allahabad high court

Allahabad High Court: In an application filed by Pawan Khera, Chairman, Media and Publicity Department , Indian National Congress for quashing the charge sheet as well as summoning order dated 11-04-2023 passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate, and the entire proceedings for his alleged ‘Narendra Gautam Das Modi’ remark made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajeev Singh, J. while dismissing the application, said that evidences collected by the Investigating Officer cannot be evaluated by this Court in the present proceedings on the basis of pleadings, counter affidavit as well as rejoinder affidavit.

When Pawan Khera was travelling from Delhi to Raipur on 23-02-2023, he was deboarded from flight on the ground that he was to be arrested by the Assam police from Delhi airport over his comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a press conference in Mumbai on 23-02-2023. A criminal case was registered for offences under Sections 153A, 500, 504, 505(2), 153B (1), 505, 505(1)(b) of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC') and its entire proceedings. He also filed an affidavit tendering unconditional apology.

On the same day, he preferred a writ petition before the Supreme Court and the Court after hearing the petition, issued a direction that Pawan Khera to be released on interim bail by the court of competent Magistrate at Delhi, where he was to be produced on the said evening.

Pawan Khera submitted that he had no intention to insult either the Prime Minister of India or his family members and the words uttered by him were mere a slip of tongue. Further, he submitted that the main allegation is of defamation, which is compoundable with the person who has been defamed. However, in the present case, the aggrieved person has not come forward and he has no grievance.

The Court said that notice under Section 41A of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC') was issued to Pawan Khera and charge sheet was prepared by the Investigating Officer and submitted to the Court concerned, on which, the cognizance was taken by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lucknow on 11-04-2023. The Court said that the summoning order is well within the knowledge of Pawan Khera, and he filed the present application for challenging the cognizance order as well as the charge sheet submitted by the Investigating Officer.

Further, the Court reiterated that at the stage of issuing the summons to the accused based on the police report, the Magistrate is not required to record any reason. After taking note of CBI v. Aryan Singh, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 379 the Court reiterated that a mini trial is not to be conducted while exercising the powers under Section 482 CrPC.

The Court said that the evidence collected by the Investigating Officer cannot be evaluated by this Court in the present proceedings based on pleadings, counter affidavit as well as rejoinder affidavit.

Further, the Court said that the Supreme Court in Pawan Khera v State of Assam1 , vide order dated 20-03-2023, while disposing of the writ petition filed by Pawan Khera has clearly directed him to raise all the contentions before the jurisdictional court, which is the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lucknow and in pursuance of the said order, Pawan Khera may appear before the jurisdictional Court and raise all his grievances before the court below.

[Pawan Khera v State of U.P, 2023 SCC OnLine All 668, Order dated 17-08-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Counsel for Applicant: – Advocate Sudhanshu S. Tripathi, Advocate Anjani Kumar Mishra, Advocate Praveen Kumar Yadav

Counsel for Opposite Party: Government Advocate

1. Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 74 of 2023

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