

towards the side of the Polytechnic.  

In his testimony,  Naranbhai  Manabhai

Solanki PW5, had also stated, that at about 9:00 pm, when he had again  seen

the accused-respondent Kishanbhai  coming  from  the  road  leading  to  the

Gulbai Tekra Police Chowki, he was asked, by those who  were  searching  for

Gomi,  about  her  whereabouts.   

The  accused  was  also  asked  about  the

whereabouts of Gomi, by Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5 and by the son of  PW

5 i.e., by Bababhai  Naranbhai  Solanki  PW2.   To  the  aforesaid  queries,

according  to  Naranbhai  Manabhai  Solanki  PW5,   the   accused-respondent

Kishanbhai had stated, that she  might  be  sitting  in  Jivi’s  field.   In

addition to the testimony of Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5,  reference  was

also made to the testimony of Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6.   PW6,  during

his deposition, had asserted, that  the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  had

come to his “lari” (handcart used by hawkers, to sell  their  products)  for

purchasing a “dabeli”.  It was pointed out  by  Dinesh  Karshanbhai  Thakore

PW6, that he had noticed the accused  carrying  a  child  aged  about  seven

years, wearing a red frock.  In his statement, he  also  affirmed  that  the

accused-respondent Kishanbhai,  had  asked  him  for  a  knife  but  he  had

declined  to  give  it  to  him.   Thereupon,  whilst  leaving  his  “lari”,

Kishanbhai had stolen a knife from his “lari”.  It  was  also  pointed  out,

that  the  knife  recovered  at  the  instance  of  the   accused-respondent

Kishanbhai, was identified by  him  as  the  one  stolen  from  his  “lari”.

According to the learned counsel for the appellant, the last  seen  evidence

referred to above stands duly corroborated by  the  deposition  of  Bababhai

Naranbhai Solanki PW2, not only in his deposition before  the  Trial  Court,

but also in the complaint filed by him at the first instance  at  Navrangpur

Police Station, Ahmedabad, immediately after the recovery of the  dead  body

of Gomi from Jivi’s field.


(b)   Learned counsel for the appellant also laid emphasis on  the  recovery

of the weapon of offence, i.e., a blood stained knife, at  the  instance  of

none other than the accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  himself.   In  order  to

substantiate the instant  aspect  of  the  matter,  learned  counsel  placed

reliance on the testimony of Dinesh Karshanbhai  Thakore  PW6,  who  deposed

that the accused had visited his “lari” on the evening of 27.2.2003 for  the

purchase of a “dabeli”.  The accused respondent, as noticed earlier, as  per

the statement of Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6, was carrying a  small  girl

aged about 7 years.  He also deposed, that the accused-respondent had  asked

him for his knife, but upon his  refusal,  had  stolen  the  same  from  his

“lari”.  Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6, had identified the knife which  had

been recovered at the instance of the accused, as  the  one  stolen  by  the

accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  from  his  “lari”.   Additionally   it   was

submitted, that the accused had led the police to Jivi’s field,  from  where

he got recovered the murder weapon,  i.e.,  the  same  knife  which  he  had

stolen from the “lari” of Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6.  The  above  knife

had a blade measuring  eight  inches,  including  a  steel  handle  of  four

inches.  At the time of recovery of  the  knife,  the  same  had  stains  of

blood.  The above knife was recovered by the  police  on  1.3.2003,  in  the

presence of an independent witness, namely, Rameshbhai Lakhabhai Bhati  PW1,

who in his deposition clearly narrated,  that  the  knife  in  question  was

recovered from Jivi’s field, from under some stones at the instance  of  the

accused-respondent Kishanbhai.


(c)   Learned counsel for  the  appellant,  then  referred  to  the  medical

evidence produced by the prosecution, so  as  to  contend  that  the  wounds

inflicted on the person of Gomi, were with  the  murder  weapon,  i.e.,  the

knife recovered at the instance of the accused-respondent  Kishanbhai.   For

this, learned counsel  placed  reliance  on  the  statement  of  Dr.  Saumil

Premchandbhai Merchant PW8, who had conducted  the  post-mortem  examination

of the deceased Gomi on 28.2.2003.  In the post-mortem report, according  to

learned counsel, mention was  made  about  several  incised  injuries  which

could have been inflicted with the knife stolen  by  the  accused-respondent

Kishanbhai.  In this respect, reference was made  to  serial  No.14  of  the

post-mortem notes (Exhibit 29) proved by Dr. Saumil  Premchandbhai  Merchant

PW8, clearly indicating, that the injuries caused to the victim  which  have

been referred to at serial No.7, could  have  been  caused  with  the  knife

(muddamal Article No.19), i.e., the same knife, which had been recovered  at

the instance of the accused.  Even in the inquest  panchnama  (Exhibit  14),

it was recorded that both legs of the victim Gomi  were  mutated  from  just

above the ankle with a  sharp  weapon,  with  the  object  of  removing  the

anklets in the feet of the victim Gomi.  This  document,  according  to  the

learned counsel, also indicates the use of a knife in the  occurrence  under

reference.


(d)   It was also the submission of the learned counsel for  the  appellant,

that at the time of recovery of the body of the victim  from  Jivi’s  field,

the same was found to  be  covered  with  a  shirt  with  stripes.   It  was

submitted, that the aforesaid shirt was identified as the shirt worn by  the

accused-respondent Kishanbhai, when he was seen  carrying  away  the  victim

Gomi, on 27.2.2003.  In this behalf, reliance  was  placed  by  the  learned

counsel for the appellant, on the testimony of  Naranbhai  Manabhai  Solanki

PW5.  The above witnesses had identified the shirt as  a  white  shirt  with

lines.  To give credence to the  testimony  of  Naranbhai  Manabhai  Solanki

PW5, learned counsel also pointed out,  that  when  the  accused  was  found

coming from the direction of the police station after the commission of  the

crime, he was seen wearing a black  T-shirt.   The  statement  of  Naranbhai

Manabhai Solanki PW5, was sought to be corroborated with  the  statement  of

Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6.  The accused respondent is  stated  to  have

approached the “lari” of Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore  PW6  for  purchasing  a

“dabeli”, and at that juncture, the accused-respondent  is  stated  to  have

been wearing a white lined shirt, and a green trouser.  On the  recovery  of

the shirt and trouser, they were  marked  as  Mudammal  Articles  8  and  14

respectively.  Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6 had identified the  shirt,  as

also, the trouser during the course  of  his  deposition  before  the  Trial

Court.   The  green  trouser  worn  by  the  accused-respondent   was   also

identified  by  Bababhai  Naranbhai  Solanki  PW2.   Additionally,  Bababhai

Naranbhai Solanki PW2 deposed that a black colour T-shirt was  worn  by  the

accused-respondent when  he  was  apprehended  and  brought  to  the  police

station.  The above articles were also identified by Angha Lalabhai  Marwadi

PW12 and Naranbhai Lalbhai Desai PW13 who were the panch  witnesses  at  the

time of seizure of the abovementioned clothing.


(e)   It was also the submission of the learned counsel for  the  appellant,

that the report  of  the  forensic  science  laboratory  was  sufficient  to

confirm, that the accused respondent was the one who  was  involved  in  the

commission of the crime under reference.  In this  behalf,  it  was  pointed

out that the victim Gomi was shown to have blood  group  “B+ve”.   According

to the report of the Forensic Science Laboratory, the bricks recovered  from

the place of occurrence (which had been used  in  causing  injuries  on  the

head and other body parts of the victim), the panties worn by  the  deceased

victim Gomi, the white shirt which was found on the body of  the  victim  at

the time of its recovery from  Jivi’s  field,  the  T-shirt  and  the  green

trouser worn by the accused  respondent  Kishanbhai  (at  the  time  he  was

apprehended), and even the weapon of the crime, namely, the knife  recovered

at the instance  of  the  accused-respondent,  were  all  found  with  blood

stains.  The forensic report reveals that the blood stains on all the  above

articles were of blood group “B+ve”.  It was, therefore, the  submission  of

the learned counsel for  the  appellant,  that  the  accused-respondent  was

unmistakably shown to be connected with the crime under reference.


(f)   In  order  to  substantiate  the  motive  of  the  accused-respondent,

learned  counsel  for  the  appellant  relied  upon  the  statement  of  the

investigating officer Ranchhodji Bhojrajji Chauhan PW14, who had  stated  in

his  deposition  that  the  owner  of  Mahavir  Jewellers,  i.e.,  Premchand

Shankarlal  Mehta  had  presented  himself  at  the  police  station.    The

abovementioned jeweler is stated to  have  informed  the  police,  that  the

accused respondent Kishanbhai  had  pawned  the  anklets  belonging  to  the

victim  Gomi  with  him  for  a  sum  of   Rs.1,000/-.    Insofar   as   the

identification of the anklets  is  concerned,  reference  was  made  to  the

statement of Keshobhai Madanbhai Solanki PW7, i.e.,  father  of  the  victim

who had  identified  the  anklets  marked  as  Muddamal  Article  No.18,  as

belonging to his daughter Gomi, which she was  wearing  when  she  had  gone

missing.  Reference was also made to the statement of Jagdishbhai  Bhagabhai

Marwadi PW11, as also, the panchnama  of  recovery  of  the  silver  anklets

which also, according to  learned  counsel,  connects  the  accused  to  the

crime.


(g)   Last but not the least, learned  counsel  for  the  appellant  invited

this Court’s attention to  the  statement  tendered  by  the  accused  under

Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.  During  the  course  of  his

above testimony, he  was  confronted  with  the  evidence  of  the  relevant

witnesses depicting, that the victim Gomi was last seen in  his  company  at

6:00 p.m. on 27.2.2003.  He was also  confronted  with  the  fact,  that  he

himself had informed the search party, that Gomi  may  be  found  at  Jivi’s

field.  It is submitted, that the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai,  who  had

special knowledge about the  whereabouts  of  the  deceased,  was  bound  to

explain and prove when and where he had  parted  from  the  company  of  the

victim Gomi.  It was submitted that during  the  course  of  his  deposition

under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the accused  could  not

tender any satisfactory explanation.


Based on the above evidence, it was the submission of  the  learned  counsel

for the appellant, that even in the absence of any eye witness account,  the

prosecution should be held to  have  been  successful  in  establishing  the

guilt of the accused-respondent Kishanbhai through circumstantial  evidence.

 The claim of circumstantial  evidence  emerging  from  different  witnesses

summarized above, according to the learned counsel, leads to  one  and  only

one conclusion, namely, that the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  alone  had

committed the criminal acts under reference.  It  was  submitted,  that  the

chain of circumstantial evidence, was sufficient  to  establish,  that  none

other than the accused-respondent could have committed the alleged  criminal

actions.   It  was  also  contended,  that  no  link   in   the   chain   of

circumstantial evidence was missing, so as to render any  ambiguity  in  the

matter.


10.  We have heard the learned counsels for the parties.  To  determine  the

controversy arising out of the  instant  criminal  appeal,  we  shall  first

endeavour to summarise  the  conclusions  drawn  by  the  High  Court  under

different  heads.   We  have  decided  to  adopt  the  above  procedure   to

understand the implications of various aspects of the evidence  produced  by

the prosecution before the Trial Court.  This procedure has been adopted  by

us (even though the same was neither adopted by the Trial Court, or  by  the

High Court) so as to effectively understand, and  thereupon,  to  adequately

deal with the contentions advanced at the hands  of  the  appellant,  before

this Court.


11.  We would first of all, like to deal with the lapses  committed  by  the

investigating and prosecuting agencies in the process  of  establishing  the

guilt of the accused before  the  Trial  Court.   It  will  be  relevant  to

mention  that  all  these  lacunae/deficiencies,  during   the   course   of

investigation and prosecution, were pointed out by the High  Court,  in  the

impugned judgment.  These constitute relevant aspects, which are  liable  to

be taken into consideration while examining the evidence relied upon by  the

prosecution.  We have summarised the aforesaid lapses, pointedly  to  enable

us to correctly deal with the submissions advanced  at  the  behest  of  the

State.  Since the guilt of the accused in the instant case is  to  be  based

on circumstantial evidence, it is essential for us to determine  whether  or

not a complete chain of events stand established from the evidence  produced

by the prosecution.

The  above  deficiencies  and  shortcomings  are  being

summarised below:

(a)   According to the prosecution story after having  removed  the  anklets

from Gomi’s feet, the accused Kishanbai had taken  the  anklets  to  Mahavir

Jewellers, a shop owned  by  Premchand  Shankerlal.   He  pledged  aforesaid

anklets with Premchand Shankerlal, for a sum of Rs.  1,000/-.   

The  anklets

under reference, were handed over by Premchand Shankerlal to  the  investing

officer on 1.3.2003, in the presence of two panch witnesses.   

According  to

the prosecution case, the jeweller had gone to the police station  with  the

anklets on his own, after having read newspaper reports to the effect,  that

a girl had been raped and murdered and her anklets had been taken away.   He

had approached the police station under  the  suspicion,  that  the  anklets

pledged with  him,  might  have  belonged  to  the  girl  mentioned  in  the

newspaper reports.  

One of the panch witnesses, namely, Jagdishbhai  Marwari

PW15 had  deposed,  that  above  Premchand  Shankerlal  had  identified  the

accused Kishanbhai, as the very person who  had  pledged  the  anklets  with

him.  

In this behalf it is relevant to mention,  that  Premchand  Shankerlal

was not produced as a prosecution witness.  

It is important to notice,  that

the anklets handed over to the Police, were successfully established by  the

prosecution as the ones worn  by  the  deceased  Gomi.   

The  lapse  of  the

prosecution on account of not producing Premchand Shankerlal as  prosecution

witness, according to the High Court, resulted in  a  missing  link  in  the

chain of events which  would  have  established  the  link  of  the  accused

Kishanbhai, with the anklets, and thereby convulsively connecting  him  with

the crime.


(b)  The prosecution story further discloses, that Premchand Shankerlal  the

owner of  Mahavir  Jewellers,  had  executed  a  receipt  with  the  accused

Kishanbhai, depicting the pledging of the anklets for a sum  of  Rs.1,000/-.

The aforesaid receipt was placed on record of the  Trial  Court  as  exhibit

52.  The above receipt according to Premchand Shankerlal, was  thumb  marked

by the accused Kishanbhai.  Even though the receipt indicates  the  name  of

the person who had pledged the anklets as Rajubhai, the same  could  clearly

be a false name given by the person who  pledged  the  anklets.   Certainly,

there could be no mistake in the identity of the thumb mark affixed  on  the

said receipt.  The prosecution could have easily  established  the  identity

of the pledger, by comparing the thumb impression on  the  receipt  (exhibit

52), with the thumb impression of the accused-respondent  Kishanbhai.   This

was however not done.   The  lapse  committed  by  the  prosecution  in  not

producing  Premchand  Shankerlal  as  a  witness,  could  have  easily  been

overcome by proving the identity of the person who had pledged the  anklets,

by identifying  the  thumb  impression  on  the  receipt  (exhibit  52),  in

accordance with law.  In case the thumb impression turned out to be that  of

the accused Kishanbhai, he would be unmistakably linked with the crime.   In

case it was found not to be the thumb impression of the accused  Kishanbhai,

his innocence could also have been inferred.  According to  the  High  Court

this important lapse in  proving  the  prosecution  case  before  the  Trial

Court, had resulted in a major obstacle in establishing the  guilt/innocence

of the accused.


(c)  It is  also  the  case  of  the  prosecution,  that  when  the  accused

Kishanbhai was apprehended,  a  sum  of  Rs.940/-  was  recovered  from  his

possession.  According to the prosecution story the accused  Kishanbhai  had

pledged the anklets at Mahavir Jewellers with  Premchand  Shankerlal  for  a

sum of Rs.  1,000/-.   In  order  to  link  the  money  recovered  from  his

possession at  the  time  of  his  detention,  it  was  imperative  for  the

prosecution to establish how and why a sum of Rs.940/- only,  was  recovered

from the possession of the accused Kishanbhai.  He ought  to  have  been  in

possession of  at  least  Rs.1,000/-  i.e.,  the  amount  given  to  him  by

Premchand Shankerlal  when he pledged the anklets at his shop,  even  if  it

is assumed that he had no money with him when he  had  pawned  the  anklets.

This important link having not been established by the  prosecution,  breaks

the chain of  events  necessary  to  establish  the  guilt  of  the  accused

Kishanbhai, and constitutes a serious lapse in the prosecution evidence.


(d)  It is apparent from the prosecution story, that  the  victim  Gomi  was

raped.  In establishing the factum of the rape the  prosecution  had  relied

upon  the  note  prepared  at  the  time  of  conducting   the   post-mortem

examination of the deceased Gomi.  The same inter  alia  reveals,  that  dry

blood was present over  the  labia,  and  deep  laceration  of  subcutaneous

tissues was present on the left margin of the vaginal  opening,  just  above

the posterior commission.  The hymen was also found ruptured at 3  and  6,O’

clock.  It is therefore, that the accused was deputed  for  being  subjected

to medical examination, during the course of investigation.  For  the  above

purpose he was examined by Dr. P.D. Shah. 

 In  fact  Dr.  P.D.  Shah  was  a

cited witness before the Trial Court.  Despite the above Dr. P.D.  Shah  was

not examined as a prosecution witness.  Clearly a vital link in a  chain  of

events, to establish  the  rape  of  the  victim  Gomi  came  to  be  broken

consequent upon by the non-examination of Dr. P.D.  Shah  as  a  prosecution

witness.


(e)  The High Court has  also  noticed,  that  even  the  report/certificate

given by the medical officer relating to  the  medical  examination  of  the

accused Kishanbhai was not produced by  the  prosecution  before  the  Trial

Court.  It is apparent, that the lapse in not producing Dr. P.D. Shah  as  a

prosecution witness, may have been overcome if the report  prepared  by  him

(after examining the accused Kishanbhai) was placed on  the  record  of  the

Trial Court, after being proved in  accordance  with  law.   The  action  of

prosecution in not producing the aforesaid report before  the  Trial  Court,

was another serious lapse in proving the case before the Trial Court.   This

had also resulted a missing vital link, in the chain of events  which  could

have established, whether or not accused Kishanbhai had  committed  rape  on

victim Gomi.


(f)  The High Court having noticed the injuries  suffered  by  Gomi,  a  six

year old girl child on her genitals, had expressed the view, that  the  same

would have resulted in reciprocal injuries to the male organ of  the  person

who had committed rape on her.  It was pointed  out,  that  if  the  accused

Kishanbhai had been sent  for  medical  examination  the  testimony  or  the

report of the medical officer would have revealed  the  presence  of  smegma

around the corona-glandis, which would have either established innocence  or

guilt of the accused, specially if the accused had been  medically  examined

within 24 hours.  In the instant case the sequence  of  the  events  reveal,

that the occurrence had been committed between 6:00 p.m.  to  8:00  p.m.  on

27.2.2003.  At the time of recovery  of  the  body  of  deceased  Gomi  from

Jivi’s field, at about 9:00 pm, it came to be believed  that  she  had  been

subjected to rape.  The accused Kishanbhai was shown to have  been  formerly

arrested at 6:40 a.m. on 28.2.2003 (even if the inference drawn by the  High

Court, that the accused Kishanbhai was in police custody since 9:00 p.m.  on

27.2.2003 itself, is  ignored).   The  accused  could  have  been  medically

examined within a period of 24 hours of  the  occurrence.   The  prosecution

case does not show whether or not such action was taken.  This lapse in  the

investigation of the case, had also resulted the omission of  a  vital  link

in the chain of events  which  would  have  unquestionably  established  the

guilt of the accused Kishanbhai of having committed rape  (or  possibly  his

innocence).


(g)  It needs to be noticed, that when the accused Kishanbhai was  arrested,

there were several injuries on his person.   The  said  injuries  were  also

depicted in his arrest panchnama.  At 7:15  am  on  28.2.2003,  the  accused

Kishanbhai filed a first information report alleging, that he was beaten  by

some of the relatives of the victim Gomi, as also, by some  unknown  persons

accompanying the search party,  under  the  suspicion/belief,  that  he  was

responsible for the occurrence.  In the above first information report,  the

accused Kishanbhai had also depicted the  nature  of  injuries  suffered  by

him.   The  statement  of  the  investigating  officer  Ranchodji  Bhojrajji

Chauhan PW14 reveals, that the accused Kishanbhai had  been  sent  to  Civil

Hospital, Ahmedabad, for his medical examination.  Neither  the  doctor  who

had examined the accused was produced as  a  prosecution  witness,  nor  the

report/certificate given by the medical officer disclosing  the  details  of

his observations/findings was placed on record.   This  evidence  was  vital

for the success of the prosecution  case.   According  to  the  High  Court,

blood of group “B +ve” was found on the clothes of the  accused  Kishanbhai.

The important question to be determined thereupon was, whether  it  was  his

own blood or blood of  the  victim  Gomi.   The  statement  of  the  medical

officer who had examined  the  accused  Kishabhai,  when  he  was  sent  for

medical examination  to  Civil  Hospital,  Ahmedabad,  would  have  disclose

whether  or  not  accused  Kishanbhai  had  any  bleeding   injuries.    The

importance of nature of the injuries  suffered  by  the  accused  Kishanbhai

emerges from the fact, that both the accused Kishanbhai and the victim  Gomi

had the same blood group        “B +ve”.  An inference could have only  been

drawn that the blood on his clothes was that of the victim, in case  it  was

established that the accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  had  not  suffered  any

bleeding injuries, and therefore, the possibility of his own blood being  on

his clothes was ruled out.  This important link in the chain  of  events  is

also missing from the evidence produced by the prosecution, and  constitutes

a serious lapse in the investigation/prosecution of the case.


In view of the above factual position, the High  Court  made  the  following

observations “Looking to the advancement in the field  of  medical  science,

the investigating agency should not have stopped at this stage.  Though  ABO

system of blood grouping is one of  the  most  important  system,  which  is

being normally used for distinguishing blood  of  different  persons,  there

are about 19 genetically determined blood  grouping  systems  known  to  the

present day science,  and  it  is  also  known  that  there  are  about  200

different blood groups, which have been identified by the modern  scientific

methods  (Source:  Mc-Graw-Hill  Encyclopedia  of  Science  and  Technology,

Vol.2).  Had such an effort been made by the  prosecution,  the  outcome  of

the said effort would have helped a lot to the trial Court  in  ascertaining

whether the accused had in fact visited the scene of  offence.”   This  also

constitutes a  glaring  lapse  in  the  investigation  of  the  crime  under

reference.


There has now been a great advancement in scientific  investigation  on  the

instant aspect of the  matter.   The  investigating  agency  ought  to  have

sought DNA profiling of the blood samples, which would have  given  a  clear

picture whether or not the blood of the victim Gomi  was,  in  fact  on  the

clothes   of   the   accused-respondent   Kishanbhai.     This    scientific

investigation would  have  unquestionably  determined  whether  or  not  the

accused-respondent was linked with the crime.  Additionally,  DNA  profiling

of the blood found on the knife used in the commission of the  crime  (which

the  accused-respondent,  Kishanbhai  had  allegedly  stolen   from   Dinesh

Karshanbhai Thakore PW6), would have  uncontrovertibly  determined,  whether

or not the said knife had been used for severing  the  legs  of  the  victim

Gomi, to remove her anklets.  In spite of so much advancement in  the  field

of forensic science, the investigating agency seriously  erred  in  carrying

out an effective investigation to genuinely  determine  the  culpability  of

the accused-respondent Kishanbhai.


(h)  It is also apparent from the complaint submitted by Bababhai  Naranbhai

Solanki PW 2, that he had been informed by one Kalabhai Ganeshbhai, that  he

had seen the accused Kishanbhai taking away Gomi.  In  such  an  event,  the

proof of the fact of the accused-respondent having abducted Gomi could  have

only been substantiated, through the statement of  Kalabhai  Ganeshbhai  who

had  allegedly  actually  seen  the  accused  Kishanbhai  taking  her  away.

According to the  High  Court,  for  the  reasons  best  known  to  it,  the

prosecution did not produce Kalabhai Ganeshbhai as a witness.   Even  though

according to the High Court the above-mentioned Kalabhai  Ganeshbhai  was  a

resident in one of the peon quarters, and was  also  a  government  servant,

the absence of the evidence of the above  factual  position,  results  in  a

deficiency  in  the  confirmation  of  a  factual  position  of  substantial

importance, from the chain of events necessary  for  establishing  the  last

seen evidence.


(i)  It is also apparent, that there is no dispute about the recovery  of  a

green blood stained “dupatta”, from the person of  the  victim.   The  green

blood stained “dupatta” (veil)  was  found  by  the  medical  officer  while

conducting the post-mortem examination on Gomi.  The existence of the  green

“dupatta” was also duly mentioned in the post-mortem report.   According  to

the High Court, none of  the  prosecution  witnesses  had  referred  to  the

factum of the victim having  worn  a  green  “dupatta”.   According  to  the

prosecution evidence, the deceased was wearing  a  red  frock  and  panties,

whereas, the accused was  wearing  a  full  sleeve  white  shirt  and  green

trousers.  According to the High  Court,  if  neither  the  victim  nor  the

accused had a green “dupatta”, a question would arise, as to how  the  green

blood stained “dupatta” was found on the dead  body  of  the  victim.   Even

leading to the inference of the presence of a third party  at  the  time  of

occurrence.  The above omission in not explaining the presence of the  green

“dupatta”, has also been taken by the High Court, as a glaring  omission  at

the hands of the prosecution in the process of investigation/prosecution  of

the charges levelled against the accused Kishanbhai.


(j)   While deposing before the  Trial  Court,  Dinesh  Karshanbhai  Thakore

PW6, affirmed that the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  had  approached  his

“lari” for the first time to purchase  a  “dabeli”  on  27.2.2003.   It  is,

therefore, apparent that Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6 had  not  known  the

accused-respondent before 27.2.2003.  In the above view of  the  matter,  it

was imperative for the investigating agency to hold  a  test  identification

parade in order to determine whether Dinesh  Karshanbhai  Thakore  PW6,  had

correctly identified the accused-respondent, as the person who had  come  to

his “lari” to purchase a “dabeli” on 27.2.2003.  And  also  whether  he  was

the same person, who had stolen a knife from his “lari” on 27.2.2003.   This

is also a serious deficiency in the investigation/prosecution of the case.


(k)   Bababhai Naranbhai Solanki PW2, the complainant in the  present  case,

during the course of his examination-in-chief, observed as under :

           “This incident was occurred on 27/2/2003, on  that  day  Lilaben

           came to my house for pregnancy.  On the day of the  incident  at

           6.00 o clock in the evening I came  to  know  that  Gomiben  the

           daughter of Lilaben is not found.  Therefore, all our  relatives

           have started searching her.   We  went  to  the  quarter  of  my

           father, and inquired about the Gomiben, my father  told  that  I

           saw Gomiben with Lalis Sister in law brother Kisan, he gave  ice

           cream to Gomi.  Therefore, we have searched in the quarters  and

           other places.  At around 8.00 o clock in the  night  kishan  was

           coming from police Station, we have started asking him, at  that

           time along with me Shri Jagabhai Molabhai,  Mohanbhai  Molabhai,

           Hirabhai were present.  This police Chawky  means  Gulbai  Tekra

           Police Chawky.  He told me that I  have  left  her  at  Jivivala

           Field.  Therefore, we went at the Jivivala Field, at around 8.00

           or 9.00 o clock, we went there and  we  found  Gomiben  in  dead

           conditions, she had a several injuries on  her  head  and  other

           parts of the body.  She was being raped.”



