In Chand Devi Daga vs Manju K Humatani, the Supreme Court has upheld a high court judgment that allowed legal heirs of the complainant to prosecute the petition before the high court.
In the instant case, the Chhattisgarh High court was considering a plea challenging dismissal of revision plea by the session’s court. During the pendency of the petition, the original complainant died and the legal heirs filed an application praying them to be substituted in place of the petitioner. The high court had allowed their application and this order was assailed.
A bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan observed that even in case of trial of summons case, it is not necessary or mandatory that after death of complainant, the complaint is to be rejected in exercise of the power under proviso to Section 256(1), the magistrate can proceed with the complaint.
As the complaint alleged offences under sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120B, 201 and 34 IPC, the court also observed that there is no provision in Chapter XIX ‘Trial of warrant cases by Magistrates’ that in the event of death of complainant, the complaint is to be rejected.
Had the Code 1973 intended that in case of death of complainant in a warrant case the complaint is to be rejected, the provision would have indicated any such intention which is clearly absent, the bench said.
The court referred to decisions in Jimmy Jahangir Madan vs Bolly Caiyappa Hindley (dead) By Lrs., (2004) 12 SCC 509, and Ashwin Nanubhai Vyas vs State of Maharashtra, AIR 1967 SCC 983), to hold that heirs of complainant can continue the prosecution.