Showing posts with label cognizance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cognizance. Show all posts

22 November 2020

In an inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C., the Magistrate is required to consider whether the civil dispute is tried to be given a colour of criminal dispute or not

Now so far as the reliance placed on the decision of this Court in the case of National Bank of Oman vs. Barakara Abdul Aziz (Supra) relied upon by the Learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the complainant is concerned, we are of the opinion that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the said decision shall not be of any assistance to the complainant.
In an inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C., the Magistrate is required to consider whether the civil dispute is tried to be given a colour of criminal dispute or not
It cannot be disputed that while holding the inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C. the Magistrate is required to take a broad view and a prima facie case. However, even while conducting/holding an inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C., the Magistrate is required to consider whether even a prima facie case is made out or not and whether the criminal proceedings initiated are an abuse of process of law or the Court or not and/or whether the dispute is purely of a civil nature or not and/or whether the civil dispute is tried to be given a colour of criminal dispute or not. As observed hereinabove, the dispute between the parties can be said to be purely of a civil nature. Therefore, this is a fit case to quash and set aside the impugned criminal proceedings. [Para No.6.5]

17 November 2020

Magistrate; after taking cognizance, cannot issue, at the first instance, non bailable arrest warrant against accused who has obtained anticipatory bail

Learned counsel for the petitioners submits that the petitioners were granted anticipatory bail by this Court in the FIR registered against them bearing No.3/2003 at Police Station Khetri, District Jhunjhunu under Section(s) 418, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406 & 120-B IPC. The police submitted a Final Report whereafter protest petition was filed, which was dismissed.
    Against the dismissal order of the protest petition, a revision petition was filed, which was allowed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Khetri and the matter was remanded back to the Court to pass a fresh order on 18.7.2018, whereafter the learned Magistrate has taken cognizance on 11.1.2019 and summoned the petitioners through arrest warrants. The said order of remand was challenged by the petitioners before the High Court and the High Court had stayed the said proceedings. Taking into consideration the order of taking cognizance, the petition was declared infructuous.[Para No.1]

    Learned Magistrate thereafter again issued arrest warrants.[Para No.2]
......

    For the aforesaid backdrop, this Court notices that it is a case where on remand from the District Judge, the Court has taken cognizance of the offences relating to allegations under Sections 418, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406 & 120-B IPC. The High Court vide its order dated 29.4.2003 had granted anticipatory bail to the petitioners with the condition that in the event of arresting the petitioners, they shall be released on bail.
    
    Keeping in view the conditions laid down in Sushila Agarwal & Others (supra), this Court is of the firm view that
Magistrate; after taking cognizance, cannot issue, at the first instance, non bailable arrest warrants against accused who has obtained anticipatory bail
the action of the learned Magistrate from the date, it has taken cognizance and upto passing of the impugned order dated 3.9.2020 has acted in clear violation of the orders passed by the High Court after having granted anticipatory bail. There was no occasion for the learned Magistrate to have issued the arrest warrants and such course or power was not available with it in spite of having been given to it.

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]

03 September 2020

Once a Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence, he is, thereafter, precluded from ordering an investigation under Section 156(3) of CrPC

After calling report u/s.202 of CrPC, Magistrate can not order investigation u/s.156(3) of CrPC.

   I may first deal with the question as to whether the Magistrate ought to have proceeded under Section 156(3), after receipt of enquiry report from Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, sought on taking cognizance of complaint and after deferment of process or was required to proceed under Section 202(1) and what are the parameters for exercise of power under the two provisions.[Para No.12]

     The two provisions are in two different chapters of the Code, though common expression 'investigation' is used in both the provisions. Normal rule is to understand the same expression in two provisions of an enactment in same sense unless the context otherwise requires. Heading of Chapter XII is "Information to the Police and their Powers to Investigate" and that of Chapter XV is "Complaints to Magistrate". Heading of Chapter XIV is "Conditions Requisite for Initiation of Proceedings". The two provisions i.e. Sections 156 and 202 in Chapters XII and XV respectively are as follows :
"156. Police officer's power to investigate cognizable case.
(1) Any officer in charge of a police station may, without the order of a Magistrate, investigate any cognizable case which a Court having jurisdiction over the local area within the limits of such station would have power to inquire into or try under the provisions of Chapter XIII.
(2) No proceeding of a police officer in any such case shall at any stage be called in question on the ground that the case was one which such officer was not empowered under this section to investigate.
(3) Any Magistrate empowered under section 190 may order such an investigation as above- mentioned.
202. Postponement of issue of process.-
(1) Any Magistrate , on receipt of a complaint of an offence of which he is authorized to take cognizance or which has been made over to him under section 192, may, if he thinks fit, [and shall in a case where the accused is residing at a place beyond the area in which he exercises his jurisdiction] postpone the issue of process against the accused, and either inquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a police officer or by such other person as he thinks fit, for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding:
Provided that no such direction for investigation shall be made, -
(a) where it appears to the Magistrate that the offence complained of is triable exclusively by the Court of Sessions; or
(b) where the complaint has not been made by a Court, unless the complainant and the witnesses present (if any) have been examined on oath under section 200.
(2) In an inquiry under sub-section (1), the Magistrate may, if he thinks fit, take evidence of witnesses on oath:
Provided that if it appears to the Magistrate that the offence complained of is triable exclusively by the Court of Session, he shall call upon the complainant to produce all his witnesses and examine them on oath.
(3) If an investigation under sub-section (1) is made by a person not being a police officer, he shall have for that investigation all the powers conferred by this Code on an officer in charge of a police station except the power to arrest without warrant."[Para No.13]

