9 Oct 2023 8:53 AM GMT
The Madras High Court recently observed that while taking cognisance of a complaint under Section 200 CrPC, the Magistrate could not look into the veracity of the witnesses. The court added that at the cognisance stage, the Magistrate could only check whether prima facie materials were available to constitute an offence or not. Justice P Dhanabal of the Madurai bench relied on...
The Madras High Court recently observed that while taking cognisance of a complaint under Section 200 CrPC, the Magistrate could not look into the veracity of the witnesses. The court added that at the cognisance stage, the Magistrate could only check whether prima facie materials were available to constitute an offence or not.
Justice P Dhanabal of the Madurai bench relied on an earlier decision of the High Court in Mukesh Jain S/o.Prem Chand vs. Balachander and observed that at the cognisance stage, the Magistrate had to look into the complaint and other documents along with the sworn statement to see if a prima facie case was made out.
The court was hearing a plea by one Ilampiraiyan challenging an order of the Rajapalayam Judicial Magistrate, dismissing his private complaint. Ilampiraiyan informed the court that in August 2018, while he was going to his home in Rajapalayam Town, the respondent police officers intercepted him and asked him to call his friend who had dropped him. When Ilambiraiyan informed the officers that he did not have a cell phone and thus could not call his friend, the officers abused him and assaulted his right ear and pushed his face.
Ilambiraiyan further informed the court that when he questioned the officers, they illegally took him into police custody where they tortured him and humiliated him with derogatory words and also filed a false case against him. He added that when he was taken to the hospital, the doctor gave a medical certificate for remanding him without seeking him or providing him any treatment.
Ilampiraiyan submitted that he had filed a private complaint with Judicial Magistrate informing him of the serious offences committed by the officers, but the Magistrate dismissed the complaint noting that there were contradictions without perusing any documents.
Looking into the documents submitted by Ilampiraiyan, the court was satisfied that there was prima facie material to take cognisance and that the Magistrate had failed to consider Ilampiraiyan’s statement. Thus, the court was inclined to set aside the order of the Magistrate.
“At the stage of taking cognizance, the learned Magistrate cannot peruse the veracity of the witnesses and the duty of the Magistrate is whether any primacy facie material available to constitute the offence or not. As per the statement of witnesses, some offences are made out and thereby without considering the same, the learned Magistrate has dismissed the private complaint and not even discussed about the documents filed by the petitioner and the injuries sustained by the petitioner. Therefore, the order of the magistrate is liable to be set aside,” the court noted.
Thus, the court set aside the order of the Magistrate dismissing the complaint and remanded the matter back to the Magistrate for fresh consideration. The court also directed the Magistrate to pass orders after perusing the complaint and all the records and statements of witnesses.
Counsel for the Petitioner: R Karunanidhi
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 307
Case Title: Ilampiraiyan v Mr Pethi @ Thirumalai Raja and others
Case No: Crl.R.C.(MD)No.428 of 2019