The mere filing of a charge sheet by the police does not justify the framing of charges by the Trial Court: Madhya Pradesh HC [Read Judgment]

The mere filing of a charge sheet by the police does not justify the framing of charges by the Trial Court: Madhya Pradesh HC [Read Judgment]


It is absolutely essential for the Trial Court to summarily state the "basis" on which it forms an opinion justifying the framing of charges against an accused, the Court said.


The Madhya Pradesh High Court in Ramnaresh & Ors.Vs. State of M.Phas observed that, the mere filing of a charge sheet by the police does not justify the framing of charges by the Trial Court.

Justice Atul Sreedharan referring to various Apex Court decisions, also said that it is absolutely essential for the Trial Court to summarily state the "basis" on which it forms an opinion justifying the framing of charges against an accused.These observations were made in a Revision petition filed by persons against who charges under section 306 were framed by the Trial Court. The Court also allowed the revision petition and discharged the accused.

MERE FILING OF CHARGE SHEET DOES NOT JUSTIFY FRAMING OF CHARGES BY TRIAL COURT

The court observed: “The mere filing of a charge sheet by the police does not justify the framing of charges by the Trial Court. Section 227 and 228 of the Cr.P.C make it incumbent upon the Session Court to consider the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith and thereafter having heard the accused and the prosecution,

SUMMARILY STATE THE BASIS FOR FRAMING OF CHARGE

Referring to Three Judge Bench decision of the Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra Vs. Som Nath Thapa- (1996) 4 SCC 659, the court said Section 228(1) Cr.P.C makes it essential for the Trial Court to arrive at the "opinion" that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence. The dictionary meaning of the word "Opinion" is "feelings or thoughts about somebody or something, rather than a fact" (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary). An opinion is formed on the "basis" of the existence of certain facts or circumstances. "Reason", on the other hand has been defined as "a cause or an explanation for something that has happened or that somebody has done" (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary). In KantiBhadra Shah's case, it is only the giving of "Reason" that the Supreme Court has held as being unnecessary, where the Trial Court frames charges against the accused. Therefore, an opinion in terms of section 228(1) can only be formed by the Trial Court, on the "basis" of the material on record. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for the Trial Court to summarily state the "basis" on which it forms an opinion justifying the framing of charges against an accused. This can be done without giving "Reasons", elaborate or otherwise and it would suffice if the Trial Court refers to the evidence on record without any elaboration of its contents. Statements of witnesses can be referred to by the name of the witness without discussing the contents of the statements or how the same prima facie implicates the accused. This way, the Superior Court sitting in Revision over the order framing charges, when such orders are challenged, would at least be in a position to refer to the material adverted to by the Trial Court and assess if the same does indeed reveal a case against the accused. Thus briefly giving the "basis" for the "opinion" arrived at by the Trial Court at the stage of framing charges, will ensure compliance with the judgements of the Supreme Court in KantiBhadra Shah and in Som Nath Thapa's case. Thus, the impugned order is deficient in not having given the basis for the opinion as to why charges u/s. 306 IPC ought to be framed against the Petitioners and therefore bad in law.”

Read the Judgment here.