From the above statement, it is apparent that Gomi  was  found  missing  for

the  first  time  at  6:00  pm.   The  search  for  her  began   immediately

thereafter.  The search party met the accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  coming

from the side of the police  station  at  8:00  p.m.   All  the  prosecution

witnesses have been equivocal about the  fact  that  Gomi  went  missing  at

about 6:00 p.m., i.e., the time when she was last seen  in  the  company  of

the accused-respondent Kishanbhai, and  thereafter,  the  search  party  met

Kishanbhai at 8:00 pm.   In  order  to  give  credence  to  the  prosecution

version, it was imperative  to  establish  that  it  was  possible  for  the

accused-respondent Kishanbhai, after having taken  Gomi  at  6:00  p.m.,  to

have stopped at the “lari” of Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore  PW6,  purchased  a

“dabeli” from him. Thereupon, to have had  time  to  steal  his  knife,  the

accused-respondent proceeded on with Gomi to Jivi’s field.  There  ought  to

have been enough time for him thereafter to have raped her,  then  assaulted

her with bricks on her head and other parts  of  the  body  leading  to  her

death, and finally to cut her legs just above  her  ankles,  to  remove  her

anklets.  He should thereupon have also had time to hide the knife  used  in

the commission of the crime, under the stones. And thereafter further  time,

to have taken the anklets to Mahavir Jewellers so as to pawn the  same  with

Premchand Shankarlal Mehta, as also, time to  execute  a  receipt  in  token

thereof.  Over and above the above, he ought have had  time,  to  visit  his

residence so as to able to wear a fresh shirt i.e., the shirt which  he  was

wearing when he was detained.  After all that, he should have  had  time  to

cover the area from Jivi’s field to Premchand Shankarlal  Mehta’s  shop  and

further on from the above  shop  to  his  residence  and  finally  from  his

residence till the  place  where  he  was  detained.   It  is  difficult  to

appreciate how all the activities depicted in the prosecution  story,  could

have been carried out from 6:00 p.m. on 27.2.2003 to 8:00 p.m. on  the  same

day, i.e., all in all within a period of two hours.   It  is  in  the  above

context that  the  cross-examination  of  Naranbhai  Manabhai  Solanki  PW5,

assume significance.  Relevant extract from his cross-examination  is  being

reproduced hereunder :

           “It is true that the accused was coming from  police  Chawky  at

           around 8.00 or 8.30 p.m. as I was not wearing the watch I cannot

           say the exact time.  It is true that it takes 15 to  20  minutes

           to go to Panjrapole from my quarters, and it will take 30 to  35

           minutes to go to the field of JIVI.  It is  true  that  it  will

           taken half an hour to come to the Office of BSNL through  Jivi’s

           Field and C.N. Vidhayalaya.  It is  true  that  from  the  Jivis

           field  towards  Panjrapole  and  through  Panjrapole  main  road

           towards BSNL office, by walking it will take 40 minutes.  It  is

           true that both the roads are public roads, and many  people  are

           passing through this road.”

                                                          (emphasis is ours)



Whether or not the above sequence of events could have taken  place  in  the

time referred to above, would have been easily overcome if  the  prosecution

had placed on record a sketch map  providing  details  with  regard  to  the

distance between different places.  In that  event,  it  would  have  become

possible to determine whether the activities at different places,  projected

through the prosecution version of  the  incident  were  possible.   In  the

absence of any knowledge about the distance between  the  residence  of  the

victim Gomi as well as that of the accused  from  the  Polytechnic  or  from

Jivi’s field; it would  be  impossible  to  ascertain  the  questions  which

emerge from the cross-examination of Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5.  Had  a

sketch map been prepared or details with regard to the distance been  given,

the courts concerned would have been able to determine all that was  alleged

in the  prosecution  version  of  the  incident.   This  deficiency  in  the

prosecution evidence, must be  construed  as  a  serious  infirmity  in  the

matter.


12.   We would now  like  to  deal  with  the  discrepancies  found  in  the

evidence produced by the prosecution before the Trial Court.  We would  also

simultaneously summarise the effect of defences adopted  on  behalf  of  the

accused-respondent Kishanbhai.  These aspects of the matter are  also  being

summerised hereunder, so as to  enable  us  to  effectively  deal  with  the

submissions advanced at the behest of  the  State.

  These  aspects  of  the

matter are liable to be taken into consideration, to  determine  whether  or

not, a complete chain of events stands proved to establish the guilt of  the

accused-respondent.  

The above considerations are summarized hereunder:


(a)   The post mortem report relied upon by the prosecution leaves  no  room

for any doubt that injuries on the genitals of  Gomi  were  post  mortem  in nature.   

The  question  which  arises  for  consideration  is 

 whether  the

injuries under reference  had  been  inflicted  on  the  victim  first,  and

thereupon, rape was committed on the victim.  

It is natural to assume,  that

the first act of aggression by the  person  who  had  committed  assault  on

Gomi, was by inflicting injuries on her head and other parts  of  the  body,

only thereafter the legs just above the ankles, would have  been  cut  (with

the object of  removing  her  anklets).   It  is  not  possible  for  us  to

contemplate that the legs of the deceased were cut whilst  she  was  in  her

senses,  is  incomprehensible  and  therefore,  most  unlikely.   Now,   the

question to be considered is, whether it was humanly possible for  even  the

most perverted person, to have committed rape  on  a  child,  who  had  been

killed by causing injuries on head and other parts of body,  and  after  her

feet had been severed from  her  legs.   We  would  have  no  hesitation  by

responding in the negative.  The prosecution in the instant case  apparently

projected a version including an act of rape, which is impossible to  accept

on the touchstone of logic and common sense.


(b)   The evidence produced by the  prosecution  also  reveals,  that  pubic

hair  of  the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai,  had  been  examined  by  the

scientific  officer  of  the  Forensic  Science  Laboratory.    

The   report

submitted by the Forensic Science  Laboratory  (Exhibit  48)  reveals,  that

there was neither any semen nor any blood on the pubic hair of the  accused.

 Reference to the possibility of there being blood on  the  public  hair  of

the accused-respondent Kishanbhai emerges  from  the  fact,  that  the  post

mortem report of the deceased revealed, that there was blood on  the  vagina

of the deceased.  

Whilst accusing the respondent-Kishanbhai of  the  offence

under Section 376 of the Indian  Penal  Code,  it  was  imperative  for  the

prosecution to have kept in its mind the aforesaid aspects  of  the  matter.

Absence of semen or blood from the pubic  hair  of  the  accused-respondent,

would prima facie exculpate him from the offence of rape.


(c)   According to the  testimony  of  the  complainant  Bababhai  Naranbhai

Solanki PW2, the accused-respondent Kishanbhai was wearing a white shirt  at

the time of occurrence.  It is, therefore, when  a  white  shirt  was  found

covering the dead body of the victim Gomi, he had  identified  the  same  as

the shirt which the accused-respondent Kishanbhai was  wearing,  before  the

offence was committed.  From the prosecution story, as it emerged  from  the

statements of different witnesses, it is apparent  that  Bababhai  Naranbhai

Solanki PW2, had  had  no  occasion  to  have  seen  the  accused-respondent

Kishanbhai, wearing the said white shirt.  When Bababhai  Naranbhai  Solanki

PW2, was questioned as to  how  he  knew  that  the  accused-respondent  was

wearing a white shirt, when he first saw the shirt covering  the  dead  body

of the victim, his response was, that he had been told  about  that  by  his

father Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5.  

In the above  view  of  the  matter,

the question arises whether the testimony  of  Bababhai,  Naranbhai  Solanki

PW2 about the shirt  referred  to  above  was  truthful.   And  whether  his

testimony can be described as fair and honest.


(d)   Additionally when the accused–respondent Kishanbhai was arrested,  the

T-shirt worn by him, was taken from him by recording a panchnama.  The  said

T-shirt is available on the record of the Trial Court as Exhibit-39.  It  is

not a matter of dispute that the T-shirt (Exhibit 39), worn by the  accused-

respondent, Kishanbhai at the time of his arrest, is  actually  a  white  T-

shirt with a trident design on it.  But, as per the  narration  recorded  by

Bababhai Naranbhai PW2, contained in the  complaint  which  constituted  the

basis of registering  the  first  information,  it  is  mentioned  that  the

accused-respondent Kishanbhai was wearing a black T-shirt  at  the  time  of

his  detention.   It  is  apparent  from  the   factual   position   noticed

hereinabove,  that  the  factual  position  expressed  by  the   complainant

Bababhai Naranbhai Solanki PW2 was absolutely  incorrect,  and  contrary  to

the factual position.  In the above view of the  matter,  a  question  would

arise, whether the deposition of Bababhai Naranbhai  Solanki  PW2  was  fair

and honest.


(e)   According to the prosecution  version  of  the  incident,  the  search

party met the accused-respondent Kishanbhai at about  8:00  p.m.   The  said

party had thereupon proceeded to Jivi’s field, from where the dead  body  of

the victim was recovered.  According  to  Naranbhai  Manabhai  Solanki  PW5,

after finding the dead body, he had proceeded to  the  police  station.   At

the police station, he had requested the police personnel to visit the  site

of occurrence.  Simultaneously, Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5  had  stated,

that when enquiries were being made from Kishanbhai,  police  personnel  had

taken away the accused-respondent.  According to the testimony of  Naranbhai

Manabhai Solanki PW5, therefore, at the most,  the  accused-respondent  must

be deemed to have been taken into police custody from  about  9:00  p.m.  on

27.2.2003.  It is apparent, that the occurrence had come  to  the  knowledge

of a large number  of  persons  constituting  the  search  party,  when  the

victim’s body was found on Jivi’s field.  Even  before  that,  the  accused-

respondent was already in police custody.  As if,  the  police  had  already

concluded on the guilt of Kishanbhai, even before  the  recovery  of  Gomi’s

body from Jivi’s farm.  Despite  the  above,  the  arrest  of  the  accused-

respondent Kishanbhai was shown at 6.40 a.m. on  28.3.2003.   

The  detention

of the accused-respondent Kishanbhai from 9:00 pm on 27.2.2003 to 6.40  a.m.

on 28.2.2003, shows that the prosecution has not presented the case  in  the

manner the events unfolded to the investigating agencies.


(f)   It also needs to  be  noticed,  that  the  inquest  panchnama  besides

mentioning the amputation of the legs of the victim above her  ankles,  also

records, that the silver  anklets  worn  by  Gomi  were  missing.   In  this

behalf, it would also be relevant to mention, that even though  the  inquest

panchnama was drawn at 0030 a.m. on 28.2.2003, the  complaint  resulting  in

the registration of the first information  report  was  lodged  by  Bababhai

Naranbhai Solanki PW2 at 3:05 a.m. on 28.02.2003.  It is strange,  that  the

inquest panchnama should be drawn  before  the  registration  of  the  first

information report.  It is  also  strange  as  to  how,  while  drawing  the

inquest panchnama, the panchas of the same could have recorded,  that  after

amputation of the victim’s legs, her silver anklets had been taken  away  by

the offender.  There was no occasion for the panchas  to  have  known,  that

Gomi used to wear silver anklets.  Accordingly, there was  no  occasion  for

them to have recorded that the silver anklets usually worn by Gomi had  been

taken away by the offender.


(g)   From the prosecution version  (emerging  from  the  evidence  recorded

before the Trial Court), it is apparent, that the  search  party,  as  also,

the relatives of the victim were aware at about 8:00 p.m. on 27.2.2003  that

Gomi had been murdered, with a possibility of her having  been  raped  also,

and her silver anklets had been stolen.  Despite  the  above,  no  complaint

whatsoever came to be filed in connection with the above occurrence  at  the

police station on 27.2.2003, despite  the  close  coordination  between  the

search party and the police from 8:00 pm onwards no 27.2.2003  itself.   The

complaint leading to the filing of the first information was made  at  about

3:05 a.m. on 28.2.2003.  Not only  is  the  delay  of  seven  hours  in  the

registration of  the  complaint  ununderstandable,  but  the  same  is  also

rendered extremely suspicious, on the account of the fact that the  accused-

respondent Kishanbhai is acknowledged to be in police detention  since  9:00

p.m. on 27.2.2003 itself.  This may be the result of fudging  the  time  and

date at which the victim Gomi went missing, as also, the time  and  date  on

which the body of the victim was discovered resulting in  the  discovery  of

the occurrence itself.  The question  which  arises  for  consideration  is,

whether the investigation agency adopted the usual practice  of  padding  so

as  to  depict  the  occurrence  in  a  manner  different  from  the  actual

occurrence.  A question also arises as to  why  it  was  necessary  for  the

investigating agency to adopt the above practice, despite the fact  that  it

was depicted as an open and shut case.


(h)   As noticed above, that  from  the  statements  of  Bababhai  Naranbhai

Solanki PW2 and Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5,  it  is  apparent  that  the

accused  was  detained  by  the  police  informally  around  9:00  p.m.   on

27.2.2003.  It is also essential to  notice,  that  an  acknowledgement  was

made to the above effect even  by  Sub  Inspector  Naranbhai  Lalbhai  Desai

PW13, who had commenced investigation of the crime under reference.   It  is

apparent that when Bababhai Naranbhai Solanki PW2, had  contacted  him  with

details about the offence under reference, he had not recorded any entry  in

the station diary before leaving the police  station.   This  constitutes  a

serious lapse in itself.  In his cross-examination, he had affirmed that  he

was taken by Bababhai Naranbhai Solanki PW2, i.e., the  complainant  to  the

scene of occurrence.  Having gone to the scene  of  occurrence,  and  having

made on the spot investigation,  he  acknowledged  having  returned  to  the

police station.  In his statement, he accepted, that when  he  had  returned

to the police station after visiting the site of  occurrence,  the  accused-

respondent Kishanbhai was already  present  at  the  police  station.   When

questioned, he could not tender any explanation,  as  to  how  the  accused-

respondent Kishanbhai had come to the police station.  In his  statement  as

a witness, he had expressed, that  for  the  first  time  he  had  seen  the

accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  only  on  28.2.2003  at  around  5:30   a.m.

Whereafter, the accused-respondent was formally arrested at 6.40  a.m.   The

inconsistency between the  statements  made  by  the  complainant  (Bababhai

Naranbhai Solanki PW2) and his father (Naranbhai Manabhai  Solanki  PW5)  on

the one hand, and by Sub-Inspector  Naranbhai  Lalbhai  Desai  PW13  on  the

other, discloses a serious contradiction with respect to  the  time  of  the

detention of the accused-respondent Kishanbhai.  It  needs  to  be  noticed,

that it was an aberration for Naranbhai Lalbhai Desai  PW13,  to  have  left

the police station without making  an  entry  in  the  station  diary.   Why

should a police officer, investigating a crime of  such  a  heinous  nature,

commit such a lapse?  The fact that he did so, is not a matter  of  dispute.

The truth of the matter is, that Naranbhai Lalbhai Desai PW13, did not  make

any note either in the station diary or in any other register;  he  did  not

take any informal complaint from the complainant, even though  he  had  been

apprised about the commission of an offence.  It  is  therefore  clear  that

Naranbhai Lalbhai Desai PW13, had left the police station without making  an

entry depicting the purpose of his departure.  All this further adds to  the

suspicion of the manner in which investigation of the matter was conducted.


(i)   So  far  as  the  statement  of  Dinesh  Karshanbhai  Thakore  PW6  is

concerned, he had supported the prosecution  story  by  deposing,  that  the

accused had visited his “lari” with a small child, about  seven  years  old.

He  had  further  asserted,  that  the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai   had

purchased a “dabeli” from him.  He  had  also  testified  that  the  accused

–respondent had asked for a knife but he had  refused  to  give  it  to  him

because, at the time when the accused-respondent  had  visited  the  “lari”,

there were several customers waiting for purchasing “dabelis”.   He  further

confirmed, that the accused-respondent had stolen a knife, used by  him  for

cutting vegetables  from  his  “lari”.   Another  important  aspect  of  the

matter, out of the statement of Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6 is,  that  he

identified the shirt that the accused-respondent Kishanbhai was wearing,  at

the time when he had  visited  his  “lari”  for  purchasing  a  “dabeli”  on

27.2.2003.  He had also identified  the  red  frock  which  the  victim  was

wearing at the said juncture.  Additionally, he identified the  knife  which

the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  had  stolen  from  his   “lari”.    The

statement  of  Dinesh  Karshanbhai  Thakore  PW6  was   considered   to   be

untrustworthy by the High Court, primarily for  the  reason  that  he  could

identify the shirt worn by the accused-respondent, Kishanbhai  when  he  had

approached his “lari” for the purchase of a  “dabeli”,  at  which  juncture,

the accused-respondent Kishanbhai may have remained at  the  “lari”  at  the

most for 10 to 15 minutes, when there was a rush of customers.   As  against

the above,  he  had  remained  with  the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  at

Navrangpur Police Station, Ahmedabad, for approximately four hours.   During

the course of his cross-examination, he could not depose about the  sort  of

shirt which the accused respondent was wearing,  at  the  Navrangpur  Police

Station, Ahmedabad.  It is,  therefore,  apparent  that  Dinesh  Karshanbhai

Thakore PW6 was deposing far in excess of  what  he  remembered,  and/or  in

excess of what was actually to his knowledge.  He appears to  be  a  tutored

witness.  This aspect of the matter also renders  the  testimony  of  Dinesh

Karshanbhai Thakore PW6, suspicious.


(j)   There is yet another aspect of  the  controversy  relating  to  Dinesh

Karshanbhai Thakore PW6.  The investigating agency  became  aware  from  the

disclosure  statement  of  the  accused-respondent  Kishanbhai  tendered  on

1.3.2003, that he had procured the weapon of offence by way  of  theft  from

the  “lari”  of  Dinesh  Karshanbhai  Thakore  PW6.   The  above  knife  was

recovered at the instance of the accused-respondent Kishanbhai on  1.3.2003,

in the presence of panch witnesses.  In the above view  of  the  matter,  in

the ordinary course of investigation, it would have been imperative for  the

investigating agency  to  have  immediately  approached  Dinesh  Karshanbhai

Thakore  PW6,  to  record  his  statement.   His  statement  was   extremely

important for the simple reason, that it would have  connected  the  accused

with the weapon with which the crime had been committed, as  also  with  the

victim.  Despite the above, the investigating agency recorded the  statement

of Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6, for  the  first  time  on  4.3.2003.   No

reason  is  forthcoming  why  his  statement  was  not  recorded  either  on

1.3.2003, or on the  intervening  dates  before  4.3.2003.   The  inordinate

delay by the investigating agency, in confirming the version of the accused-

respondent, in respect of the weapon of the crime, renders  the  prosecution

version suspicious.  Such delay would not have taken place in  the  ordinary

course of investigation.  If there were good reasons  for  the  delay,  they

ought to have been made  known  to  the  Trial  Court  by  way  of  reliable

evidence.  This fact too  raises  a  doubt  about  the  correctness  of  the

prosecution version of the incident.


The above discrepancies in the prosecution version,  were  duly  noticed  by

the High Court.  These constitute some of the glaring instances recorded  in

the impugned order.  Other instances of contradiction were also  noticed  in

the impugned order.  It is not necessary for  us  to  record  all  of  them,

since the above instances themselves are sufficient  to  draw  some  vitally

important inferences.  Some of the inferences  drawn  from  the  above,  are

being noticed below.  The prosecution’s  case  which  mainly  rests  on  the

testimony of Bababhai Naranbhai Solanki PW2, Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki  PW5

and Dinesh Karshanbhai Thakore PW6, is unreliable because  of  the  glairing

inconsistencies in their statements.  The  testimony  of  the  investigating

officer Naranbhai Lalbhai Desai PW13 shows fudging and padding,  making  his

deposition untrustworthy.  In the  absence  of  direct  oral  evidence,  the

prosecution case almost wholly rested on the above mentioned witnesses.   It

is for the above reasons, that the High Court through  the  impugned  order,

considered  it  just  and  appropriate  to  grant   the   accused-respondent

Kishanbhai, the benefit of doubt.


13.    Learned  counsel  for  the  appellant,  in  order  to   support   the

submissions advanced before  this  Court  in  the  present  criminal  appeal

(which have  been  recorded  in  paragraph  9  hereinabove),  with  judicial

precedent, placed reliance on a number of judgments rendered by this  Court.

 We shall now summarise hereunder, the judgment relied upon,  as  also,  the

submissions of the learned counsel on the basis thereof:


(a)   Referring to the judgment rendered by this Court in Ram Prasad &  Ors.

v. State of UP, (1974) 1 SCR 650, it  was  asserted  at  the  hands  of  the

learned counsel for the appellant, that non-examination of some of the  eye-

witnesses would not introduce a fatal infirmity  to  the  prosecution  case,

specially when conviction  could  be  based  on  evidence  produced  by  the

prosecution.


(b)   Reference was  also  made  to  Takhaji  Hiraji  v.  Thakore  Kubersing

Camansing & Ors., (2001) 6 SCC 145, and it was pointed out, that this  Court

has ruled that in cases where witnesses already examined were reliable,  and

the testimony coming from the mouth was unimpeachable, a court could  safely

act upon the same uninfluenced by the factum  of  non-examination  of  other

witnesses.  Yet again the conclusion was, that reliable evidence  should  be

available, to determine the culpability of an  accused,  and  in  the  above

view of the matter it would be irrelevant  whether  some  others  who  could

have deposed on the facts in issue had not been examined.


(c)   Based on the judgment rendered in Laxman  Naik  v.  State  of  Orissa,

(1994) 3 SCC 381, it was submitted, that in a case relating to a seven  year

old child, who had been raped and murdered by her own  uncle,  relying  upon

incriminating evidence and testimony of witnesses, it came to be  held  that

when circumstances form a complete chain of  incidents,  then  the  same  is

sufficient to establish, that the accused is the perpetrator  of  the  crime

and conviction  can  be  based  on  the  complete  chain  of  circumstantial

evidence.


(d)   Based on the judgment in State of Maharashtra v. Suresh, (2000) 1  SCC

471, where four years’ girl child was a victim of rape and  murder,  it  was

contended, that this Court had held that it was open to a court  to  presume

that the accused knew about the incriminating material or dead body  due  to

his involvement in the alleged offence.  When he discloses the  location  of

such incriminating material without disclosing the manner in which  he  came

to know of the same, the Court would presume that  the  accused  knew  about

the incriminating material.


(e)   Relying on the judgment in Amar Singh v.  Balwinder  Singh,  2003  (2)

SCC 518, it  was  contended,  that  where  the  prosecution  case  is  fully

established by the  testimony  of  witnesses  which  stood  corroborated  by

medical evidence, any failure  or  omission  of  the  investigating  officer

could not be treated as sufficient to render the prosecution  case  doubtful

or unworthy of belief.  This determination  leads  to  the  same  inference,

namely, when  reliable  evidence  to  prove  the  guilt  of  an  accused  is

available, lapses in investigation would not result in grant of the  benefit

of doubt to an accused.


(f)   Referring to State Government of NCT Delhi  v.  Sunil,  (2001)  1  SCC

652, it was asserted, that in a  case  where  a  child  of  four  years  was

brutally raped and murdered and incriminating  articles  were  recovered  on

the basis of the statement of the accused, the same could not  be  discarded

on the technical ground that no independent witness was examined.


(g)   Referring to the judgment in Joseph v. State of Kerala, (2005)  5  SCC

197, wherein, according to the learned counsel, it was held that  where  the

circumstances proved  form  themselves  into  a  complete  chain  unerringly

pointing to the guilt of the appellant, then the same can be  the  basis  of

the  conviction  of  the  accused.   This,  according  to  learned  counsel,

represents  the  manner  of  proving  the  guilt  of  an  accused  based  on

circumstantial evidence.


(h)   Based on the judgment in State of UP v. Satish (2005) 3  SCC  114,  it

was contended that it could  not  be  laid  down  as  a  rule  of  universal

application that if there is  any  delay  in  examination  of  a  particular

witness, the prosecution version  becomes  suspect.   Therefore,  the  facts

surrounding the delay ought to be considered  in  every  case  to  determine

whether or not the testimony is rendered suspicious.


(i)   Relying on the judgment in Bishnu  Prasad  Sinha  v  State  of  Assam,

(2007) 11 SCC 467, it was submitted, that in the above case  where  a  child

of 7-8 years was  a  victim  of  rape  and  murder,  the  grounds  that  the

investigation was done in an improper  manner  did  not  render  the  entire

prosecution  case  to  be  false.   Namely,  where  reliable   evidence   is

available, the same would determine the guilt of an accused.


(j)   Referring  to  the  judgment  in  Aftab  Ahmad  Anasari  v.  State  of

Uttaranchal, (2010) 2 SCC 583, it was asserted, that where a child  of  five

years was a victim  of  rape  and  murder  and  the  accused  disclosed  the

location of the crime as  also  of  the  incriminating  articles,  the  said

disclosure was admissible and would  constitute  a  complete  chain  in  the

circumstances.  Further, according to the learned counsel, it was held  that

the inquest panchnama may not contain every detail and the absence  of  some

details would not affect the veracity of the deposition made  by  witnesses.

Needless  to  mention,  that  absence  of  vital  links  in  the  claim   of

circumstantial evidence would result in the exoneration of the accused.


(k)   Reliance was placed on Sambhu Das v. State of  Assam,  (2010)  10  SCC

374, so as to contend, that any discrepancy occurring in the inquest  report

or the post mortem report  could  neither  be  fatal  nor  be  termed  as  a

suspicious circumstance as would warrant a benefit to the  accused  and  the

resultant dismissal of the prosecution case.  Needless to  add,  that  there

should be sufficient independent evidence to  establish  the  guilt  of  the

accused.


(l)    Based  on  the  judgment  in  Haresh  Mohandas  Rajput  v.  State  of

Maharashtra, (2011) 12 SCC 56, it was contended, that in a  case  of  murder

and rape of a ten year old child, it was found that where the  circumstances

taken cumulatively led  to  the  conclusion  of  guilt  and  no  alternative

explanation is given by the accused, the  conviction  ought  to  be  upheld.

This case reiterates that in a case based  on  circumstantial  evidence  the

evidence should be such as would point to the  inference  of  guilt  of  the

accused alone and none others.


(m)   Relying on Rajendra PrahladraoWasnik v. State of  Maharashtra,  (2012)

4 SCC 37, it was submitted that where a three years old child was  a  victim

of rape and murder by the accused who lured her under the pretext of  buying

biscuits,    circumstances    showed    the    manner    in    which     the

trust/belief/relationship was violated  resulting  in  affirming  the  death

penalty imposed on the accused.


14.    We  have  given  our  thoughtful  consideration  to  the  submissions

advanced at the hands of the learned counsel for the appellant,  which  have

been duly noticed in paragraph 9 hereinabove.  It is also  relevant  for  us

to record, that the learned counsel for the  appellant  did  not  advance  a

single submission  in  addition  to  the  contentions  we  have  noticed  in

paragraph 9 above.  The submissions advanced at the  hands  of  the  learned

counsel for  the  appellant,  were  sought  to  be  supported  by  judgments

rendered by this Court, all of which have been referred to in  paragraph  13

above.  The submissions advanced at the hands of  the  learned  counsel  for

the appellant, based  on  each  of  the  judgments  cited,  have  also  been

recorded by us in the said paragraph.  Having  considered  the  totality  of

the facts and circumstances of  this  case,  specially  the  glaring  lapses

committed in the investigation and prosecution  of  the  case  (recorded  in

paragraph 11 of the instant judgment), as also the  inconsistencies  in  the

evidence  produced  by  the  prosecution   (summarized   in   paragraph   12

hereinabove),  we  are  of  the  considered  view,  that  each  one  of  the

submissions advanced at the hands of the learned counsel for  the  appellant

is meritless.  For the circumstantial evidence produced by the  prosecution,

primary reliance has been placed on the  statements  of  Bababhai  Naranbhai

Solanki PW2, Naranbhai Manabhai Solanki PW5, and Dinesh Karshanbhai  Thakore

PW6.  By demonstrating inconsistencies and infirmities in the statements  of

the above witnesses, their statements have  also  been  rendered  suspicious

and accordingly unreliable.  There is also a serious impression  of  fudging

and padding at the hands of the agencies involved.  As  a  matter  of  fact,

the  lack  of  truthfulness  of  the  statements  of  witnesses   has   been

demonstrated by means of simple logic emerging  from  the  factual  position

expressed through different prosecution witnesses (summarized in  paragraphs

11 and 12 above).  The evidence produced to  prove  the  charges,  has  been

systematically  shattered,  thereby  demolishing  the  prosecution  version.

More than all that, is the non production of evidence which the  prosecution

has unjustifiably withheld, resulting in dashing all the States  efforts  to

the  ground.   

It  is  not  necessary  for  us  to   record   our   detailed

determination on the submissions  advanced  at  the  hands  of  the  learned

counsel for the appellant, for such reasons clearly emerge from the  factual

position noticed in paragraphs 11 and 12 hereinabove.  Recording of  reasons

all over again, would just be a  matter  of  repetition.   In  view  of  the

above, we find  no  merit  in  this  appeal  and  the  same  is  accordingly

dismissed.


15.    The  investigating  officials  and  the   prosecutors   involved   in

presenting this case, have miserably failed  in  discharging  their  duties.

They have been instrumental in denying to serve the cause of  justice.   The

misery of the family of the  victim  Gomi  has  remained  unredressed.   The

perpetrators of a horrendous crime, involving extremely ruthless and  savage

treatment  to  the  victim,  have  remained  unpunished.   

A  heartless  and

merciless criminal, who has committed an extremely heinous crime,  has  gone

scot-free.  

He must be walking around in Ahmedabad, or some other  city/town

in India, with his head held high.  

A criminal on the  move.   Fearless  and

fearsome.   Fearless  now,  because  he  could  not  be   administered   the

punishment, he ought to have suffered.  And  fearsome,  on  account  of  his

having remained unaffected by  the  brutal  crime  committed  by  him.   His

actions now, know of no barriers.   He  could  be  expected  to  act  in  an

unfathomable savage manner, uncomprehendable to a sane mind.


