Showing posts with label high court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label high court. Show all posts

11 April 2021

Death caused; without any premeditation, in a sudden fight, in the heat of passion, without taking any undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, is not a murder

Admittedly, both the parties belonged to the same family and reside in the same campus and their relation was also not cordial due to property dispute. What is evident from the testimony of the PW-2 and PW-12 is that when the appellant was washing his face in the morning, the PW-2 (son of the deceased) initiated the quarrel by challenging the appellant to lodge complaint before the villagers for cutting their paddy, whereupon the appellant came out with the pistol and challenged the deceased to come out and also hurled abuses at him (deceased) and the deceased also came out and challenged him by saying as to why was he shouting and creating noise. From the testimony of the PW-12, it is also discernible that at the beginning when the PW-2 challenged the appellant for the previous incidence of cutting paddy, the appellant did not have the armed with him and in course of the exchange of words he came out with the pistol. From the above evidence, it has been established that the accused, who was a retired Air Force personnel having a licensed pistol shot the deceased in the heat of passion in course of sudden quarrel and as such it is difficult to say that the act of the appellant causing death of the deceased was pre-meditated. When evidently the appellant inflicted the injury causing death of the deceased without any pre-meditation and in the heat of passion during sudden quarrel, the appellant could not have been held liable for offence of murder. However, the facts and circumstances under which the appellant inflicted the injury causing death of the deceased, he shall be liable for committing an offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 IPC.[Para No.28]

    In Rajender Singh v. State of Haryana (supra) in a similar facts situation the Apex Court converted a conviction under Section 302 IPC to 304 IPC, held as under:
"19. Consequently, we are convinced that since the death of Suraj Mal and Shri Ram had occurred due to the firing resorted to as part of his self-defence, the same would amount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which was committed without any premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion
Death caused; without any premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion without taking any undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, is not a murder
upon a sudden quarrel and that the offender did not take undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, which would normally fall under Exception 4 of Section 300 IPC.
Consequently, at best, conviction of the appellant can only be under Part II of Section 304 IPC for which he could have been inflicted with a punishment of ten years. For the very same reason, the conviction imposed under Section 27 of the Arms Act cannot also be sustained. It is stated that the appellant is suffering the sentence in jail and has so far suffered eleven years. The conviction is modified into one under Section 304 Part II and the sentence already suffered by the appellant is held to be more than sufficient."[Para No.29]

06 April 2021

It is appropriate case for grant of anticipatory bail when F.I.R. is lodged by way of counterblast to an earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant in near proximity of time

The following can be considered as "appropriate cases" for grant of anticipatory bail to an accused apprehending arrest, even after submission of charge-sheet against the accused by the Investigating Officer of the police/after taking cognizance of offence against accused under Section 204 Cr.P.C. by the Court :-
1) Where the charge-sheet has been submitted by the Investigating Officer/cognizance has been taken by the Court, but the merits of the F.I.R/complaint that has been lodged by the informant/complainant are such that it cannot be proved against the accused in the Court;
2) Where there exists a civil remedy and resort has been made to criminal remedy. This has been done because either the civil remedy has become barred by law of limitation or involves time-consuming procedural formalities or involves payment of heavy court fee, like in recovery suits.
    The distinction between civil wrong and criminal wrong is quite distinct and the courts should not permit a person to be harassed by surrendering and obtaining bail when no case for taking cognizance of the alleged offences has been made out against him since wrong alleged is a civil wrong only.
    When the allegations make out a civil and criminal wrong both against an accused, the remedy of anticipatory bail should be considered favourably, in case the implication in civil wrong provides for opportunity of hearing before being implicated and punished/penalized. The criminal remedy, in most of the cases, entails curtailment of right to liberty without any opportunity of hearing after lodging of complaint and F.I.R under the provisions of Cr.P.C. which is pre-independence law and disregards Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, in such cases where civil and criminal remedy both were available to the informant/complainant, and he has chosen criminal remedy only, anticipatory bail should be favourably considered in such cases.
3) When the F.I.R/complaint has clearly been lodged by way of counterblast to an earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant/complainant in mear
It is appropriate case for grant of anticipatory bail when F.I.R. is lodged by way of counterblast to an earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant in near proximity of time
proximity of time. The motive of lodging the false F.I.R/complaint is apparent and from the material collected by the Investigating Officer or from the statements of witnesses in complaint case, there is no consideration of the earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant/complainant;
4) Where the allegations made in the F.I.R/complaint or in the statement of the witnesses recorded in support of the same, taken at their face value, do not make out any case against the accused or the F.I.R/complaint does not discloses the essential ingredients of the offences alleged;
5) Where the allegations made in the F.I.R/complaint are patently absurd and inherently improbable so that no prudent person can ever reach such conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused;
6) Where charge-sheet has been submitted on the basis of evidence or materials which are wholly irrelevant or inadmissible;

12 March 2021

Trial Judge has to seek explanation from the advocate orally while deciding the relevancy of question asked in cross examination rather than entirely putting the shutter down while disallowing of the questions

Decision of this Court in Yeshpal Jashbhai Parikh v/s. Rasiklal Umedchand Parikh, reported in 1954 SCC OnLine Bom 145 : (1955) 57 Bom LR 282, is also relevant on the point involved in the petition. Note of certain earlier decisions right from Privy Council were taken. In Vassiliades v/s. Vassiliades, reported in [1945] AIR PC 38 it was observed that ;
"No doubt cross-examination is one of the most important processes for the elucidation of the facts of a case and all reasonable latitude should be allowed, but the Judge has always a discretion as to how far it may go or how long it may continue. A fair and reasonable exercise of his discretion by the Judge will not generally be questioned".[Para No.14]

