Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Srinagar: Sanjeev Kumar, J., while addressing a matter in respect to Section 138 NI Act, stated that

“…issuance of process and putting a person to trial is a serious matter and the Magistrate, while exercising such power cannot afford to be mechanical or lackadaisical.”

Petitioner has sought quashment of the Order passed b Judicial Magistrate in the case file titled as Aijaz Ahmad Dar v. Zulfikar Ahmad Dar, whereby and where under trial court has while taking cognizance of complaint filed by the respondent under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, has issued the process for appearance of the accused (petitioner).

Respondent instituted a complaint under Section 138 NI Act against the petitioner in trial court. It was alleged that respondent had lent more than two crores and seventy-five thousand to the petitioner through different modes.

Petitioner had paid part of the said amount and was reluctant t pay the balance amount. But the matter was settled in the month of October/November 2019. Petitioner discharged his liability by making payment of Rs 40 Lakhs in cash and issued 4 cheques for amount of Rs 32 Lakhs and amount of Rs 10 lakhs was to be paid in a short period of time.

Further, it was stated that before the respondent could present the cheques for encashment to the bank, he was requested by the petitioner not to present cheque dated 10-05-2020 for an amount of Rs.10 lacs for encashment with a promise that petitioner would make the payment of the entire amount once the lockdown imposed by the Government due to COVID-19 was lifted.

Petitioner did not keep his promise and respondent presented the remaining three cheques which were all dishonoured for the reason of insufficient balance. On informing the petitioner about the same, he was requested by the respondent to pay the amount of Rs 42 lakhs but he avoided the same.

In view of the above, respondent served a demand notice. Despite having received the same, petitioner failed to liquidate the amount and hence the respondent filed the complaint which is impugned in the present petition.

Analysis, Law and Decision 

Understanding of the term ‘Cognizance’

High Court explained the meaning of the word “Cognizance”. The said word means ‘knowledge’ or ‘notice’ and taking cognizance of offence means, ‘taking notice’ or ‘become aware of the alleged commission of offence’.

The term ‘cognizance of offence’ is nowhere defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Further, the Bench stated that Sections 190 to 199 of the CrPC deal with method and the limitations, subject to which various criminal Courts ought to take cognizance of offences.

In the Supreme Court decision of R. R. Chari v. State of U.P, AIR 1962 SC 1573, held that:

 “Taking cognizance does not mean any formal action or accepted action of any kind but occurs as soon as a magistrate, as such involves his mind to the suspected commission of the offence.”

Court observed that generally the Magistrates, before whom the complaint of facts constituting offences are presented, mix up the ‘cognizance’ and the ‘issuance of process’.

The cognizance in matters like the present one is taken under Section 190 CrPC and it is only after the Magistrates takes cognizance under Section 190 CrPC, he proceeds to record the preliminary statement of the complainant and his witness, if any present, so as to find out whether the allegation in the complaint, which constitutes an offence, are substantiated.

Sometimes on not being satisfied after taking cognizance, the Magistrate postpones the issue of process and resorts to inquiry under Section 202 of CrPC.

Preliminary Statement and Section 138 NI Act

High Court made a very pertinent observation that, in the matter of complaint under Section 138 NI Act, in which the ingredients of offence are clearly pleaded and made out with the support of documentary evidence, the omission to discuss the preliminary statement of the complainant and his witness may be an irregularity, but that would not vitiate proceedings unless in the Court’s opinion a failure of justice has in fact been occasioned.

In view of the above-stated discussion, Court did not accept the plea of the petitioner that for not discussing and analysing preliminary statements of complainant and his witness the impugned order is vitiated.

Another observation laid down in view of the facts of the present matter was that, in a case involving the dispute purely of a civil nature, the criminal law cannot be set in motion but, it is equally well settled that certain offences like the offences of cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation and offence under section 138 of the NI Act do arise out of the civil transactions and if the ingredients of offence/offences are made out, criminal law too can be set in motion alongside the civil remedy for resolution of the dispute. 

Mens Rea and Dishonour of Cheque

Section 138 creates a statutory offence in the matter of dishonour of cheques on the grounds of insufficiency of funds in the account maintained by a person with the banker and that it exceeds the amount arranged to be paid. Generally, in the criminal law, mens rea is an essential component of crime but dishonour of cheque is a criminal offence where there is no need to prove a mens rea.