16.   As we discharge our responsibility in deciding  the  instant  criminal

appeal, we proceed to apply principles of law, and  draw  inferences.   For,

that is our job.  We are trained, not to be swayed by mercy  or  compassion.

We are trained  to  adjudicate  without  taking  sides,  and  without  being

mindful of the consequences.  We are required to adjudicate on the basis  of

well drawn parameters.  We have done all that.   Despite  thereof,  we  feel

crestfallen, heartbroken and sorrowful.  We could not  serve  the  cause  of

justice, to an innocent child.   We  could  not  even  serve  the  cause  of

justice, to her immediate family.  The members of the family  of  Gomi  must

never have stopped cursing themselves, for not adequately  protecting  their

child from a prowler, who had snatched  an  opportunity  to  brutalise  her,

during their lapse in attentiveness.  And if the prosecution  version  about

motive is correct, the crime was  committed  for  a  mere  consideration  of

Rs.1,000/-.


17.   Every time there is an acquittal, the consequences are just the  same,

as have been noticed hereinabove.  The  purpose  of  justice  has  not  been

achieved.  There is also another side to be taken  into  consideration.   We

have declared the accused-respondent innocent, by  upholding  the  order  of

the High Court, giving him the benefit of doubt.  He may be truly  innocent,

or  he  may  have  succeeded  because  of  the  lapses  committed   by   the

investigating/prosecuting teams.  If he has escaped, despite  being  guilty,

the investigating and the  prosecution  agencies  must  be  deemed  to  have

seriously messed it all up.  And if the accused was  wrongfully  prosecuted,

his  suffering  is  unfathomable.   Here   also,   the   investigating   and

prosecuting agencies are blameworthy.  It is  therefore  necessary,  not  to

overlook even the hardship suffered by the accused, first during  the  trial

of the case, and then at the appellate stages.  An innocent person does  not

deserve to suffer the turmoil of a long drawn litigation,  spanning  over  a

decade, or more.  The expenses incurred by an accused  in  his  defence  can

dry up all his  financial  resources  –  ancestral  or  personal.   Criminal

litigation could also ordinarily involve financial borrowings.   An  accused

can be expected to be under a financial debt, by  the  time  his  ordeal  is

over.


18.    Numerous  petitions  are  filed  before  this  Court,   praying   for

anticipatory bail (under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal  Procedure)  at

the behest of persons apprehending arrest, or for bail  (under  Section  439

of the Code of Criminal Procedure) at the behest of  persons  already  under

detention.  In a large number of such petitions, the main contention  is  of

false implication.  Likewise, many petitions seeking  quashing  of  criminal

proceeding (filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure)  come

up for hearing day after day,  wherein  also,  the  main  contention  is  of

fraudulent  entanglement/involvement.   In   matters   where   prayers   for

anticipatory bail or for bail made under Sections 438 and  439  are  denied,

or where a quashing  petition  filed  under  Section  482  of  the  Code  of

Criminal Procedure is declined, the person  concerned  may  have  to  suffer

periods of  incarceration  for  different  lengths  of  time.   They  suffer

captivity and confinement most  of  the  times  (at  least  where  they  are

accused of serious offences), till the culmination of their trial.  In  case

of  their  conviction,  they  would  continue  in  confinement  during   the

appellate stages also, and in matters which reach the  Supreme  Court,  till

the disposal of  their  appeals  by  this  Court.   By  the  time  they  are

acquitted at the appellate stage, they may  have  undergone  long  years  of

custody.  

When acquitted by this Court, they may have suffered  imprisonment

of 10 years, or more.   

When  they  are  acquitted  (by  the  trial  or  the

appellate court), no one returns to them; what  was  wrongfully  taken  away

from them.  

The system responsible for the  administration  of  justice,  is

responsible for having deprived them of   their  lives,  equivalent  to  the

period of their detention.   

It is  not  untrue,  that  for  all  the  wrong

reasons, innocent persons are subjected to suffer the ignominy  of  criminal

prosecution and to suffer shame  and  humiliation.   

Just  like  it  is  the

bounden duty of a court to serve the cause of  justice  to  the  victim,  so

also, it is the bounden duty of a court to ensure that  an  innocent  person

is not subjected to the rigours of criminal prosecution.


19.   The situation referred to above needs to be remedied.   For  the  said

purpose, adherence to a simple procedure  could  serve  the  objective.   We

accordingly direct, that  on  the  completion  of  the  investigation  in  a

criminal case, the prosecuting agency should  apply  its  independent  mind,

and require all shortcomings to be  rectified,  if  necessary  by  requiring

further investigation.   It  should  also  be  ensured,  that  the  evidence

gathered  during  investigation  is  truly  and  faithfully   utilized,   by

confirming that  all  relevant  witnesses  and  materials  for  proving  the

charges are conscientiously presented during the  trial  of  a  case.   This

would achieve two purposes.  Only persons against whom there  is  sufficient

evidence, will have to  suffer  the  rigors  of  criminal  prosecution.   By

following the above procedure, in most criminal prosecutions, the  concerned

agencies will be able to successfully establish the guilt of the accused.


20.   Every acquittal should be understood  as  a  failure  of  the  justice

delivery  system,  in  serving  the  cause  of  justice.   Likewise,   every

acquittal should ordinarily lead to the inference, that an  innocent  person

was wrongfully prosecuted.  

It is  therefore,  essential  that  every  State

should put in place a procedural mechanism,  which  would  ensure  that  the

cause of justice is served, which would simultaneously ensure the  safeguard

of interest of  those  who  are  innocent.  

In  furtherance  of  the  above

purpose, it is considered essential to direct the Home Department  of  every

State, to examine all orders of acquittal and  to  record  reasons  for  the

failure of each prosecution case. 

 A standing committee of  senior  officers

of the police and prosecution departments, should be vested  with  aforesaid

responsibility.  The consideration at the  hands  of  the  above  committee,

should   be   utilized   for   crystalizing   mistakes   committed    during

investigation, and/or prosecution, or both.  

The Home  Department  of  every

State Government will incorporate in its existing  training  programmes  for

junior investigation/prosecution officials course- content  drawn  from  the

above consideration.  

The same  should  also  constitute  course-content  of

refresher  training   programmes,   for   senior   investigating/prosecuting

officials.  The above responsibility for preparing training  programmes  for

officials, should be  vested  in  the  same  committee  of  senior  officers

referred to above.  Judgments like the one in hand (depicting more  than  10

glaring lapses in the investigation/prosecution of the  case),  and  similar

other judgments, may also be added to the training programmes.   The  course

content will be reviewed by the above committee annually, on  the  basis  of

fresh  inputs,  including  emerging  scientific  tools   of   investigation,

judgments of Courts, and on the basis of experiences gained by the  standing

committee while examining failures, in unsuccessful  prosecution  of  cases.

We further direct, that the above training programme be put in place  within

6 months. 

This would ensure that those persons who handle sensitive  matters

concerning investigation/prosecution are fully trained to handle  the  same.

Thereupon, if any lapses are committed by them, they would not  be  able  to

feign innocence, when they are made liable to  suffer  departmental  action,

for their lapses.


21.   On the culmination of a criminal  case  in  acquittal,  the  concerned

investigating/prosecuting official(s) responsible for  such  acquittal  must

necessarily be identified.  A finding needs to be  recorded  in  each  case,

whether the lapse was innocent or blameworthy.   Each  erring  officer  must

suffer the consequences of his lapse, by  appropriate  departmental  action,

whenever called for.  Taking  into  consideration  the  seriousness  of  the

matter,  the  concerned  official  may  be  withdrawn   from   investigative

responsibilities,  permanently  or  temporarily,  depending  purely  on  his

culpability.  We also  feel  compelled  to  require  the  adoption  of  some

indispensable measures, which may reduce the malady suffered by  parties  on

both  sides  of  criminal  litigation.   Accordingly  we  direct,  the  Home

Department of every State Government, to formulate a  procedure  for  taking

action  against  all  erring  investigating/prosecuting  officials/officers.

All such erring officials/officers identified, as  responsible  for  failure

of a prosecution  case,  on  account  of  sheer  negligence  or  because  of

culpable lapses, must  suffer  departmental  action.   The  above  mechanism

formulated would infuse seriousness in the performance of investigating  and

prosecuting duties, and would ensure that investigation and prosecution  are

purposeful and decisive.  The instant direction shall also be  given  effect

to within 6 months.


22.   A copy of the instant judgment shall be transmitted  by  the  Registry

of this Court, to the Home Secretaries of all State  Governments  and  Union

Territories, within one week.  All the  concerned  Home  Secretaries,  shall

ensure  compliance  of  the  directions  recorded  above.   The  records  of

consideration, in compliance with the above direction, shall be maintained.


23.   We hope and trust the Home Department of the State  of  Gujarat,  will

identify the erring officers in the instant case, and will take  appropriate

departmental action against them,  as  may  be  considered  appropriate,  in

accordance with law.


24.   The instant criminal appeal is accordingly disposed of.







                                       …………………………….J.

                                        (C.K. Prasad)




                                        …………………………….J.

                                        (Jagdish Singh Khehar)


New Delhi;

January 7, 2014


-----------------------

7


section 239 of Cr. P.C - Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act - Tamil Nadu minister and his wife , mother in law , mother and father - Discharge petition was rejected by trial court - it is set aside by High court - Apex court set aside the orders of High court and rejected the Discharge petition filed under section 239 of Cr. P.C. = STATE REP. BY DEPUTY SUPDT. OF POLICE VIGILANCE AND ANTI CORRUPTION … APPELLANT VERSUS K.PONMUDI & ORS. …RESPONDENTS = 2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41135

posted 9 Jan 2014 09:04 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

 section 239 of Cr. P.C - Section  109  of  the Indian Penal Code and Section  13(2)  read  with  Section  13(1)(e)  of  the Prevention of Corruption Act - Tamil Nadu minister and his wife , mother in law , mother and father - Discharge petition was rejected by trial court - it is set aside by High court - Apex court set aside the orders of High court and rejected the Discharge petition filed under section 239 of Cr. P.C.  =

The investigating officer  also  came  to  the  conclusion

that Minister’s father and  mother  never  had  any  independent  source  of

income  commensurate  with  the  property  and  pecuniary  resources   found

acquired in their names.  

Accordingly, the investigating  officer  submitted

the charge-sheet dated 4th  of  July,  2003  against  Respondent  No.1,  the

Minister and his father  (Respondent  No.2)  and  mother  (Respondent  No.3)

respectively, alleging commission of an offence under  Section  109  of  the

Indian Penal Code and Section  13(2)  read  with  Section  13(1)(e)  of  the

Prevention of Corruption Act.  

Respondents filed application  dated  5th  of

December, 2003 under Section 239 of the Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,  1973

(hereinafter referred to as  ‘the  Code’),  seeking  their  discharge.    = 

True it  is  that  at  the

time of consideration of the applications for discharge,  the  court  cannot

act as a mouthpiece of the prosecution or act as a post-office and may  sift

evidence in order to find out  whether  or  not  the  allegations  made  are

groundless so as to pass an order of discharge.  It is  trite  that  at  the

stage of consideration of an application for discharge,  the  court  has  to

proceed with an assumption that the  materials  brought  on  record  by  the

prosecution are true and evaluate the said materials and  documents  with  a

view to find out whether the facts emerging therefrom taken  at  their  face

value disclose  the  existence  of  all  the  ingredients  constituting  the

alleged offence.  At this stage, probative value of the materials has to  be

gone into and the court is not expected to go deep into the matter and  hold

that the materials would not warrant a conviction.   In  our  opinion,  what

needs to be considered is whether there is a ground for presuming  that  the

offence has been committed and not  whether  a  ground  for  convicting  the

accused has been made out.  To put it differently, if the court thinks  that

the accused might have committed the offence on the basis of  the  materials

on record on its probative value,  it  can  frame  the  charge;  though  for

conviction, the court has to come to the conclusion  that  the  accused  has

committed the offence.  The law does not permit a mini trial at this  stage.

Here  the  allegation  against  the  accused

Minister (Respondent No.1), K. Ponmudi is that while he was a Member of  the

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and a State Minister, he  had  acquired  and

was in possession of the properties in the name of  his  wife  as  also  his

mother-in-law, who along with his other friends, were  of  Siga  Educational

Trust, Villupuram.  According to the prosecution,  the  properties  of  Siga

Educational Trust, Villupuram were held by other accused on  behalf  of  the

accused Minister.  These properties, according to the prosecution, in  fact,

were the properties of K.Ponumudi.  Similarly, accused N. Suresh  Rajan  has

acquired properties disproportionate to his known sources of income  in  the

names of his father and mother.  While passing the order of  discharge,  the

fact that the accused other than the two Ministers  have  been  assessed  to

income tax and paid income tax  cannot  be  relied  upon  to  discharge  the

accused  persons  particularly  in  view  of  the  allegation  made  by  the

prosecution  that  there  was  no  separate  income  to  amass   such   huge

properties.  The property in the name  of  an  income  tax  assessee  itself

cannot be a ground to hold that it actually belongs to such an assessee.  In

case this  proposition  is  accepted,  in  our  opinion,  it  will  lead  to

disastrous consequences. It will give  opportunity  to  the  corrupt  public

servants to amass property in the name of known persons, pay income  tax  on

their behalf and then be out from the mischief of law.   While  passing  the

impugned orders, the court has not sifted the materials for the  purpose  of

finding out whether  or  not  there  is  sufficient  ground  for  proceeding

against the accused but whether that would warrant a conviction.  We are  of

the opinion that this  was  not  the  stage  where  the  court  should  have

appraised the evidence and discharged the accused as if it  was  passing  an

order of acquittal.  Further, defect in investigation  itself  cannot  be  a

ground for discharge. In our opinion, the order impugned suffers from  grave

error and calls for rectification.



        Any observation made by us in this judgment is for  the  purpose  of

disposal of these appeals and shall  have  no  bearing  on  the  trial.  The

surviving respondents are directed to appear before  the  respective  courts

on 3rd of February, 2014.  The Court shall proceed with the trial  from  the

stage of charge in accordance with law and make endeavour to dispose of  the

same expeditiously.



      In the result, we allow these appeals  and  set  aside  the  order  of

discharge with the aforesaid observation.



2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41135


                                                              REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.22-23  OF 2014

   (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION(CRL.)NOs.3810-3811 of 2012)


STATE OF TAMILNADU BY INS.OF POLICE

VIGILANCE AND ANTI CORRUPTION                … APPELLANT


                                   VERSUS



N.SURESH RAJAN & ORS.                      …RESPONDENTS



                                    With


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.26-38 OF 2014

   (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION(CRL.)NOs. 134-146 of 2013)


STATE REP. BY DEPUTY SUPDT. OF POLICE

VIGILANCE AND ANTI CORRUPTION                … APPELLANT


                                   VERSUS


K.PONMUDI & ORS.                           …RESPONDENTS



                               J U D G M E N T



CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD, J.


CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.22-23   OF 2014 (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION(CRL.)Nos.3810-

3811 of 2012)



      The State of Tamil Nadu aggrieved by the order dated 10th of December,

2010 passed by the Madras High Court in  Criminal  R.C.No.528  of  2009  and

Criminal M.P.(MD) No.1 of 2009,  setting  aside  the  order  dated  25th  of

September, 2009 passed by the learned Chief Judicial  Magistrate-cum-Special

Judge, Nagercoil (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Special  Judge’),  whereby

he refused to discharge the respondents, has preferred these  special  leave

petitions.



      Leave granted.



      Short facts giving rise to the present appeals are that 

Respondent No.

1, N. Suresh Rajan, during the period from 13.05.1996 to 14.05.2001,  was  a

Member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly as also a  State  Minister  of

Tourism.   

Respondent  No.  2,  K.  Neelkanda  Pillai  is  his  father   and

Respondent No. 3, R.Rajam, his mother.  

On the basis of an information  that

N. Suresh Rajan, during his tenure as the Minister of Tourism, had  acquired

and was in possession of pecuniary resources and properties in his name  and

in the names of  his  father  and  mother,  disproportionate  to  his  known

sources of income, Crime  No.  7  of  2002  was  registered  at  Kanyakumari

Vigilance and Anti Corruption Department on 14th of March, 2002 against  the

Minister N. Suresh Rajan, his father, mother, elder sister and  his  bother-

in-law. 

During the course of the investigation,  the  investigating  officer

collected  and  gathered  informations  with  regard  to  the  property  and

pecuniary resources in possession of N. Suresh Rajan during  his  tenure  as

the Minister, in his name and in the name of others.  On computation of  the

income of the Minister from his known sources and also expenditure  incurred

by him, it was found that the properties owned  and  possessed  by  him  are

disproportionate to  his  known  sources  of  income  to  the  tune  of  Rs.

23,77,950.94.  

The investigating  officer  not  only  examined  the  accused

Minister but also his father and mother as also his sister and the  brother-

in-law. 

 Ultimately, the investigating agency came to  the  conclusion  that

during the check period, Respondent No.1, N. Suresh Rajan has  acquired  and

was in possession of pecuniary resources and properties in his name  and  in

the names of his father, K. Neelakanda Pillai (Respondent No. 2) and  mother

R. Rajam (Respondent No. 3) and his wife D.S. Bharathi for  total  value  of

Rs. 17,58,412.47. 

The investigating officer  also  came  to  the  conclusion

that Minister’s father and  mother  never  had  any  independent  source  of

income  commensurate  with  the  property  and  pecuniary  resources   found

acquired in their names.  

Accordingly, the investigating  officer  submitted

the charge-sheet dated 4th  of  July,  2003  against  Respondent  No.1,  the

Minister and his father  (Respondent  No.2)  and  mother  (Respondent  No.3)

respectively, alleging commission of an offence under  Section  109  of  the

Indian Penal Code and Section  13(2)  read  with  Section  13(1)(e)  of  the

Prevention of Corruption Act.  

Respondents filed application  dated  5th  of

December, 2003 under Section 239 of the Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,  1973

(hereinafter referred to as  ‘the  Code’),  seeking  their  discharge.   

The

Special Judge, by its order dated 25th of  September,  2009  rejected  their

prayer.  

While doing so, the Special Judge observed as follows:

             “At this stage it will be premature to say that there  are  no

             sufficient materials on the side of the  state  to  frame  any

             charge against them and the same would not be according to law

             in the opinion of this court and at the same time  this  court

             has come to know  that  there  are  basic  materials  for  the

             purpose of framing charges  against  the  3  petitioners,  the

             petition filed by the  petitioners  is  dismissed  and  orders

             passed to that effect.”



      Aggrieved by the same, respondents filed criminal revision before  the

High Court.  

The High Court by the  impugned  judgment  had  set  aside  the

order of the Special Judge and discharged the  respondents  on  its  finding that in the  absence  of  any  material  to  show  that  money  passed  from respondent No. 1 to his mother and father,  latter  cannot  be  said  to  be holding the property and resources in their names on behalf  of  their  son.

The High Court while passing  the  impugned  order  heavily  relied  on  its

earlier judgment in the case of State by Deputy  Superintendent  of  Police,

Vigilance and Anti Corruption Cuddalore Detachment v.  K.  Ponumudi  &  Ors.

(2007-1MLJ-CRL.-100), the validity whereof is also  under  consideration  in

the connected appeals.  

The High Court while allowing the criminal  revision

observed as follows:



             “12.In the instant case, the properties standing in  the  name

             of the petitioners 2 and 3 namely, A2 and A3 could not be held

             to be the properties or resources belonging to the 1st accused

             in the absence of any investigation into the individual income

             resources of A2 and A3.  

Moreover, it is not disputed that  A2

             was a retired Head Master receiving pension and A3 is  running

             a Financial Institution and an Income Tax  assessee.   

In  the

             absence of any material to show that A1’s money flow into  the

             hands of A2 and A3, they cannot be  said  to  be  holding  the

             properties and resources in their name on behalf of the  first

             accused.  

There is also no material to show  that  A2  and  A3

             instigated   A1   to   acquire   properties   and    resources

             disproportionate to his known source of income.”



      It is in these circumstances that the appellant is before us.



CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.26-38   OF 2014

     (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION(CRL.)Nos. 134-146 of 2013)



      These special leave petitions are  barred  by  limitation.   There  is

delay of 1954 days in filing the petitions and  217  days  in  refiling  the

same.  Applications have been filed for condoning the delay  in  filing  and

refiling the special leave petitions.


      Mr. Ranjit Kumar, learned Senior Counsel for  the  petitioner  submits

that 

the delay in filing the special leave petitions  has  occurred  as  the

Public Prosecutor earlier gave an opinion that it  is  not  a  fit  case  in

which special leave petitions deserve to be filed.  

The Government  accepted

the opinion and decided not to file the  special  leave  petitions.   It  is

pointed out that the very Government in which  one  of  the  accused  was  a

Minister had  taken  the  aforesaid  decision  not  to  file  special  leave

petitions.   

However, after  the  change  of  the  Government,  opinion  was

sought from the Advocate General, who opined that it is fit  case  in  which

the order impugned deserves to be challenged.  Accordingly, it is  submitted

that the cause shown is sufficient to condone the delay.


      Mr. Soli  J.  Sorabjee,  learned  Senior  Counsel  appearing  for  the

respondents, however, submits that mere change of Government  would  not  be

sufficient to condone the  inordinate  delay.   He  submits  that  with  the

change of the Government, many issues which have attained finality would  be

reopened after long delay, which should not be allowed.  According  to  him,

condonation of huge delay on  the  ground  that  the  successor  Government,

which belongs to a different political party,  had  taken  the  decision  to

file  the  special  leave  petitions  would  be  setting  a  very  dangerous

precedent and it would lead to miscarriage of justice.  He  emphasizes  that

there is a life span for every legal remedy and condonation of delay  is  an

exception.  Reliance has been placed on a decision  of  this  Court  in  the

case of Postmaster General v. Living Media India Ltd.,  (2012)  3  SCC  563,

and our attention has been drawn to Paragraph  29  of  the  judgment,  which

reads as follows:



             “29. In our view, it is the  right  time  to  inform  all  the

             government bodies, their agencies and  instrumentalities  that

             unless they have reasonable and acceptable explanation for the

             delay and there was bona fide effort,  there  is  no  need  to

             accept the usual explanation that the file  was  kept  pending

             for  several  months/years  due  to  considerable  degree   of

             procedural red tape in the process. The government departments

             are under a special obligation to  ensure  that  they  perform

             their duties with diligence  and  commitment.  Condonation  of

             delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated

             benefit for  the  government  departments.  The  law  shelters

             everyone under the same light and should not  be  swirled  for

             the benefit of a few.”



      Mr. Sorabjee further submits that the Limitation Act does not  provide

for different period of limitation for the Government in  resorting  to  the

remedy provided under the law and the case in  hand  being  not  a  case  of

fraud or collusion by its officers or agents, the huge delay is not  fit  to

be condoned.  Reliance has also been placed on a decision of this  Court  in

the case of Pundlik  Jalam  Patil  v.  Executive  Engineer,  Jalgaon  Medium

Project, (2008) 17 SCC 448 and reference has been made to  Paragraph  31  of

the judgment, which reads as follows:



             “31. It is true that when the State and its  instrumentalities

             are the applicants seeking condonation of delay  they  may  be

             entitled  to  certain  amount  of  latitude  but  the  law  of

             limitation  is  same  for   citizen   and   for   governmental

             authorities.  The  Limitation  Act  does  not  provide  for  a

             different period  to  the  Government  in  filing  appeals  or

             applications as such. It would be a different matter where the

             Government makes out a case where public interest was shown to

             have suffered owing to acts of fraud or collusion on the  part

             of its officers or agents and where the officers were  clearly

             at cross purposes with it. In a given case if any  such  facts

             are  pleaded  or  proved  they   cannot   be   excluded   from

             consideration and those  factors  may  go  into  the  judicial

             verdict. In the present case, no such facts  are  pleaded  and

             proved though a feeble attempt by the learned counsel for  the

             respondent was made to suggest collusion and fraud but without

             any basis. We cannot entertain the submission made across  the

             Bar  without  there  being  any  proper  foundation   in   the

             pleadings.”




      The contentions put forth  by  Mr.  Sorabjee  are  weighty,  deserving

thoughtful consideration and at one  point  of  time  we  were  inclined  to

reject the applications filed for  condonation  of  delay  and  dismiss  the

special leave petitions. 

 However, on a second  thought  we  find  that  the

validity of the order impugned in these special leave petitions  has  to  be

gone into in  criminal  appeals  arising  out  of  Special  Leave  Petitions

(Criminal) Nos. 3810-3811 of 2012 and in the face of it, it shall be  unwise

to dismiss these special leave petitions on the ground  of  limitation.   

It

is worth mentioning here that the order impugned  in  the  criminal  appeals

arising out of Special Leave Petition (Criminal)  Nos.  3810-3811  of  2012,

State of Tamil Nadu by Ins. of Police, Vigilance and Anti Corruption  v.  N.

Suresh Rajan & Ors., has been mainly rendered, relying on  the  decision  in

State by Deputy Superintendent of  Police,  Vigilance  and  Anti  Corruption

Cuddalore Detachment vs. K. Ponmudi and Ors.(2007-1MLJ-CRL.-100),  which  is

impugned in the present special leave petitions.  

In fact,  by  order  dated

3rd of January, 2013, these petitions were directed to be heard  along  with

the aforesaid special leave petitions.  In such  circumstances,  we  condone

the delay in filing and refiling the special leave petitions.


      In these petitions the State of Tamil Nadu  impugns  the  order  dated

11th of August, 2006 passed by the Madras High Court  whereby  the  revision

petitions filed against the order of discharge  dated  21st  of  July,  2004

passed  by  the  Special   Judge/Chief   Judicial   Magistrate,   Villupuram

(hereinafter referred to as ‘the Special Judge’), in the Special Case No.  7

of 2003, have been dismissed.





      Leave granted.



      Shorn of unnecessary details, facts giving rise to the present appeals

are that K. Ponumudi, respondent No. 1 herein, happened to be  a  Member  of

the State Legislative Assembly and  a  State  Minister  in  the  Tamil  Nadu

Government during the check period. P. Visalakshi Ponmudi (Respondent  No.2)

is his wife, whereas P.Saraswathi (Respondent  No.3)  (since  deceased)  was

his  mother-in-law.   A.Manivannan  (Respondent   No.4)   and   A.Nandagopal

(Respondent  No.5)  (since  deceased)  are  the  friends  of  the   Minister

(Respondent No.1).  Respondent Nos.  3  to  5  during  their  lifetime  were

trustees of one Siga Educational Trust, Villupuram.



      In the present appeals, we have to examine the validity of  the  order

of discharge passed by the Special Judge as  affirmed  by  the  High  Court.

Hence, we consider it unnecessary to go into the details of the case of  the

prosecution or the defence of the respondent at this stage.  Suffice  it  to

say that, according to the prosecution, K. Ponmudi (Respondent No.1),  as  a

Minister of Transport and a Member of the Tamil  Nadu  Legislative  Assembly

during the period from 13.05.1996 to 30.09.2001, had  acquired  and  was  in

possession of pecuniary resources and properties in  his  name  and  in  the

names of his wife  and  sons,  which  were  disproportionate  to  his  known

sources of income.  Accordingly, Crime No.  4  of  2002  was  registered  at

Cuddalore Village, Anti-Corruption Department on 14th of March,  2002  under

Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code read with  Section  13(2)  and  Section

13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,  hereinafter  referred  to  as

‘the Act’.  During the course of investigation it  transpired  that  between

the period from 13.05.1996 to 31.03.2002,  the  Minister  had  acquired  and

possessed  properties  at  Mathirimangalam,   Kaspakaranai,   Kappiampuliyur

villages and other places in Villupuram Taluk, at Vittalapuram  village  and

other places in Thindivanam Taluk, at Cuddalore and  Pondicherry  Towns,  at

Chennai and  Trichy  cities  and  at  other  places.   It  is  alleged  that

respondent No.1-Minister being a public servant  committed  the  offence  of

criminal misconduct by  acquiring  and  being  in  possession  of  pecuniary

resources and properties in his name and in the names of his  wife,  mother-

in-law and also in the name of Siga Educational Trust,  held  by  the  other

respondents on  behalf  of  Respondent  No.  1,  the  Minister,  which  were

disproportionate  to  his  known  sources  of  income  to  the   extent   of

Rs.3,08,35,066.97.   According   to   the   prosecution,   he   could    not

satisfactorily account for the assets and in  this  way,  the  Minister  had

committed the offence punishable  under  Section  13(2)  read  with  Section

13(1)(e) of the Act.