    In Yeshpal's case (Supra) it has been observed that, "While Courts will not ordinarily interfer with the proper exercise of the right of cross-examination the Courts have the power and authority to control the cross-examination of a witness".
    This Court is not agreeing with the submission by learned Advocate for petitioners that, the Court cannot control the cross-examination or he has free hand at the time of cross-examining the witness of the prosecution; but then agree to the submission that the cross- examination need not be restricted to what the witness has stated in his examination-in-chief. A balance has to be struck here while issuing directions to the learned Additional Sessions Judge that he has to decide the relevancy of the question which he may 
Trial Judge has to seek explanation from the advocate orally while deciding the relevancy of question asked in cross examination rather than entirely putting the shutter down while disallowing of the questions
get explained from the learned advocate for the accused orally and then allow him to put the said question to the witness. On any count learned Additional Sessions Judge will not be justified in entirely putting the shutter down while disallowing of the questions and asking the defence advocate to restrict himself while cross- examining
P.W.18 to the post mortem examination report Exhibit 216, sketch Exhibit 217 and certificate Exhibit 218. It is, therefore, again clarified that neither the learned advocate for the accused has unfettered right to put any question to the witness in the cross- examination but at the same time the learned Additional Sessions Judge shall also not restrict him in putting questions in the cross to the above referred documents only. There might be certain questions which would be beyond those documents and as an expert they are required to be elucidated from him. No straight jacket formula can be laid down as to what should be permitted and what should not be permitted as it depend upon the question that would be put and the relevancy and admissibility of the same and / or of the admissibility will have to be decided at that time. Definitely the learned Additional Sessions Judge is guided by the procedure laid down in Bipin Panchal's case (Supra), and it is specifically laid down that, it may be advantages for the Appellate Court in future. He has to bear those advantages which have been laid down in para No.15 of the case, in mind while recording the evidence.[Para No.15]

08 March 2021

Judgment in cross/counter cases must be pronounced by the same judge one after the other in the same day

In Nathi Lal vs State of UP reported in 1990 Supp SCC 145, the Apex Court has succinctly held that the case and counter case should be tried by the same judge one after the other and both the judgments must be pronounced by the same Judge one after the other. Observation of the Apex Court in this regard is as under:
"2. We think that the fair procedure to adopt in a matter like the present where there are cross cases, is to direct that the same learned Judge must try both the cross cases one after the other. After the recording of evidence in one case is completed, he must hear the arguments but he must reserve the judgment. Thereafter he must proceed to hear the cross case and after recording all the evidence he must hear the arguments but reserve the judgment in that case. The same learned Judge must thereafter dispose of the matters by two separate judgments. In deciding each of the cases, he can rely only on the evidence recorded in that particular case. The evidence recorded in the cross case cannot be looked into. Nor can the judge be influenced by whatever is argued in the cross case. Each case must be decided on the basis of the evidence which has been placed on record in that particular case without being influenced in any manner by the evidence or arguments urged in the cross case. But both the judgments must be pronounced by the same learned Judge one after the other"[Para No.9]

    The same law was reiterated by the Apex Court in Sudhir and Ors. vs. State of MP reported in (2001) 2 SCC 688 in which the Apex Court held as under:
"8. It is a salutary practice, when two criminal cases relate to the same incident, they are tried and disposed of by the same court by pronouncing judgments on the same day. Such two different versions of the same incident resulting in two criminal cases are compendiously called "case and counter case" by some High Courts and "cross cases" by some other High Courts. Way back in nineteen hundred and twenties a Division Bench of Madras High Court (Waller, and Cornish, JJ) made a suggestion (In Re Goriparthi Krishtamma - 1929 Madras Weekly Notes 881) that "a case and counter case arising out of the same affair should always, if practicable,
Judgment in cross/counter cases must be pronounced by the same judge one after the other in the same day
be tried by the same court, and each party would represent themselves as having been the innocent victims of the aggression of the other."[Para No.10]

    In the said judgment the Apex Court further held as under:
"12. How to implement the said scheme in a situation where one of the two cases (relating to the same incident) is charge-sheeted or complained of, involves offences or offence exclusively triable by a Court of Sessions, but none of the offences involved in the other case is exclusively triable by the Sessions Court. The Magistrate before whom the former case reaches has no escape from committing the case to the Sessions Court as provided in Section 209 of the Code. Once the said case is committed to the Sessions Court, thereafter it is governed by the provisions subsumed in Chapter XVIII of the Code. Though, the next case cannot be committed in accordance with Section 209 of the Code, the Magistrate has, nevertheless, power to commit the case to the Court of Sessions, albeit none of the offences involved therein is exclusively triable by the Sessions Court. Section 323 is incorporated in the Code to meet similar cases also. That section reads thus:
"323.If, in any inquiry into an offence or a trial before a Magistrate, it appears to him at any stage of the proceedings before signing judgment that the case is one which ought to be tried by the Court of Session, he shall commit it to that Court under the provisions hereinbefore contained and thereupon the provisions of chapter XVIII shall apply to the commitment so made."

14 February 2021

Plaint should contain exact details of the specific date, month, year, etc.of creation of the HUF for the first time; mere statement that HUF exists and property belongs to HUF is not sufficient

Reference may again be had to the judgment of a Coordinate Bench of this court in the case of Promod Kumar J ain & Ors. vs. Ram Kali J ain & Ors., (supra) where the court held as follows:-
"13. Reference on the aspect of HUF can be made to:
(i) Neelam Vs. Sada Ram MANU/DE/0322/2013, holding (i) that the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 did away with the concept of ancestral properties as existed prior thereto; after coming into force thereof, the property inherited by a male from his father is held as self-acquired property in which children of such male do not acquire any right by birth; (ii) that the plea of property being a joint family property owing to being jointly owned by members of a family, is not the plea of existence of a coparcenary or HUF; (iii) that HUF and coparcenary are not one and the same under the Hindu law though for the purposes of taxation under the taxation laws are treated as one and the same; (iv) that the law of succession, after coming into force of the Hindu Succession Act is governed thereby only; of course Section 6 thereof carves out an exception qua interest held by the deceased in a Mitakshara coparcenary property and provides that such interest shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary and not in accordance with the Act; (v) however in the absence of any plea of existence of any coparcenary, merely on the plea of the property being of the joint family, no inference of a coparcenary arises; (vi) for a case for claiming a share in the property otherwise than under the Hindu Succession Act, it has to be pleaded that there existed a HUF since prior to the coming into force of the Succession Act and which HUF, by virtue of Section 6 of the Act has been permitted to be continued.

