Tripura High Court: A Bench of S. Talapatra and Arindam Lodh, JJ., exercised powers under Section 464 (2) CrPC and directed the trial court to frame the charge against the appellants properly keeping in mind the compliance of Sections 211, 212 and 213 CrPC.

The appellants were convicted under Section 376-D IPC and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. Notably, rape was committed on two victims. The charges in respect to both the victims were framed separately on the same day against the appellants. However, one of the charges was not read over to one of the appellants and the other charge was not read over to the other appellant in conformity with the provisions of Sections 211, 212 and 213 CrPC. But they were convicted by the trial court for committing rape on both the victims.

Ratan Datta, Advocate for the appellants urged for their acquittal submitting that the framing of charge itself gave leverage to their claim for acquittal. Per contra, B. Choudhary, Public Prosecutor strenuously argued that such defect was mere irregularity within the meaning of Section 464 (Effect of omission to frame, or absence of, or error in, charge).

Having carefully considering the rival submissions, the High Court was of the view that the appellants claimed prejudice rightfully. It was observed, “An accused must know the substance of the charge in as much as Section 211 obligates the trial court to frame the charge by providing the distinct content in terms of Section 211 as well as the particulars of time and place of the alleged offence and the every statement regarding the manner of committing the offence under Sections 212 and 213, so that the accused does notice the substance and he can sufficiently have his opportunity to defend.” The Court observed that compliance of Sections 211, 212 and 213 CrPC is mandatory. Accordingly, the exercised power under Section 464 (2) and set aside the impugned order for a limited purpose.  The trial court was directed to frame the charge properly on the basis of the police report. [Naresh Jamatia v. State of Tripura, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 75, decided on 28-02-2019]

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