      In the course of investigation, it further transpired that during  the

check period and in the places  stated  above,  other  accused  abetted  the

Minister in the commission of the offence by him.   Respondent  No.  2,  the

wife of the Minister, aided in commission of the offence by holding  on  his

behalf a substantial portion of properties and pecuniary  resources  in  her

name as well as in the name of M/s. Visal Expo, of which she  was  the  sole

Proprietor.  Similarly, Respondent  No.  3,  the  mother-in-law,  aided  the

Minister by holding on his behalf a substantial portion  of  properties  and

pecuniary resources in her name as well as in the name of  Siga  Educational

Trust by purporting to be one of its Trustees.  Similarly, Respondent No.  4

and  Respondent  No.  5  aided  the  Minister  and  held  on  his  behalf  a

substantial portion of the properties and pecuniary resources  in  the  name

of Siga Educational Trust by purporting to be its Trustees.  It is  relevant

here to mention that during the course of investigation,  the  statement  of

all other accused were  taken  and  in  the  opinion  of  the  investigating

agency, after due scrutiny of their  statements  and  further  verification,

the Minister was not able to  satisfactorily  account  for  the  quantum  of

disproportionate assets.  Accordingly, the  Vigilance  and  Anti  Corruption

Department of  the  State  Government  submitted  charge-sheet  against  the

respondents under Section 109 of the Indian Penal  Code  and  Section  13(2)

read with Section 13(1)(e) of the Act.



      It is relevant here to state that the offences  punishable  under  the

scheme of the Act have to be tried by  a  Special  Judge  and  he  may  take

cognizance of the offence without commitment of the accused  and  the  Judge

trying the accused is required to follow the  procedure  prescribed  by  the

Code for the trial of warrant cases by the Magistrate.   The  Special  Judge

holding the trial is deemed to be a  Court  of  Sessions.   The  respondents

filed petition for discharge under  Section  239  of  the  Code  inter  alia

contending that the system which the prosecution had followed  to  ascertain

the income of the accused is wrong.  Initially, the check  period  was  from

10.05.1996 to 13.09.2001 which, during the investigation, was enlarged  from

13.05.1996 to 31.03.2002.  Not only this,  according  to  the  accused,  the

income was undervalued  and  the  expenditures  exaggerated.   According  to

Respondent No. 1, the Minister, income of the  individual  property  of  his

wife and that of his mother-in-law and their expenditure ought not  to  have

been shown as his property.  According  to  him,  the  allegation  that  the

properties in their names are his benami properties is wrong.  It  was  also

contended that the valuation of the properties has been arrived  at  without

taking into consideration the entire income and  expenditure  of  Respondent

No. 1.  Respondents have also alleged that the  investigating  officer,  who

is the informant of the case, had acted autocratically  and  his  action  is

vitiated by bias.  The Special Judge examined all these contentions  and  by

order dated 21st of July, 2004 discharged Respondents on  its  finding  that

the investigation was not conducted properly.   The  Special  Judge  further

held that the value of the property of Respondent Nos. 2 to 5 ought  not  to

have been clubbed with that of  the  individual  properties  and  income  of

Respondent No. 1 and by doing so, the assets of Respondent No. 1  cannot  be

said to be  disproportionate  to  his  known  sources  of  income.   On  the

aforesaid finding the Special Judge discharged all the  accused.   Aggrieved

by the same, the State of Tamil Nadu filed separate revision  petitions  and

the High Court, by the  impugned  order,  has  dismissed  all  the  revision

petitions.  The High Court, while affirming the  order  of  discharge,  held

that the prosecution committed an  error  by  adding  the  income  of  other

respondents, who were assessed under the Income Tax Act, in  the  income  of

Respondent No.1.  In the opinion of  the  High  Court,  an  independent  and

unbiased scrutiny of the entire documents furnished  along  with  the  final

report would not make out any ground of framing of charges  against  any  of

the accused persons.  While  doing  so,  the  High  Court  has  observed  as

follows:



             “18. The assets which admittedly, do not belong to  Accused  1

             and owned by individuals having independent source  of  income

             which are assessed under the Income Tax Act, were added as the

             assets of  Accused  -1.   Such  a  procedure  adopted  by  the

             prosecution is not only unsustainable but  also  illegal.   An

             independent and unbiased  scrutiny  of  the  entire  documents

             furnished along with the final report would not make  out  any

             ground for framing of charge as against  any  of  the  accused

             persons.   The  methodology  adopted  by  the  prosecution  to

             establish the disproportionate assets with  reference  to  the

             known source of income is absolutely erroneous.



                       xxx         xxx        xxx

             The theory of Benami is totally alien to the concept of  trust

             and it is not legally sustainable to array the accused 3 to  5

             as holders of the properties or that they are the benamies  of

             the accused. The benami transaction has to be  proved  by  the

             prosecution by producing legally permissible  materials  of  a

             bona fide character which would directly  prove  the  fact  of

             benami and there is a total lack of materials on this  account

             and hence the theory of benami has not been  established  even

             remotely by any evidence. On  a  prima-facie  evidence  it  is

             evident that the other accused  are  possessed  of  sufficient

             funds for acquiring their properties and that A1  has  nothing

             to do with those properties and that he cannot be called  upon

             to explain the source of income of  the  acquisition  made  by

             other persons.

             19………  Admittedly  the  accused  are  not  possessed  of   the

             properties standing in the name of Trust and controlled by the

             Accused A3 to A5. The trust is  an  independent  legal  entity

             assessed to income tax and  owning  the  properties.  Only  to

             boost the  value  of  the  assets  the  prosecution  belatedly

             arrayed the Trustees of the Trust as accused 3 to 5  in  order

             to foist a false case as against A1.

                       xxx         xxx        xxx

             21………All the  properties  acquired  by  A2  and  A3  in  their

             individual capacity acquired out of their own income have been

             shown in the Income Tax Returns, which  fact  the  prosecution

             also  knows  and  also  available  in  the  records   of   the

             prosecution. The prosecution has no justification or reason to

             disregard those income tax returns  to  disallow  such  income

             while filing the final report. The documents now available  on

             record  also  would  clearly  disprove  the  claim  of  benami

             transaction.”



      The High court ultimately concluded as follows:

             “24…………Therefore, the trial court analyzing the materials  and

             documents that were made available at  the  stage  of  framing

             charges  and  on  their  face  value  arrived  at  the   right

             conclusion that  charges  could  not  be  framed  against  the

             respondents/accused.”



      Now we proceed to consider the legal position concerning the issue  of

discharge and validity of the  orders  impugned  in  these  appeals  in  the

background thereof.  Mr.  Ranjit  Kumar  submits  that  the  order  impugned

suffers from patent illegality.  He points out that at the time  of  framing

of the charge the scope is limited and what is to be seen at this  stage  is

as to whether on examination of the materials and the  documents  collected,

the charge can be said to be groundless or not.  He  submits  that  at  this

stage, the court cannot appraise the evidence as is  done  at  the  time  of

trial.  He points out that while passing the impugned orders,  the  evidence

has been appraised and the case of the prosecution has been rejected, as  is

done after the trial while acquitting the accused.



      Mr. Sorabjee as also Mr.  N.V.  Ganesh  appearing  on  behalf  of  the

respondents-accused, however, submit  that  when  the  court  considers  the

applications for discharge, it has to examine the materials for the  purpose

of finding out as to whether the  allegation  made  is  groundless  or  not.

They submit that  at  the  time  of  consideration  of  an  application  for

discharge, nothing prevents the court to sift and  weigh  the  evidence  for

the purpose of ascertaining as to whether the allegations made on the  basis

of the materials and the documents collected are groundless  or  not.   They

also contend that the court while considering  such  an  application  cannot

act merely as a post-office or a mouthpiece of the prosecution.  In  support

of the submission, reliance has been placed on a decision of this  Court  in

the case of Sajjan Kumar v. CBI, (2010) 9 SCC  368  and  our  attention  has

been drawn to Paragraph 17(4) of the judgment, which reads as follows:



             “17. In Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal  &  Anr.,  1979

             (3) SCC 4, the scope of Section 227 CrPC was considered. After

             adverting to various decisions, this Court has enumerated  the

             following principles:



                            xxx   xxx   xxx



             (4) That in exercising his jurisdiction under Section  227  of

             the Code the Judge which under the present Code  is  a  senior

             and experienced court cannot act merely as a post office or  a

             mouthpiece of the prosecution, but has to consider  the  broad

             probabilities of the case, the total effect  of  the  evidence

             and  the  documents  produced  before  the  court,  any  basic

             infirmities appearing in the case and so on. This however does

             not mean that the Judge should make a roving enquiry into  the

             pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence  as  if  he

             was conducting a trial.”





      Yet another decision on which reliance has been placed is the decision

of this Court in the case of Dilawar Balu Kurane v.  State  of  Maharashtra,

(2002) 2 SCC 135, reference  has been made to  the  following  paragraph  of

the said judgment:



             “12. Now the next question is whether a prima facie  case  has

             been made out against  the  appellant.  In  exercising  powers

             under Section 227 of  the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,  the

             settled position of law is that the  Judge  while  considering

             the question of framing the charges under the said section has

             the undoubted power to sift and weigh  the  evidence  for  the

             limited purpose of finding out whether or not  a  prima  facie

             case  against  the  accused  has  been  made  out;  where  the

             materials placed before the  court  disclose  grave  suspicion

             against the accused which has not been properly explained  the

             court  will  be  fully  justified  in  framing  a  charge  and

             proceeding with the trial; by  and  large  if  two  views  are

             equally possible and the Judge is satisfied that the  evidence

             produced before him while giving rise to  some  suspicion  but

             not grave suspicion against the  accused,  he  will  be  fully

             justified  to  discharge  the  accused,  and   in   exercising

             jurisdiction  under  Section  227  of  the  Code  of  Criminal

             Procedure, the Judge cannot act merely as a post office  or  a

             mouthpiece of the prosecution, but has to consider  the  broad

             probabilities of the case, the total effect  of  the  evidence

             and the documents produced before the  court  but  should  not

             make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and

             weigh the evidence as if he was conducting a trial.”





      We have bestowed our consideration to the rival  submissions  and  the

submissions made by Mr. Ranjit Kumar commend us.  True it  is  that  at  the

time of consideration of the applications for discharge,  the  court  cannot

act as a mouthpiece of the prosecution or act as a post-office and may  sift

evidence in order to find out  whether  or  not  the  allegations  made  are

groundless so as to pass an order of discharge.  It is  trite  that  at  the

stage of consideration of an application for discharge,  the  court  has  to

proceed with an assumption that the  materials  brought  on  record  by  the

prosecution are true and evaluate the said materials and  documents  with  a

view to find out whether the facts emerging therefrom taken  at  their  face

value disclose  the  existence  of  all  the  ingredients  constituting  the

alleged offence.  

At this stage, probative value of the materials has to  be

gone into and the court is not expected to go deep into the matter and  hold

that the materials would not warrant a conviction.   

In  our  opinion,  what

needs to be considered is whether there is a ground for presuming  that  the

offence has been committed and not  whether  a  ground  for  convicting  the

accused has been made out.  

To put it differently, if the court thinks  that

the accused might have committed the offence on the basis of  the  materials

on record on its probative value,  it  can  frame  the  charge;  though  for

conviction, the court has to come to the conclusion  that  the  accused  has

committed the offence.  The law does not permit a mini trial at this  stage.

 Reference in this connection can be made  to  a  recent  decision  of  this

Court in the case of Sheoraj  Singh  Ahlawat  &  Ors.  vs.  State  of  Uttar

Pradesh & Anr., AIR 2013 SC 52, in which, after analyzing various  decisions

on the point, this Court endorsed the following view  taken  in  Onkar  Nath

Mishra v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2008) 2 SCC 561:

             “11. It is trite that at the stage of framing  of  charge  the

             court is required to evaluate the material  and  documents  on

             record with a view to finding out if the facts emerging  there

             from, taken at their face value, disclosed  the  existence  of

             all the ingredients constituting the alleged offence.  At that

             stage, the court is not expected to go deep into the probative

             value of the material on record. What needs to  be  considered

             is whether there is a ground for presuming  that  the  offence

             has been committed and not a ground for convicting the accused

             has been made  out.  At  that  stage,  even  strong  suspicion

             founded  on  material  which  leads  the  court  to   form   a

             presumptive  opinion  as  to  the  existence  of  the  factual

             ingredients constituting the offence alleged would justify the

             framing of charge  against  the  accused  in  respect  of  the

             commission of that offence."



      Now reverting to the decisions of this Court in the case Sajjan  Kumar

(supra) and Dilawar Balu Kurane (supra), relied on by  the  respondents,  we

are of the opinion that they do  not  advance  their  case.   

The  aforesaid

decisions consider the provision of Section 227 of  the  Code  and  make  it

clear that at the stage of  discharge  the  Court  can  not  make  a  roving

enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the  evidence  as  if

it  was  conducting  a  trial.  

 It  is  worth  mentioning  that  the   Code

contemplates discharge of  the  accused  by  the  Court  of  Sessions  under

Section 227 in a case triable by it; cases instituted upon a  police  report

are covered by Section 239 and cases instituted otherwise than on  a  police

report are dealt with in Section 245.  

 From  a  reading  of  the  aforesaid

sections it is evident that they contain somewhat different provisions  with

regard to discharge of an accused.  Under  Section  227  of  the  Code,  the

trial court is required to discharge  the  accused  if  it  “considers  that

there  is  not  sufficient  ground  for  proceeding  against  the  accused”.

However, discharge under Section 239 can be  ordered  when  “the  Magistrate

considers the charge against the accused to be groundless”.   

The  power  to

discharge  is  exercisable  under  Section  245(1)  when,  “the   Magistrate

considers, for reasons to be recorded that no case against the  accused  has

been made out which, if  not  repudiated,  would  warrant  his  conviction”.

Section 227 and 239 provide for discharge before the recording  of  evidence

on the basis of the police report, the documents  sent  along  with  it  and

examination of the accused after giving an opportunity to the parties to  be

heard.  

However, the stage of discharge under  Section  245,  on  the  other

hand, is reached only after the evidence referred in Section  244  has  been

taken.  Thus,  there  is  difference  in  the  language  employed  in  these

provisions.  

But, in our opinion,  notwithstanding  these  differences,  and

whichever provision may be applicable, the court is required at  this  stage

to see that there is a prima facie case for proceeding against the  accused.

 Reference in this connection can be made to a judgment  of  this  Court  in

the case of R.S. Nayak v. A.R. Antulay, (1986) 2 SCC 716.   The  same  reads

as follows:



             “43………………Notwithstanding this difference in the position there

             is no scope for doubt that the stage at which  the  magistrate

             is required to consider the  question  of  framing  of  charge

             under Section 245(1) is a preliminary  one  and  the  test  of

             “prima facie”  case  has  to  be  applied.  In  spite  of  the

             difference in the language of the three  sections,  the  legal

             position is that if the Trial court is satisfied that a  prima

             facie case is made out, charge has to be framed.”





      Bearing in mind the principles aforesaid, we proceed to  consider  the

facts of  the  present  case.   

Here  the  allegation  against  the  accused

Minister (Respondent No.1), K. Ponmudi is that while he was a Member of  the

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and a State Minister, he  had  acquired  and

was in possession of the properties in the name of  his  wife  as  also  his

mother-in-law, who along with his other friends, were  of  Siga  Educational

Trust, Villupuram.  

According to the prosecution,  the  properties  of  Siga

Educational Trust, Villupuram were held by other accused on  behalf  of  the

accused Minister.  

These properties, according to the prosecution, in  fact,

were the properties of K.Ponumudi.  

Similarly, accused N. Suresh  Rajan  has

acquired properties disproportionate to his known sources of income  in  the

names of his father and mother.  

While passing the order of  discharge,  the

fact that the accused other than the two Ministers  have  been  assessed  to

income tax and paid income tax  cannot  be  relied  upon  to  discharge  the

accused  persons  particularly  in  view  of  the  allegation  made  by  the

prosecution  that  there  was  no  separate  income  to  amass   such   huge

properties.  

The property in the name  of  an  income  tax  assessee  itself

cannot be a ground to hold that it actually belongs to such an assessee.  

In

case this  proposition  is  accepted,  in  our  opinion,  it  will  lead  to

disastrous consequences. 

It will give  opportunity  to  the  corrupt  public

servants to amass property in the name of known persons, pay income  tax  on

their behalf and then be out from the mischief of law.   

While  passing  the

impugned orders, the court has not sifted the materials for the  purpose  of

finding out whether  or  not  there  is  sufficient  ground  for  proceeding

against the accused but whether that would warrant a conviction.  

We are  of

the opinion that this  was  not  the  stage  where  the  court  should  have

appraised the evidence and discharged the accused as if it  was  passing  an

order of acquittal.  Further, defect in investigation  itself  cannot  be  a

ground for discharge. In our opinion, the order impugned suffers from  grave

error and calls for rectification.



        Any observation made by us in this judgment is for  the  purpose  of

disposal of these appeals and shall  have  no  bearing  on  the  trial.  The

surviving respondents are directed to appear before  the  respective  courts

on 3rd of February, 2014.  The Court shall proceed with the trial  from  the

stage of charge in accordance with law and make endeavour to dispose of  the

same expeditiously.



      In the result, we allow these appeals  and  set  aside  the  order  of

discharge with the aforesaid observation.



                                 ………………..……………………………….J.

                                                   (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)




                                                  ………………….……………………………………… J.

                                                                (M.Y. EQBAL)

NEW DELHI,

JANUARY 06, 2014.









      -----------------------



34


Delhi Excise Act sec. 33,58,59 and sec.61 - Sec.457 of Cr.P.C - Release of vehicle seized while transporting illicit liquor by police - Magistrate dismissed - High court allowed as the vehicle was seized by police but not by Excise Department - Apex court held that special law prevails over the general law and held that as per sec.59 all seized properties are to be produced before the Deputy commissioner of Excise who holds authority to deal with the same - Sec.61 bars jurisdiction of courts in respect of that seized properties and held that High court committed wrong and set aside the order of High court as it exceeds it's Jurisdiction = STATE (NCT OF DELHI) … APPELLANT VERSUS NARENDER …RESPONDENT = 2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41134

posted 9 Jan 2014 07:05 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

  Delhi Excise Act sec. 33,58,59 and sec.61 - Sec.457 of Cr.P.C - Release of vehicle seized while transporting illicit liquor by police - Magistrate dismissed - High court allowed as the vehicle was seized by police but not by Excise Department - Apex court held that special law prevails over the general law and held that as per sec.59 all seized properties are to be produced before the Deputy commissioner of Excise who holds authority to deal with the same - Sec.61 bars jurisdiction of courts in respect of that seized properties and held that High court committed wrong and set aside the order of High court as it exceeds it's Jurisdiction =


The  vehicle

abandoned by the driver was “Cruiser Force” and had registration No.  HR-56-

7290.  After opening of  the  windows  of  the  vehicle,  27  Cartons,  each

containing 12 bottles of 750  ml.  Mashaledar  country-made  liquor  and  20

Cartons, each containing 48 quarters of Besto Whisky were found  inside  the

vehicle.  All the 47 Cartons were embossed  with  ‘Sale  in  Haryana  only’.

Constable Raghmender Singh gave a report to the police  and  on  that  basis

FIR No. 112 of 2011 dated 17.04.2011 was registered  at  Aman  Vihar  Police

Station under Section 33(a) and Section 58 of the Delhi  Excise  Act,  2009.

During the course of investigation, Narender,  respondent  herein,  claiming

to be the owner of the vehicle, filed an  application  for  its  release  on

security, before the Metropolitan Magistrate,  Rohini,  who,  by  his  order

dated 24th of May, 2011 rejected the same, inter alia, holding that  he  has

no power to release the vehicle seized in connection with the offence  under

the Delhi Excise Act.  


The High  Court,  by  its  impugned

order dated 28th of November, 2011 directed the vehicle to  be  released  in

favour of the registered owner on furnishing security  to  the  satisfaction

of the  Metropolitan  Magistrate.   

While  doing  so,  the  High  Court  has

observed as follows:



           “………The vehicle in question was seized by  the  Police  and  not

           confiscated and if that was so, Section  58,  Delhi  Excise  Act

           would not apply with regard to the vehicle in question  and  the

           procedure that was to be followed regarding the vehicle  was  to

           be found in Chapter VI of Delhi Excise Act and also Section 451,

           Cr.P.C………”   =


 Section  59(1)  thereof  provides   that   notwithstanding

anything contained in any other law where anything liable  for  confiscation

under Section 58 is seized or detained, the officer  seizing  and  detaining

such thing shall produce  the  same  before  the  Deputy  Commissioner.   

On

production of the seized property, the  Deputy  Commissioner,  if  satisfied

that the offence under the Act has been committed,  may  order  confiscation

of such property.  


 “61.  Bar  of  jurisdiction  in  confiscation.-   

Whenever   any

           intoxicant, material, still, utensil,  implement,  apparatus  or

           any  receptacle,  package,  vessel,  animal,  cart,   or   other

           conveyance used in committing any offence, is seized or detained

           under this Act, no court shall, notwithstanding anything to  the

           contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force,

           have  jurisdiction  to  make  any  order  with  regard  to  such

           property.”



State of  Karnataka  v. K.A. Kunchindammed, (2002) 9 SCC 90,   which  while  dealing  with  somewhat

similar provisions under the Karnataka Forest Act held  as follows:-



           “23……….The position is made clear by the non obstante clause  in

           the  relevant  provisions  giving  overriding  effect   to   the

           provisions  in  the  Act  over  other  statutes  and  laws.  

The

           necessary corollary of such provisions is that in a  case  where

           the Authorized Officer is empowered  to  confiscate  the  seized

           forest produce on being satisfied that an offence under the  Act

           has been committed thereof  the  general  power  vested  in  the

           Magistrate for  dealing  with  interim  custody/release  of  the

           seized materials under CrPC has  to  give  way.  

The  Magistrate

           while dealing with a case of any seizure of forest produce under

           the Act should examine  

whether  the  power  to  confiscate  the

           seized forest produce is vested in the Authorized Officer  under

           the Act and if he  finds  that  such  power  is  vested  in  the

           Authorized Officer then he has no power to pass an order dealing

           with interim custody/release of the seized  material.  

This,  in

           our view, will help in proper implementation  of  provisions  of

           the special Act and will  help  in  advancing  the  purpose  and

           object of the statute. 

If in such cases power to  grant  interim

           custody/release of the seized forest produce is  vested  in  the

           Magistrate then it will be defeating the very scheme of the Act.

           Such a consequence is to be avoided.



           24. From the statutory provisions and the analysis made  in  the

           foregoing paragraphs the  position  that  emerges  is  that  the

           learned Magistrate and the learned Sessions Judge were right  in

           holding that on facts and in the circumstances of the  case,  it

           is the Authorized Officer who is vested with the power  to  pass

           order of interim custody of the vehicle and not the  Magistrate.

           The High Court was in error in taking a view to the contrary and

           in setting aside the orders passed by  the  Magistrate  and  the

           Sessions Judge on that basis.”




      From a conspectus of what we have observed above, the  impugned  order

of the High Court is found to be vulnerable and, therefore, the same  cannot

be allowed to stand.


  In the result, we allow this appeal, set aside the  impugned  judgment

and order of the High Court and hold that the High  Court  exceeded  in  its

jurisdiction in directing for release of the vehicle on security.



2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41134

                                                            

 REPORTABLE



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.25  OF 2014

              (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO. 8423 OF 2012)



STATE (NCT OF DELHI)                         … APPELLANT


                                   VERSUS



NARENDER                                     …RESPONDENT



                               J U D G M E N T



CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD, J.



      The State of Delhi, aggrieved by the order  dated  28th  of  November,

2011 passed by the Delhi High Court in  Criminal  M.C.  No.  2540  of  2011,

whereby it had directed for release of the vehicle bearing Registration  No.

HR-56-7290 to the registered owner on security, has preferred  this  special

leave petition.



      Leave granted.



      Shorn of unnecessary details, facts giving rise to the present  appeal

are  that  while  constables  Raghmender  Singh  and  Sunil  were  on  night

patrolling duty at Kirari Nithari turn on 17th of April, 2011,  they  saw  a

vehicle coming from the side of the Nithari Village.   Constable  Raghmender

Singh signalled the driver to stop the vehicle, but he  did  not  accede  to

his command and turned the vehicle  into  the  Prem  Nagar  Extension  Lane.

Both the constables chased the vehicle on their motorcycle  and  the  driver

of the vehicle, apprehending that he would be caught, left the  vehicle  and

ran away from the place, taking advantage  of  the  darkness.   

The  vehicle

abandoned by the driver was “Cruiser Force” and had registration No.  HR-56-

7290.  After opening of  the  windows  of  the  vehicle,  27  Cartons,  each

containing 12 bottles of 750  ml.  Mashaledar  country-made  liquor  and  20

Cartons, each containing 48 quarters of Besto Whisky were found  inside  the

vehicle.  All the 47 Cartons were embossed  with  ‘Sale  in  Haryana  only’.

Constable Raghmender Singh gave a report to the police  and  on  that  basis

FIR No. 112 of 2011 dated 17.04.2011 was registered  at  Aman  Vihar  Police

Station under Section 33(a) and Section 58 of the Delhi  Excise  Act,  2009.

During the course of investigation, Narender,  respondent  herein,  claiming

to be the owner of the vehicle, filed an  application  for  its  release  on

security, before the Metropolitan Magistrate,  Rohini,  who,  by  his  order

dated 24th of May, 2011 rejected the same, inter alia, holding that  he  has

no power to release the vehicle seized in connection with the offence  under

the Delhi Excise Act.  

The respondent again filed  an  application  for  the

same relief  i.e.  for  release  of  the  vehicle  on  security  before  the

Metropolitan Magistrate but the said application  also  met  with  the  same

fate.   By  order-dated  14th  of  July,  2011,  the  learned   Metropolitan

Magistrate declined to pass the order for  release,  inter  alia,  observing

that any order directing for  release  of  the  vehicle  on  security  would

amount to review of the order dated 24th  of  May,  2011,  which  power  the

court did not possess.

      Aggrieved by the same, the respondent filed an application before  the

High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure  (hereinafter

referred to as ‘the Code’), assailing the order dated 24th May, 2011  passed

by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate.  

The High  Court,  by  its  impugned

order dated 28th of November, 2011 directed the vehicle to  be  released  in

favour of the registered owner on furnishing security  to  the  satisfaction

of the  Metropolitan  Magistrate.   

While  doing  so,  the  High  Court  has

observed as follows:



           “………The vehicle in question was seized by  the  Police  and  not

           confiscated and if that was so, Section  58,  Delhi  Excise  Act

           would not apply with regard to the vehicle in question  and  the

           procedure that was to be followed regarding the vehicle  was  to

           be found in Chapter VI of Delhi Excise Act and also Section 451,

           Cr.P.C………”





      Mr. Mohan Jain, Additional Solicitor General appears on behalf of  the

appellant whereas the respondent is represented by Mr. Harish  Pandey.   Mr.

Jain submits that in view of the embargo put by  Section  61  of  the  Delhi

Excise Act, the High Court had no jurisdiction to pass an order for  release

of the vehicle on security.  Mr. Pandey,  however,  submits  that  the  High

Court has the power under Section 451 of the Code to direct for  release  of

the vehicle on security and the same is legal and valid.



      Rival submissions necessitate examination of the scheme of  the  Delhi

Excise Act, 2009 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’).  Section 33 of  the

Act  provides  for  penalty  for   unlawful   import,   export,   transport,

manufacture, possession, sale etc. of intoxicant and  Section  33(a),  which

is relevant for the purpose reads as follows:



           “33.   Penalty   for   unlawful   import,   export,   transport,

           manufacture,   possession,   sale,   etc.-   

(1)   Whoever,   in

           contravention of provision of this Act or of any rule  or  order

           made or notification issued or of any licence, permit  or  pass,

           granted under this Act-


           (a) manufactures, imports, exports, transports  or  removes  any

           intoxicant;


                 xxx              xxx        xxx


           shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not

           be less than six months but which may extend to three years  and

           with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but

           which may extend to one lakh rupees.”



      Section 58 of the Act provides for confiscation of certain things  and

Section 58(d) thereof, with which we are concerned in  the  present  appeal,

reads as follows:



           “58. Certain things liable to confiscation.- 

Whenever an offence

           has  been  committed,  which  is  punishable  under  this   Act,

           following things shall be liable to confiscation, namely-



                 xxx        xxx         xxx



           (d) any animal, vehicle, vessel, or other  conveyance  used  for

           carrying the same.”



      From a plain reading of Section 33(a) of the Act, it is  evident  that

transportation of any intoxicant in contravention of the provisions  of  the

Act or of any rule or order made or  notification  issued  or  any  licence,

permit or pass, is punishable and any vehicle used for carrying   the  same,

is liable for confiscation under Section 58(d) of the Act.   Section  59  of

the Act deals with the power  of  confiscation  of  Deputy  Commissioner  in

certain  cases.   