(ii) Surender Kumar Vs. Dhani Ram MANU/DE/0126/2016 : AIR 2016 Del 120 holding as under:

"5. The Supreme Court around 30 years back in the judgment in the case of Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Kanpur v. Chander Sen, MANU/SC/0265/1986 : (1986) 3 SCC 567, held that after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 the traditional view that on inheritance of an immovable property from paternal ancestors up to three degrees, automatically an HUF came into existence, no longer remained the legal position in view of Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. This judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Chander Sen (supra) was thereafter followed by the Supreme Court in the case of Yudhishter v. Ashok Kumar, MANU/SC/0525/1986 : (1987) 1 SCC 204 wherein the Supreme Court reiterated the legal position that after coming into force of Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, inheritance of ancestral property after 1956 does not create an HUF property and inheritance of ancestral property after 1956 therefore does not result in creation of an HUF property.

6. In view of the ratios of the judgments in the cases of Chander Sen (supra) and Yudhishter (supra), in law ancestral property can only become an HUF property if inheritance is before 1956, and such HUF property therefore which came into existence before 1956 continues as such even after 1956. In such a case, since an HUF already existed prior to 1956, thereafter, since the same HUF with its properties continues, the status of joint Hindu family/HUF properties continues, and only in such a case, members of such joint Hindu family are coparceners entitling them to a share in the HUF properties.

7. On the legal position which emerges pre 1956 i.e. before passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and post 1956 i.e. after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the same has been considered by me recently in the judgment in the case of Sunny (Minor) v. Sh. Raj Singh, CS(OS) No. 431/2006 decided on 17.11.2015. In this judgment, I have referred to and relied upon the ratio of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Yudhishter (supra) and have essentially arrived at the following conclusions:-

(i) If a person dies after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and there is no HUF existing at the time of the death of such a person, inheritance of an immovable property of such a person by his successors-in-interest is no doubt inheritance of an 'ancestral' property but the inheritance is as a self-acquired property in the hands of the successor and not as an HUF property although the successor(s) indeed inherits 'ancestral' property i.e. a property belonging to his paternal ancestor.

(ii) The only way in which a Hindu Undivided Family/joint Hindu family can come into existence after 1956 (and when a joint Hindu family did not exist prior to 1956) is if an individual's property is thrown into a common hotchpotch. Also, once a property is thrown into a common hotchpotch, it is necessary that the exact details of the specific date/month/year etc. of creation of an HUF for the first time by throwing a property into a common hotchpotch have to be clearly pleaded and mentioned and which requirement is a legal requirement because of Order VI Rule 4 CPC which provides
Plaint should contain exact details of the specific date, month, year, etc.of creation of the HUF for the first time; mere statement that HUF exists and property belongs to HUF is not sufficient
that all necessary factual details of the cause of action must be clearly stated.
(iii) An HUF can also exist if paternal ancestral properties are inherited prior to 1956, and such status of parties qua the properties has continued after 1956 with respect to properties inherited prior to 1956 from paternal ancestors. Once that status and position continues even after 1956; of the HUF and of its properties existing; a coparcener etc. will have a right to seek partition of the properties.

(iv) Even before 1956, an HUF can come into existence even without inheritance of ancestral property from paternal ancestors, as HUF could have been created prior to 1956 by throwing of individual property into a common hotchpotch. If such an HUF continues even after 1956, then in such a case a coparcener etc. of an HUF was entitled to partition of the HUF property.

9. I would like to further note that it is not enough to aver a mantra, so to say, in the plaint simply that a joint Hindu family or HUF exists. Detailed facts as required by Order VI Rule 4 CPC as to when and how the HUF properties have become HUF properties must be clearly and categorically averred. Such averments have to be made by factual references qua each property claimed to be an HUF property as to how the same is an HUF property, and, in law generally bringing in any and every property as HUF property is incorrect as there is known tendency of litigants to include unnecessarily many properties as HUF properties, and which is done for less than honest motives. Whereas prior to passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 there was a presumption as to the existence of an HUF and its properties, but after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in view of the ratios of the judgments of the Supreme Court in the cases of Chander Sen (supra) and Yudhishter (supra) there is no such presumption that inheritance of ancestral property creates an HUF, and therefore, in such a post 1956 scenario a mere ipse dixit statement in the plaint that an HUF and its properties exist is not a sufficient compliance of the legal requirement of creation or existence of HUF properties inasmuch as it is necessary for existence of an HUF and its properties that it must be specifically stated that as to whether the HUF came into existence before 1956 or after 1956 and if so how and in what manner giving all requisite factual details. It is only in such circumstances where specific facts are mentioned to clearly plead a cause of action of existence of an HUF and its properties, can a suit then be filed and maintained by a person claiming to be a coparcener for partition of the HUF properties.

07 February 2021

Falsely implicating husband and his family in domestic violence case with intention to ensure that the parties were sent to counselling in order to settle their disputes amounts to mental cruelty entitling husband to seek divorce

Allegations of cruelty in divorce case should be specifically challenged in cross examination



