29 Nov 2023 6:16 AM GMT
The Madras High Court recently quashed a forgery case upon noting that the final report on the matter had been filed after an inexplainable delay of seven years. The court noted that the trial court should not have taken cognizance of the final report as the same was barred by limitation. Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan noted that the purpose of a speedy trial was to avoid oppression...
The Madras High Court recently quashed a forgery case upon noting that the final report on the matter had been filed after an inexplainable delay of seven years. The court noted that the trial court should not have taken cognizance of the final report as the same was barred by limitation.
Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan noted that the purpose of a speedy trial was to avoid oppression and prevent delay by imposing a positive obligation on the courts and the prosecution. In the present case, the court observed that when the delay was not due to the fault of the petitioner, allowing the proceedings to continue would be an abuse of the process of law.
“The first respondent ought to have filed final report within a period of three years from the date of registration of FIR. There was delay of more than seven years, that too without any explanation for the huge delay. Therefore, the trial court ought not to have taken cognizance since it is barred by limitation. It is the bounden duty of the court and the prosecution to prevent unreasonable delay. The purpose of right to a speedy trial is intended to avoid oppression and prevent delay by imposing on the courts and on the prosecution an obligation to proceed with reasonable dispatch. The prosecution failed to initiate the trial proceedings for the past seven years without there being any lapse on behalf of the petitioner. Thus, permitting the first respondent to continue with the prosecution and trial any further would be total abuse of process of law,” the court observed.
The court was hearing the plea by one Yohann J Setna who was charged under Sections 465 and 469 of IPC for the offence of forgery.
It was alleged that Setna, working as a Sporting Manager for JA Motorsport had digitally altered, forged, and edited a 60-minute rallying video of the second respondent when he participated as a co-driver in the Indian Rally Championship.
It was alleged that the video, which was viewed by nearly 4 Lakh people, also had hostile comments ridiculing the expertise of the respondent as a co-driver. Thus, it was claimed that there was a malicious and mala fide intention by Setna in altering the aforesaid video.
Setna, however, argued that the video was merely an edited one and was not morphed or videographed. It was submitted that there was no offence of forgery, and also that the final report was barred by limitation.
The court agreed with the contention of the petitioner and noted that even though it was alleged that Setna had digitally altered the real sequences and forged thevideo, there was no morphing or altering of the original video. The court noted that Setna had merely edited the video and even so both the videos were available on the internet.
“Though the second respondent alleged that the petitioner digitally altered the real sequences and forged the original video as funny one and edited the sixty minutes car rally video into 3.50 minutes video, the petitioner did not morph or did not alter the original video. He simply edited the original video of 60 minutes into 3.50 minutes and posted in the you tube. That apart, both videos were very much available. It is not the case of the complainant that the original video was deleted from the you tube and the petitioner posted the edited video,” the court observed.
The Court also noted arguments made by the petitioner's counsel who pointed out that the first-hand testimony of the main driver who uploaded the video initially was not taken which proved to be fatal to the prosecution case.
Thus, finding that no offence under Sections 465 and 469 IPC was made out, the court quashed the proceedings.
Counsel For the Petitioner: Mr. G. Nicol Anand for M/s Geetha Vijay Anand
Counsel For the First Respondent: Mr. A. Gopinath, Government Advocate (Criminal Side)
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 370
Case Title: Yohann J.Setna v State of Tamil Nadu
Case details: Crl OP No. 22563 of 2021