Section  59(1)  thereof  provides   that   notwithstanding

anything contained in any other law where anything liable  for  confiscation

under Section 58 is seized or detained, the officer  seizing  and  detaining

such thing shall produce  the  same  before  the  Deputy  Commissioner.   

On

production of the seized property, the  Deputy  Commissioner,  if  satisfied

that the offence under the Act has been committed,  may  order  confiscation

of such property.  

Therefore, under the scheme of the Act any  vehicle  used

for carrying the intoxicant is liable to be confiscated and  on  seizure  of

the vehicle  transporting  the  intoxicant,  the  same  is  required  to  be

produced before the Deputy Commissioner, who  in  turn  has  been  conferred

with the power of its confiscation.

      Section 61 of the Act puts an embargo on jurisdiction of  courts,  the

same reads as follows:



           “61.  Bar  of  jurisdiction  in  confiscation.-   

Whenever   any

           intoxicant, material, still, utensil,  implement,  apparatus  or

           any  receptacle,  package,  vessel,  animal,  cart,   or   other

           conveyance used in committing any offence, is seized or detained

           under this Act, no court shall, notwithstanding anything to  the

           contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force,

           have  jurisdiction  to  make  any  order  with  regard  to  such

           property.”



      According to this section, notwithstanding anything contrary contained

in any other  law  for  the  time  being  in  force,  no  court  shall  have

jurisdiction to  make  any  order  with  regard  to  the  property  used  in

committing any offence and seized under the Act.

      It is relevant here to state that in the present case, the High Court,

while releasing the vehicle  on  security  has  exercised  its  power  under

Section 451 of the Code.  

True it is that where any property is produced  by

an officer before a criminal court during an inquiry  or  trial  under  this

section, the court may make any direction as it thinks fit  for  the  proper

custody of such property pending the conclusion of the inquiry or trial,  as

the case may be.  

At the conclusion of the inquiry or trial, the  court  may

also, under Section 452 of the Code, make an order for the disposal  of  the

property produced before it and make such other direction as  it  may  think

necessary. 

Further, where the property is not  produced  before  a  criminal

court in an inquiry or trial, the Magistrate is empowered under Section  457

of the Code to make such order as  it  thinks  fit.   

In  our  opinion,  the

general provision of Section 451 of the Code with regard to the custody  and

disposal of the property or for that matter by destruction, confiscation  or

delivery to any person entitled to possession thereof under Section  452  of

the Code or that of Section 457 authorising a Magistrate to  make  an  order

for disposal of property, if seized by an officer and not produced before  a

criminal court during an inquiry or trial, however, has  to  yield  where  a

statute makes a special  provision  with  regard  to  its  confiscation  and

disposal. 

We have referred to the scheme of the Act  and  from  that  it  is

evident that the vehicle  seized  has  to  be  produced  before  the  Deputy

Commissioner, who  in  turn  has  been  conferred  with  the  power  of  its

confiscation  or  release  to  its  rightful  owner.   

The  requirement   of

production of seized property before the Deputy Commissioner  under  Section

59(1) of the Act is, notwithstanding anything contained in  any  other  law,

and,  so also is the power of confiscation.  Not only this,  notwithstanding

anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the  time  being  in

force, no court, in terms of Section 61 of  the  Act,  has  jurisdiction  to

make any order with regard  to  the  property  used  in  commission  of  any

offence under the Act.  

In the present case, the Legislature has used a non-

obstante clause not only in Section 59 but also in Section 61  of  the  Act.

As is well settled, a non-obstante clause is a legislative  device  to  give

effect to the enacting part of the section in  case  of  conflict  over  the

provisions mentioned in the non-obstante clause. 

 Hence,  Section  451,  452

and 457 of the Code must yield to the provisions of the Act and there is  no

escape from the conclusion that the Magistrate or for that matter  the  High

Court, while dealing with the case of seizure of vehicle under the Act,  has

any power to pass an order dealing with the interim custody of  the  vehicle

on security or its release thereof.  

The view  which  we  have  taken  finds

support from a judgment of this Court in the case of 

State of  Karnataka  v. K.A. Kunchindammed, (2002) 9 SCC 90,   which  while  dealing  with  somewhat

similar provisions under the Karnataka Forest Act held  as follows:-



           “23……….The position is made clear by the non obstante clause  in

           the  relevant  provisions  giving  overriding  effect   to   the

           provisions  in  the  Act  over  other  statutes  and  laws.  

The

           necessary corollary of such provisions is that in a  case  where

           the Authorized Officer is empowered  to  confiscate  the  seized

           forest produce on being satisfied that an offence under the  Act

           has been committed thereof  the  general  power  vested  in  the

           Magistrate for  dealing  with  interim  custody/release  of  the

           seized materials under CrPC has  to  give  way.  

The  Magistrate

           while dealing with a case of any seizure of forest produce under

           the Act should examine  

whether  the  power  to  confiscate  the

           seized forest produce is vested in the Authorized Officer  under

           the Act and if he  finds  that  such  power  is  vested  in  the

           Authorized Officer then he has no power to pass an order dealing

           with interim custody/release of the seized  material.  

This,  in

           our view, will help in proper implementation  of  provisions  of

           the special Act and will  help  in  advancing  the  purpose  and

           object of the statute. 

If in such cases power to  grant  interim

           custody/release of the seized forest produce is  vested  in  the

           Magistrate then it will be defeating the very scheme of the Act.

           Such a consequence is to be avoided.



           24. From the statutory provisions and the analysis made  in  the

           foregoing paragraphs the  position  that  emerges  is  that  the

           learned Magistrate and the learned Sessions Judge were right  in

           holding that on facts and in the circumstances of the  case,  it

           is the Authorized Officer who is vested with the power  to  pass

           order of interim custody of the vehicle and not the  Magistrate.

           The High Court was in error in taking a view to the contrary and

           in setting aside the orders passed by  the  Magistrate  and  the

           Sessions Judge on that basis.”




      From a conspectus of what we have observed above, the  impugned  order

of the High Court is found to be vulnerable and, therefore, the same  cannot

be allowed to stand.


      To put the record straight it is  relevant  here  to  state  that  the

counsel for the respondent had not, and in our opinion  rightly,  challenged

the vires of the provisions of the Act in  view  of  the  decision  of  this

Court in the case of Oma Ram v. State of Rajasthan, (2008) 5 SCC 502,  which

upheld a somewhat similar provision existing in the Rajasthan Excise Act.


      In the result, we allow this appeal, set aside the  impugned  judgment

and order of the High Court and hold that the High  Court  exceeded  in  its

jurisdiction in directing for release of the vehicle on security.


                                    ………..………..……………………………….J.

                                                   (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)




                                                    ………………….………………………………….J.

                                                             (KURIAN JOSEPH)

NEW DELHI,

JANUARY 06, 2014.






-----------------------

15


Sec. 302 / 307 I.P.C. = Appreciation of Evidence - Gun Shot - only skin deep pellet injuries and only bone deep forehead injury - Doctor never stated that due to profusing of blood or due to injuries shock the deceased died - Doctor simply stated that died due to shock - Sessions court acquitted - High court convicted - Apex court converted the sentence from sec.302 to sec.307 of I.P.C. = M.B. SURESH … APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF KARNATAKA …RESPONDENT = 2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41132

posted 9 Jan 2014 06:05 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

 Sec. 302 / 307 I.P.C. = Appreciation of Evidence - Gun Shot - only skin deep pellet injuries and only bone deep forehead injury - Doctor never stated that due to profusing of blood or due to injuries  shock the deceased died - Doctor simply stated that died due to shock - Sessions court acquitted - High court convicted - Apex court converted the sentence from sec.302 to sec.307 of  I.P.C. =


  “1.   Three circular pellet wounds present over the left part of

               the fore head, each measuring 0.5 cm. in diameter bony  deep

               over an area of 4 cm. x 4 cm.



            2. Three circular pellet wounds present near the lateral end of

               the right side of the lip each measuring 0.5 cm. in diameter

               skin deep over an area of 2 cm. x 2 cm.



            3. Two pellet wounds over the left side of  the  front  of  the

               neck 0.5 cm. in diameter the muscle deep, there is  an  exit

               lacerated wound over the back of the left side of  the  neck

               piercing the skin 2 cm. x 2 cm., with lacerated edges.


            4. Three circular  pellet  wounds  present  over  the  anterior

               aspect of the right arm each 0.5 cm. in diameter muscle deep

               over an area of 1 ½” x 1 ½”.



            5. Six circular pellet wounds present over the  right  anterior

               aspect of the chest each measuring 0.5 cm. in diameter  over

               an area of 4” x 4” skin deep.


            6. A single circular pellet present in the anterior  aspect  of

               chest at the level of the 12th  rib  measuring  0.5  cm.  in

               diameter and skin deep.


            7. An incised like wound 1” x ½” in the epigastrium skin deep.


            8. A single circular pellet wound measuing 0.5 cm  in  diameter

               skin deep in the right iliac fassa.


            9. Three pellet wounds circular in shapre  each  measuring  0.5

               cm. in diameter in the anterior aspect of the upper third of

               the right thigh over an area of 6” x 4” skin deep”





      As regards the cause of death, the  doctor  has  stated  that  it  was

because of shock.  The trial court, on appreciation  of  evidence,  came  to

the conclusion that the prosecution had not been  able  to  prove  its  case

beyond all reasonable doubt and, accordingly, acquitted  them  of  both  the

charges.  However, the judgment of acquittal has been reversed by  the  High

Court in an appeal preferred by the State. =


 As regards the cause of death, the doctor  has  opined  that

it was because of shock but he has nowhere stated that it  was  due  to  the

injuries caused by the appellant.  

For holding an accused guilty of  murder,

the prosecution  has  first  to  prove  that  it  is  a  culpable  homicide.

Culpable homicide is defined under Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code  and

an accused will come under the mischief of this section only  when  the  act

done by him has caused death.  

True it is that the deceased  died  of  shock

but there is no evidence to show that the shock had occurred on  account  of

the injuries caused by the appellant.  We cannot ignore  that  the  case  of

the prosecution itself is that after the deceased sustained  injuries  while

he was being taken to the hospital for treatment, he died on the  way.   Any

mishandling of the deceased by the person carrying him to  the  hospital  so

as to cause shock cannot be ruled out.  The doctor had not stated  that  the

deceased profusely bled which could have caused shock.  In  the  absence  of

any such evidence, we are in doubt  as  to  whether  the  deceased  suffered

shock on account of the injuries sustained by him.  It  is  not  shown  that

the injuries found on the person of the deceased were of such nature,  which

in the ordinary course of nature could cause shock.  We cannot  assume  that

those injuries can cause shock in  the  absence  of  any  evidence  in  this

regard.  The doctor has not even  remotely  suggested  that  the  shock  was

caused due to the injuries sustained by the deceased.  In the face  of  what

we have observed above, we are not in a position of hold that it is the  act

of the appellant, which caused death.  Hence, we are  of  the  opinion  that

the conviction of the appellant under Section 302 of the Indian  Penal  Code

cannot be sustained.



       Next question which falls for our consideration is as to the offence

for which the appellant M.B. Suresh would be liable.  

What has  been  proved

against this appellant is that he shot at the  deceased,  but  there  is  no

evidence to show that it was the injury inflicted  by  the  appellant  which

was the cause of death.  

However, from the facts proved, there is  no  doubt

that he shot at the deceased with an intention to kill him or  at  least  he

had the knowledge that the act would cause the death.  

Accordingly,  we  are

of the opinion that the  allegations  proved  constitute  an  offence  under

Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.  

The view which we  have  taken  finds

support from the judgment of this Court in the case of  

Bhupendra  Singh  v. State of U.P., (1991) 2 SCC 750, 

in which it has been observed as follows:


             “9.………The evidence only established that  the  first  appellant

             shot at the deceased but it is not known where the  bullet  hit

             and whether that injury caused by the said bullet  shot  caused

             the death. Even in the case of shooting by a rifle  unless  the

             evidence shows the particular injury caused  by  the  same  and

             that injury is sufficient to cause  death,  the  offence  under

             Section 302 IPC could not be said to have been made out. In the

             circumstances, therefore, we are unable to agree with the  High

             Court that the first  appellant  is  guilty  of  offence  under

             Section 302  IPC  of  causing  the  death  of  Gajendra  Singh.

             However, we are of the view that while the first appellant shot

             at the deceased there could be no doubt that either he had  the

             intention to kill him or at least he had the knowledge that the

             act could cause the death.



             10. All the witnesses also say that the shot  by  A  1  brought

             down the deceased to the ground. There could, therefore, be  no

             doubt that the shot had caused some hurt or  injury  though  we

             could not predicate what was  the  nature  of  the  injury  and

             whether that  injury  could  have  caused  the  death.  In  the

             circumstances we consider that the offence would come under the

             second  limb  or  second  part  of  Section  307,  IPC.  Though

             imprisonment for life also could be  awarded  as  sentence  for

             such an offence on the facts  and  circumstances  we  impose  a

             sentence of 10  years  rigorous  imprisonment.  Accordingly  we

             alter the conviction  under  Section  302,  IPC  as  one  under

             Section 307 IPC and sentence him to a term of 10 years rigorous

             imprisonment.”



      Accordingly, we alter the conviction of the appellant M.B. Suresh from

Section 302 to Section 307 of the Indian Penal  Code  and  sentence  him  to

undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years.





      Mr. Basant R. has not assailed the conviction of  the  appellant  M.B.

Suresh other than Section 302 of the Indian  Penal  Code.   As  regards  the

conviction of the other accused Bhadregowda under  Section  427,  it  is  on

correct appreciation of evidence, which does not call  for  interference  in

the present appeal.



      In the result, Criminal Appeal No. 985 of 2007 is partly allowed,  the

conviction of the appellant M.B. Suresh under  Section  302  of  the  Indian

Penal Code is set aside and is altered to Section 307 of  the  Indian  Penal

Code and he is sentenced to undergo rigorous  imprisonment  for  ten  years.

However,  his  conviction  under  other  penal  provisions  is   maintained.

Sentences awarded to him  shall  run  concurrently.  

As  the  appellant  has

already remained in custody for more than 10 years, we  direct  that  he  be

set at liberty forthwith unless required in any other case.


 2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41132                                 


           REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 985 OF 2007


M.B. SURESH                                  … APPELLANT


                                   VERSUS



STATE OF KARNATAKA                          …RESPONDENT


                                    WITH

                        CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.21 OF 2014

             (@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO. 5363 OF 2007)



BHADREGOWDA                                  … APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS


STATE OF KARNATAKA                          …RESPONDENT




                               J U D G M E N T



CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD,J.



      Appellant, besides his  father  Bhadregowda,  was  put  on  trial  for

offence punishable under Section 302, 114 and 427 of the Indian  Penal  Code

and Section 3 read with Section 25 and  27  of  the  Arms  Act.   

Additional

Sessions Judge, Hasan, vide judgment and order dated 24th of February,  2000

passed in Sessions Case No. 24 of 1992, acquitted both the  accused  of  all

the charges.  Aggrieved by the same, the State  of  Karnataka  preferred  an

appeal.  

The High Court, vide judgment and  order  dated  9th  of  February,

2007 passed in Criminal Appeal No. 991 of  2000,  reversed  their  acquittal

and held the appellant  M.B.  Suresh  guilty  of  offence  punishable  under

Section 302 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 25 and  27  of  the

Arms Act.  

However, his father  Bhadregowda  was  found  guilty  of  offence

punishable under Section 427 of the  Indian  Penal  Code  alone.   

Appellant

M.B. Suresh was sentenced to undergo life  imprisonment  for  offence  under

Section 302 of the Indian Penal  Code  and  fine  of  Rs.  5,000/-,  and  in

default to  undergo  simple  imprisonment  for  six  months.   

He  was  also

sentenced to undergo one year’s imprisonment and fine  of  Rs.  2,000/-  for

offence under Section 27 of the Arms Act.  

Both of them  were  sentenced  to

undergo simple imprisonment for one week for offence under  Section  427  of

the Indian Penal  Code  and  fine  of  Rs.  5,000/-  each.   

Sentences  were directed to run concurrently.   

Aggrieved  by  the  same,  M.B.  Suresh  has

preferred the present appeal whereas his father  Bhadregowda,  aggrieved  by

his conviction and sentence, has preferred Special Leave Petition  No.  5363

of 2007.


      Leave granted in Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 5363 of 2007.



      According to the prosecution there was a long standing enmity  between

the family of the informant and the accused in respect  of  land  of  Survey

No. 29/2 and 22 of Marur Village over  which  the  accused  Bhadregowda  was

claiming  tenancy  rights.   

According  to  the  prosecution,  on  19th   of

November, 1991 the deceased Chandrashekar,  along  with  his  elder  brother

Raghunath, cousin Krishnegowda, a friend Prakash and one Suresh came to  the

residence of Halegowda  in  the  Village  Marur  in  a  tractor-trailer  for

unloading the gunny bags.  

After unloading the gunny  bags,  they  sent  the

tractor-trailer along  with  the  labourers  to  the  coffee  plantation  of

Ramegowda to pluck coffee seeds.   However,  the  aforesaid  persons  stayed

back at Halegowda’s house to have a cup of coffee and later, at about  10.30

A.M., while they were going to coffee estate by the side of the  wetland  of

Ramegowda, Chandrashekar was ahead of them.   At  that  time,  Chandrashekar

was shot at by the appellant M.B. Suresh, who was  standing  near  the  gate

made of bamboo.  After the first shot,  his  father  Bhadregowda  instigated

him to fire again and at that  the  appellant  M.B.  Suresh  fired  for  the

second time at the deceased and thereafter they left the place.  P.Ws. 1  to

3, namely Krishnegowda, Raghunath and Prakash respectively,  rushed  to  the

place where Chandrashekar had fallen on the ground  and  in  order  to  save

him, they carried him to the village, but unfortunately he died  because  of

the gun shot injury on their way to  the  village.   On  the  basis  of  the

report given by  Krishnegowda (PW-1), a case was registered  at  the  Bellur

Police  Station.   Post-mortem  on  the  dead  body  was  conducted  by  Dr.

Gunashekar V.C.(PW-10), who  found  nine  injuries  on  the  person  of  the

deceased caused by the appellant.



           “1.   Three circular pellet wounds present over the left part of

               the fore head, each measuring 0.5 cm. in diameter bony  deep

               over an area of 4 cm. x 4 cm.



            2. Three circular pellet wounds present near the lateral end of

               the right side of the lip each measuring 0.5 cm. in diameter

               skin deep over an area of 2 cm. x 2 cm.



            3. Two pellet wounds over the left side of  the  front  of  the

               neck 0.5 cm. in diameter the muscle deep, there is  an  exit

               lacerated wound over the back of the left side of  the  neck

               piercing the skin 2 cm. x 2 cm., with lacerated edges.


            4. Three circular  pellet  wounds  present  over  the  anterior

               aspect of the right arm each 0.5 cm. in diameter muscle deep

               over an area of 1 ½” x 1 ½”.



            5. Six circular pellet wounds present over the  right  anterior

               aspect of the chest each measuring 0.5 cm. in diameter  over

               an area of 4” x 4” skin deep.


            6. A single circular pellet present in the anterior  aspect  of

               chest at the level of the 12th  rib  measuring  0.5  cm.  in

               diameter and skin deep.


            7. An incised like wound 1” x ½” in the epigastrium skin deep.


            8. A single circular pellet wound measuing 0.5 cm  in  diameter

               skin deep in the right iliac fassa.


            9. Three pellet wounds circular in shapre  each  measuring  0.5

               cm. in diameter in the anterior aspect of the upper third of

               the right thigh over an area of 6” x 4” skin deep”





      As regards the cause of death, the  doctor  has  stated  that  it  was

because of shock.  The trial court, on appreciation  of  evidence,  came  to

the conclusion that the prosecution had not been  able  to  prove  its  case

beyond all reasonable doubt and, accordingly, acquitted  them  of  both  the

charges.  However, the judgment of acquittal has been reversed by  the  High

Court in an appeal preferred by the State.



      We have heard Mr. Basant R., learned Senior Advocate, on behalf of the

appellant whereas the respondent, State of Karnataka is represented  by  Ms.

Anitha Shenoy.  Mr. Basant submits that even  if  the  entire  case  of  the

prosecution is accepted, the same  does  not  constitute  an  offence  under

Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.  He  submits  that  according  to  the

prosecution, the deceased died of shock but there is nothing  on  record  to

show that the shock was on account of the injury inflicted by the  appellant

M.B. Suresh.  He further submits that the prosecution has  not  brought  any

evidence to show that the deceased suffered any grievous hurt  and  in  that

view of the matter, the appellant at most can be held guilty for an  offence

under Section 324 of  the  Indian  Penal  Code.   He  points  out  that  the

appellant M.B. Suresh has already remained in jail for more than  10  years.

        Ms. Shenoy, however, contends that the very fact that  the  deceased

died within a few hours of the incident, it  has  to  be  assumed  that  the

cause of death, i.e. shock had occurred on account of the  gun  shot  injury

caused by the appellant          M.B. Suresh.



       We have bestowed our consideration to the rival  submissions  and  we

partly find substance in the submission of Mr.  Basant  R.   Dr.  Gunashekar

V.C.(PW-10) had conducted the post-mortem examination on the  dead  body  of

the deceased Chandrashekar and, as stated earlier, had found  nine  injuries

on his person out of which six were skin deep of the size  of  0.5  or  less

than 0.5 cm., three circular wounds each measuring 0.5 cm. bone  deep  found

over an area of 4 cm. x 4 cm. over the left side of the forehead as  also  a

lacerated wound of the same size over the left side  of  the  front  of  the

neck and another muscle deep wound of the same size on the right  arm.   The

doctor  conducting  the  post-mortem  examination  was  categorical  in  his

evidence that no internal injuries were found and the gun was fired  from  a

distant range.  

As regards the cause of death, the doctor  has  opined  that

it was because of shock but he has nowhere stated that it  was  due  to  the

injuries caused by the appellant.  

For holding an accused guilty of  murder,

the prosecution  has  first  to  prove  that  it  is  a  culpable  homicide.

Culpable homicide is defined under Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code  and

an accused will come under the mischief of this section only  when  the  act

done by him has caused death.  

True it is that the deceased  died  of  shock

but there is no evidence to show that the shock had occurred on  account  of

the injuries caused by the appellant.  We cannot ignore  that  the  case  of

the prosecution itself is that after the deceased sustained  injuries  while

he was being taken to the hospital for treatment, he died on the  way.   Any

mishandling of the deceased by the person carrying him to  the  hospital  so

as to cause shock cannot be ruled out.  The doctor had not stated  that  the

deceased profusely bled which could have caused shock.  In  the  absence  of

any such evidence, we are in doubt  as  to  whether  the  deceased  suffered

shock on account of the injuries sustained by him.  It  is  not  shown  that

the injuries found on the person of the deceased were of such nature,  which

in the ordinary course of nature could cause shock.  We cannot  assume  that

those injuries can cause shock in  the  absence  of  any  evidence  in  this

regard.  The doctor has not even  remotely  suggested  that  the  shock  was

caused due to the injuries sustained by the deceased.  In the face  of  what

we have observed above, we are not in a position of hold that it is the  act

of the appellant, which caused death.  Hence, we are  of  the  opinion  that

the conviction of the appellant under Section 302 of the Indian  Penal  Code

cannot be sustained.



       Next question which falls for our consideration is as to the offence

for which the appellant M.B. Suresh would be liable.  

What has  been  proved

against this appellant is that he shot at the  deceased,  but  there  is  no

evidence to show that it was the injury inflicted  by  the  appellant  which

was the cause of death.  

However, from the facts proved, there is  no  doubt

that he shot at the deceased with an intention to kill him or  at  least  he

had the knowledge that the act would cause the death.  

Accordingly,  we  are

of the opinion that the  allegations  proved  constitute  an  offence  under

Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.  

The view which we  have  taken  finds

support from the judgment of this Court in the case of  

Bhupendra  Singh  v. State of U.P., (1991) 2 SCC 750, 

in which it has been observed as follows:


             “9.………The evidence only established that  the  first  appellant

             shot at the deceased but it is not known where the  bullet  hit

             and whether that injury caused by the said bullet  shot  caused

             the death. Even in the case of shooting by a rifle  unless  the

             evidence shows the particular injury caused  by  the  same  and

             that injury is sufficient to cause  death,  the  offence  under

             Section 302 IPC could not be said to have been made out. In the

             circumstances, therefore, we are unable to agree with the  High

             Court that the first  appellant  is  guilty  of  offence  under

             Section 302  IPC  of  causing  the  death  of  Gajendra  Singh.

             However, we are of the view that while the first appellant shot

             at the deceased there could be no doubt that either he had  the

             intention to kill him or at least he had the knowledge that the

             act could cause the death.



             10. All the witnesses also say that the shot  by  A  1  brought

             down the deceased to the ground. There could, therefore, be  no

             doubt that the shot had caused some hurt or  injury  though  we

             could not predicate what was  the  nature  of  the  injury  and

             whether that  injury  could  have  caused  the  death.  In  the

             circumstances we consider that the offence would come under the

             second  limb  or  second  part  of  Section  307,  IPC.  Though

             imprisonment for life also could be  awarded  as  sentence  for

             such an offence on the facts  and  circumstances  we  impose  a

             sentence of 10  years  rigorous  imprisonment.  Accordingly  we

             alter the conviction  under  Section  302,  IPC  as  one  under

             Section 307 IPC and sentence him to a term of 10 years rigorous

             imprisonment.”



      Accordingly, we alter the conviction of the appellant M.B. Suresh from

Section 302 to Section 307 of the Indian Penal  Code  and  sentence  him  to

undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years.





      Mr. Basant R. has not assailed the conviction of  the  appellant  M.B.

Suresh other than Section 302 of the Indian  Penal  Code.   As  regards  the

conviction of the other accused Bhadregowda under  Section  427,  it  is  on

correct appreciation of evidence, which does not call  for  interference  in

the present appeal.



      In the result, Criminal Appeal No. 985 of 2007 is partly allowed,  the

conviction of the appellant M.B. Suresh under  Section  302  of  the  Indian

Penal Code is set aside and is altered to Section 307 of  the  Indian  Penal

Code and he is sentenced to undergo rigorous  imprisonment  for  ten  years.

However,  his  conviction  under  other  penal  provisions  is   maintained.

Sentences awarded to him  shall  run  concurrently.  

As  the  appellant  has

already remained in custody for more than 10 years, we  direct  that  he  be

set at liberty forthwith unless required in any other case.





      The appeal (arising out of Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No.  5363

of 2007) preferred by the appellant Bhadregowda is, however, dismissed.





                                      ………..……………………………….J.

                           (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)




                             …….………………………………….J.

                                         (JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR)



NEW DELHI,

JANUARY 06, 2014






-----------------------

15


Secs. 482 Cr.P.C. r/w Sec.186 Cr.P.C. - Explosives dispatched from a single place to three different destinations - Unloaded explosives were used in three different criminal activities in the above said three different places - Registration of 3 F.I.R.S - High court allowed the petition under sec.186 Cr.P.C. and directed to discontinue the subsequent and third F.I.R. Proceedings - Apex court set aside the High court order as the Offences committed are not the one and same expect loading of Explosives at one place = State of Rajasthan …..Appellant versus Bhagwan Das Agrawal & Others ….Respondents = judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41097

posted 17 Dec 2013 09:26 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

   Secs. 482 Cr.P.C. r/w Sec.186 Cr.P.C. - Explosives dispatched from a single place to three different destinations - Unloaded explosives were used in three different criminal activities in the above said three different places - Registration of 3 F.I.R.S - High court allowed the petition under sec.186 Cr.P.C. and directed to discontinue the subsequent and third F.I.R. Proceedings - Apex court set aside the High court order as the Offences committed are not the one and same expect loading of Explosives at one place =    


Whether the offences committed in different places in 3 different manners can be discontinued due to supply of explosives from one place ? = No


186. High Court to decide, in case of  doubt,  district  where

            inquiry or trial shall take place.-  Where two or  more  Courts

            have taken cognizance of the same offence and a question arises

            as to which of them ought to inquire into or try that  offence,

            the question shall be decided --



                 (a)   if the Courts are subordinate to the same High Court,

                 by that High Court;



                 (b)  if the Courts are not subordinate  to  the  same  High

                 Court, by the High Court within the local limits  of  whose

                 appellate criminal jurisdiction the proceedings were  first

                 commenced,



            and thereupon all other proceedings in respect of that  offence

            shall be discontinued.”


Friedland in Double Jeopardy (Oxford 1969) says at  p.

           108:

           “The trouble with this approach is that it is vague and hazy and

           conceals the thought processes of the  court.  Such  an  inexact

           test must depend upon the individual impressions of  the  judges

           and can give  little  guidance  for  future  decisions.  A  more

           serious consequence is the fact that a decision in one case that

           two offences are ‘substantially the same’ may  compel  the  same

           result in another case involving the same two offences where the

           circumstances may be such that a second  prosecution  should  be

           permissible....”

whether a crime and the offence of conspiracy to commit it

           are different offences. 