In the present matter, enough material was appended to put the petitioner on notice to face the trial.

Hence, complaint filed by the respondent and impugned summoning order issued by the trial court were fully in consonance with the law and required no interference.

In view of the above, petition was dismissed. [Zulfikar Hussain Dar v. Aijaz Ahmad Dar, 2021 SCC OnLine J&K 345, decided on 17-05-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Madhumati Mitra, J., allowed a criminal revision application filed against the order of the Magistrate whereby he had rejected the petitioner’s prayer under Section 156(3) CrPC to send the petition of complaint to the officer-in-charge of the police station for treating the same as first information report.

The petitioner had alleged commission of various offences against her in-laws including rape and forceful abortion of her pregnancy. The petitioner claimed that she had written a complaint before the police authorities and also reported the incident to Superintendent of Police but no action was taken by them. As such, she was compelled to file an application under Section 156(3) CrPC for treating the same as an FIR and directing the officer-in-charge of Habra Police Station to cause an investigation into the allegations. The Magistrate directed the officer-in-charge to verify the allegations. The officer-in-charge in the report stated that the petitioner was physically and mentally tortured by her husband and in-laws on several times but there was no evidence of rape and termination of pregnancy of the petitioner by force except her own statement. On the basis of this report, the Magistrate rejected the petitioner’s application. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the instant revision application.

The High Court gave due consideration to the submissions made by Angshuman Chakroborty, Advocate appearing for the petitioner, and Sayanti Santra, Advocate representing the State.

Not satisfied with the approach adopted by the Magistrate, the Court observed: “The learned Magistrate has committed an error without taking cognizance of the alleged offences under Section 190(1)(a) CrPC at the time of rejecting the prayer of the petitioner under Section 156(3) CrPC.”

It was further explained: “The appropriate course of action of a Magistrate while rejecting a prayer under Section 156(3) CrPC, to take cognizance of the alleged offences under Section 200 CrPC and to examine the complainant and her witnesses to determine as to whether the process should not be issued. Again under Section 202(1) CrPC the Magistrate, instead of issuing process, may direct an investigation to be made by a police officer. An investigation under Section 202(1) CrPC may hold the Magistrate to ascertain whether or not there is substantial ground to proceed further.”

The High Court was of the opinion that the Magistrate committed an error by rejecting the entire petition of the complaint and, therefore, held the impugned order was not sustainable in law. The Magistrate was directed to consider the petitioner’s prayer under Section 156(3) afresh. [Pranati v. State of W.B., 2020 SCC OnLine Cal 132, decided on 21-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Vibha Kankanwadi, J., while allowing a writ petition, quashed a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, filed against the petitioner in a cheque dishonour case. It was held that the complaint filed by the respondent-complainant could not be treated as a “complaint” in the eyes of law.

The complainant, in her complaint, had alleged that the petitioner had taken a loan from her, which he failed to repay. He issued a cheque for the discharge of the said liability, which was dishonoured on presenting for encashment. Therefore, she filed the subject complaint before the Magistrate against the petitioner.

Aggrieved, the petitioner filed the instant petition praying for quashing of the complaint against him. His counsel, M.D. Thube-Mhase, submitted that when, as per the contents of the complaint, the accused had refused to accept the notice on 3-1-2017, the period of 15 days for the compliance after the service or refusal of the notice would have been till 18-1-2017, and the complainant could have filed the complaint on or after 19-1-2017 within the statutory period. However, when she has filed the complaint on 18-1-2017 itself, it cannot be taken as a complaint, and therefore, the complaint is liable to be quashed.

Per contra, A.N. Gaddime and A.V. Indrale Patil, counsel for the complainant, contended that though the complaint was filed on 18-1-2017, the complaint was registered on the next date, i.e., 19-1-2017, and the cognizance was taken by order of issuing process on 15-04-2017, therefore the complaint was maintainable.

