Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of MR Shah and BV Nagarathna, JJ has held that merely because some of the persons who might have committed the offences are not charge-sheeted, cannot be a ground to quash the proceedings against the accused charge-sheeted after having found prima facie case against him after investigation.

In the case at hand, the Karnataka High Court had quashed the criminal proceedings against respondent for the offences under Sections 120B, 408, 409, 420 and 149 of IPC, on the ground that in absence of the officers of the drawee bank informing the payee’s banker with reference to dishonour of one of the cheques well within the time stipulated in the Clearing House Rules which amounts to offence under Sections 408 and 409 of IPC, without the presence of two of the accused in the PCR, the charge-sheet could not have been filed only against one accused.

The Supreme Cour, however, held that the same cannot be a ground to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused who was charge-sheeted by the Investigating Officer after thorough investigation.

“Merely because some other persons who might have committed the offences, but were not arrayed as accused and were not charge-sheeted cannot be a ground to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused who is charge-sheeted after a thorough investigation.”

The Court explained that during the trial if it is found that other accused persons who committed the offence are not charge-sheeted, the Court may array those persons as accused in exercise of powers under Section 319 Cr.P.C. However, merely because some of the persons who might have committed the offences are not charge-sheeted, cannot be a ground to quash the proceedings against the accused charge-sheeted after having found prima facie case against him after investigation.

The Court, hence, held that the order passed by the High Court quashing the criminal proceedings against the respondent was unsustainable, both, in law and on facts and directed that the respondent be further prosecuted for the offences for which he was chargesheeted and face trial which shall be dealt with and considered in accordance with law and on its own merits.

[Suvarna Cooperative Bank v. State of Karnataka, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1210, decided on 09.12.2021]


For appellant: Advocate Amith Kumar

For respondent: Advocate H.V. Nagaraja Rao

*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah

Know Thy Judge | Justice M. R. Shah

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: M. Dhandapani, J., quashed a case registered against the petitioner along with others for demonstrating and raising slogans against the Principal and the Head of the Department (English) of Government College affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University.

On 17-02-2016, on Anandharaj, a student of B.A. (English), III year, in the said college, committed suicide in his house by self-immolation. After his post-mortem, the petitioner and other students started a demonstration and raised slogans. Since during the demonstration, the petitioner and other students prevented the ingress and egress of the general public from the Government Hospital, a complaint was lodged against them. After completing the investigation, the Police filed a charge-sheet before the Judicial Magistrate. The present petition was filed for quashing of the same.

Holding that the present case was squarely covered an earlier decision of the Court in Jeevanandham v. State, Crl. OP (MD) No. 1356 of 2018, dated 20-09-2018, the High Court observed: “this Court has held that the assembly of persons were expressing and claiming for minimum rights that are guaranteed to an ordinary citizens. If such an assembly of persons are to be trifled by registering an FIR under Section 143 IPC and filing a Final Report for the very same offence, no democratic dissent can ever be shown by the citizens and such prohibition will amount to a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.” In such view of the matter, the present petition was allowed and the case against the petition pending before the Judicial Magistrate was quashed. [G. Ayyapan v. State, Crl. OP (MD) No. 4305 of 2019, dated 08-04-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Constitutional Court of South Africa: A 10-Judge Bench comprising of CJ Mogoeng and Cachalia, Dlodlo, Goliath, Petse, AJ., Froneman, Jafta, Khampepe, Madlanga, and Theron, JJ., dealt with three appeals together having similar issues.

Facts of the case are that the appellants had been imposed with life sentences under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1997 (Minimum Sentences Act). The appellants pleaded that the sentence pronounced by High Court were unfair as it had no power to sentence appellant under the Minimum Sentences Act without making the accused aware of its potential application from the beginning of the Trial i.e. the relevant provision to be mentioned in the charge-sheet.

This Court’s jurisdiction was challenged in this appeal to which the Court viewed that letting know of the charge with details to answer it is a constitutional matter and thus this Court had the jurisdiction to deal with this appeal. Further issue before this Court was whether the state failed adequately to inform the appellants of the minimum sentencing regime at relevant times. Appellants contended that right to fair trial guaranteed under Section 35 (3) of the Constitution was infringed as they were not informed of the application of Minimum Sentences Act and relevant provision of the Act was not mentioned in the charge sheet. Court referred case of S v. Ndlovu, (2017) ZACC 19  and observed that by virtue of this precedent it cannot be said that if accused is not informed of applicability of the Act the trial would be rendered unfair though the same had come in practice, that relevant section of the Act ought to be mentioned in the chargesheet. In case applicable section of the Act is not mentioned then it should be derived from the facts of the case if such omission renders the proceedings unfair or not. Therefore, all the applications for leave to appeal were dismissed. [MT v. State, Case CCT 122 of 17, decided on 03-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge bench comprising of John Michael Cunha, J. decided a criminal petition filed under Section 482 CrPC, wherein the Court declined to quash the charge-sheet filed against the petitioner under Sections 417, 201, 504 and 506 of IPC.

The petitioner was accused of offences under the above-mentioned sections. It was alleged that he had regular sexual relation for more than six years with the complainant on the pretext of marrying her. However, the petitioner breached the promise and married someone else and hence, the complainant was constrained to initiate criminal action against him. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the criminal prosecution initiated against the petitioner was ulteriorly motivated. Further, the charge-sheet does not make out any offence against the petitioner. He prayed that the charge-sheet filed against the petitioner may be quashed.

The High Court, after perusing the record and considering the submissions made on behalf of the parties, found that prima facie material was available in proof of the allegations made against the petitioner. The material collected in evidence by the prosecution make out the ingredients of the offences alleged against the petitioner. The contentions raised by the counsel for the petitioner had to be considered during course of the trial. The Court held it to be a settled law that the inherent powers under Section 482 should not be exercised to stifle a legitimate prosecution. From the material available on record it could not be said that the prosecution initiated against the petitioner was either false, vexatious or an abuse of the process of court.

In such circumstances, the Court declined to grant relief as prayed for by the petitioner and the petition was accordingly dismissed. [Kiran v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Petition No. 102483 of 2017, dated 16.04.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While passing the order in a criminal petition filed under Section 438 of CrPC praying to enlarge the petitioners on bail in the event of their arrest, a Single Judge Bench of Rathnakala, J. held that any erroneous edit in the charge-sheet would not come in the way of the trial court in framing proper charges.

The petitioners 1 and 2 were arraigned as co-accused for the offences punishable under Section 498 (A), 304 (B), 302 and 114 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The case of the prosecution was that the first accused who was the son of the 1st petitioner and brother of the 2nd petitioner was married to the deceased. The accused tortured the deceased for demand of dowry and they incited the deceased to commit suicide. Consequent to the said abetment, the deceased set herself ablaze.

The Court perused the charge-sheet and observed that there was nothing in the charge-sheet to show that it was a case of suicidal death. As per the statement of witness, the accused persons fled away from the house carrying the charred body of the deceased in a bed sheet. There were clinching circumstantial evidence in support of the offence under Sections 302, 304 (B) of IPC. However in the charge-sheet the prosecution case was compiled as if it was a suicidal death.

The Court while holding that such erroneous edit in the charge-sheet could not come in the way of the trial court in framing proper charges, dismissed the petition. The trial court was directed to expedite the trial and take it to its logical end. [Duggamma v. State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 5163/2017, decided on  August 16, 2017]