    Now, given that matrimonial disputes rarely involve production of concrete evidence in documentary or audio-visual form, and mostly proceed on the relative strength of the opposing allegations made by the parties, the entire process of leading and recording evidence has a significant role to play in establishing one's case. Thus, notwithstanding her denials in the written statement, the appellant was expected to properly and specifically cross-examine the respondent to prove her allegations of cruelty against him and disprove those he had levelled against her. The importance of properly discharging this function of cross-examination was discussed by the Supreme Court in the following paragraphs of its decision in Rajinder Pershad Vs. Darshana Devi (2001) 7 SCC 69:
"4. The only point urged albeit strenuously on behalf of the appellant by Mr P.S. Mishra, the learned Senior Counsel is that as there has been no valid service of notice, so all proceedings taken on the assumption of service of notice are illegal and void. He has invited our attention to the judgment of the learned Rent Control Tribunal wherein it is recorded that Exhibit AW 1/6 dated 5-8-1986 was sent by registered post and the same was taken by the postman to the address of the tenant on 6-8-1986, 8-8-1986, 19-8-1986 and 20-8-1986 but on those days the tenant was not available; on 21-8-1986, he met the tenant who refused to receive the notice. This finding remained undisturbed by both the Tribunals as well as the High Court. Learned counsel attacks this finding on the ground that the postman was on leave on those days and submits that the records called for from the post office to prove that fact, were reported as not available. On those facts, submits the learned counsel, it follows that there was no refusal by the tenant and no service of notice. We are afraid we cannot accept these contentions of the learned counsel. In the Court of the Rent Controller, the postman was examined as AW 2. We have gone through his cross-examination. It was not suggested to him that he was not on duty during the period in question and the endorsement "refused" on the envelope was incorrect. In the absence of cross-examination of the postman on this crucial aspect, his statement in the chief examination has been rightly relied upon. There is an age-old rule that if you dispute the correctness of the statement of a witness you must give him opportunity to explain his statement by drawing his attention to that part of it which is objected to as untrue, otherwise you cannot impeach his credit. In State of U.P. v. Nahar Singh (1998) 3 SCC, a Bench of this Court (to which I was a party) stated the principle that Section 138 of the Evidence Act confers a valuable right to cross-examine a witness tendered in evidence by the opposite party. The scope of that provision is enlarged by Section 146 of Evidence Act by permitting a witness to be questioned, inter alia, to test his veracity. It was observed: (SCC p. 567, para 14) "14. The oft-quoted observation of Lord Herschell, L.C. in Browne v. Dunn [(1893) 6 R 67 (HL)] clearly elucidates the principle underlying those provisions. It reads thus:
'I cannot help saying, that it seems to me to be absolutely essential to the proper conduct of a cause, where it is intended to suggest that a witness is not speaking the truth on a particular point, to direct his attention to the fact by some questions put in cross-examination showing that that imputation is intended to be made, and not to take his evidence and pass it by as a matter altogether unchallenged, and then, when it is impossible for him to explain, as perhaps he might have been able to do if such questions had been put to him, the circumstances which, it is suggested, indicate that the story he tells ought not to be believed, to argue that he is a witness unworthy of credit. My Lords, I have always understood that if you intend to impeach a witness, you are bound, whilst he is in the box, to give an opportunity of making any explanation which is open to him; and, as it seems to me, that is not only a rule of professional practice in the conduct of a case, but it is essential to fair play and fair dealing with witnesses.' (emphasis supplied)[Para No.11]


    Although the appellant, in the grounds adopted in the appeal, has assailed the reliance of the learned Family Court on the decision in State of U.P. v. Nahar Singh (1998) 3 SCC 561 to contend that the same was a criminal case and the precedent arising therefrom could not apply to cross examinations in matrimonial proceedings, which are civil proceedings by nature, there is no merit to this opposition; especially in the light of the observations of the Supreme Court in Darshana Devi's case which was a civil proceeding. In fact, the standard of proof in a matrimonial proceeding- which is also in the nature of a civil proceeding is not as strict, as in criminal proceedings. Thus, the case is required to be proved on preponderance of probabilities and not the legal standard of being beyond a reasonable doubt. Keeping in view the aforesaid, it is evident that there was a crucial responsibility placed on the shoulders of the appellant which was to ensure that she challenged the specifics of the allegations raised by the respondent and establish their lack of veracity. Paragraphs 44 to 46 of the impugned judgment clearly show that the appellant had not cross-examined the respondent/husband on these important aspects, and, thus, completely failed to draw out the facts as claimed by her. In fact, even before us, the appellant, other than contending that the onus of proving cruelty rested upon the respondent, has failed to provide any cogent reasons for failing to cross-examine the respondent in support of her own case, or to challenge his allegations of cruelty. It is a settled proposition of law that the Court would normally accept unchallenged and uncontroverted assertions of fact. The failure of the appellant to effectively cross-examine the respondent shows that she neither seriously challenged his version of the factual position, nor established her own version. Therefore, in our view, the Family Court was justified in accepting the unrebutted testimony of the respondent.[Para No.12]


    When we view this in addition to the fact that in her written statement, the appellant had admitted to having levelled false allegations against the respondent and his family under the DV Act, we find there were plenty of holes in the appellant's story. Her feeble explanation for this ill-thought out act of falsely implicating the respondent and his family was that the same was not done malevolently, but only with an intention to ensure that the parties were sent to counselling in order to settle their disputes. That explanation barely comes to the aid of the appellant considering that the Supreme Court in K. Srinivas Rao Vs. D.A. Deepa 2013 III AD (SC) 458 has already held that any act of making unfounded complaints to the police shall be treated as an act of mental cruelty. The relevant extracts of this decision read as under:
"14. Thus, to the instances illustrative of mental cruelty noted in Samar Ghosh, we could add a few more. Making unfounded indecent defamatory allegations against the spouse or his or her relatives in the pleadings, filing of complaints or issuing notices or news items which may have adverse impact on the business prospect or the job of the spouse and filing repeated false complaints and cases in the court against the spouse would, in the facts of a case, amount to causing mental cruelty to the other spouse.

