Chhattisgarh High Court: A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra and Goutam Chourdiya, JJ. dismissed an application filed by the State seeking leave to appeal against the order of acquittal rendered by the Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, as not maintainable.
The application by the State sought leave to appeal against the order of acquittal rendered by the Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, whereby the accused was acquitted of the charges under Section 409 IPC (criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker, merchant or agent).
The High Court was of the opinion that instead of preferring the instant application in the High Court, the State should have preferred an appeal before the Sessions Court under Section 378(1)(a) CrPC. Reliance was placed on Subhash Chand v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2013) 2 SCC 17, wherein the Supreme Court laid down the law thus:
If we analyse Section 378(1)(a) & (b), it is clear that the State Government cannot direct the Public Prosecutor to file an appeal against an order of acquittal passed by a Magistrate in respect of a cognizable and nonbailable offence because of the categorical bar created by Section 378(1)(b). Such appeals, that is appealed against orders of acquittal passed by a Magistrate in respect of a cognizable and non-bailable offence can only be filed in the Sessions Court at the instance of the Public Prosecutor as directed by the District Magistrate. Section 378(1)(b) uses the words “in any case” but leaves out orders of acquittal passed by a Magistrate in respect of a cognizable and non-bailable offence from the control of the State Government. Therefore, in all other cases where orders of acquittal are passed appeals can be filed by the Public Prosecutor as directed by the State Government to the High Court.”
In such view of the matter, the instant application filed by the State was dismissed as not maintainable, reserving the liberty in favour of the State to prefer acquittal appeal before the Sessions Court within a period of 30 days from the date of the instant order.[State of Chhattisgarh v. Mohanlal Bagde, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 102, decided on 25-09-2019]