This Court said: (SCR p. 827)


           “The offence of conspiracy to commit  a  crime  is  a  different

           offence from the crime that is  the  object  of  the  conspiracy

           because the conspiracy precedes the commission of the crime  and

           is complete before the crime is attempted or completed,  equally

           the crime attempted or completed does not require the element of

           conspiracy as one of its ingredients. They are, therefore, quite

           separate offences.”


14.      In the instant case,  as  noticed  above,  the  nature  and

   manner  of  offences  committed  by  the  accused  persons  are  not

   identical but are different, 

for example, in respect  of  FIR  Crime

   No.130 of 2010 the accused persons  in  connivance  with  respondent

   No.1 delivered 103 trucks of explosives to  the  Magazines  of  M/s.

   Ajay Explosives which belonged to Shiv Charan Heda and 60 trucks  of

   explosives to M/s. B.M. Traders which belonged to Deepa Heda. It was

   alleged that the Magazines of M/s. Ganesh Explosives and M/s. Sangam

   Explosives were not operational since many years and with the forged

   documentation in the name of the  said  firms  the  explosives  were

   purchased  by  M/s.  Ajay  Explosives  and  M/s.  B.M.  Traders  and

   subsequently those explosives were sold to some unknown persons.  

In

   respect of those  FIRs,  one  accused,  a  resident  of  Nepal,  was

   arrested and from whose custody 498 non electronic  detonators  were

   recovered.  

In respect of another FIR, during investigation, it  has

   come on the record that those explosives  were  sold  for  terrorist

   activities.

   15.      Offence means any act or omission made punishable  by  law.

   The fountain head of all the three cases  may  be  at  Dholpur  from

   where truck loaded with explosives moved to  different  destinations

   but from that it cannot be said that the acts  and  omissions  which

   constitute the offence are the same. 

Same offence, in  our  opinion,

   would mean that acts and omissions which constitute the offence  are one and the same. 

 Except the allegation that  the  explosives  were

   loaded at Dholpur, the mode and manner  in  which  the  offence  was

   committed at different places are not the same.   

As  such,  in  our

   opinion, the provision of Section 186 of the Code is  not  attracted

   in the facts of the present case.  Hence, the High  court  erred  in

   passing the impugned order.



   16.      In the facts and circumstances of the case, we are  of  the

   considered opinion that the impugned order passed by the High  Court

   is to be set aside.  Consequently, the appeal preferred by the State

   of Rajasthan is allowed and the  appeal  preferred  by  the  accused

   stands disposed of.

        


                                                 REPORTABLE





                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION



                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  2118 OF 2013

     (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No.8402 of 2011)





   State of Rajasthan                                    …..Appellant

                                   versus

   Bhagwan Das Agrawal & Others                    ….Respondents

                                    WITH

                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  2119 OF 2013

     (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No.2180 of 2012)



   Girdhar & Others                                      …..Appellants

                                   versus

   State of Rajasthan & Another

   ….Respondents





                               J U D G M E N T



   M.Y. EQBAL, J.



            Leave granted.





   2.       Aggrieved by the judgment and order dated 15th July,  2011

   passed by the High Court  of  Madhya  Pradesh,  Principal  Seat  at

   Jabalpur, whereby the petition filed by  respondent  No.  1  herein

   (Bhagwan Das Agrawal) under Section 482 of  the  Code  of  Criminal

   Procedure, 1973 (for short, “Cr.P.C.”) seeking relief to hold  that

   the proceedings based on the subsequent and third FIR registered in

   Dholpur (Rajasthan) as Crime No. 427/2010 under Section 5/9B, 9C of

   the Explosives Act, 1884, in view of the provisions of Section  186

   of Cr.P.C., be discontinued, was allowed,  the  appellant-State  of

   Rajasthan has preferred the special leave petition being  No.  8402

   of 2011.



   3.       The facts and circumstances giving  rise  to  the  present

   appeal are that in respect  of  alleged  unauthorized  and  illegal

   supply of explosives by M/s.  Rajasthan  Explosives  and  Chemicals

   Ltd., Dholpur (for short, “RECL”), in which respondent No. 1 herein

   Bhagwan  Das  Agrawal  was  Managing  Director,  to   M/s.   Ganesh

   Explosives, Sagar during the period from 17.4.2010 to 29.6.2010  in

   contravention of the Explosives  Act,  a  case  at  Police  Station

   Baheria, District Sagar was registered on  13.7.2010  as  FIR/Crime

   No. 161/2010.   The police after due  investigation  filed  charge-

   sheet on 18.11.2010 for offences  punishable  under  Sections  420,

   467, 468, 471, 120-B, 201 and 34 of  the  Indian  Penal  Code  (for

   short, ‘IPC’) and Sections 9B, 9C of the Explosives Substances Act,

   1884 and Sections 4 and 6 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908  in

   the Court of concerned  Judicial  Magistrate,  First  Class,  Sagar

   against 11 persons including four persons from RECL viz. respondent

   No. 1  herein  (Managing  Director),  K.  Edward  Kelly  (Director,

   Operations), Vinod Kumar Garg (Chief Manager, Marketing) and Rakesh

   Kumar Agrawal (Manager, Marketing).  The array of accused  persons,

   inter alia, included Devendra Singh  Thakur,  Jai  Kishan  Ashwani,

   Rajendra Choubey, Gopal Shakyawar, Shiv Charan Heda, Deepa Heda and

   Alakh Das Gupta.  After filing of the charge-sheet, the  Magistrate

   took  cognizance  of  the  offences.   Similar  charge-sheet  under

   Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, 201/34, IPC read with  Sections

   9B and 9C of the Explosives Substances Act, 1884 and Sections 4,  5

   and 6 of  the  Explosive  Substances  Act,  1908  was  filed  after

   investigation into another FIR lodged at Police  Station  Chanderi,

   District Ashok Nagar  as FIR/ Crime No. 310/2010 on  26.8.2010  for

   the supply  of  explosives  during  the  period  from  1.4.2010  to

   30.6.2010 by RECL to another firm M/s. Sangam Explosives,  Halanpur

   in Chanderi, District Ashok Nagar.  This charge-sheet was filed  in

   the Court of concerned Judicial Magistrate, First  Class,  Chanderi

   against 8 persons including four  from RECL viz. respondent  No.  1

   herein (Managing Director), K. Edward Kelly (Director, Operations),

   Vinod Kumar  Garg  (Chief  Manager,  Marketing)  and  Rakesh  Kumar

   Agrawal (Manager, Marketing).  The array of accused persons,  inter

   alia, included Rajendra Kumar Choubey,  Anil  Dhupad,  Shiv  Charan

   Heda and Jai Kishan Ashwani.  In this case too, the Magistrate took

   cognizance  of  the  offences  on  25.11.2010.    Subsequently   on

   5.9.2010, in respect of supplies made by  RECL  during  the  period

   from 1.4.2010 to 5.9.2010 to M/s. Ganesh Explosives, Sagar  and  to

   M/s. Sangam Explosives, Chanderi, third FIR on the report submitted

   by a Committee constituted to investigate into a news published  in

   the newspaper regarding disappearance of trucks carrying explosives

   was lodged at Police Station Dholpur as FIR/Crime No. 427/2010  and

   the police after due investigation filed charge-sheet on  4.12.2010

   against 16 persons for offences under Section 420, 465,  467,  468,

   471, 120-B, IPC read with Sections 5, 9B and 9C of  the  Explosives

   Substances Act,  1884  and  Sections  5  and  6  of  the  Explosive

   Substances Act, 1908 in the Court  of  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,

   Dholpur, Rajasthan including the four office bearers of  RECL  viz.

   respondent No.  1  herein  (Managing  Director),  K.  Edward  Kelly

   (Director, Operations), Vinod Kumar Garg (Chief Manager, Marketing)

   and Rakesh Kumar Agrawal (Manager, Marketing). The array of accused

   persons, inter alia  included  Shiv  Charan  Heda,  Rajendra  Kumar

   Choubey, Jai Kishan, Ashwani (also arrayed as acused in  Sagar  and

   Chanderi Courts) and Jagdish Soni, Uday Lal Kabra, Lalit  Gangwani,

   Girdhar Bhai, Arvind, Sunil, Damji Bhai, Jitender Taank  &  Chimman

   Lal.  The Magistrate took congnizance of the offences on 4.12.2010.

     It is thus clear that the charge-sheets were filed for  the  same

   offences against the officers (four in No.) of  RECL  as  also  the

   concerned  persons  of  M/s.  Ganesh  Explosives  and  M/s.  Sangam

   Explosives with the only difference that first FIR at  Baheria  was

   for supply made to M/s. Ganesh Explosives, second FIR  at  Chanderi

   for supply made to M/s. Sangam Explosives  and  the  third  FIR  at

   Dholpur for supplies made both to M/s. Ganesh Explosives  and  M/s.

   Sangam Explosives.   The  final  outcome  was  that  for  the  same

   offences, cognizance came to be  taken  by  the  courts  at  Sagar,

   Chanderi and Dholpur.



   4.       As per FIR/Crime No. 161 of 2010, 60 trucks  of  explosive

   material outbound from RECL, Dholpur  to  M/s.  Ganesh  Explosives,

   P.S. Baheria (M.P.)  actually  reached  (i)  M/s.  Ajay  Explosive,

   Ahmadnagar (Maharashtra) (ii) M/s. B.M. Traders, Bywara (M.P.), and

   (iii) M/s. B.M. Traders, Bhilwara (Rajasthan). FIR/Crime No. 310 of

   2010 recorded that 103 trucks of explosive material  outbound  from

   RECL, Dholpur to M/s. Sangam Explosives  at  P.S.  Chanderi  (M.P.)

   actually reached (i) M/s. B.M. Traders, Bywara (M.P.) and (ii) M/s.

   Ajay Traders, Bhilwara (Rajasthan).  As per FIR/Crime No. 427/2010,

   M/s. RECL, Dholpur sold explosive material illegally  to  (i)  M/s.

   Ganesh  Explosives,  Sagar   (M.P.)    and     (ii)   M/s.   Sangam

   Explosives, Ashok Nagar (M.P.) after the expiry of their  licences.

   The same never reached the destinations and were diverted in  their

   middle to Bhilwara (Raj.), Bywara (M.P.) etc. The  explosives  were

   also  sold for terrorist activities which stood revealed  from  FIR

   No.130/2010 P.S. Karol Bagh, New Delhi.



   5.       It was alleged in the petition filed by respondent  No.  1

   herein before the High  Court  that  RECL  was  incorporated  as  a

   private limited company in 1980; the factory of  RECL  at  Dholpur,

   Rajasthan got commissioned in 1981 & since then regular  production

   of explosives has been taking place there;   and  RECL  was  making

   regular supplies amongst other dealers to M/s. Ganesh Explosives as

   also to M/s. Sangam Explosives.   It  was  alleged  that  what  was

   investigated and charge-sheeted by the police of P.S.  Baheria  and

   P.S. Chanderi was put together  and  re-investigated  by  the  P.S.

   Dholpur.   It was further alleged that when cognizance of  selfsame

   offence is taken by more than one court, then in such circumstances

   Section 186 Cr.P.C. comes into play in order to cap such  situation

   and as the first  court  happened  to  be  the  Court  of  Judicial

   Magistrate, First Class, Sagar, M.P. to have initiated  proceedings

   by taking congnizance of the offence  upon  submission  of  charge-

   sheet by the police of P.S. Baheria in FIR/Crime No. 161/2010, that

   court being the court in whose appellate criminal jurisdiction  the

   proceedings first commenced was the court vested with the requisite

   jurisdiction under  Section  186  Cr.P.C.  to  decide  and  make  a

   declaration.  It was alleged that the  sum  and  substance  of  the

   allegations in the cases registered at P.S. Baheria, P.S.  Chanderi

   and P.S. Dholpur happen to  be  identical,  relating  to  the  same

   occurrence/same transaction as also the same offence  i.e.  illegal

   supply of explosives contrary to the Explosives Rules  by  RECL  to

   M/s. Ganesh Explosives and M/s.  Sangam  Explosives.   Accordingly,

   prayer was made to declare the criminal proceedings in the Court of

   Chief Judicial  Magistrate,  Dholpur  being  violative  of  Section

   186(b) Cr.P.C. and to discontinue the same.



   6.       The High Court by the impugned order dated 15.7.2011 while

   allowing the petition filed by respondent No. 1 herein  purportedly

   to give effect to the provision of Section 186(b)  of  Cr.P.C.  has

   observed as under:

                 “On perusal of third FIR and charge  sheet  submitted  in

        that respect, it is apparently clear that in contravention of  the

        provisions  of  the  Explosives  Act,  Rajasthan  Explosives   and

        Chemicals Ltd. (RECL in short) Dholpur supplied explosives to M/s.

        Ganesh Agency, Sagar and M/s. Sangam Agency, Chanderi.  On perusal

        of both earlier FIRs, it is revealed that  there  are  11  accused

        persons facing trial in Sagar (M.P.) and  8  accused  persons  are

        facing trial in Ashok Nagar (M.P.) Court.   In  the  charge  sheet

        submitted on the  basis  of  subsequent  and  third  FIR,  accused

        persons and alleged offences are the same.



        xxx                       xxx                   xxx



                 Admittedly, Rajasthan Court had taken cognizance  of  the

        offence, which was already a subject matter of  the  case  already

        pending in the court of Sagar and also taken  congnizance  of  the

        case which has already been pending in the court  of  Ashok  Nagar

        (M.P.).  The proceedings has  first  commenced  in  Sagar  and  in

        Chanderi respectively within the jurisdiction of the High Court of

        Madhya  Pradesh,  hence,  subsequent  proceedings  initiated   and

        registered in Dholpur Court stands discontinued and is  liable  to

        be discontinued.



                 Needless to write that this order will not be  a  bar  to

        deal with the offences which are not the  subject  matter  of  the

        cases pending already in the courts of Madhya Pradesh.”



   7.             In the special leave petition,  the  appellant-State

   of Rajasthan has contended that in connivance with respondent No. 1

   herein 103 trucks of explosives were delivered to the Magazines  of

   M/s. Ajay Explosives which belongs  to  Shiv  Charan  Heda  and  60

   trucks of explosives to M/s. B.M. Traders which  belongs  to  Deepa

   Heda, both relatives of Jai Kishan Ashwani.  It is alleged that the

   magazines of M/s. Ganesh Explosives and M/s. Sangam Explosives  are

   not operational since many years and with the forged  documentation

   in the name of said firms the explosives  were  purchased  by  M/s.

   Ajay Explosives and M/s. B.M. Traders and the explosives were  then

   sold to some unknown  persons  which  are  serious  threat  to  the

   security of the nation and one such example is the registration  of

   FIR in Crime No. 130/2010 P.S. Karol Bagh under Sections 4 and 5 of

   the Explosive Substances Act in which the accused Loknath  Pant,  a

   resident of Nepal was  arrested  and  in  whose  custody  498  non-

   electronic detonator and 29.12 meter fuse wire were  recovered  and

   in the packing of  the  cartons  it  was  revealed  that  the  said

   explosives were from RECL, Dholpur.  It is contended that the  High

   Court has erred in law and fact by discontinuing the proceedings at

   Dholpur (Rajasthan)  because  cause  of  action  arose  within  the

   jurisdiction of court at Dholpur and the  territorial  jurisdiction

   of a court regarding criminal offence is to be decided on the basis

   of place of occurrence of the incident and  not  on  the  basis  of

   where complaint was filed.  It is further alleged  in  the  special

   leave petition that even the  Committee  comprising  Sub-Divisional

   Magistrate, Deputy Superintendent of Police and General Manager  of

   District  Industrial  Centre  in  its  report  submitted   to   the

   Superintendent of Police, Dholpur has stated that the manufacturing

   licence of RECL was valid till 31.3.2010 and the said company  sold

   the explosive material to M/s. Ganesh Explosives  and  M/s.  Sangam

   Explosives from the month of April 2010 till  June  2010  illegally

   when their licences too had expired and RECL has sold the  material

   in excess to the stipulated quantity mentioned in the licence.   It

   was found by the Committee that there  was  no  receipt/proof  with

   RECL whether the trucks reached the destinations or not and further

   RECL had violated the Explosive Rules.   It  is  alleged  that  the

   payments in lieu of sold explosive materials were made through  the

   Demand Drafts of ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, Axis Bank and Indusland Bank

   situated at Rajkot and the  payment  was  being  made  through  the

   agents of Ganga Enterprises,  Sidhnath  Enterprises,  Govind  Kripa

   Enterprises, Thakkar Enterprises, Bhagwati  Enterprises  and  Jyoti

   Enterprises, Rajkot.  These  agents  used  to  prepare  the  demand

   drafts in the name of RECL and give to one Jagdish Soni (an accused

   in FIR No.427/10 at Dholpur) who used to pass on the demand  drafts

   to Shiv Charan Heda (an  accused  in  all  the  FIRs).   These  six

   agents, who had been  arrested  on  22.12.2010  by  Dholpur  Police

   Station upon a supplementary charge-sheet being filed and have  not

   been arrayed as accused in the proceedings pending in the courts at

   Sagar  and  Chanderi  (Madhya  Pradesh),  have  been  impleaded  as

   respondent Nos. 3 to 8 in the present proceedings.   It  is  lastly

   alleged that  the  respondent  could  not  have  filed  the  second

   petition because he along with other office  bearers  of  RECL  has

   withdrawn the first petition seeking  quashing  of  proceedings  in

   Crime No. 161/2010 registered at P.S. Baheria on  the  ground  that

   they were already facing trial in Crime No. 427/2010 registered  by

   the Dholpur Police on the same set of charges and  no  liberty  was

   granted by the High Court to file a fresh petition.



   8.      The respondents impleaded in SLP(Crl.) No.  8402  of  2011,

   have filed SLP (Crl.) No. 2180 of 2012 challenging the order  dated

   4.1.2012 passed by the High Court of  Rajasthan,  Bench  at  Jaipur

   whereby the habeas corpus petition filed by them  was  disposed  of

   holding that the question of remand of the  accused-petitioners  in

   FIR No. 427/2010, Kotwali Dholpur by the  court  in  the  State  of

   Rajasthan was in accordance with law or not and  the  detention  of

   the accused-petitioners is illegal, are the questions which are  to

   be adjudicated only after the issue of jurisdiction  of  courts  in

   Rajasthan pending before the Apex Court in SLP(Crl.)  No.  8402  of

   2011 is decided.  The said SLP(Crl.) No. 2180 of 2012 was  directed

   to be put up along with SLP(Crl.) No. 8402 of  2011.   Hence,  both

   the special leave petitions are before us.



   9.       While issuing notice in SLP(Crl.) No.. 8402 of 2011,  this

   Court on 25.11.2011 passed the following order:

                 “Mr. U.U. Lalit, learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for

        respondent no.1 on caveat stated that though the  High  Court  has

        quashed the proceedings at the Dholpur  Court  in  Rajasthan,  the

        respondents have no objection if the proceedings are continued  at

        Dholpur, but in that case the proceedings arising  from  the  same

        set of facts in the two Courts in Madhra Pradesh,  i.e.  at  Sagar

        and Chanderi may have to be quashed.



                 Issue notice  to  the  non-appearing  respondent  on  the

        limited  question  whether  the  proceedings  should  continue  at

        Dholpur or at the  two  places  (Sagar  and  Chanderi)  in  Madhya

        Pradesh.”





   10.      The short question that falls  for  consideration  in  the

   instant case is  as to whether the proceedings should  continue  at

   Dholpur or at  the  two  places  (Sagar  and  Chanderi)  in  Madhya

   Pradesh.



   11.      Section 186, Cr.P.C., which deals with  the  power  of  the

   High Court to decide, in case of doubt, the district  where  inquiry

   or trial shall take place, is extracted hereinbelow:-



            “186. High Court to decide, in case of  doubt,  district  where

            inquiry or trial shall take place.-  Where two or  more  Courts

            have taken cognizance of the same offence and a question arises

            as to which of them ought to inquire into or try that  offence,

            the question shall be decided --



                 (a)   if the Courts are subordinate to the same High Court,

                 by that High Court;



                 (b)  if the Courts are not subordinate  to  the  same  High

                 Court, by the High Court within the local limits  of  whose

                 appellate criminal jurisdiction the proceedings were  first

                 commenced,



            and thereupon all other proceedings in respect of that  offence

            shall be discontinued.”


   12.      From bare reading of the aforesaid provision it is manifest

   that the main object and intention of the  Legislature  in  enacting

   the  provision  is  to  prevent  the  accused  persons  from   being

   unnecessarily harassed  for the same offences alleged to  have  been

   committed within the  territorial  jurisdiction  of  more  than  one

   courts.  In order to avoid unnecessary harassment of the accused  to

   appear and face trial in more than one courts,  necessary  direction

   is to be issued to discontinue the subsequent proceedings  in  other

   courts.  The provision is based on the principle of convenience  and

   expediency.  However, the sine qua non for the application  of  this

   provision is that the cases instituted in different  courts  are  in

   respect of the same offence arising out of the same  occurrence  and

   that the same transaction and that the parties  are  the  same.   In

   other words, the persons implicated as an accused in different cases

   must be the same.  If these conditions are satisfied then subsequent

   proceeding  has to be discontinued.



   13.      Chapter XXIV of the Code of Criminal Procedure  deals  with

   the provisions with regard to the enquiries and trials.  Section 300

   debars the Court from proceeding with the trial in  respect  of  the

   same offence for which  the  accused  has  already  been  tried  and

   convicted or acquitted. However, a person convicted for any  offence

   may be afterwards tried if such act constituted a different  offence

   from that of which he was convicted.  This Court  elaborately  dealt

   with the provisions contained in Section 300 Cr.P.C. in the case  of

   State of Bihar v. Murad Ali Khan, (1988) 4 SCC page  655.   Some  of

   the paragraphs are worth to be quoted hereinafter.


           “26. Broadly speaking, a protection against a second or multiple

           punishment for the same offence, technical  complexities  aside,

           includes a protection against re-prosecution after acquittal,  a

           protection  against  re-prosecution  after  conviction   and   a

           protection against double or multiple punishment  for  the  same

           offence. These protections have  since  received  constitutional

           guarantee under Article 20(2). But  difficulties  arise  in  the

           application of the principle in the context of what is meant  by

           “same offence”. The principle in American law is stated thus:

           “The proliferation of technically different offences encompassed

           in a single  instance  of  crime  behaviour  has  increased  the

           importance of defining the scope of the  offence  that  controls

           for purposes of the double jeopardy guarantee.

           Distinct statutory  provisions  will  be  treated  as  involving

           separate offences for double jeopardy  purposes  only  if  ‘each

           provision requires proof of an additional fact which  the  other

           does  not’  (Blockburger  v.  United  States).  Where  the  same

           evidence suffices to prove both crimes, they are  the  same  for

           double jeopardy purposes,  and  the  clause  forbids  successive

           trials and  cumulative  punishments  for  the  two  crimes.  The

           offences must be joined in one  indictment  and  tried  together

           unless the defendant requests that they be tried separately.



           27. The expression “the same offence”, “substantially  the  same

           offence” “in effect the same offence” or “practically the same”,

           have not done much to lessen  the  difficulty  in  applying  the

           tests  to  identify  the  legal  common  denominators  of  “same

           offence”. Friedland in Double Jeopardy (Oxford 1969) says at  p.

           108:

           “The trouble with this approach is that it is vague and hazy and

           conceals the thought processes of the  court.  Such  an  inexact

           test must depend upon the individual impressions of  the  judges

           and can give  little  guidance  for  future  decisions.  A  more

           serious consequence is the fact that a decision in one case that

           two offences are ‘substantially the same’ may  compel  the  same

           result in another case involving the same two offences where the

           circumstances may be such that a second  prosecution  should  be

           permissible....”



           28. In order that the prohibition is attracted the same act must

           constitute an offence under more than one Act. If there are  two

           distinct and separate offences with different ingredients  under

           two different enactments, a double punishment is not barred.  In

           Leo Roy Frey v.  Superintendent,  District  Jail,  the  question

           arose whether a crime and the offence of conspiracy to commit it

           are different offences. This Court said: (SCR p. 827)

           “The offence of conspiracy to commit  a  crime  is  a  different

           offence from the crime that is  the  object  of  the  conspiracy

           because the conspiracy precedes the commission of the crime  and

           is complete before the crime is attempted or completed,  equally

           the crime attempted or completed does not require the element of

           conspiracy as one of its ingredients. They are, therefore, quite

           separate offences.”





   14.      In the instant case,  as  noticed  above,  the  nature  and

   manner  of  offences  committed  by  the  accused  persons  are  not

   identical but are different, 

for example, in respect  of  FIR  Crime

   No.130 of 2010 the accused persons  in  connivance  with  respondent

   No.1 delivered 103 trucks of explosives to  the  Magazines  of  M/s.

   Ajay Explosives which belonged to Shiv Charan Heda and 60 trucks  of

   explosives to M/s. B.M. Traders which belonged to Deepa Heda. It was

   alleged that the Magazines of M/s. Ganesh Explosives and M/s. Sangam

   Explosives were not operational since many years and with the forged

   documentation in the name of the  said  firms  the  explosives  were

   purchased  by  M/s.  Ajay  Explosives  and  M/s.  B.M.  Traders  and

   subsequently those explosives were sold to some unknown persons.  

In

   respect of those  FIRs,  one  accused,  a  resident  of  Nepal,  was

   arrested and from whose custody 498 non electronic  detonators  were

   recovered.  

In respect of another FIR, during investigation, it  has

   come on the record that those explosives  were  sold  for  terrorist

   activities.

   15.      Offence means any act or omission made punishable  by  law.

   The fountain head of all the three cases  may  be  at  Dholpur  from

   where truck loaded with explosives moved to  different  destinations

   but from that it cannot be said that the acts  and  omissions  which

   constitute the offence are the same. 

Same offence, in  our  opinion,

   would mean that acts and omissions which constitute the offence  are one and the same. 

 Except the allegation that  the  explosives  were

   loaded at Dholpur, the mode and manner  in  which  the  offence  was

   committed at different places are not the same.   

As  such,  in  our

   opinion, the provision of Section 186 of the Code is  not  attracted

   in the facts of the present case.  Hence, the High  court  erred  in

   passing the impugned order.



   16.      In the facts and circumstances of the case, we are  of  the

   considered opinion that the impugned order passed by the High  Court

   is to be set aside.  Consequently, the appeal preferred by the State

   of Rajasthan is allowed and the  appeal  preferred  by  the  accused

   stands disposed of.







                                                            ….…………………………….J.

                                                   (Chandramauli Kr. Prasad)









                                                              …………………………….J.

                                                                (M.Y. Eqbal)

New Delhi,

December 17, 2013.

-----------------------

17


sec.420 - cheating - agreement of sale - received Rs.50 lakhs - sold parking place kept for a Club House as per municipal records - committed an offence - when there is ample evidence on record to say that accused played fraud on complainant - quashing of complaint is wrong - High court orders are set aside = Ashfaq Ahmed Quereshi & Anr. …Appellants Versus Namrata Chopra & Ors. …Respondents = judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41096

posted 17 Dec 2013 08:58 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

sec.420 - cheating - agreement of sale - received Rs.50 lakhs - sold parking place kept for a Club House as per municipal records - committed an offence - when there is ample evidence on record to say that accused played fraud on complainant - quashing of complaint is wrong - High court orders are set aside =


There is sufficient evidence on record to show that the property

      belonged not only to the respondent Nos.1  &  2,  but  they  were  the

      owners alongwith respondent Nos.3 and 4.  The respondent No.3 has died

      and respondent No.4 has been deleted from the array of parties by this

      court earlier.  There is ample evidence on record that the  permission

      had been sought and obtained from Municipal Corporation of Bhopal  for

      raising the construction of a Club House and the land in  dispute  had

      been shown as vacant  land  for  parking.  It  is  too  late  for  the

      respondent Nos.1 & 2 to say that the respondent Nos.3 and 4 might have

      forged their signatures for the reason that it is not  their  case  in

      the counter affidavit or even before the High Court that they had ever

      raised any objection or filed any complaint before the police  or  any

      competent court for forging their signatures by someone  else  on  the

      said application. More so, there are disputes regarding partition  and

      demarcation of shares between the respective parties.  The sale  deeds

      are also on record that their  shares  have  been  sold  not  only  by

      respondent Nos.3 & 4 but also by respondent Nos.1 & 2 subsequently and

      there is no land available today.  No explanation could  be  furnished

      by Mr. Prashant Kumar appearing for respondent nos. 1 & 2  as  to  why

      this fact had not been brought to the notice of the court.

