Once the High Court directs investigation into a specified offence mentioned in Section 195, bar under Section 195(1)(a) cannot be pressed into service, the bench held.
The Supreme Court, in CBI vs M Sivamani, has held that bar under Section 195(1)(a) IPC cannot be pressed into service when an investigation is ordered by a high court into a specified offence mentioned in Section 195 IPC.
In the instant case, the Madras High Court had ordered investigation by the CBCID into the allegation that a motor accident claim was false. The said case was later ordered by the high court to be taken over by CBI.
While proceedings were ongoing in the trial court, the accused filed a plea, wherein they contended that cognisance in respect of offence under Section 182 IPC could not be taken except “on the complaint in writing of the public servant concerned or of some other public servant to whom he is administratively subordinate”. The said petition got dismissed by the trial court.
The high court, on a revision plea filed by the accused, set aside the trial court order observing that an order passed by the high court, directing CBI investigation is not at all sufficient to flout/ bypass the mandatory provision of Section 195 CrPC.
On an appeal before the apex court, the bench comprising Justice AK Goel and Justice UU Lalit observed that while the bar against cognisance of a specified offence is mandatory, the same has to be understood in the context of the purpose for which such a bar is created. The bar is not intended to take away remedy against a crime but only to protect an innocent person against false or frivolous proceedings by a private person, the bench said.
The court also said the expression “the public servant or his administrative superior” cannot exclude the high court and the direction of the high court is at par with the direction of an administrative superior public servant to file a complaint in writing in terms of the statutory requirement. “The protection intended by the Section against a private person filing a frivolous complaint is taken care of when the High Court finds that the matter was required to be gone into in public interest. Such direction cannot be rendered futile by invoking Section 195 to such a situation. Once the High Court directs investigation into a specified offence mentioned in Section 195, bar under Section 195(1)(a) cannot be pressed into service,” the bench observed.