“Section 219 CrPC directory in nature”; Kerala High Court upholds order for dismissing accused’s application for joint trial

Kerala High Court


Kerala High Court: In a criminal miscellaneous petition challenging the order passed by the Sessions Court, wherein the Court dismissed the accused’s application for joint trial of his two criminal cases, Kauser Edappagath, J. upheld the said order stating that the victims are different, and the offences are not of the same kind, and Section 219 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (‘CrPC’) is only directory in nature, thus, there was no illegality or impropriety in the said order.

The offences alleged against the petitioner are punishable under Sections 354(A)(1)(i) and 506 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’), Section 8 read with Section 7 and Section 10 read with Section 9(n) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (‘POCSO Act’) and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (‘JJ Act’). Further, he is also accused in another case for offences under Sections 354-A(1) IPC, Section 12 read with Section 9(n) and (m) of the POCSO Act and Section 75 of the JJ Act. The petitioner filed an application for joint trial invoking Section 219 CrPC on the grounds that the incident in these two cases took place within a period of 12 months.

The Court referred to section 219 CrPC, that provides when a person is accused of more offences than one of the same kinds committed within the space of twelve months from the first to the last of such offences, whether in respect of the same person or not, he may be charged with, and tried at one trial for, any number of them not exceeding three.

The Court said that it is true that the accused in both cases is one and the same, but the victims are different, and the only similarity is that they are sisters. Further, the incidents are different and Section 219 CrPC is only directory.

Thus, the Court found no illegality impropriety in the impugned order, that if the cases are tried together, that will cause inconvenience and will create obstruction in the smooth trial of the two cases, and that fair trial demands that the two cases are tried separately and not jointly as claimed by the accused.

[X v. State of Kerala, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 5550, decided on 1-11-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate Rajit;

Advocate Ramakrishnan M.N.;

For Respondents: Senior Public Prosecutor P.G. Manu.

*Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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