The High Court considered the law as laid down in Yogendra Pratap Singh v. Savitri Pandey, (2014) 10 SCC 713, wherein the Supreme Court disapproved the view that if the complaint under Section 138 is filed before the expiry of 15 days from the date on which notice has been served on the drawer/accused, the same is premature and if on the date of taking cognizance a period of 15 days from the date of service of notice on the drawer/accused has expired, such complaint was legally maintainable.

Finally, observing that the date of 15th day or conversely the day on which the refusal was there should be excluded, the High Court held that complaint, which was filed on 18-1-2017, was definitely premature, i.e., before the expiry of 15 days of the refusal of the notice. Therefore, it was held, that the subject complaint could not be treated as a “complaint” in the eyes of law. Consequently, the writ petition was allowed and the complaint was quashed. [Afroj Khan v. Mandodra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 5422, decided on 12-12-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. dismissed the petition filed against the order passed in Sessions Trial by which the opposite parties 2 to 4 had been acquitted under Sections 447, 307, 504/34 of the Penal Code, 1860 and convicted only under Sections 323 and 341 of Penal Code, 1860.

The petitioner had filed a case under Sections 447, 341, 323, 327 and 504/34 of the Penal Code in which cognizance was taken under all the Sections. After trial, the judgment resulted in the acquittal of the opposite parties under Sections 447, 307, 504/34 of the Penal Code and conviction under Sections 323 and 341 of the IPC. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the accused had assaulted him and two others with lathi and iron rod which resulted in a blow to his head and acquittal under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code was not justified. They relied upon the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Hari Mohan Mandal v. State of Jharkhand, 2004(3) PLJR (SC) 7, for the proposition that to justify a conviction under Section 307, it is not essential that bodily injury capable of causing death should have been inflicted and it was sufficient if there was present an intent coupled with some overt act in execution thereof and further that merely because the injury inflicted on the victim were simple in nature it would not be correct to acquit under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.

The APP submitted that the assault resulted in only simple injury and even on the head, there was only one lacerated would which clearly does not satisfy the requirement of conviction under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code as it did not disclose premeditated intention to kill, as there was no repetition of blow and even the weapons used could not be said to be weapons which may indicate intention to kill the person assaulted.

The Court found no merit in the present application. The order impugned had discussed the evidence and had rightly convicted the opposite parties 2 to 4 only under Sections 323 and 341 of IPC. In the present case, a single blow which had been found to be simple in nature, on the back of the head, can in no way be construed to be indicative of a premeditated mind to inflict such blow knowing that the same would result in the death of the person. [Md. Nazir v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 2010, decided on 19-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: R.K. Gauba, J., referring to the relevant authority on the subject, allowed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of an FIR registered under Sections 498-A and 406 read with Section 34 IPC.

The parties were married to each other. The wife had lodged the aforesaid FIR against her husband and in-laws. Investigation concluded, the police filed a charge-sheet and cognizance was taken. Subsequently, the parties reached a settlement as per which they agreed to obtain a divorce and terminate the present criminal case. Consequent to the same, the present petition was moved and the wife supported the same.

The High Court noted pertinently that the offence under Section 498-A is a non-compoundable offence. Thereafter, it cited various decisions of the Supreme Court and the observations therein which pertain to the law on the present subject.

Reliance was placed upon B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana, (2003) 4 SCC 675 wherein it was stated, “…the ends of justice are higher than the ends of mere law…”, Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 was also quoted wherein the Supreme Court observed, “…the power of compounding of offences given to a court under Section 320 is materially different from the quashing of criminal proceedings by the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction.” Further reliance was placed on Jitendra Raghuvanshi v. Babita Raghuvanshi, (2013) 4 SCC 58 wherein it was held, “… it is the duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes…”

Following the well-settled principle that continuing criminal action which arose essentially out of the matrimonial dispute and where parties decide to hurry the hatchet, will be an abuse of judicial process, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the subject FIR and proceedings arising therefrom. [Naman Jethani v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7681, Order dated 14-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: The Bench of Dr A. K. Mishra, J., allowed a petition filed to quash the order passed taking cognizance of the offences under Sections 448, 427, 380, 506 and 149 IPC.

