10 July 2020

Order of process issue u/s.204 of Cr.P.C. can not be passed summarily and without applying judicial mind

A  perusal of this impugned summoning order indicates that learned Magistrate had noted in the impugned order the contents of complaint and evidences u/s 200 and 202 Cr.P.C. but had neither any discussion of evidence was made, nor was it considered as to what overt act had allegedly been committed by accused. This contention of learned counsel for the applicants cannot be ruled out that leaned counsel have noted the contents of complaint and statements without considering its probability or prima facie case, and whether he had actually considered statements u/s 200, 202 Cr.P.C. or the documents of the original. At stage of summoning, the Magistrate is not required to meticulously examine or evaluate the evidence. He is not required to record detailed reasons. A brief order which indicate the application of mind is all that is expected of him at the stage. [Para No.7]

Order of process issue u/s.204 of Cr.P.C. can not be passed summarily and without applying judicial mind

8. But in impugned order there is nothing which may indicate that learned Magistrate had even considered facts of the case in hand before passing the summoning order. Impugned order clearly lacks the reflection of application of judicial discretion or mind. Nothing is there which may show that learned Magistrate, before passing of the order under challenge had considered facts of the case and evidence or law. Therefore it appears that, in fact, no judicial mind was applied before the passing of impugned order of summoning. Such order cannot be accepted as a proper legal judicial order passed after following due procedure of law. [Para no.8]

9. In ruling "M/s. Pepsi Food Ltd. & another vs. Special Judicial Magistrate & others, 1998 UPCrR 118" Hon'ble Supreme Court held :-

"Summoning of an accused in a criminal case is a serious matter. Criminal law cannot be set into motion as a matter of course. It is not that the complainant has to bring only two witnesses to support his allegations in the complaint to have the criminal law set into motion. The order of the Magistrate summoning the accused must reflect that he has applied his mind to the facts of the case and the law applicable thereto. He has to examine the nature of allegations made in the complaint and the evidence both oral and documentary in support thereof and would that be sufficient for the complainant to succeed in bringing charge home to the accused. It is not that the Magistrate is a silent spectator at the time of recording of preliminary evidence before summoning the accused. Magistrate had to carefully scrutinize the evidence brought on record and may even himself put questions to the complainant and his witnesses to elicit answers to find out the truthfulness of the allegations or otherwise and then examine if any offence is prima facie committed by all or any of the accused."


10. In "Paul George vs. State, 2002 Cri.L.J. 996" Hon'ble Supreme Court held :-
"We feel that whatever be the outcome of the pleas raised by the appellant on merit, the order disposing of the matter must indicate application of mind to the case and some reasons be assigned for negating or accepting such pleas.- - - - - It is true that it may depend upon the nature of the matter which is being dealt with by the Court and the nature of the jurisdiction being exercised as to in what manner the reasons may be recorded e.g. in an order of affirmance detailed reasons or discussion may not be necessary but some brief indication by the application of mind may be traceable to affirm an order would certainly be required. Mere ritual of repeating the words or language used in the provisions, saying that no illegality, impropriety or jurisdictional error is found in the judgment under challenge without even a whisper of the merits of the matter or nature of pleas raised does not meet the requirement of decision of a case judicially."

11. In S.M.S. Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Neeta Bhalla, (2005) 8 SCC 89 the Apex Court had held :

"Section 203 of the Code empowers a Magistrate to dismiss a complaint without even issuing a process. It uses the words "after considering" and "the Magistrate is of opinion that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding". These words suggest that the Magistrate has to apply his mind to a complaint at the initial stage itself and see whether a case is made out against the accused persons before issuing process to them on the basis of the complaint. For applying his mind and forming an opinion as to whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding, a complaint must make out a prima facie case to proceed. This, in other words, means that a complaint must contain material to enable the Magistrate to make up his mind for issuing process. If this were not the requirement, consequences could be far-reaching. If a Magistrate had to issue process in every case, the burden of work before the Magistrate as well as the harassment caused to the respondents to whom process is issued would be tremendous. Even Section 204 of the Code starts with the words "if in the opinion of the Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence there is sufficient ground for proceeding". The words "sufficient ground for proceeding" again suggest that ground should be made out in the complaint for proceeding against the respondent. It is settled law that at the time of issuing of the process the Magistrate is required to see only the allegations in the complaint and where allegations in the complaint or the charge-sheet do not constitute an offence against a person, the complaint is liable to be dismissed."

12. It is settled principle that while summoning an accused, the court has to see prima facie evidence. The ''prima facie evidence' means the evidence sufficient for summoning the accused and not the evidence sufficient to warrant conviction. The enquiry u/s 202 CrPC is limited only to ascertain of truth or falsehood of allegations made in the complaint and whether on the material placed by the complainant a prima facie case was made out for summoning the accused or not.

13. As held by the Courts as above, the passing of order of summoning any person as accused is a very important matter, which initiates criminal proceeding against him. Such orders cannot be passed summarily or without applying judicial mind.

14. In light of this legal position I have gone through the impugned order. A perusal of this order indicates that neither any discussion of evidence was made by learned, nor was it considered as to which accused had allegedly committed what overt act. The five accused persons of complaint were summoned for offences mentioned in it. Impugned order clearly lacks the reflection of application of judicial discretion or mind. Nothing is there which may show that learned Magistrate, before passing of the order under challenge had considered the facts and circumstances of the case and the evidence or the law. Therefore it appears that, in fact, no judicial mind was applied before the passing of impugned order of summoning. Such order cannot be accepted as a proper legal judicial order passed after following due procedure of law. Therefore it is liable to be quashed.

Allahabad High Court

Najir Kuraishi @ Najir Kashai
Vs.
State Of U.P.

Decided on 08/07/2020




Thanks to the Stay Home constrain occurred due to Corona Virus (COVID-19) that provided the Author an opportunity to conceptualize this blog!     ❁     This blog is designed & maintained by Adv. Jainodin Shaikh, Jalgaon
Adv. Jainodin's Legal Blog