Delhi High Court: Geetanjali Goel, J. upholds the discharge of Delhi CM and others in the Anshu Prakash assault case having found no ground for interfering with the impugned order of the Trial Court and dismissed the petition having no merits.
The present revision petition was preferred under Section 397 read with Section 399 of Criminal Procedure Code i.e. CrPC against order dated 11-08-2021 passed by the ACMM-03, Rouse Avenue District Court emanating from FIR lodged by the complainant/ petitioner herein i.e. Anshu Prakash, the then Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT of Delhi for offences under Sections 186/332/353/342/323/506(ii) read with Sections 149 and 34 of Penal Code, 1860 i.e. IPC, for criminal conspiracy under Section 120-B of IPC , Sections 186/332/353/342/323/506(ii) as well as for abetment under Sections 109/114 of the IPC and Sections 186/332/353/342/323/506(ii) IPC. The instant Revision Petition was preferred averring that the Trial Court had erroneously discharged 11 accused persons including CM Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia of all the charges and ordered framing of charge only under Sections 186/332/353/323/34 IPC against two accused persons namely Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal (hereinafter ‘A-1 and A-2’). It is stated that the impugned order is against the settled principles of law applied at the stage of framing of charge and a perusal of the impugned order revealed that Trial Court had conducted a fishing and roving enquiry into the allegations in the charge-sheet and had drawn erroneous inferences and conclusions without having the benefit of examination of prosecution witnesses and many such inferences and findings were contrary to the record.
The Court elaborately discussed and gave observations on various grounds but for the sake of brevity, the heads are mentioned which are as follows:
- Maintainability of the revision petition
- Considerations for framing of charge / discharge
- Veracity of Witness to be tested at trial
- Delay in lodging the FIR and the MLC
- Bar on taking cognizance in absence of complaint under Section 195 CrPC
- Consideration of the statement of VK Jain dated 21-02-2018
- Conspiracy/ Unlawful Assembly/Common Intention/ Abetment
- Section 342 IPC
- Role of Nitin Tyagi
- Role of Ajay Dutt (R 10) and Rituraj Govind (R 12)
Analysis and Decision
The Court observed that there is no merit in the submission made on behalf of the petitioner that the impugned order is against the settled principles of law applied at the stage of framing of charge or that the Trial Court had conducted a fishing and roving enquiry into the allegations in the charge-sheet and had drawn erroneous inferences and conclusions without having the benefit of examination of prosecution witnesses.
The Court opined that Trial Court had not committed any error apparent on the face of record or had failed to appreciate the genesis of the entire case including the preceding and subsequent events of the incident and in fact it is seen that all the factors which have been raised by the petitioner even in the present revision petition as pointing to a criminal conspiracy or unlawful assembly or common intention or abetment have been duly considered in the impugned order by the Trial Court.
The Trial Court, in the impugned order, having considered the charge against A-3 to A-13 to be groundless discharged them and had recorded its reasons for doing so. It is also the settled law that for framing of charge detailed reasons are not required to be given but when the accused is to be discharged; it is incumbent on the Court to record its reasons for the same.
It was stated that at the stage of consideration of charge, the defence of the accused persons is not to be looked at and it is not for the accused persons to rebut the case of the prosecution at that stage except on the basis of the material produced by the prosecution, as they cannot bring forth any evidence at that stage and only the material put forth by the prosecution has to be considered. It is the settled law that at the stage of framing of charge, the court is only to see if there is strong suspicion that the accused had committed an offence and not whether the material on record would lead to conviction or not. At the stage of framing of charge, the Court is required to evaluate the material and documents only to the extent and with a view to finding out if the facts taken on their face value disclosed the existence of a prima facie case.
The Court concluded that in the present case, the Trial Court had duly applied the yardsticks and the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal, (1979) 3 SCC 4 and other judgments to be considered at the stage of framing of charge and thereafter passed the impugned order. Thus, there is no infirmity, illegality or perversity or impropriety in the impugned order passed by the Trial Court and the same has been passed after considering the material on record including the statements of witnesses.
The Court applying the test for framing of charge laid down in a catena of decisions, held “no ground has been made out by the petitioner for interfering with the order of the Trial Court or for directing framing of charge against A-3 to A-13 for any offence or for directing framing of charges against A-1 and A-2 for the offences under Sections 342/506(ii)/120-B/109/114 IPC.” [Anshu Prakash v. State of NCT of Delhi, Criminal Revision No. 02 of 2021, decided on 08-06-2022]
For Petitioner- Senior Counsel Sidharth Luthra, along with Mr Kumar Vaibhav, Ms Adya R. Luthra, Mr Krishna Dutta Multani, Mr Bharat Monga and Mr Mohd. Ahsaab
Shri Manoj Garg, Ld. for R 1
Shri Saleem Ahmed, Shri Amit and Shri Ajay Pratap Singh, Ld. Counsels for R 3 (A-1);
Senior Counsel Ms Rebecca John along with Mr Mohd. Irshad for R 4 (A-2);
Senior Counsel N. Hariharan, R 5 (A- 3) along with Mr Mohd. Irshad, Mr Siddharth S. Yadav
Senior Counsel Dayan Krishnan, R 6 (A-4) along with Mr Mohd. Irshad
Mr Badar Mahmood, Ms Sheenu Priya for R 7 (A-5)
Mr Bhavook Chauhan, Mr Harish Kumar and Mr Tushar Yadav for R 8 (A-6)
Mr Mujeeb Ahmed and Mr Rishikesh Kumar for R 9 (A-7)
Mr S.P.S. Yadav and Ms Priyanka Singh for R 10 (A-8)
Mr Rahul Ranjan, Mr Murari Kumar and Ms Lisha Saha for R 11 (A-9)
Mr S.P. Kaushal and Mr Dhananjay Kaushal for R 12 (A-10)
Mr Vikas Nagwan for R 13 (A-11)
Senior Counsel Ramesh Gupta along with Mr Vijay S. Bishnoi, Ld. for R 14 (A-12)
Mr Anil Tomar for R 15 (A-13)