Ker HC | Accused forced to plead guilty without being given an opportunity to avail assistance from a legal practitioner; HC sets aside order

Kerala High Court: In an appeal against the order delivered by JMFC, Mallapuram; P. Somarajan, J., allowed the same setting aside the impugned order. The petitioner has been charged for offences punishable under Sections 279 and 338 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 146 read with Section 196 of Motor Vehicles Act (MVA).

The factual matrix in the present matter is such that a crime was registered against the petitioner subsequent to which he was brought before the magistrate on 20-10-2017 even though no summon was served to him. He was made to plead guilty without affording an opportunity to avail legal assistance, probably based on the reason that he ended up injuring a police constable in the accident. Then the judicial magistrate obtained the petitioner’s signature on the examination allegedly done under Section 281 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

The Court observed that very little respect has been shown to the proceedings which is clear from the fact that the JMFC had recorded some things like “μ”, “à”, “2” in place of the answers given by the petitioner-accused to question nos. 1 to 3 respectively, in compliance of Section 281 CrPC. Section 281 clearly states that wherever the accused is examined by a metropolitan magistrate, the magistrate shall make a memorandum of the substance of the examination of the accused in the language of the court and the same shall be signed by the magistrate and form a part of the record.

Section 281 has not been complied with by the magistrate who put some marks in the place of actual answers as if those would constitute the gist of answers given by the accused. These marks do not convey any meaning and are impossible to decipher. Such deliberate laxity cannot be tolerated especially when it’s done by an officer of the court who has full knowledge of its repercussions.

The act is in complete disregard of the legal framework and has been done in bad taste. It appears that the present matter is a fit case of malicious prosecution.

In view of the above, the petition has been allowed by the Court granting relief to the petitioner. The Court has also issued instructions to the magistrate to take up the file, issue a notice to the petitioner-accuses and proceed with caution in accordance with law.[Muhammedali v. State of Kerala, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 4877, decided on 07-10-2020]


Yashvardhan Shrivastav, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.