30 January 2021

Provisions of RTI Act are not meant to allow the parties to collect evidence from Public Authorities to sub­serve their private interest

As we have said above only the larger public interest duly established with relevant material which can override this confidentiality of the information and documents available with the Income Tax Department, but we fail to see even an iota of the public interest in this case. The tall claims made in the application about the alleged effort of the private Respondents to evade income tax under the garb of the claim of a status of their being agriculturists, particularly by a person who is admittedly in litigation over the same land in question with these Respondents, which is said to have been sold by them to the Petitioner as well as private Respondents. Therefore, the only interest of the Petitioner who has been fighting against these private Respondents at all possible forums including the RTI Act and criminal complaints appears to be the only private interest and the name of a public interest is just a ruse or excuse given to the public authorities calling upon them to disclose such 'information' to the Petitioner - Applicant. The provisions of the RTI Act
Provisions of RTI Act  are not meant to allow the parties to collect evidence from Public Authorities to sub­serve their private interest
are not meant to allow the parties to collect evidence from such Departments or Public Authorities to sub­serve their private interest.
[Para No.14]

24 January 2021

Rejection of application u/s.156(3) of CrPC does not bar the complainant to file second regular complaint case

Rejection of a complaint at the pre-cognizance stage under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. does not debar institution of second regular complaint. It would be post-cognizance stage, if the
Rejection of application u/s.156(3) of CrPC does not bar the complainant to file second regular complaint case
Magistrate takes cognizance on the original complaint or after rejection at pre-cognizance stage, if second complaint is filed by the complainant. In genuine cases, if averments of the complainant are true and trustworthy or these are found so after preliminary inquiry, then the Magistrate under section 156(3) Cr.P.C. may direct the S.H.O. to register F.I.R. and conduct investigation on the basis of averments of the complaint.[Para. No.7]

    The Magistrate may dismiss the complaint under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. if by way of instituting complaint, defence version is created to absolve the complainant from the case registered earlier or on the basis of allegations made in the complainant, if dispute is purely of civil nature or the Magistrate considers that the complaint is false and frivolous. The Magistrate has to power to test the truth and veracity of the allegations levelled against the proposed accused persons and if there is no substance in the averments of the complainant then at pre-cognizance stage, the complaint may be dismissed under section 156(3) Cr.P.C.[Para No.8]

...........

     On the basis of facts narrated in the complaint, the complainant is capable to adduce evidence regarding alleged incident of misappropriation of property of government school and trees, etc., by the respondents. The respondents abused the complainant indicating his caste as per the facts narrated in the complaint. These facts may be proved by adducing evidence by the complainant. This fact that respondents are pressurizing the complainant to compromise the matter is within the knowledge of complainant, it may also be proved by the complainant by adducing evidence.[Para No.11]

...........

     On the basis of above discussions, this appeal is liable to be dismissed.[Para No.13]

...........

    Learned Second Additional Sessions Judge / Special Judge, (S.C./S.T. Act), Lakhimpur Kheri has considered the facts on the basis of which complaint under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. was instituted by the complainant. At post cognizance stage the complainant may institute regular complaint on the basis of which, the learned Second Additional Sessions Judge/ Special Judge, (S.C./S.T. Act), Lakhimpur Kheri may record statement of complainant under Section 200 Cr.P.C. and the evidence under Section 202 Cr.P.C. and proceed according to law on regular complaint if instituted by the complainant. The impugned order dated 15.12.2020 will have no effect on the regular complaint, if instituted by the complainant[Para No.15]

14 January 2021

Litigants who, with an intent to deceive and mislead the Courts, initiate proceedings without full disclosure of facts, is not entitled to any relief, interim or final

Further, the petitioner has concealed from this Court several orders passed by this Court as well as other Courts. She has not come to Court with clean hands. It is well settled that litigants who, with an intent to deceive and mislead the Courts, initiate proceedings without full disclosure of facts, such litigants have come with unclean hands and are not
Litigants who, with an intent to deceive and mislead the Courts, initiate proceedings without full disclosure of facts, is not entitled to any relief, interim or final
entitled to relief.
In 'Dalip Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh &Ors.' [(2010) 2 SCC 114] the Supreme Court observed that:
"In the last 40 years, a new creed of litigants has cropped up. Those who belong to this creed do not have any respect for truth. They shamelessly resort to falsehood and unethical means for achieving their goals. In order to meet the challenge posed by this new creed of litigants, the courts have, from time to time, evolved new rules and it is now well established that a litigant, who attempts to pollute the stream of justice or who touches the pure fountain of justice with tainted hands, is not entitled to any relief, interim or final".[Page No.9]

03 January 2021

Court must give reasoning as to why it has accepted the contentions of one party and rejected those of other party

For the foregoing discussion, the finding of learned Commercial Court, Jammu that the said Court does not have territorial jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition under Section 9 of the Act filed by the appellant, does not deserve to be interfered with. However, the manner in which the Court below has passed the impugned judgment invites a comment. A perusal of the said judgment clearly shows that it is cryptic and devoid of any reason. The learned Court has only noted the pleadings and submissions of the parties and then without giving any reasoning as to why it has accepted the contentions of one party and rejected those of other party, it has drawn the conclusion against the petitioner.[Para No.28]

    Reasoning is the soul of a judgment. A judgment which is
Court must give reasoning as to why it has accepted the contentions of one party and rejected those of other party
devoid of reasoning would not be a judgment in accordance with the law.
It is not sufficient for a Court merely to state in its judgment that on a careful consideration of the rival submissions of the parties, it has come to this or that conclusion. The material on record on a particular point for and against the parties to the case must be set out in the judgment and reasons stated for its acceptance or rejection. A Court has not only to state the points for determination and the decisions thereon, but also to give reasons for such decisions. All this is missing in the judgment passed by the learned Commercial Court, Jammu. Such type of judgments are not expected from a senior Judicial Officer of the level of a District Judge.[Para No.29]

24 December 2020

Separate F.I.R. can be lodged by every depositor if they are cheated on different dates

Each instance of cheating of every investor/depositor would constitute an independent offence even if it is committed as a part of single conspiracy


    The principal issue herein is with regard to the applicability of Section 220 of the Cr.P.C. as well as the protection provided under Article 20 (3) of the Constitution to a case of inducement, allurement and cheating of a large number of investors/depositors in a criminal conspiracy. The issue posed is whether the offence of cheating - by acceptance of deposits made by individual investors - and there would be multiple such investors, would all constitute the "same transaction" - because the conspiracy or design may be the same or, whether, the act of cheating - by acceptance of deposits made by different investors, would constitute separate transactions - because each act of inducement, allurement and consequential cheating would be unique. The question is whether such transactions could be amalgamated and clubbed together into a single FIR, by showing one investor as the complainant, and the others as the witnesses. Consequently, convicted under one such case would pre-empt prosecution under the other pending cases.[Para No.22]
..........