      5.    As the case raises a large number of disputed questions of fact,

      we are of the considered opinion that there was no  occasion  for  the

      High Court to allow the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C.  and  quash

      the criminal proceedings qua the said respondents.

      6.    In view of the above, we set aside  the  impugned  judgment  and

      order dated 15.3.2012 and allow the appeal. The learned trial court is

      directed to proceed against the said respondents  in  accordance  with

      law.



REPORTABLE





                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION



                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  2100 of 2013



      Ashfaq Ahmed Quereshi & Anr.                          …Appellants



                                   Versus



      Namrata Chopra & Ors.                                    …Respondents





                                  O R D E R



      Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.

      1.    This appeal has been preferred against  the  impugned   judgment

      and order dated 15.3.2012  passed by the High Court of Madhya  Pradesh

      at Jabalpur in M.Cr.C. No. 8882/2011, by  which  the  High  Court  has

      quashed the criminal proceedings against the respondent Nos. 1  and  2

      in exercise of its  power  under  Section  482  of  Code  of  Criminal

      Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Cr.P.C.’).

      2.    Facts and circumstances giving rise to this appeal are that:

      A.    The appellants entered  into  an  agreement  for  sale  of  land

      admeasuring 1.10 acres of land out of 2.20  acres  of  total  land  on

      26.11.2009 which had been claimed by the said respondents 1 & 2 to  be

      of their exclusive ownership and for that appellants  paid  a  sum  of

      rupees fifty lakhs to the said respondents as earnest money out of the

      consideration of Rs.1,50,93,540/-.

      B.    The sale deed could not be executed as the  appellants  did  not

      make the payment for the reason that  the  said  respondents  did  not

      complete the legal formalities for transferring the land.  

 Later  on,

      the appellants came to  know  that  the  said  respondent  Nos.1  &  2

      alongwith other co-sharers had got permission dated 27.3.2006 from the

      Municipal Corporation of Bhopal for construction of the Club House  on

      the part of the said land and the subject matter of agreement to  sell

      had been shown therein as open land for parking  purposes.   

The  Club

      House has already been constructed on the land and the suit land is to

      be used only for parking purpose.

      C.    After realizing that the appellants got cheated, there had  been

      claims and counter claims between the parties and  ultimately  several

      notices were exchanged between the parties.  

The appellants claimed  a

      refund of rupees fifty lakhs  with  interest,  while  the  respondents

      wanted to  forfeit  the  earnest  money  for  non-payment  of  further

      instalments as agreed by the parties. The appellants filed a complaint

      under Section 200 Cr.P.C. on 26.8.2010.

      D.    As the respondents came to know about filing  of  the  complaint

      they sold the suit property to one Ms. Nanhi J. Walia  on  23.10.2010.

      E.    In the complaint case,  evidence  of  the  complainant  and  his

      witnesses were recorded in November, 2010  and  being  satisfied,  the

      learned Magistrate took cognizance vide order dated 6.12.2010 for  the

      offence punishable under Section 420 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

      F.    All the shares of other co-sharers of the said respondent Nos. 1

      & 2 were also sold on 23.2.2011 to Ms. Nanhi J. Walia.

      G.    Aggrieved, the respondent Nos. 1 &  2  filed  a  petition  under

      Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing the complaint qua them on the  ground

      that there had been a partition between the parties  (co-sharers)  and

      so far as the application for seeking permission  to  raise  the  Club

      House on the suit land was concerned, it had not been  signed  by  the

      said respondents/applicants, rather their signatures had  been  forged

      by the co-sharers.

      H.    The High Court considered the case of both sides and  ultimately

      quashed the criminal proceedings qua the said respondent Nos. 1 and 2.



            Hence, this appeal

      3.    We have heard Shri Vikas Upadhyay, learned counsel appearing for

      the appellants, Shri Prashant Kumar, learned  counsel  for  respondent

      Nos. 1 & 2 and  Shri Arjun Garg, learned counsel  for  the  State  and

      have also gone through the record of the case.

      4.    There is sufficient evidence on record to show that the property

      belonged not only to the respondent Nos.1  &  2,  but  they  were  the

      owners alongwith respondent Nos.3 and 4.  The respondent No.3 has died

      and respondent No.4 has been deleted from the array of parties by this

      court earlier.  There is ample evidence on record that the  permission

      had been sought and obtained from Municipal Corporation of Bhopal  for

      raising the construction of a Club House and the land in  dispute  had

      been shown as vacant  land  for  parking.  It  is  too  late  for  the

      respondent Nos.1 & 2 to say that the respondent Nos.3 and 4 might have

      forged their signatures for the reason that it is not  their  case  in

      the counter affidavit or even before the High Court that they had ever

      raised any objection or filed any complaint before the police  or  any

      competent court for forging their signatures by someone  else  on  the

      said application. More so, there are disputes regarding partition  and

      demarcation of shares between the respective parties.  The sale  deeds

      are also on record that their  shares  have  been  sold  not  only  by

      respondent Nos.3 & 4 but also by respondent Nos.1 & 2 subsequently and

      there is no land available today.  No explanation could  be  furnished

      by Mr. Prashant Kumar appearing for respondent nos. 1 & 2  as  to  why

      this fact had not been brought to the notice of the court.

      5.    As the case raises a large number of disputed questions of fact,

      we are of the considered opinion that there was no  occasion  for  the

      High Court to allow the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C.  and  quash

      the criminal proceedings qua the said respondents.

      6.    In view of the above, we set aside  the  impugned  judgment  and

      order dated 15.3.2012 and allow the appeal. The learned trial court is

      directed to proceed against the said respondents  in  accordance  with

      law.



                                         .........................………………..J.

                                                                (DR.    B.S.

      CHAUHAN)




      .............………………………J.

                                                (S.A. BOBDE)

      New Delhi,

      December 17,  2013




Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act,1946 - the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 - No approval from the central government is necessary when the case was monitored by the constitutional court itself = Manohar Lal Sharma …….Petitioner Versus The Principal Secretary and Ors. ……Respondents = published in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41094

posted 17 Dec 2013 08:37 by murali mohan Mandagaddi

 Section 6A of the Delhi Special  Police  Establishment  Act,1946 - the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 - No approval from the central government is necessary when the case was monitored by the constitutional court itself =

whether  the  approval  of  the  Central  Government  is

necessary under Section 6A of the Delhi Special  Police  Establishment  Act,1946 (“DSPE Act” for short) in  a  matter  where  the  inquiry/investigation into the crime under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988  (“PC  Act”  for short) is being monitored by the Court. =              

 The  fact  that  the  investigation   is   monitored   by   the

constitutional court is itself an assurance  that  investigation/inquiry  by

the CBI is not actuated with ulterior motive to harass  any  public  servant

and  the  investigating  agency  performs  its  duties  and  discharges  its

responsibility  of  fair  and  impartial   investigation   uninfluenced   by

extraneous considerations.

65.         In light of the above discussion, our answer to the question  is

in the negative and we hold that the approval of the Central  Government  is

not  necessary  under  Section  6A  of  the  DSPE  Act  in  a  matter  where

inquiry/investigation into the crime under the PC Act is being monitored  by

this Court.  This position holds good in cases which  are  directed  by  the

Court to be registered and the  inquiry/investigation  thereon  is  actually

being monitored by this Court.                                          


      REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                    CRIMINAL/CIVIL ORIGINAL  JURISDICTION

                  WRIT PETITION  (CRIMINAL)  NO.120 OF 2012


Manohar Lal Sharma                               …….Petitioner


                   Versus


The Principal Secretary and Ors.                 ……Respondents


                                    WITH


                   WRIT PETITION  (CIVIL)  NO.463 OF 2012


                                    WITH


                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.429 OF 2012


                                    WITH


                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.498 OF 2012


                                    WITH


                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.515 OF 2012


                                     AND


                   WRIT PETITION  (CIVIL)  NO.283 OF 2013



                                    ORDER


R.M. LODHA, J.



            The question for the purposes  of  this  order  really  resolves

itself into  this:

whether  the  approval  of  the  Central  Government  is

necessary under Section 6A of the Delhi Special  Police  Establishment  Act,1946 (“DSPE Act” for short) in  a  matter  where  the  inquiry/investigation into the crime under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988  (“PC  Act”  for

short) is being monitored by the Court. 

 It is not necessary to set out  the

facts in detail, suffice,  however,  to  say  that

the  Central  Bureau  of

Investigation (CBI)  has  registered  preliminary  enquiries  (PEs)  against

unknown public servants, inter alia,  of  the  offences  under  the  PC  Act

relating to allocation of coal blocks for the period from 1993 to  2005  and

2006 to 2009.

Few regular cases have also been registered.

 In  pursuance  of

the orders passed by this Court, the inquiries and investigations  into  the

allocation of coal blocks are being monitored by this Court and the CBI  has

been submitting reports about the  status  of  the  progress  made  in  that

regard.

2.           On  08.05.2013,  the  Court  noted  that  in  the   matter   of

investigation, CBI needed  insulation  from  extraneous  influences  of  the

controlling executive.

On that day,  the  Court  wanted  to  know  from  the

learned Attorney General,

whether the Central Government  was  intending  to

put in place the appropriate law for the independence of  the  CBI and  its functional autonomy and insulate it from extraneous influences so  that  CBI is viewed as a non-partisan  investigating  agency.   

The  learned  Attorney

General sought time to seek instructions and report to the Court by  way  of

an  affidavit  on  behalf  of  the  Central  Government.   The  matter  was,

accordingly, fixed for July 10, 2013.

3.          In pursuance of the order dated  08.05.2013,  an  affidavit  was

filed by the Central Government.  In that affidavit  various  actions  which

were  taken in compliance of the directions of this Court in Vineet  Narain1

  were indicated.  In the affidavit, it was also  stated  that  a  Group  of

Ministers (GoM) has been constituted to consider the aspects  noted  in  the

order of 08.05.2013.   The GoM had proposed certain amendments in  the  law;

the proposals of GOM have also been approved by the Cabinet.

4.          On  10.07.2013,  the  Court  observed  that  the  amendments  as

proposed in the DSPE Act were likely to take  some  time  and,  accordingly,

put  to  the  learned  Attorney  General  two  queries,  

first,  as  to  why

clarification should  not  be  made  that  the  approval  from  the  Central

Government under Section 6-A of the  DSPE  Act   for  investigation  of  the

offences alleged to have been committed under  the PC Act is  not  necessary

as it is the stand of the Government  that  the  power  of  supervision  for

investigation has already been shifted from the Government  to  the  Central

Vigilance Commission (CVC) and, 

second, why  the approval of the  Government

was  necessary  in  respect   of   “Court-monitored”   or   “Court-directed”

investigations.

5.          In Vineet Narain[1], this Court was approached under Article  32

of the Constitution allegedly as  there  was  inertia  by  the  CBI  in  the

investigations into Jain  Diaries  case  where  the  accusations  made  were

against high dignitaries.  The background that necessitated  the  monitoring

of the investigation by this Court is indicated in  the  first  paragraph[2]

of the judgment. The Single Directive  4.7(3)[3]   which  contained  certain

instructions to the CBI regarding modalities of  initiating  an  inquiry  or

registering a case against certain categories of  civil  servants  fell  for

consideration.

6.          On behalf of the Union  while  defending  the  Single  Directive

4.7(3),  it  was  contended  before  this  Court  in  Vineet  Narain1   that

protection to  officers  at  the  decision-making  level  was  essential  to

protect them and to relieve them of  the  anxiety  from  the  likelihood  of

harassment for taking honest decisions.

It was  argued  on  behalf  of  the

Union that the absence of  any  such  protection  to  them  could  adversely

affect the efficiency and efficacy of  these  institutions  because  of  the

tendency of such officers to avoid taking any decisions  which  could  later

lead to harassment by any malicious and vexatious  inquiries/investigations.


7.          The Court noted  the  report  of  Independent  Review  Committee

(IRC) and few decisions of this Court, particularly,  K.  Veeraswami[4]  and

J.A.C  Saldanha[5]  and   struck   down   the   Single   Directive   4.7(3).

Pertinently, the Court noted that the view it had taken was not in  conflict

with J.A.C. Saldanha5.  K. Veeraswami4  was held distinguishable.

8.          The DSPE Act was brought into force in 1946.   Under  this  Act,

the  superintendence  of  the  Special  Police   Establishment   (SPE)   was

transferred to the Home Department and its functions were enlarged to  cover

all departments of the Central Government.   The  jurisdiction  of  the  SPE

extended to all the Union  Territories.   Its  jurisdiction  could  also  be

extended to the States with their  consent.   The  CBI  was  established  on

01.04.1963 vide  Government  Resolution  issued  by  the  Ministry  of  Home

Affairs, Government of India.

9.          Section 3  of  that  Act  empowers  the  Central  Government  to

specify by notification in the official gazette the offences or  classes  of

offences  which  are  to  be  investigated  by  the  Delhi  Special   Police

Establishment (DSPE).

10.         Section 4 relates to superintendence and administration of  SPE.


11.         Section 5 deals with extension of  powers  and  jurisdiction  of

SPE to other areas.  The Central Government has been empowered to extend  to

any area (including railway areas), in a State not being a  Union  Territory

the powers and jurisdiction of members of the DSPE for the investigation  of

any offences or classes  of  offences  specified  in  a  notification  under

Section 3.

12.         Section 6 provides that Section 5 shall not be deemed to  enable

any member of the DSPE to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in  a

State, not being a Union Territory or railway area, without the  consent  of

the Government of that State.

13.         In pursuance of the judgment of this Court  in  Vineet  Narain1,

DSPE Act came to be amended with  effect  from  11.09.2003.

Section  4  was

amended. Sub-section (1) of Section 4 now provides that the  superintendence

of  the  Delhi  Special  Police  Establishment  insofar  as  it  relates  to

investigation of offences alleged to have been committed under  the  PC  Act

shall vest in the  Central  Vigilance  Commission.

Section  4A  to  4C  and Section 6A have been inserted.

14.         Section 6A reads as under:

      “Section 6 A - Approval of Central Government to  conduct  inquiry  or

      investigation.

(1) The Delhi Special Police  Establishment  shall  not

      conduct any inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to  have

      been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988 except with

      the previous approval of the Central Government where such  allegation

      relates to -

           (a) the employees of the Central  Government  of  the  level  of

           Joint Secretary and above; and

           (b) such officers as are appointed by the Central Government  in

           corporations established by or under any Central Act, Government

           companies, societies and local authorities owned  or  controlled

           by that Government.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in  sub-section  (1),  no  such

      approval shall be necessary for cases involving arrest of a person  on

      the spot on the charge  of  accepting  or  attempting  to  accept  any

      gratification other than legal remuneration referred to in clause  (c)

      of the Explanation to section 7 of the Prevention of  Corruption  Act,

      1988.”


15.         Section  6A,  thus,  provides  for  obtaining  approval  of  the

Central  Government  to  conduct  inquiry   or   investigation   where   the

allegations for commission of an offence under the  PC  Act  relate  to  the

employees of the Central Government of the level of the Joint Secretary  and

above.

16.         The  amendments  in  the  DSPE  Act  were  made  effective  from

11.09.2003.  On the same date the Central  Vigilance  Commission  Act,  2003

(for  short,  ‘CVC  Act’)  was  enacted.  The  CVC  Act  provides  for   the

constitution of  a  Central  Vigilance  Commission  (CVC)  to  inquire  into

offences alleged to  have  been  committed  under  the  PC  Act  by  certain

categories of public servants as is reflected from the Preamble.[6]

17.         Section 8 of the CVC Act deals with the functions and powers  of

the CVC. To the extent, it is relevant, Section 8 reads as under:

      “8. Functions and powers  of  Central  Vigilance  Commission.

(1)  The

      functions and powers of the Commission shall be to--

           (a) exercise superintendence over the functioning of  the  Delhi

      Special  Police  Establishment  in  so  far  as  it  relates  to   the

      investigation of offences alleged to have  been  committed  under  the

      Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or an offence with which  a  public

      servant specified in sub-section (2) may, under the Code  of  Criminal

      Procedure, 1973, be charged at the same trial;

           (b) give directions to the Delhi  Special  Police  Establishment

      for the purpose of discharging  the  responsibility  entrusted  to  it

      under sub-section  (1)  of  section 4 of  the  Delhi  Special   Police

      Establishment Act, 1946:

      Provided that while exercising the  powers  of  superintendence  under

      clause   (a)   or   giving   directions   under   this   clause,   the

      Commission shall not exercise powers in such a manner so as to require

      the Delhi Special Police Establishment to investigate  or  dispose  of

      any case in a particular manner;

      (c) to (h) ……..

      (2)   ………”



18.         The constitutional validity of Section 6A is pending before  the

Constitution Bench of this Court. In Subramanian Swamy  (Dr.)[7],  a  three-

Judge Bench of this Court  referred  the  matter  to  the  larger  bench  to

authoritatively adjudicate the validity of Section  6A.   The  challenge  is

based on the touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution as it is the  case

of  the  petitioner  therein  that  Section  6A  is  wholly  arbitrary   and

unreasonable. The contention  of  the  Union  on  the  other  hand  is  that

arbitrariness  and  unreasonableness  are  not  available  as   grounds   to

invalidate the legislation. Since the question of validity of Section 6A  is

pending before the Constitution Bench of this Court, we make it  clear  that

this order does not touch upon this aspect at all.

19.         We  have  heard  Mr.  Goolam  E.  Vahanvati,  learned   Attorney

General,  Mr.  Amarendra  Sharan,  learned   senior  counsel  for  the  CBI,

      Mr. Manohar Lal Sharma, petitioner-in-person,  Mr.  Prashant  Bhushan,

learned counsel in the writ petition filed by Common Cause   and  Mr.  Gopal

Sankaranarayanan, learned counsel for the intervenor.

20.         Mr. Goolam E. Vahanvati, learned Attorney General says ‘Yes’  to

the question which we have indicated in the beginning of the  order  because

he says that the whole idea behind Section 6A  is  to  provide  a  screening

mechanism to filter out frivolous or motivated investigation that  could  be

initiated against senior officers and to protect them  from  harassment  and

to enable them to take decisions without fear.  He  heavily  relies  on  the

decision of this Court in K. Veeraswami4 and  submits  that  the  Court  has

recognised the need for protecting  high-ranking  officials  from  vexatious

litigation. Learned Attorney General fairly submits  that  the  observations

made  by  this  Court  in  paragraph  28  in  K.   Veeraswami4   have   been

distinguished in Vineet Narain1 but he  submits  that  the  observations  in

Vineet Narain1 have been doubted in the referral order in Subramanian  Swamy

(Dr.)7 .

21.         Learned Attorney General argues that it will not be  appropriate

to issue clarification in the terms proposed in the order  dated  10.07.2013

in  respect of first query  for  the  reasons:  

(i)  requirement   of  prior

sanction does not flow from the power of superintendence; 

(ii)  there  is  a

presumption of constitutionality in favour of a statutory  provision,  which

cannot be nullified/amended/modified by an interim order; 

(iii) a  statutory

provision cannot be struck down without a specific challenge being  levelled

thereto; and 

(iv) the Court has the power of judicial review  to  set  right

improper exercise of power conferred  under  Section  6-A.  

Elaborating  the

above,  learned  Attorney  General  submits  that   while   the   power   of

superintendence operates during the stage of  investigation,  the  power  to

grant sanction comes into play at the  pre-investigation  stage.  Therefore,

the two powers operate in different spheres and one cannot be said  to  flow

from the other

Section 8(1) of the  CVC  Act,  which  vests  the  power  of

superintendence of investigation of cases under PC Act is  not  in  conflict

with Section 6A of the DSPE  Act,  which  requires  prior  approval  of  the

Government to initiate any investigation or  inquiry  for  the  officers  of

level of Joint Secretary and  above  under  the  PC  Act.  

These  provisions operate in two different stages.

22.         The learned Attorney General states that the Central  Government

accepts the position that CBI’s investigation must be conducted  in  a  non-

partisan manner without any extraneous influences but a statutory  provision

cannot be nullified on a presumption that the power under Section 6A may  be

exercised improperly. If  there  is  any  instance  where  the  power  under

Section 6A is abused or is utilized to  shield  an  accused  who  should  be

prosecuted, this Court always has the power of judicial  review  to  correct

the same.

23.         In response  to  the  second  query,  learned  Attorney  General

submits that Section 6A is in the nature of  procedure  established  by  law

for the purposes of Article 21 and where  consequences  follow  in  criminal

law for an accused, the Court is not at liberty to negate the same  even  in

exercise of powers under Article  32  or  Article  142.  According  to  him,

requirement of sanction under Section 6A is to be interpreted  strictly  and

cannot be waived  under  any  circumstances.  That  the  Court  monitors  or

directs an investigation does not affect the basis of  protection  available

under  law  and  the  CBI  cannot  be  asked  to  proceed  with  inquiry  or

investigation de hors the statutory mandate of Section 6A.

24.         Learned Attorney General, thus, submits that  Section  6A  which

has a definite objective must be allowed to operate even in the cases  where

the investigation into the crimes under PC Act is  being  monitored  by  the

Court.

25.         Mr. Amarendra Sharan, learned senior counsel  who  assisted  the

Court on behalf of CBI with equal emphasis at his command says ‘No’ to  that

question. He states that the objective behind enactment  of  Section  6A  to

give protection to officers at the decision-making  level  from  the  threat

and  ignominy  of  malicious   and   vexatious   inquiry/investigation   and

likelihood of harassment for taking honest decisions is fully achieved  when

a case is monitored by the constitutional court. The  constitutional  courts

are repository of the faith of the  people  as  well  as  protector  of  the

rights of the individual and, therefore, no prior approval  of  the  Central

Government  under  Section  6A  in  the  cases  in  which  investigation  is

monitored by the constitutional court is necessary.

26.         Learned senior counsel for the CBI submits that this  Court  has

consistently held with reference to Section 6 of the DSPE  Act  and  Section

19 of the PC Act that  requirement  of  sanction  for  prosecution  was  not

mandatory when the same is done pursuant to the direction of  the  Court  or

where cases are monitored by the Court. On  the  same  analogy,  he  submits

that it can be safely concluded that the approval under Section  6A  of  the

DSPE Act is not necessary in the cases where investigation is  monitored  by

the constitutional court. He  argues  that  requirement  of  approval  under

Section 6A, if held to be necessary even in Court-monitored cases, it  would

amount to restricting power of monitoring by a constitutional  court  up  to

officers below the ranks of Joint Secretary only which would mean  that  the

constitutional court has no power to monitor  investigation  of  an  offence

involving  officers  of  the  Joint  Secretary  and  above   without   prior

permission of  the  Central  Government.  Such  an  interpretation  will  be

directly contrary to the power (as  well  as  constitutional  duty)  of  the

constitutional court to monitor an investigation in larger public interest.

27.         Mr. Amarendra Sharan, learned senior  counsel  has  argued  that

Section 6A must be read down to mean that prior approval  is  not  necessary

in cases where investigation is monitored by the constitutional court.

28.         The arguments of Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned counsel  for  the

Common Cause, Mr. Manohar Lal Sharma, one of the  petitioners,  who  appears

in  person  and  Mr.  Gopal  Sankaranarayanan,  learned  counsel   for   the

intervenor are in line with the arguments  of  Mr.  Amarendra  Sharan.  They

submit that Section 6A cannot be a bar to investigation in  Court  monitored

cases. According to them, if Section 6 is not a  restriction  on  the  Court

but only on the Central Government  as  has  been  held  by  this  Court  in

Committee for Protection of Democratic  Rights[8],  that  principle  equally

applies to Section 6A. They referred to the orders passed by this  Court  in

2G case and, particularly, reference was made to the order dated  03.09.2013

in Shahid Balwa[9].

29.         In the criminal justice system the investigation of  an  offence

is the domain of the police. The power to investigate  into  the  cognizable

offences by the police officer is ordinarily not impinged  by  any  fetters.

However, such power has  to  be  exercised  consistent  with  the  statutory

provisions  and  for  legitimate  purpose.  The  Courts  ordinarily  do  not

interfere in the matters of investigation by police, particularly, when  the

facts and circumstances do not indicate that the  investigating  officer  is

not functioning bona fide. In very exceptional  cases,  however,  where  the

Court finds that the police officer has exercised his  investigatory  powers

in breach of the statutory provision putting  the  personal  liberty  and/or

the property of the citizen in jeopardy by illegal and improper use  of  the

power or there is abuse of  the  investigatory  power  and  process  by  the

police officer or the investigation by the police is found to  be  not  bona

fide  or  the  investigation  is  tainted  with  animosity,  the  Court  may

intervene to protect the personal and/or property rights of the citizens.

30.         Lord Denning[10] has described the role of the police thus:

           “In safeguarding our  freedoms,  the  police  play  vital  role.

           Society for its defence needs a well-led, well-trained and well-

           disciplined force or police whom it can  trust,  and  enough  of

           them to be able to prevent crime before it  happens,  or  if  it

           does happen, to detect it and bring the accused to justice.

           The police, of course, must act properly.  They  must  obey  the

           rules of right conduct. They  must  not  extort  confessions  by

           threats or promises. They must not search a man’s house  without

           authority. They must  not  use  more  force  than  the  occasion

           warrants……….”


31.         One of the responsibilities  of  the  police  is  protection  of

life, liberty and property of citizens. The  investigation  of  offences  is

one of  the  important  duties  the  police  has  to  perform.  The  aim  of

investigation is ultimately to search for truth and bring  the  offender  to

the book.

32.         Section 2(h) of the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure  (for  short,

“Code”) defines investigation to include all the proceedings under the  Code

for collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or  by  any  person

(other than a Magistrate) who is authorised by Magistrate in this behalf.

33.          In  H.N.   Rishbud[11],   this   Court   explained   that   the

investigation generally consists of the following steps:

      1.    Proceeding to the spot;

      2.    Ascertainment of the facts and circumstances of the case;

      3.    Discovery and arrest of the suspected offender;

      4.    Collection  of  evidence  relating  to  the  commission  of  the

      offence which may consist of the examination of:

           (a)   various persons (including accused) and the  reduction  of

           statement into writing, if the officer thinks fit;

           (b)   the search of places and  seizure  of  things,  considered

           necessary for the investigation and to be produced at the trial;



      5.    Formation  of  the  opinion  as  to  whether  on  the  materials

      collected, there is a case to place the accused  before  a  Magistrate

      for trial, if so, take the necessary steps for  the  same  for  filing

      necessary charge-sheet under Section 373, Cr.P.C.



34.         Once jurisdiction is conferred on the  CBI  to  investigate  the

offence by virtue of notification under Section 3 of the  DSPE  Act  or  the

CBI takes up investigation in relation  to  the  crime  which  is  otherwise

within the jurisdiction  of  the  State  police  on  the  direction  of  the

constitutional court, the exercise of the power of investigation by the  CBI

is regulated by the Code and the guidelines are provided in the CBI  (Crime)

Manual. Paragraph 9.1 of the Manual says that when, a complaint is  received

or information is available which may, after verification,  as  enjoined  in

the Manual, indicate serious misconduct on the part of a public servant  but

is not adequate  to  justify  registration  of  a  regular  case  under  the

provisions of Section 154 of the Code, a preliminary  enquiry  (PE)  may  be

registered after obtaining approval of  the  competent  authority.  It  also

says that where High Courts and Supreme Court entrust  matters  to  CBI  for

inquiry and submission of report, a PE may  be  registered  after  obtaining

orders from the head office.  When  the  complaint  and  source  information

reveal commission of a prime facie cognizable offence, a regular case is  to

be registered as enjoined by law. PE may be converted into  RC  as  soon  as

sufficient material becomes available to show that  prima  facie  there  has

been commission of a  cognizable  offence.  When  information  available  is

adequate to indicate  commission  of  cognizable  offence  or  its  discreet

verification leads to similar conclusion, a regular case may  be  registered

instead of a PE.

35.         Paragraph  9.10  of  the  Manual  states  that  PE  relating  to

allegations of bribery and corruption should be limited to the  scrutiny  of

records and interrogation of bare minimum persons which may be necessary  to

judge whether there is any substance in  the  allegations  which  are  being

enquired into and whether the case is worth pursuing further or not.

36.         Paragraph 10.1 of the Manual deals with registration  and  first

information report. To the extent it is relevant, it reads as under:

      “10.1  On  receipt  of  a  complaint   or  after  verification  of  an

      information or on completion of a Preliminary Enquiry taken up by  CBI

      if it is revealed that prima  facie  a  cognizable  offence  has  been

      committed and the matter is fit for investigation to be undertaken  by

      Central Bureau of Investigation, a First Information Report should  be

      recorded under Section 154 Criminal Procedure Code  and  investigation

      taken up.  While considering registration of  an  FIR,  it  should  be

      ensured that at least the main  offence/s  have  been  notified  under

      Section  3  of  the  Delhi  Special  Police  Establishment  Act.   The

      registration of First Information Report  may  also  be  done  on  the

      direction of Constitutional Courts, in which case it is not  necessary

      for the offence to have been notified for investigation by DSPE.   The

      FIRs  under  investigation  with  local  Police  or  any   other   law

      enforcement authority may also be taken over for further investigation

      either on the request of the State Government concerned or the Central

      Government or on the direction of a Constitutional Court. ……..”