   Cognizance is taken by a Magistrate under Section 190 (in Chapter XIV) either on "receiving a complaint", on "a police report" or "information received" from any person other than a police officer or upon his own knowledge.
    Chapter XV deals exclusively with complaints to Magistrates. Reference to Sections, 202, in the said Chapter, shows that it provides for "postponement of issue of process" which is mandatory if accused resides beyond the Magistrate's jurisdiction (with which situation this case does not concern) and discretionary in other cases in which event an enquiry can be conducted by the Magistrate or investigation can be directed to be made by a police officer or such other person as may be thought fit "for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding". I am skipping the proviso as it does not concern the question under discussion. Clause (3) provides that if investigation is by a person other than a police officer, he shall have all the powers of an officer incharge of a police station except the power to arrest.[Para No.14]

   Chapter XII, dealing with the information to the police and their powers to investigate, provides for entering information relating to a 'cognizable offence' in a book to be kept by the officer incharge of a police station (Section 154) and such entry is called "FIR". If from the information, the officer incharge of the police station has reason to suspect commission of an offence which he is empowered to investigate subject to compliance of other requirements, he shall proceed, to the spot, to investigate the facts and circumstances and, if necessary, to take measure, for the discovery and arrest of the offender (Section 157(1).[Para No.15]

    Power under Section 202 is of different nature. Report sought under the said provision has limited purpose of deciding "whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding". If this be the object, the procedure under Chapter XV of the Code of Criminal Procedure are required to be adhered to in letter and spirit.[Para No.19]

    Admittedly the Magistrate has taken cognizance and find it necessary to postpone issuance of process, therefore, directed for enquiry by the Police and on receipt of the report from SSP, Srinagar, the Magistrate was required to proceed in terms of the provisions contained in Chapter XV of the Criminal Procedure Code. Thus, I answer the first question by holding that the direction under Section 156(3) is to be issued, only after application of mind by the Magistrate. When the Magistrate does not take cognizance and does not find it necessary to postpone instance of process and finds a case made out to proceed forthwith, direction under the said provision is issued, when Magistrate takes cognizance and postpones issuance of process, the Magistrate has yet to determine "existence of sufficient ground to proceed" and these cases fall under Section 202. Subject to these broad guidelines available from the scheme of the Code, exercise of discretion by the Magistrate is guided by interest of justice from case to case.[Para No.20]

    To reiterate for the guidance of all the Magistrates in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh, it has become necessary to refer the Judgment reported in (2010) 4 Supreme Court Cases 185 titled Rameshbhai Pandurao Hedau Vs. State of Gujrat, which postulates that while the power to direct a police investigation under Section 156(3) is exercisable at the pre-cognizance stage, the power to direct an investigation or an enquiry under Section 202(1) is exercisable at the post-cognizance stage, when the Magistrate is in seisin of the case.[Para No.21]

Once a Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence, he is, thereafter, precluded from ordering an investigation under Section 156(3) of CrPC
    The settled legal position has been enunciated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in several decisions and has observed that the Courts are ad idem on the question that the powers under Section 156(3) can be invoked by the Magistrate at a pre-cognizance stage, whereas powers under Section 202 of the Code are to be invoked after cognizance is taken on a complaint, but before issuance of process. Such a view has been expressed in Suresh Chand Jain case reported in (2001) 2 SCC 628: 2001 SCC (Cri) 377 as well as in Dharmeshbhai Vasudevbhai case, reported in (2009) 6 SCC 576: (2009) 3 SCC (Cri) 76 and in Devarapalli Lakshminarayana Reddy case, reported in (1976) 3 SCC 252: 1976 SCC (Cri) 380.[Para No.22]

09 July 2020

Sec.420 of IPC; in absence of elements of cheating, does not automatically extends the limitation of time barred complaint u/s. 138 of N.I.Act

Dishonor of cheque - demand notice issued - complainant alleges that after receipt of notice, accused assured for payment within two days but failed - complaint for the offences punishable u/s. 138 of N.I.Act and 420 of I.P.C. filed without any application for condonation of delay.