The facts of the case were that a complaint was filed against the petitioner stating that the Executive Officer of Phulbani NAC and Tahasildar, accompanied by their staff and police, demolished the toilet and room of the complainant’s house. Getting the said news, when opposite party 2 arrived at the spot and made a protest, the accused persons abused and threatened him. After demolition, they took away the belongings kept in that house for construction purpose. His report in this regard was not accepted by the police. Later on when a case was registered and investigation was conducted police filed the final report. The Court, vide an earlier order observed that the act complained of appeared to have inseparable nexus with the discharge of the official duty and as such the Court should not have taken cognizance of the offences against the petitioner in the absence of sanction order under Section 197 CrPC. The Court quashed the proceeding in the case against two other accused persons. The act complained of was found to have integrally connected to the duty of the officers like that of the petitioner.

The Court held that the present petitioner stood at equal footing with that of the co-accused persons against whom proceeding was already quashed for want of sanction under Section 197 CrPC. Hence the proceeding against present petitioner was also ordered to be quashed under Section 482 CrPC. [Rabindranath Mohanty v. State of Orissa, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 107, Order dated 07-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: The Bench of S. Talapatra, J. dismissed a criminal revision petition challenging an order whereby the Sessions Court refused to take cognizance of a police report filed under Section 173(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on the ground that further investigation was continuing against the arrested and absconding accused persons.

The question before the Court was that whether a police report can be filed in part keeping the investigation incomplete or continuing; and whether such a report could be brought within the definition of ‘police report’ under Section 2(r) of CrPC.

Learned public prosecutor submitted that the trial court was duty bound to consider the police report and infer whether any offence has been disclosed. Whereas counsel on behalf of respondent argued that a police report can be filed only after completion of investigation as there was no other provision in CrPC to file a police report in part.

The Court observed that Section 2(r) of CrPC clearly stated that a report forwarded by a police officer to the Magistrate is a police report. Whether on the basis of the said report, cognizance of any offence shall be taken by the Magistrate, is altogether a different question.

It was opined that after receipt of a police report, the Magistrate can do one of following: (i) he may decide that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding further and drop action; (ii) he may take cognizance of offence under Section 190(1)(b) of CrPC on the basis of materials in the police report; or (iii) he may direct further investigation by the police.

After a perusal of records, the Court noted that eighteen charge sheets had been filed in the instant case. Admittedly, these charge sheets were not a result of the further investigation but of a continuing investigation. Hence, it was inferred that the subject police report was not filed on completion of the investigation. In view thereof, it was held that there was no infirmity in the impugned order.[State of Tripura v. Bimal Chakraborty, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 1, decided on 03-01-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: M.M. Shantanagoudar, J speaking for himself and N.V. Ramana, J. allowed an appeal filed against the judgment of the Patna High Court wherein it set aside the order of Chief Judicial Magistrate taking cognizance of various offences under IPC.

The appellant was the husband of one Dr Ira Sinha, who had purchased a fully automatic Biochemistry Analyser model “Miura 200” from Logotech (India) (P) Ltd.,of which the respondents were directors. The said analyser was not working properly; even after repeated complaints, the respondents did not pay attention. An FIR was lodged under Sections 406, 420, 384 and 386 IPC. Magistrate took cognizance of the offences. However, the order was quashed by High Court. Subsequently, again problem arose with the functioning of the analyser. The manufacturer of the machine sent a technical representative who found that the original parts of the machine were replaced with duplicate parts; he also gave a service report for the same. The respondents threatened the appellant and his wife to return the report or face dire consequences. Another FIR was lodged under Sections 420, 406, 374, 448, 307, 427 and 506 IPC, the cognizance of which was taken by the Magistrate. However, the order taking cognizance was set aside by the High Court. This judgment was impugned in the instant appeal.

The Supreme Court held that the High Court was at fault in quashing the order of the Magistrate. High Court was primarily influenced by the fact that the earlier order of taking cognizance was quashed in the same matter. The Court referred to its previous decision in Udai Shankar Awasthy v. State of U.P., (2013) 2 SCC 435,  to observe that law does not prohibit filing the second complaint in the same matter if it is based on the discovery of new facts. In the instant case, new facts of replacing the original parts with duplicate had emerged, and thus the second complaint was maintainable. Also, the Court found that there was a prima facie case against the respondents. Thus, the High Court was not right in quashing the order taking cognizance. The appeal was allowed. [Om Prakash Singh v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine SC 684, decided on 11-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Sanjeev Sachdeva, J., allowed a Criminal Revision Petition before it. The petition alleged failure of the respondents to comply with Section 61(2)(ii) of the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act, 1973 (hereinafter ‘FERA’) which prohibits taking cognizance by a court of offences punishable under Section 56 and 57 of FERA unless opportunity is provided to the accused to prove that they had the requisite permission.