    Thus even Section 220 does not help the Petitioner as will apply where any one series of acts are so connected together as to form the same transaction and where more than
Separate F.I.R. can be lodged by every depositor if they are cheated on different dates
one offence is committed, there can be a joint trial. In the present case, as is borne out from the record, different people have been alleged to have been defrauded by the Petitioner and the Company and therefore each offence is a distinct one and cannot be regarded as constituting a single series of facts/ transaction.[Para No.31]

Victims are entitled to claim compensation for incidents that occurred even prior to the coming into force of section 357A(4) of Cr.P.C.

A question of seminal importance has arisen in this case. The query raised relates to the victim compensation scheme under Section 357A(4) of Cr.P.C. and its applicability. Is the provision retrospective or prospective in its application? To paraphrase the query: Would the victim, of a crime that occurred prior to 31.12.2009, be entitled to claim compensation under Section 357A(4) of the Cr. P.C.[Para No.1]

    The facts, though not relevant to be narrated in detail, is in a nutshell as follows:
Respondents 2 to 4 are the legal heirs of one late Sri.Sivadas. In a motor vehicle accident that took place on 26-03-2008, Sri. Sivadas succumbed to his injuries. Though a crime was registered by the Alappuzha Traffic Police, the accused could not be identified or traced and the trial has not taken place. In 2013, the legal heirs of late Sivadas applied to the District Legal Services Authority, Alappuzha, seeking compensation from the State under Section 357A(4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for brevity 'the Cr.P.C').[Para No.2]

    Pursuant to the application, an enquiry, as contemplated under Section 357A(5) Cr.P.C, was conducted through the Additional District Judge, Alappuzha, who was appointed as the Enquiry Officer. The enquiry report was submitted on 12-09-2013. The report revealed that the applicants are the legal heirs of late Sivadas and that at the time of death he was aged 52 years and a casual labourer. It further stated that considering the circumstances, an amount of Rs.3,03,000/- (Rupees Three lakhs three thousand only) was sufficient compensation that could be awarded to the dependents of late Sri.Sivadas. On the above basis, the 1st respondent by Ext.P1 order, directed the State of Kerala to pay an amount of Rs.3,03,000/- to the dependents of late Sivadas under Section 357A(5) of the Cr.P.C. Ext.P1 is under challenge.[Para No.3]

..............

    As a substantive law, the aforesaid statutory provision will have only prospective application. However, in the case of Section 357A(1)(4)&(5) Cr.P.C., there is a difference. Rehabilitation of the victim is the scope, purport and import of Section 357A(4) Cr.P.C., when read along with Section 357A (1) Cr.P.C. This is more explicit when understood in the background of the recommendation of the 154th report of the Law Commission of India. Rehabilitation of the victim was a remedial measure. It remedied the weakness in the then existing provisions for compensating the crime victims, especially to those victims, whose perpetrators had not been traced. The provision is remedial. Remedial statutes or provisions are also known as welfare, beneficent or social justice oriented legislation.[Para No.27]

    While interpreting a provision brought in as a remedial measure, that too, as a means of welfare for the victims of crimes, in which the perpetrators or offenders have not been identified and in which trial has not taken place, the Court must always be wary and vigilant of not defeating the welfare intended by the legislature. In remedial provisions, as well as in welfare legislation, the words of the statute must be construed in such a manner that it provides the most complete remedy which the phraseology permits. The Court must, always, in such circumstances, interpret the words in such a manner, that the relief contemplated by the provision, is secured and not denied to the class intended to be benefited.[Para No.28]

    While interpreting Section 357A(4) Cr.P.C., this Court cannot be oblivious of the agony stricken face of the victim and the trauma and travails such victims have undergone, especially when their offenders have not even been identified or traced out or a trial conducted. The agonizing face of the victims looms large upon this Court while considering the question raised for decision.[Para No.29]

    With the aforesaid principles hovering over Section 357A(4)&(5) Cr.P.C., the provision ought to be interpreted in such a manner that it benefits victims. If the said benefit could be conferred without violating the principles of law, then courts must adopt that approach. A substantive law that is remedial, can reckon a past event for applying the law prospectively. Such an approach does not make the substantive law retrospective in its operation. On the other hand, it only caters to the intention of the legislature.[Para No.30]

     In other words, when an application is made by a victim of a crime that occurred prior to the coming into force of Section 357A(4) Cr.P.C.,
Victims are entitled to claim compensation for incidents that occurred even prior to the coming into force of section 357A(4) of  Cr.P.C.
a prospective benefit is given, taking into reckoning an antecedent fact.
Adopting such an interpretation does not make the statute or the provision retrospective in operation. It only confers prospective benefits, in certain cases, to even antecedent facts. The statute will remain prospective in application but will draw life from a past event also. The rule against retrospectivity of substantive law is not violated or affected, merely because part of the requisites for action under the provision is drawn from a time antecedent to its passing. Merely because a prospective benefit under a remedial statutory provision is measured by or dependent on antecedent facts, it does not necessarily make the provision retrospective in operation.[Para No.31]

22 December 2020

When police refused to register F.I.R. the complainant must approach the Magistrate under Section 156(3) of CrPC and not to the High Court directly

While referring to the judgment of Sudhir Bhaskarrao Tambe (supra), it is observed that if the High Courts entertain such writ petitions seeking registration of FIR, then they will be flooded with such writ petitions and will not be able to do any other work, except dealing with them. It is specifically held that the complainant must avail of his alternate
When police refused to register F.I.R. the complainant must approach the Magistrate under Section 156(3) of CrPC and not to the High Court directly
remedy to approach the Magistrate concerned under section 156(3) of Cr.P.C and if he does so, the Magistrate will ensure, if prima facie he is satisfied, registration of the FIR and also ensure a proper investigation in the matter.
While approving the aforenoted view, the Supreme Court has set aside the direction of the High Court for registration of the FIR and has directed the respondent thereto to approach the court of Magistrate if deem appropriate and necessary. Thus, the law on the registration of FIR is well settled and has been reiterated in the recent judgment of the Supreme Court as noted herein above.[Para No.4]