37.         Paragraph 10.6 of the Manual, inter alia,  provides  that  if  a

case is required to be registered under the PC Act  against  an  officer  of

the rank of Joint Secretary and above, prior permission  of  the  Government

should be taken before inquiry/investigation as required  under  Section  6A

of the DSPE Act except in a case  under  Section  7  of  the  PC  Act  where

registration is followed by immediate arrest of the accused.

38.         A proper investigation into crime is one of  the  essentials  of

the criminal justice system and an integral  facet  of  rule  of  law.   The

investigation by the police under the Code has to  be  fair,  impartial  and

uninfluenced by external  influences.  Where  investigation  into  crime  is

handled by the CBI under the DSPE Act, the same principles apply and CBI  as

an investigating agency is supposed to  discharge  its  responsibility  with

competence,  promptness,  fairness  and  uninfluenced  and   unhindered   by

external influences.

39.         The abuse of public office for private gain has grown  in  scope

and scale and hit the nation badly.  Corruption reduces  revenue;  it  slows

down economic activity and holds back  economic  growth.  The  biggest  loss

that may occur to the nation due to corruption is loss of confidence in  the

democracy and weakening of rule of law.

40.         In recent times, there has been concern over the need to  ensure

that the corridors of power remain untainted by corruption or  nepotism  and

that there is optimum utilization of resources and funds for their  intended

purposes.[12]

41.         In 350 B.C.E., Aristotle suggested in  the  “Politics”  that  to

protect the treasury from being defrauded, let all money  be  issued  openly

in front of the whole city, and let copies of the accounts be  deposited  in

various wards. What Aristotle said centuries back  may  not  be  practicable

today but for successful working of  the  democracy  it  is  essential  that

public  revenues  are not defrauded and public servants do  not  indulge  in

bribery and corruption and if they do, the  allegations  of  corruption  are

inquired into fairly, properly and promptly and those  who  are  guilty  are

brought to book.

42.         In this group of matters, it is alleged  that  coal  blocks  for

the subject period have been  allocated  for  extraneous  considerations  by

unknown public servants in connivance with businessmen,  industrialists  and

middlemen.  The  allocation  of  coal  blocks  is  alleged  to  suffer  from

favouritism, nepotism and pick  and  choose.  The  Comptroller  and  Auditor

General (CAG) in its Performance Audit on  allocation  of  coal  blocks  and

augmentation of coal production has estimated loss to the  public  exchequer

to the tune of about Rs.1.86  lac  crore  as  on  31.03.2011  for  Open-cast

mines/Open-cast reserves of Mixed mines while pointing out inadequacies  and

shortcoming in  the  allocation.   Our  reference  to  the  CAG  report,  we

clarify, does not  mean  that  we  have  expressed  any  opinion  about  its

correctness or otherwise.  Be that as it may, having regard to  the  serious

allegations of lack of objectivity  and  transparency  and  the  PEs  having

already registered by the CBI to  inquire/investigate  into  allegations  of

corruption against  unknown  public  servants  in  the  allocation  of  coal

blocks, this  Court  in  larger  public  interest  decided  to  monitor  the

inquiries/investigations being conducted by CBI.

43.         The monitoring  of  investigations/inquiries  by  the  Court  is

intended to ensure that proper progress takes  place  without  directing  or

channeling the mode or manner of investigation. The whole idea is to  retain

public confidence in the impartial inquiry/investigation  into  the  alleged

crime; that  inquiry/investigation  into  every  accusation  is  made  on  a

reasonable basis irrespective of the position and status of that person  and

the inquiry/investigation is taken to the logical conclusion  in  accordance

with law.

44.         The monitoring by  the  Court  aims  to  lend  credence  to  the

inquiry/investigation being conducted by the CBI  as  premier  investigating

agency and to eliminate  any  impression  of  bias,  lack  of  fairness  and

objectivity therein.

45.         However, the investigation/inquiry monitored by the  court  does

not mean that the court supervises such investigation/inquiry. To  supervise

would mean to observe and direct the execution of a task whereas to  monitor

would only mean to maintain surveillance. The concern and  interest  of  the

court in such ‘court directed’ or ‘court monitored’ cases is that  there  is

no undue delay in the investigation, and the investigation is  conducted  in

a free and fair manner with no external interference.  In  such  a  process,

the people acquainted with facts and circumstances of the  case  would  also

have a sense of security and they would  cooperate  with  the  investigation

given that the superior courts are seized of the matter.  We  find  that  in

some cases, the expression ‘court monitored’ has been  interchangeably  used

with  ‘court  supervised  investigation’.  Once  the  court  supervises   an

investigation, there is hardly anything left in the trial. Under  the  Code,

the investigating officer is only to form an  opinion  and  it  is  for  the

court to ultimately try  the  case  based  on  the  opinion  formed  by  the

investigating officer and see whether any offence has been made  out.  If  a

superior  court  supervises  the  investigation  and  thus  facilitates  the

formulation of such opinion in the form of a report under Section 173(2)  of

the Code, it will be difficult if not impossible for the trial court to  not

be influenced or  bound  by  such  opinion.  Then  trial  becomes  a  farce.

Therefore, supervision of investigation by any court is a  contradiction  in

terms. The Code does not envisage such a procedure, and  it  cannot  either.

In the rare and compelling circumstances referred  to  above,  the  superior

courts may monitor an investigation to ensure that the investigating  agency

conducts the investigation in a free, fair  and  time-bound  manner  without

any external interference.


46.         The  Court  is  of  the  view  that  a  fair,  proper  and  full

investigation by the CBI into every accusation by  the  CBI  in  respect  of

allocation of coal blocks shall help in retaining public confidence  in  the

conduct  of  inquiry/investigation.  Moreover,  the  Court-monitoring  in  a

matter of huge magnitude such as this shall help in moving the machinery  of

inquiry/investigation at appropriate pace and  its  conclusion  with  utmost

expedition without fear or favour.

47.         As regards the first query put to the learned  Attorney  General

on 10.07.2013, we are of the view that the said query takes within its  fold

one of the facets of the constitutionality of Section 6A and since  that  is

under consideration by the Constitution Bench  of  this  Court,  we  do  not

think it is necessary to deal with that query. Accordingly,  this  order  is

confined to the second query, namely, whether the approval  of  the  Central

Government is necessary in  respect  of  Court-monitored  or  Court-directed

investigations.

48.         There is no doubt that the objective  behind  the  enactment  of

Section 6A is to give protection to certain officers  (Joint  Secretary  and

above) in the Central Government at  the  decision  making  level  from  the

threat and ignominy of malicious and vexatious inquiries/investigations  and

the provision aims  to  ensure  that  those,  who  are  in  decision  making

positions, are not subjected to  frivolous  complaints  and  make  available

some screening mechanism for frivolous complaints but the question  is:   is

the restrictive provision contained in Section 6A rendered nugatory  or  its

objective is otherwise not achieved where the investigations into the  crime

under PC Act are monitored by the constitutional court?   We  do  not  think

so.  The constitutional courts are the sentinels of justice  and  have  been

vested with extraordinary powers of  judicial  review  to  ensure  that  the

rights of citizens are duly protected[13].

49.         The  power  under  Article  142(1)  of  the  Constitution  which

provides that Supreme Court in exercise of its jurisdiction  may  pass  such

decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in  any

“cause” or “matter” has been explained in large  number  of  cases.  It  has

been consistently held that such power is  plenary  in  nature.   The  legal

position articulated in Prem  Chand  Garg[14]  and  A.R.  Antulay[15],  with

regard to the powers conferred on this Court under Article 142(1)  has  been

explained in Delhi Judicial Service Association[16].   It  is  exposited  by

the three Judge Bench in Delhi Judicial  Service  Association16  that  power

under Article 142(1) to do  “complete  justice”  is  entirely  of  different

level and of a different quality.  Any prohibition or restriction  contained

in ordinary laws cannot act as a limitation on the constitutional  power  of

this Court.  Once this Court is in seisin of a cause or  matter  before  it,

it has power to issue any order or direction to  do  “complete  justice”  in

the matter.  This legal position finds support from other decisions of  this

Court in Poosu[17], Ganga Bishan[18] and  Navnit R. Kamani[19].

50.          The  majority  view  of  the  Constitution   Bench   in   Union

Carbide[20], with regard to power of this Court under  Article  142  of  the

Constitution holds the same  view  as  expressed  by  this  Court  in  Delhi

Judicial Service Association16.  The majority view  in  Union  Carbide20  in

paragraph 83[21] of the Report  has  reiterated  that  the  prohibitions  or

limitations or provisions contained in ordinary  laws,  cannot  ipso  facto,

act as prohibitions  or  limitations  on  the  constitutional  powers  under

Article 142. Such prohibitions or limitations in the statutes  might  embody

and reflect the scheme of a particular law, taking into account  the  nature

and status of the authority or the Court on which  conferment  of  powers  –

limited in some appropriate way – is contemplated. The powers under  Article

142 are not subject to any express statutory prohibitions.

51.         In Supreme Court Bar Association[22], this  Court  stated,  “It,

however, needs to be remembered that the powers conferred on  the  Court  by

Article 142 being curative in nature cannot be  construed  as  powers  which

authorise the Court to ignore the substantive rights  of  a  litigant  while

dealing with a cause pending  before  it.  This  power  cannot  be  used  to

“supplant”  substantive  law  applicable  to  the  case   or   cause   under

consideration of the  Court.  Article  142,  even  with  the  width  of  its

amplitude, cannot be  used  to  build  a  new  edifice  where  none  existed

earlier, by ignoring express statutory provisions  dealing  with  a  subject

and thereby  to  achieve  something  indirectly  which  cannot  be  achieved

directly…….”. The Court, however, went on to  say  that  the  constitutional

powers cannot, in any way, be controlled by any statutory provisions but  at

the same time these  powers  are  not  meant  to  be  exercised  when  their

exercise may  come  directly  in  conflict  with  what  has  been  expressly

provided for in a statute dealing expressly with the subject.

52.         The proper way for the Court, as stated in Union Carbide20 ,  in

exercise of the powers under Article 142 is to  take  note  of  the  express

prohibitions  in  any  substantive  statutory  provision   based   on   some

fundamental principles of public policy and regulate  the  exercise  of  its

power and discretion accordingly.  Where  the  Court  finds  that  statutory

limitations are so fundamental that any departure therefrom may result in  a

consequence directly contrary to the purpose for  which  the  plenary  power

under Article 142(1) is meant, obviously, the Court will exercise its  power

appropriately having regard to the statutory limitations.

53.         The Supreme Court  has  been  conferred  very  wide  powers  for

proper and effective administration  of  justice.  The  Court  has  inherent

power and jurisdiction for dealing with any exceptional situation in  larger

public interest which builds confidence in the rule of law  and  strengthens

democracy. The Supreme Court as the sentinel  on  the  qui  vive,  has  been

invested with the powers which are  elastic  and  flexible  and  in  certain

areas the rigidity in exercise of such powers is considered inappropriate.


54.         In the event of any senior officer (Joint  Secretary  or  above)

or the Central Government in an ongoing  inquiry/investigation  by  the  CBI

being monitored by the Court has reason to believe that such officer may  be

unnecessarily harassed by the  CBI,  then  the  Central  Government  or  the

senior officer (Joint Secretary or above) can  always  apply  to  the  Court

which is monitoring the inquiry/investigation for protection of his  rights.

 Such legal course being available to the category of  officers  covered  by

Section 6A, we hardly find any  merit  in  the  submission  of  the  learned

Attorney General that requirement of approval under  Section  6A  cannot  be

waived even in Court-monitored investigations and inquiries.

55.         The argument of the learned Attorney General that Section 6A  is

in the nature of procedure established by law for the  purposes  of  Article

21 and where consequences follow in criminal law for an accused,  the  Court

is not at liberty to negate the  same  even  in  exercise  of  powers  under

Article 32 or Article 142 overlooks the vital aspect that  Court  monitoring

of the inquiry/investigation conducted by the CBI is itself  a  very  strong

check   on   the   CBI   from   misusing   or   abusing   its    power    of

inquiry/investigation.  The filtration mechanism which Section  6A  provides

to ensure that the senior officers at the  decision  making  level  are  not

subjected to frivolous inquiry is achieved as the constitutional court  that

monitors the inquiry/investigation by CBI acts as guardian and protector  of

the rights of the individual and,  if  necessary,  can  always  prevent  any

improper act by the CBI against senior officers in  the  Central  Government

when brought before it.

56.          When  Court  monitors  the  investigation,  there  is   already

departure inasmuch as the investigating agency informs the Court  about  the

progress of the investigation.  Once the constitutional court  monitors  the

inquiry/investigation which is only done in extraordinary circumstances  and

in exceptional situation having regard to the larger  public  interest,  the

inquiry/investigation into  the  crime  under  the  PC  Act  against  public

servants by the CBI must be  allowed  to  have  its  course  unhindered  and

uninfluenced and the procedure contemplated by Section 6A cannot be  put  at

the level which impedes exercise of  constitutional  power  by  the  Supreme

Court under Articles 32, 136 and 142 of the Constitution.   Any  other  view

in this regard will be directly inconsistent with  the  power  conferred  on

the highest constitutional court.

57.         In the case of Committee for Protection of  Democratic  Rights8,

the Constitution Bench of this Court has held that a direction by  the  High

Court,  in  exercise  of  its  jurisdiction  under  Article   226   of   the

Constitution, to CBI to investigate a cognizable  offence  alleged  to  have

been committed within the territory of  the State  without  the  consent  of

the  State  will  neither  impinge  upon  the  federal  structure   of   the

Constitution nor violate the doctrine of separation of power  and  shall  be

valid in law. In this regard, it is relevant to  refer  to  the  conclusions

recorded by the Constitution Bench in clauses vi and vii,  paragraph  68  of

the Report which read as under:

      “68. (i) to (v)   ………

      (vi) If in terms of Entry 2 of List II of the Seventh Schedule on  the

      one hand and Entry 2-A and Entry  80  of  List  I  on  the  other,  an

      investigation by another agency is permissible  subject  to  grant  of

      consent by the State concerned, there is no reason as to  why,  in  an

      exceptional situation, the Court would be  precluded  from  exercising

      the same power  which  the  Union  could  exercise  in  terms  of  the

      provisions of the statute. In our opinion, exercise of such  power  by

      the constitutional courts would not violate the doctrine of separation

      of powers. In fact, if in such a situation the Court  fails  to  grant

      relief, it would be failing in its constitutional duty.

       (vii) When the Special Police Act itself provides that subject to the

      consent by the State, CBI can take up investigation in relation to the

      crime which was otherwise within the jurisdiction of the State police,

      the Court can also  exercise  its  constitutional  power  of  judicial

      review and  direct  CBI  to  take  up  the  investigation  within  the

      jurisdiction of the State. The power of the High Court  under  Article

      226 of the Constitution cannot be taken away, curtailed or diluted  by

      Section 6 of the Special Police Act. Irrespective of there  being  any

      statutory provision acting as a  restriction  on  the  powers  of  the

      Courts, the restriction imposed by Section 6 of the Special Police Act

      on the powers of the Union, cannot  be  read  as  restriction  on  the

      powers of the constitutional courts. Therefore, exercise of  power  of

      judicial review by the High Court, in our opinion, would not amount to

      infringement of either the doctrine of  separation  of  power  or  the

      federal structure.”


58.         Learned Attorney General with reference to  the  above  judgment

submitted that the principle of law laid down in the case of  Committee  for

Protection of Democratic Rights8 cannot be extended to requirement of  prior

approval under Section 6A. He submitted that  Committee  for  Protection  of

Democratic Rights8 was concerned with Section 6 of the DSPE  Act  while  the

present case is  concerned  with  Section  6A  which  is  totally  different

provision. Learned Attorney General has argued that the need for consent  of

the State Government before investigation is  carried  out  by  the  CBI  in

terms of Section 6 of the DSPE Act is a  requirement  that  flows  from  the

federal structure of the Constitution, because police and law and order  are

State subjects. On the other  hand,  he  argues  that  the  need  for  prior

approval under Section 6A is in the nature  of  protection  conferred  on  a

particular  cadre  of  persons,  which  is  necessitated  by  the  need   of

administration. Therefore, no parallel can be drawn between  two  provisions

and the law laid down in respect of one provision cannot be extended to  the

other.

59.         Learned Attorney General  is  right  that  the  two  provisions,

namely, Section 6 and Section 6A are different provisions and  they  operate

in different fields, but the principle  of  law  laid  down  in  respect  of

Section 6, in our view, can be extended while considering  applicability  of

Section 6A to the Court-monitored investigations. If Section 6  necessitates

the prior sanction of the State Government before investigation  is  carried

out by the CBI in terms of that provision and  the  principle  of  law  laid

down by the Constitution Bench of this  Court  is  that  the  constitutional

courts are empowered to direct the investigation of a case  by  CBI  and  in

such cases no prior sanction of the  State  Government  is  necessary  under

Section 6 of the DSPE Act, there is no reason  why  such  principle  is  not

extended in holding that the approval  of  the  Central  Government  is  not

necessary  under  Section  6A  of  the  DSPE  Act  in  a  matter  where  the

inquiry/investigation into the crime under the PC Act is being monitored  by

the Court. It is the duty  of  this  Court  that  anti-corruption  laws  are

interpreted and worked out in such a fashion that helps in minimizing  abuse

of public office for private gain.

60.         Learned Attorney General heavily relied  upon  the  observations

made in paragraph  28  by  the  Constitution  Bench  of  this  Court  in  K.

Veeraswami4.  He, particularly, referred to the following observations  with

emphasis on the highlighted portion:

      “28.  . . . . . .  Section  6  is  primarily  concerned  to  see  that

      prosecution for the specified offences shall not commence without  the

      sanction of a competent authority. That does not mean that the Act was

      intended to condone the offence of bribery and  corruption  by  public

      servant. Nor it was meant to afford protection to public servant  from

      criminal prosecution for such offences. It  is  only  to  protect  the

      honest public servants from frivolous and vexatious  prosecution.  The

      competent authority has to examine independently and  impartially  the

      material on record to form his own opinion whether the offence alleged

      is frivolous or vexatious. The competent authority may refuse sanction

      for prosecution if the offence alleged has no material to  support  or

      it is frivolous or intended to  harass  the  honest  officer.  But  he

      cannot refuse to grant sanction if the material collected has made out

      the commission of the offence  alleged  against  the  public  servant.

      Indeed he is duty bound to grant sanction if  the  material  collected

      lend credence to the offence complained of. There seems to be  another

      reason for taking away the discretion of the investigating  agency  to

      prosecute or not to prosecute a public servant. When a public  servant

      is  prosecuted  for  an  offence  which  challenges  his  honesty  and

      integrity, the issue in such a case is not only between the prosecutor

      and the offender, but the State is also vitally concerned with  it  as

      it affects the morale of public servants and also  the  administrative

      interest of the State. The discretion to prosecute public  servant  is

      taken away from the prosecuting agency and is vested in the  authority

      which is  competent  to  remove  the  public  servant.  The  authority

      competent to remove the public servant would be in a  better  position

      than the prosecuting agency to assess  the  material  collected  in  a

      dispassionate and reasonable manner and determine whether sanction for

      prosecution of a public servant deserves to be granted or not.”



61.          In  Vineet  Narain1,  this  Court   distinguished   the   above

observations in paragraphs 34 and 35 of the report which read as under:


      “34. The other decision of this Court is in K. Veeraswami. That was  a

      decision in which the majority held that the Prevention of  Corruption

      Act applies even to the Judges of  the  High  Court  and  the  Supreme

      Court. After taking that view,  it  was  said  by  the  majority  (per

      Shetty, J.) that in order to protect the independence of judiciary, it

      was essential that no criminal case shall be registered under  Section

      154 CrPC against a Judge of the High Court or  of  the  Supreme  Court

      unless the Chief Justice of India is consulted and he assents to  such

      an action being taken. The learned  Attorney  General  contended  that

      this decision is an authority for the proposition that in case of high

      officials, the requirement of prior permission/sanction from a  higher

      officer or Head of the Department is permissible and necessary to save

      the officer  concerned  from  harassment  caused  by  a  malicious  or

      vexatious prosecution. We are unable to accept this submission.

      35. The position of Judges of High Courts and the Supreme  Court,  who

      are constitutional functionaries, is distinct, and the independence of

      judiciary, keeping it free from any  extraneous  influence,  including

      that  from  executive,  is  the  rationale  of  the  decision  in   K.

      Veeraswami. In strict terms the Prevention  of  Corruption  Act,  1946

      could not be applied to the  superior  Judges  and,  therefore,  while

      bringing those Judges within the purview of the  Act  yet  maintaining

      the  independence  of  judiciary,  this  guideline  was  issued  as  a

      direction by the Court. The feature of independence of  judiciary  has

      no application to the officers covered by the  Single  Directive.  The

      need for independence of judiciary from the executive  influence  does

      not arise in the case of officers belonging to the executive. We  have

      no doubt that the decision in K. Veeraswami has no application to  the

      wide proposition advanced by the learned Attorney General  to  support

      the Single Directive. For the same reason, reliance on  that  decision

      by the IRC to uphold the Single Directive is misplaced.”



62.         In Vineet Narain1, this Court clarified that the decision in  K.

Veeraswami4 has no  application  to  the  officers  covered  by  the  single

directive. In other words,  the  observations  made  by  this  Court  in  K.

Veeraswami4 were held to be confined to the Judges of the  High  Courts  and

the Supreme Court who are constitutional functionaries  and  their  position

being distinct and different from the government officers.

63.         The referral order in Subramanian Swamy  (Dr.)7  ,  records  the

argument advanced on behalf of the  Central  Government  that  the  view  in

Vineet Narain1 with regard to the observations in K. Veeraswami4   case  was

not correct but, in our  view,  recording  the  contention  of  the  Central

Government in the referral order and the pendency  of  constitutionality  of

Section 6A before the Constitution Bench do not  mean  that  what  has  been

said in Vineet  Narain1  about  the  observations  in  paragraph  28  of  K.

Veeraswami4 stand obliterated.

64.          The  fact  that  the  investigation   is   monitored   by   the

constitutional court is itself an assurance  that  investigation/inquiry  by

the CBI is not actuated with ulterior motive to harass  any  public  servant

and  the  investigating  agency  performs  its  duties  and  discharges  its

responsibility  of  fair  and  impartial   investigation   uninfluenced   by

extraneous considerations.

65.         In light of the above discussion, our answer to the question  is

in the negative and we hold that the approval of the Central  Government  is

not  necessary  under  Section  6A  of  the  DSPE  Act  in  a  matter  where

inquiry/investigation into the crime under the PC Act is being monitored  by

this Court.  This position holds good in cases which  are  directed  by  the

Court to be registered and the  inquiry/investigation  thereon  is  actually

being monitored by this Court.


                                             …………………………J.

                                             (R.M. Lodha)



                                             …………………………J.

                                             (Kurian Joseph)

New Delhi;

December 17, 2013.
























                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                    CRIMINAL/CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                  WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 120 OF 2012


Manohar Lal Sharma                                         ….Petitioner

                                  Versus

The Principal Secretary & Ors.

...Respondents

                                    WITH

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.463 OF 2012

                                    WITH

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.429 OF 2012

                                    WITH

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.498 OF 2012

                                    WITH

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.515 OF 2012

                                    WITH

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.283 OF 2013

                                  O R D E R

Madan B. Lokur, J.

1.    The  question  for  consideration  relates  to  the  applicability  of

Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946  (hereinafter

referred to as the Act) to  an  inquiry  or  investigation  monitored  by  a

constitutional court. In my opinion, this section has no  application  to  a

constitutional court monitored inquiry or investigation. While I agree  with

the same conclusion arrived at by Brother  Justice  Lodha,  my  reasons  are

quite different.

2.    Section 6A of the Act reads as under:

           “Approval  of  Central  Government   to   conduct   inquiry   or

           investigation.—(1) The Delhi Special Police Establishment  shall

           not conduct  any  inquiry  or  investigation  into  any  offence

           alleged  to  have  been  committed  under  the   Prevention   of

           Corruption Act, 1988 (49  of  1988)  except  with  the  previous

           approval of the Central Government where such allegation relates

           to –



           1. the employees of the Central Government of the level of Joint

              Secretary and above; and


           2. such officers as are appointed by the Central  Government  in

              corporations  established  by  or  under  any  Central   Act,

              Government companies, societies and local  authorities  owned

              or controlled by that Government.


           (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in  sub-section  (1),  no

           such approval shall be necessary for case involving arrest of  a

           person on the spot on the charge of accepting or  attempting  to

           accept any gratification other than legal remuneration  referred

           to in clause  (c)  of  the  Explanation  to  Section  7  of  the

           Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (49 of 1988).”





3.    At the  outset,  one  must  appreciate  that  a  constitutional  court

monitors an investigation by the State  police  or  the  Central  Bureau  of

Investigation (for short the CBI) only and only in public interest. That  is

the  leitmotif  of  a  constitutional  court  monitored  investigation.   No

constitutional court ‘desires’ to monitor an  inquiry  or  an  investigation

(compendiously referred to  hereafter  as  an  investigation)  nor  does  it

encourage the monitoring of any investigation by a police authority,  be  it

the State police or the CBI. Public interest is the sole  consideration  and

a constitutional court monitors an  investigation  only  when  circumstances

compel it to do so, such as (illustratively) a lack  of  enthusiasm  by  the

investigating officer or agency (due to ‘pressures’ on it) in  conducting  a

proper investigation, or a lack of enthusiasm by  the  concerned  Government

in assisting the investigating authority to arrive at the truth, or  a  lack

of interest by the investigating authority or the  concerned  Government  to

take the investigation to its logical conclusion for whatever reason, or  in

extreme cases, to hinder the investigation.

4.    Having made this position clear, the  present  concern  is  only  with

respect to an investigation conducted by the  CBI  into  the  allocation  of

coal blocks, the monitoring of that investigation  by  this  Court  and  the

impact of Section 6A of the Act on the investigation.

Background - The Single Directive

5.    Section 6A of the Act was brought on  the  statute  book  with  effect

from 11th September 2003. Prior thereto, the sum and  substance  of  Section

6A of the Act was in  the  form  of  a  ‘Single  Directive’  issued  by  the

executive Government. The Single Directive protected, inter  alia,  a  class

of officers from being investigated by the CBI or in the  registering  of  a

case  against  that  class  of  officers.   This  was  through  a  provision

requiring prior sanction of the  Secretary  of  the  concerned  Ministry  or

Department before the CBI undertakes an investigation against an officer  of

the rank of a Joint Secretary or above.  The Single Directive made it  clear

that “Without such sanction, no  inquiry  shall  be  initiated  by  the  SPE

(Special  Police  Establishment).”  The  relevant  extract  of  the   Single

Directive has been quoted by Brother Justice Lodha and it is  not  necessary

to repeat it.

6.    The Single Directive was the subject of challenge in Vineet Narain  v.

Union of India, (1998) 1 SCC 226. This Court struck it down, inter alia,  on

three grounds that are best expressed in the words of this Court:

      (i) “The learned Attorney General contended that this decision[23]  is

      an authority for the proposition that in case of high  officials,  the

      requirement of prior permission/sanction from a higher officer or Head

      of the Department is permissible and necessary  to  save  the  officer

      concerned  from  harassment  caused  by  a  malicious   or   vexatious

      prosecution. We are unable to accept this submission.



      “…….The feature of independence of judiciary has no application to the

      officers covered by the Single Directive. The need for independence of

      judiciary from the executive influence does not arise in the  case  of

      officers belonging to  the  executive.  We  have  no  doubt  that  the

      decision in K. Veeraswami has no application to the  wide  proposition

      advanced by  the  learned  Attorney  General  to  support  the  Single

      Directive.” [paragraph 34 and 35 of the Report].



      (ii) “In the absence of any statutory requirement of prior  permission

      or sanction for investigation, it cannot be  imposed  as  a  condition

      precedent for initiation of the  investigation  once  jurisdiction  is

      conferred on the CBI to investigate  the  offence  by  virtue  of  the

      notification under Section  3  of  the  Act.”  [paragraph  43  of  the

      Report].



      (iii) “The law does not classify offenders differently  for  treatment

      thereunder, including investigation of offences  and  prosecution  for

      offences, according to their status in life. Every person  accused  of

      committing the same offence is to be dealt with in the same manner  in

      accordance with law, which is equal in its application  to  everyone.”

      [paragraph 44 of the Report].



7.    Among other things, this Court also considered a Report  given  by  an

Independent