The petitioners argued that no such opportunity was provided, therefore, the trial court could not have taken cognizance and framed charges against the petitioners resulting in the proceedings thereto liable to being quashed. The counsel for the respondent, in response, conceded to the argument that there is a requirement of giving an opportunity to the accused to show that they had the requisite information and that it was provided when the accused had appeared before the Authority for recording his statement under Section 40 of FERA, however, the counsel submitted that the accused had failed to produce the permission when enquired about it. She further submitted that there is no mandatory requirement of giving an “opportunity notice”.

The statement was admittedly recorded in 1996, while the offence was alleged to have been committed in 1995. An “Opportunity Notice” was interestingly issued by respondents in 2002 which specifically asked the petitioners to show if they had the requisite permission in accordance with Section 61(2)(ii). However, on reviewing the statements on record, and the document itself, it was found that the notice was neither sent to the correct address nor served on the petitioner. The Court, while observing that there would have been no need to serve a notice in 2002 had an opportunity actually been provided to the petitioner earlier, rejected the arguments of the respondents. Petition allowed. Impugned order quashed. [United India Airways Ltd v. Chief Enforcement Officer, Enforcement Directorate, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 8233, decided on 05.04.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi: The Court recently addressed a petition which had been filed for quashing a previous order given by the Chief Judicial Magistrate wherein the CJM took cognizance of offences under certain sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and the Penal Code.

The facts of the case are that the original complaint petition was filed before the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code following which it was registered under as a separate complaint under Sections 376, 417 and 506 of the Penal Code and Sections 3(1)(x), 3(1)(xii) and 2(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The CJM then took cognizance of the alleged offences under the aforementioned sections of the Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and kept the file for commitment which gave rise to a separate case.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that the Magistrate did not have the authority to take cognizance under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, as cognizance could only be taken by the Special Court which has been constituted for the purposes of this Act. The counsel pointed out that not only was cognizance taken of the sections under the Penal Code but also all those sections under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The counsel referred to Moly v. State of Kerala, 2004 CRI. L. J. 1812 (SC) in which the Supreme Court held, “for trial of the offences under the Act that a particular Court of Session in each district is sought to be specified as a Special Court… The Act contemplates only the trial to be conducted by the Special Court”. Hence, keeping this judgment in mind, the counsel argued that the Judge was acting outside of his jurisdiction.

The counsel for the opposite party submitted that the impugned order also saw the Magistrate taking cognizance to provisions of the Penal Code. He also argued that following this, the Magistrate committed the trial to the Court of Sessions for trial and thus the trial had not been vitiated. He pointed out that legislature had provided for the constitution of a Special Court for the purpose of trial of offences under the Act in question.

