The Supreme Court refused to refer the question regarding choice of jurisdiction under Section 397 of Code of Criminal Procedure to larger bench.
The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar was considering an appeal against Delhi High Court order that had dismissed a revision petition under Section 397 CrPC, observing that as there are no special circumstances to bypass the forum of the Sessions Judge, and that the petitioner should approach the Sessions court first.
Complaining that that his son had been wrongfully killed by the police, Chander Bhan Singh had approached the Delhi High Court in the year 2002. As directed by the High Court, CBI registered a case. Later CBI filed a Closure Report on the ground that the Lt. Governor, NCT Delhi did not find it to be a fit case to convey sanction for prosecution.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi, did not accept the Closure Report filed by the CBI and on considering the material before it, took cognizance against thirteen police officers, summoned them and committed the matter to Sessions court. The challenge against this order ultimately reached Apex court, which upheld the High Court order directing the Magistrate to reconsider the point of cognizance.
Thereafter, the Magistrate reheard the matter and accepted closure report. In 2014, the Complainant approached the High Court invoking its revisional powers. The High court, after keeping matter pending for about two years, dismissed his petition, granting liberty to approach Sessions Court first.
Before the Apex Court bench, the counsel for the parties, requested for a reference to a larger bench to, once and for all, decide and settle the question regarding choice of jurisdiction under Section 397 of Cr.P.C.
However, the bench said: "Having considered the fact that this case had taken place as long back as in the year 2002 and almost sixteen years have elapsed, and that it is ingrained in our criminal justice system that we seek to provide speedy justice as a matter of a constitutional right, we do not consider this case to be an appropriate one to decide on the question of law considering the peculiar facts and circumstances involved. "
Leaving the question of law open, the bench set aside the High Court order and restored the revision petition before the High Court to consider it afresh.