29 May 2020

Discharge of accussed: if no grave suspicion exist

  • When discharge of accused can be granted ?
  • What has to be considered while deciding framing of charge against accessed?

   It is a settled principle of law that at the stage of framing of charge, Magistrate can sift the evidence for limited purpose. Detailed scrutiny is not to be done. Prosecution story need not be accepted as gospel truth. If the charge is found to be groundless, then the Magistrate on consideration of the police report and the documents and making such examination as deemed appropriate, may discharge the accused, but if there is ground to presume that accused has committed an offence, the charge can be framed. The basic concept is that the Court has to see the prima facie nature of the case at the time of framing of charge. Broad probability of the case can be considered. Following principles are to be kept in mind at the time of framing of charge:-
(1) The Court while framing the charge has 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.
Accused be discharged if no grave suspicion exist
(2) 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 proceed with the trial.
(3) The test to determine a prima facie case would naturally depend upon the facts of each case and it is difficult to lay down a rule of universal application. By and large however if two views are equally possible and the Court is satisfied that the evidence produced before the Court while giving rise to some suspicion but not grave suspicion against the accused, he will be fully within his right to discharge the accused.
(4) That in exercise of jurisdiction, the Court cannot act merely as a Post-Office or a mouth-piece 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 Court should make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as if he was conducting a trial.[Para No.21]

Punjab & Haryana High Court

Karamjit Singh BhullarS
State Of Punjab 
Decided on 27 May, 2020

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