The bench of B.B Mangalmurti J., held that the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate cannot take cognizance of offences under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 since there stood no ambiguity in the decision of the Supreme Court wherein it necessitated the constitution of a Special Court for trial of offences committed under the Act. Hence, the Court set aside the impugned order. [Dhiraj Kumar v. State of Jharkhand, 2017 SCC OnLine Jhar 2266, order dated 23.11.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The 3-judge bench of I. A. Ansari ACJ, Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Navaniti Prasad Singh, JJ upheld the validity of Invoking the provisions as contained in Sub-section (3) of Section 197 , the Notification dated 16.05.1980 issued by Bihar Government, invoking the provisions as contained in Sub-section (3) of Section 197 CrPC, which direct which declared that the provisions of sub-section (2) shall apply to no court can take cognizance of the offence committed by “Officers and men” wherever they may serving the State of Bihar or the Bihar Police Force, such class or category of the members of the Forces charged with the maintenance of public order of the Code of Criminal Procedure, while performing his official duty, except by the prior sanction of the State Government. , a notification of Bihar Government, issued in 1980. The bench of three judges I. A. Ansari ACJ, Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Navaniti Prasad Singh, J J upheld the order of Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The petitioner who was posted as Officer-in-charge of Government Rail Road Station, in Muzaffarpur was charged under offences punishable under Sections 147, 323, 353, 342 and 379 of the Penal Code, 1860 by and the Chief Judicial Magistrate took the cognizance of the matter without prior sanction. The petitioner, relying on the impugned Notification, under section 482 of the Cr.PC moved to Patna High Court where the Single Judge referred the matter to the Division Bench which was later transferred to a larger bench. The Court took reliance with of the case of ruling in of Om Prakash and others v. State of Jharkhand, (2012) 12 SCC 72 and held that The notification, dated 16.05.1980, cannot be held to be beyond the scope and/or powers conferred on the State Government under Sub-section (3) of Section 197 CrPC of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the same having been applied by Supreme Court in case of Om Prakash vs. State of Jharkhand (supra) and criminal prosecution having been quashed against police personnel on that ground. We are mindful of the fact that the question of jurisdiction of the State Government to issue notification, granting protection to police personnel in exercise of power under section 197(3) of the CrPC., was neither raised nor decided. The Court further said that in view of the said notification, the previous sanction of the offences alleged to have been committed by the Police Officers, while acting or purporting to act in discharge of his official duty, is a condition precedent.
Hence, the Court held that the Chief Judicial Magistrate erred by taking cognizance of the matter without the prior sanction of the State Government and hence, quashed the impugned order. the Court held that under Section 197 (2) of CrPC that any member of the Armed Forces of the Union while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government uphold the Bihar Notification and quashed the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate. [Ram Rekha Pandey vs. State of Bihar, 2016 SCC OnLine Pat 2130, dated on 26th June,26.06. 2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The case before the bench comprising of A.K. Sikri & R.K Agarwal,JJ was whether the Court of Sessions is empowered to take the cognizance of offence when a similar application to this effect was rejected by the Judicial Magistrate while committing the case to Sessions Court, taking cognizance of offence only under Section 306 IPC and specifically refusing to take cognizance of offence under Sections 304-B and 498-A IPC.

The Court observed that normally, such a course of action would not be permissible. But referring to the present case, the court held that the power of Magistrate in refusing to take cognizance against the appellants is revisable by a superior Court, the Court of Sessions in this case, either on the revision petition that can be filed by the aggrieved party or even suo moto by the revisional Court itself. Also, it was not a case wherein the opportunity was not given to the other party to file a reply at the sessions Court against the order of Cognizance and the Court also heard their arguments. Thus, Court can take the cognizance of the matter and the appeal is dismissed. [Balveer Singh. v. State of Rajasthan, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 481, decided on 10.05.2016]

High Courts

Jharkhand High Court: Taking suo motu cognizance on the basis of news report published in the ‘Hindustan Times’ dated 29th August, 2015 relating to sorrow and disheartening aftermath of a poor labourer father and a nine year old girl, who is victim of rape, the Court directed the Member Secretary, Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority (JHALSA) with the Chairman, District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), East Singhbhum for providing best medical assistance, care and protection to the victim girl.

In the present case, the victim girl was lured by the local driver with some chocolate before raping her and later on, she was abandoned by a riverside with a ruptured intestine.  She was referred to Ranchi hospital by the local hospital authorities. She underwent a colectomy in Ranchi to remove her damaged intestine and at present she has to use a colostomy bag. After the successful surgery, doctors managed to check the bleeding and discharged her; but her wounds have to be dressed regularly at home. As per the newspaper report, the father walks four km to the nearest health centre each time to have her dressing changed because the Maoist-hit area has no public transport and he cannot afford even a bicycle.

On the basis of the news report, the Court took suo motu cognizance and directed the State of Jharkhand to pay interim compensation of Rs. 1,00,000 to the father of victim girl. The Court also directed the Deputy Commissioner to submit a detailed report on or before the next date of hearing, of all the steps taken by the administration to alleviate the suffering of the rape survivor. Court on its own motion v. State of Jharkhand2015 SCC OnLine Jhar 2987, decided on August 29, 2015