    In the present case, the petitioner has not approached the concerned Magistrate and has directly approached this Court for the aforesaid prayer.[Para No.5]

    Under the circumstances and in light of the observations made by the Apex Court, the writ petition is rejected since the petitioner has the remedy to approach the approach the concerned Magistrate under section 156(3) of the Cr.PC.[Para No.6]

Subordinate to the appointing authority can not grant sanction to prosecute

Additional Collector holding charge of District Collector can not give sanction to prosecute in corruption case when employee is appointed by District Collector


    The sanction for prosecution can be granted by the authority competent to remove person. The appointment authority was Collector. PW-4 was subordinate to Collector. He was working as Additional Collector. The prosecution is relying upon the order handing over the charge to PW-4. The documents were produced on re-examination of the witness. The question which arises for consideration is that assuming that the charge was handed over to PW-4, on account of leave of District Collector, whether the charge of according sanction to prosecute the accused stands transferred to him. There is no satisfactory evidence on record to substantiate this fact. The approach of PW-4 appears to be casual. Learned counsel for the appellant has drawn my attention to some provisions of Maharashtra Civil Services Rules to bring home and contended that District Collector was appointing and removing authority.[Para No.21]

    It is submitted that, disciplinary authority cannot be inferior to the appointing authority. In the present case the collector being the appointing authority of the applicant, the additional collector did not have the power to remove him from service. Article 311 (1) of the constitution of India creates a safeguard where in no person who is a member of the Civil services of the Union or the state or an All Indian Service or a civil service or who holds a civil post under the union or State shall be removed by an authority sub ordinate to him. In the present case PW-3 at the relevant time was functioning as the Additional collector of Kolhapur. PW-3 in his examination in Chief makes a positive assertion that the Collector of the District is the Appointing and the removing Authority of the Appellant/accused. The Appointment order of the Appellant was produced on record by the said witness and the same is at (Exh.119). The PW 3 admits in his cross examination that the Post of the Additional Collector and Collector are different. The onus of proving a valid sanction is on the prosecution and hence it was incumbent upon the prosecution to bring on record any documents which would demonstrate that the power of Appointment and the removal of the Appellant vested with the Additional Collector. The prosecution has not produced any documents in this regard. The aforesaid witness was re-examined by the prosecution and the documents at Exh.124 is a charge report dated 11th April, 2006. It can be seen that the Collector holding regular charge was proceedings on leave and hence the Additional Charge of the District was being handed over to the PW-3. In the aforesaid charge report it is no where mentioned that the PW-3 had the authority to remove the Appellant or persons of equivalent rank from service and hence (Exh.124) would not come to the aid and assistance of the prosecution.
Subordinate to the appointing authority can not grant sanction to prosecute
In fact Article 311 (1) does not permit such a delegation of powers and hence assuming without admitting that there was such a delegation, then the same would nonest in the eyes of law and the same would be in conflict with the constitutional safeguard created under Article 311 (1) of the Constitution of India.[Para No.22]

13 December 2020

Settlement deed executed before police under presure can not be used as admitted fact u/s.58 of Evidence Act

It is not the job of the police authorities to get the matter settled in their offices


    As it is undisputed fact that entire case of the plaintiff for advancing money to defendant was based upon Paper No. 13 Ka-1 executed before S.P. City, Aligarh, no other document was filed, nor the case was proved through oral testimony in regard to advancing of money to defendant. The oral testimony of PW-2 and PW-3 only prove the execution of Paper No. 13 Ka-1 before police authorities, apart from that plaintiff failed to disclose in his plaint the dates on which advance to the tune of Rs.14 lacs was made by him and also as to when Rs.2 lacs was returned by defendant. Plaintiff also did not bring on record his income tax return for the relevant years to prove whether he had disclosed the amount in his return.[Para No.27]

    Argument of learned counsel for the appellant cannot be accepted to the extent that Paper No. 13 Ka was proved by oral testimony of PWs and DWs and lower appellate court could not have decreed the suit against plaintiff on the ground that it was got executed under pressure.[Para No.28]

    It is plaintiff's specific case that Paper No. 13 Ka-1 was got executed before S.P. City, Aligarh on 25.05.2009. Plaintiff himself is a practicing lawyer at Aligarh and the two witnesses, Vinod Kumar Gautam (P.W.-2) and Arun Kumar Gautam (P.W.-3) are also practicing advocates in civil court in Aligarh, thus, it is an admitted case that document was executed before the police authorities, and neither of the police officers were examined as plaintiff witnesses to prove the execution of the said document. Burden of proving the document having been executed in the office of S.P. City, Aligarh was upon the plaintiff, as the defendant had categorically stated in his written statement as well as in cross-examination that the said document was got executed under duress and pressure.[Para No.29]
Settlement deed executed before police under presure can not be used as admitted fact u/s.58 of Evidence Act

    It is strange to note that police station and office of district police officials are becoming center for mediation/ settlement of civil and commercial disputes. It is not the job of the police authorities to get the matter settled in their offices rather, making genuine efforts to curb and control crime in the district.[Para No.30]

    Once the plaintiff had relied upon the document to have been executed before police authorities, onus was upon him to prove that it was executed under free will, and the officer before whom the same was executed should have been produced as one of the witnesses.[Para No.31]

06 December 2020

If a litigant wishes to make allegations against the advocate for negligence on his part, then the litigant should have a courage to join that advocate as a party and in his presence should make allegation against him

In the application, it is stated that she entrusted her matter to Mr. Vilas Mate, of Tumsar. She never met with Mr. Bhole, Advocate. According to the learned counsel for the applicant, Mr. Bhole might, on instructions from Mr. Vilas Mate, have appeared before the Court below.[Para No.6]