Held: If no elements of offence of 'cheating' are found in the complaint then cognizance has to be taken u/s.142(b) of N.I.Act. Sec.420 of IPC; in absence of elements of cheating, does not automatically extends the limitation of time barred complaint u/s. 138 of N.I.Act 


   In this regard, this Court is of the view that both in Section 138 and Section 142 of the NI Act, a special provision, distinct from the provisions of the CrPC in respect of limitation in taking cognizance has been made. It is apparent that the special statute rolls out distinctly different procedure. [Para No.6]

   It is equally well settled that if the special statute provides a different procedure, the provisions of the CrPC would not apply to the extent of inconsistency. [Para No.7]

Sec.420 of IPC; in absence of elements of cheating, does not automatically extends the limitation of time barred complaint u/s. 138 of N.I.Act
Having regard to Section 138 and Section 142 of the NI Act, if the cognizance of dishonor of cheque for insufficiency of fund is taken in absence of element of 'cheating', the cognizance has to be taken under Section 142(b) of the NI Act. [Para No.8]

19 June 2020

Sanction u/s.197 of CrPC, to prosecute a police officer, for act related to the discharge of official duty, is imperative

Law relating to saction for prosecuting police officers and its limitations


Held:
Sanction u/s.197 of CrPC, to prosecute a police officer, for act related to the discharge of official duty, is imperative;
But an offence committed entirely outside the scope of the duty of the police officer, would certainly not require sanction u/s.197 of CrPC.

68. Sanction of the Government, to prosecute a police officer, for any act related to the discharge of an official duty, is imperative to protect the police officer from facing harassive, retaliatory, revengeful and frivolous proceedings. The requirement of sanction from the government, to prosecute would give an upright police officer the confidence to discharge his official duties efficiently, without fear of vindictive retaliation by initiation of criminal action, from which he would be protected under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, read with Section 170 of the Karnataka Police Act. At the same time, if the policeman has committed a wrong, which constitutes a criminal offence and renders him liable for prosecution, he can be prosecuted with sanction from the appropriate government.

Sanction u/s.197 of CrPC, to prosecute a police officer, for act related to the discharge of official duty, is imperative
69. Every offence committed by a police officer does not attract Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure read with Section 170 of the Karnataka Police Act. The protection given under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code read with Section 170 of the Karnataka Police Act has its limitations. The protection is available only when the alleged act done by the public servant is reasonably connected with the discharge of his official duty and official duty is not merely a cloak for the objectionable act.

22 May 2020

Order of process issue is not interlocutory order still can not be challenge u/s.482 of CrPC

So far as the order dated 04.02.2016 is concerned, cognizance of the offence was taken and the accused were directed to face trial by way of issuing summons. 

   It is settled law that such orders are revisable orders as they adversely affect the right of the accused. Revision would lie against such order.[Para No.5 and 6]


16 May 2020

Only allegations disclosing ingredients of offence and not the correctness of allegations is to be considered while issuing process u/s.204 of Cr.P.C.


What has to be considered at the time of issuing process u/s.204 of Cr.P.C.


  • Allegations disclosing ingredients of offence? or
  • the correctness of allegations? or
  • sufficiency of material for conviction?

12 May 2020

Directions u/s.156 of Cr.P.C. to investigate not to be issued if allegations do not prima facie make out offence

Application filed by the petitioner under Section 156 (3) of the Code has been rejected and the petitioner has been directed to examine his witnesses as per the provision of Section 200 and 202 of the Code.

Directions-u-s-156-of-Cr.P.C.    It is settled legal position that once the Magistrate has come to the conclusion that allegations made in the complaint do not prima facie make out offence then the Magistrate was right in rejecting the application under Section 156 (3) of the Code and he is also right in fixing the case for recording the statement of the complainant and his witnesses under Sections 200 and 202 of the Code. It is also well established principle of law that order under Section 156 (3) of the Code could not be passed in a mechanical manner. There has to be due application of mind. Once the Magistrate has applied his mind and if he comes to the conclusion that prima facie the applicant has failed to make out a case for cognizable offence warranting issuance of an order under Section 156 (3) of the Code then the Magistrate is right in rejecting the application, if otherwise does not obligatory on the Magistrate to issue an order under Section 156 (3) of the Code only on the basis of averments made in the complaint.

28 April 2020

What procedure should be adopted by court when chargesheet is filed against some accused out of several accused persons?

separate-trial

   The catch comes when against one or more accused persons, a Report labelling them responsible for commission of the offence(s) is submitted vide chargesheet and it is also indicated that investigation is pending against the other named/unknown accused or otherwise. In such a situation, the Court has two options:


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