HP HC | Can an application for addition/ alteration of charges be made by State at the stage when the matter is fixed for arguments? Court explains

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Jyotsna Rewal Dua, J., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are such that the accused persons had connived with each other to hatch a conspiracy and misappropriated public funds. The State moved an application for addition of charge under Section 120B of the Penal Code, 1860 i.e. (IPC) as well as for alteration of charge under Section 13(1)(c) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 which was thereby allowed to the extent that charge for offence of criminal misconduct under Section 13(1)(c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was altered/modified. Aggrieved by it, the petitioner challenged the said order.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that when the other co-accused persons stood discharged, and then there is no point for framing charge under Section 120B IPC against the petitioner.

The Court observed that in view of the observations of the Trial Court, there is no reason for the petitioner to feel aggrieved. The amended charge in the petition also does not make any reference to Section 120B IPC.

The Court relied on judgment Nallapareddy Sridhar Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2020) 12 SCC 467 wherein it was observed

“….Section 216 appears in Chapter XVII CrPC. Under the provisions of Section 216, the court is authorized to alter or add to the charge at any time before the judgment is pronounced….”

“….Section 216 provides that the addition or alteration has to be done “at any time before judgment is pronounced…”

The Court observed that the charge could be altered at any time before the pronouncement of the judgment subject to conditions set forth in Section 216 CrPC as elucidated above. It was also observed that in the instant case, charge under Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act stood already framed against the petitioner. By allowing the application moved by the State under Section 216 CrPC, the learned Trial Court had only allowed alteration of charge to the extent that Section 13(1)(c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was added.

The Court thus held “the present petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed”.[Jitender Kumar v. State of HP, 2021 SCC OnLine HP 4569, decided on 17-05-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearances:

Counsel For the Petitioner: Mr. Dalip K. Sharma

Counsel For the Respondent: Mr. Anil Jaswal and Mr. Manoj Bagga

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