    It is very easy for a litigant to make allegations against an advocate behind his back.
If a litigant wishes to make allegations against the advocate for negligence on his part, then the litigant should have a courage to join that advocate as a party and in his presence should make allegation against him
If the applicant wishes to make allegations against the advocate, the applicant should have a courage to join the advocate as a party and in his presence should make allegation against him. Here, the applicant wants to condemn the advocate behind his back. In my view, it is impermissible and unacceptable. Further, no steps are also being taken by the applicant against any advocate under the provision of the Advocates Act.[Para No.7]

    Thus, in my view, the reason as supplemented in the application is nothing but a attempt for claiming discretionary relief of condonation of delay from the Court. In my view, the applicant has not explained the delay, rather has not given plausible explanation for delay. Hence, the application is liable to be dismissed and it is dismissed with costs of Rs. 1,000/- to be paid to the High Court Legal Services Sub Committee, Nagpur within three weeks from today[Para No.8]

05 December 2020

Accused in cheque bounce case cannot take benefit if complainant has not shown the transaction in Income-Tax returns

Now it has been harped upon by the accused that the said transaction has not been accounted for. In other words, complainant has not shown the said transaction in her Income-Tax returns. Learned Advocate for the respondent as well as learned Trial Court have heavily relied on the decision in Sanjay Mishra (supra). However, it appears that the legal position that had developed thereafter was not pointed out to learned Trial Judge. In Bipin Thakkar (supra) entire legal position on this point has been discussed. In fact, Bipin Thakkar (supra) reiterates the law discussed on the point in Krishna P. Morajkar vs. Joe Ferrao and another [2013 ALL MR (Cri) 4129 : (2013) 5 AIR Bom R 294]. It is necessary to reproduce those observations from Krishna's case, which reads thus :-
"Further, it has been observed that there is no provision in Income-Tax Act, which makes an amount not shown in the income- tax returns unrecoverable. If some amounts are not accounted for, the person would be visited with the penalty or at times even prosecution under Income-Tax Act, but it does not mean that the borrower can refuse to pay the amount which he has borrowed simply, because there is some infraction of the provisions of the Income-Tax Act."[Para No.12]

    Thus, when in a subsequent pronouncements this Court has clarified the legal position that too, after taking note of subsequent pronouncement by Hon'ble Supreme Court,
Accused in cheque bounce case cannot take benefit if complainant has not shown the transaction in Income-Tax returns
then the later decision would prevail. It has been then observed in Bipin Thakkars' case that, "It is true that merely because amount advanced is not shown in Income-Tax return, in every case, one cannot jump to the conclusion that the presumption under Section 139 of said Act stands rebutted". We can consider the decision in the case of Assistant Director of Inspection vs. A. B. Shanthi, (2002) 6 SCC 259, wherein it has been held :-
"The object of introducing S. 269 is to ensure that a tax payer is not allowed to give false explanation for his unaccounted money, or if he has given some false entries in his accounts, he shall not escape by giving false explanation for the same. During search and seizure unaccounted money is unearthed and the tax payer would usually give the explanation that he had borrowed or received deposits from his relatives or friends sand it is easy for the so-called lender also to manipulate his records later to suit the plea of the tax-payer. The main object of S. 269-SS was to curb this menace."[Para No.13]

29 November 2020

Investigation and filling of chargesheet under The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 should be done only by Special Police Officer empowered under Section 13 of the Act

Learned counsel also took my attention to Joseph v. State of Kerala [2011 (2) KHC 958]. In that decision, while dealing with Sections 3, 4, 5, 14 (ii) of the Act, it has been held that authorisation given by the Special Police Officer to his subordinate officer must mention the name of any of the persons to be arrested. It is also held that Special Police Officer cannot authorise investigation of the case to be conducted by any other officer. In paragraph No.4 of the said judgment, the ambit and scope of Section 13 has been dealt with, which is relevant in this context to be extracted and it reads as follows:
"4. There is also yet another aspect that is required to be looked into. Under S.13 of the Act, a Special Police Officer shall be appointed 'for dealing with the offences under this Act in that area'. 'Dealing with the case' means doing everything connected with the progress of the case. The Supreme Court in the decision referred supra considered that question and held that the expression would include detection, prevention and investigation of offences and other duties which have been specifically imposed on the Special Police Officer under the Act. It is seen from the records that investigation of the case was conducted by the Circle Inspector though, as authorised by the Special Police Officer and the role of the Special Police Officer was only to verify the investigation and submit final report. S.14(ii) of the Act does not empower the Special  
Investigation and filling of chargesheet under The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 should be done only by Special Police Officer empowered under Section 13 of the Act
Police Officer to authorise investigation of the case to be conducted by any other officer. If that be so the investigation conducted by the officer other than the Special Police Officer is against the provisions of law.
"[Para No.8]

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.

15 November 2020

Absence of proof of motive creates a doubt regarding the mens rea entitling the accused for an acquittal

Mens rea of the accused has much relevance in a case when the benefit under Section 84 IPC has been pleaded by an accused. So when the prosecution in this case failed to prove any motive behind the incident it would also raise a reasonable doubt of mens rea in doing the act. So as per the proposition of law laid down above, it would be a fact which creates a reasonable doubt entitling the accused to get the benefit of the exception.
Absence of proof of motive creates a doubt regarding the mens rea entitling the accused for an acquittal
In other words absence of proof of motive from the side of the prosecution creates a doubt in the mind of the court regarding the mens rea entitling the accused for an acquittal.[Para No.44]

    Though the contention of the learned counsel for the accused that medical evidence adduced from the side of the prosecution would not prove the unsoundness of mind at the time of the commission of the offence even if accepted the attending circumstances brought out during the oral evidence of the witnesses coupled with the medical evidence would create a reasonable suspicion about the soundness of the mind of the accused at the time of commission of the act. That also would enable the accused for benefit of doubt entitling for an acquittal on the ground that the general burden of proof resting on the prosecution is not discharged.[Para No.45]
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