03 November 2020

At the time of taking cognizance on chargesheet, Magistrate is not supposed to act as a Post Office

At the time of consideration of charge Magistrate can take into consideration certain facts and documents pointed out and/or submitted by or on behalf of accused 


Filing of Civil Suit for redressal of damages does not bar a person from initiating a criminal case involving ingredients of criminal offence entitling plaintiff/complainant to initiate criminal case against the offender


    It is settled that at the time of taking cognizance of offence, it is not necessary for the Magistrate to find out as to whether trial is clearly going to culminate into conviction of accused or not, but the Magistrate has only to see whether there is prima-facie evidence on record so as to construe that there is possibility of commission of offence by the accused and even if there is evidence raising suspicion of commission of offence by accused the cognizance can be taken by the Magistrate and thereafter the accused has a right to put his version before the Court on the basis of evidence on record at the time of framing of Charge.[Para No.15]

    Parameters to be taken into consideration by the Court at the time of framing of charge are altogether different than that to be taken into consideration at the time of taking cognizance. At the time of taking of cognizance, Magistrate has to look into that material only which is placed before him by the Prosecution/Investigating Agency, but at the time of consideration of charge Magistrate can take into consideration certain facts and documents pointed out and/or submitted by or on behalf of accused and thereafter he can take a decision as to whether there is sufficient material for framing of charge or not. Recently this Court in case Siemens Enterprise Communications Pvt.. Ltd. now known as Progility Technologies Pvt. Ltd. vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, reported in 2019 (3) Shim. LC 1691, on the basis of ratio of law propounded by the Apex Court in its various pronouncements, has reiterated the power of the Magistrate as well as parameters to be taken into consideration at the time of framing of charge. It is also settled that at the time of undertaking such exercise at the time of framing of charge the Magistrate is not supposed to conduct a mini trial at the stage of framing of charge and not to appreciate evidence as warranted at the stage of conclusion of trial, but he has power to evaluate material and the documents on record alongwith material being referred by the accused if the said parameter confirms to the parameters laid down by the Apex Court reiterated in Siemens' case supra. Whereas at the stage of taking cognizance, as already stated supra, on consideration of material placed before Magistrate by prosecution/investigating agency, even if there is evidence raising suspicion of commission of offence by accused the cognizance can be taken.[Para No.16]

    No doubt, the evidence or material placed before the Magistrate, at the time of taking cognizance, is not to be evaluated on merit, but definitely it is duty of the Court to see as to whether some evidence is available on record or not.
At the time of taking cognizance on chargesheet, Magistrate is not supposed to act as a Post Office
In case, there is no evidence on record to indicate commission of alleged offence(s), the Magistrate is not supposed to act as a Post Office, but is expected to apply his judicial mind according to facts and circumstances of the case for accepting or rejecting the challan/report filed before him under Section 173 Cr.P.C.[Para No.17]

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    There may be cases where a victim has a right to proceed against the culprit simultaneously by filing criminal case for commission of offence, ingredients where of exist in the facts and circumstances of the incident and also to proceed with civil action by filing a Civil Suit for recovery of loss caused by the accused person. Filing of Civil Suit for redressal of damages does not bar a person from initiating a criminal case involving ingredients of criminal offence entitling plaintiff/complainant to initiate criminal case against the offender. Therefore, filing of Civil Suit for recovery, in present case, does not create bar to respondent No.2-complainant to lodge FIR against the petitioners.[Para No.23]


Himachal Pradesh High Court

Kehar Singh Khachi
Vs.
State Of Himachal Pradesh

Decided on 02/11/2020


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