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Deep Appreciation Of Facts Not Required At Stage Of Framing Charges: J&K&L High Court

15 Aug 2022 5:58 AM GMT
J&K&L High Court

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court recently observed that while considering a case for charge or discharge of an accused, the court is not required to enter into deeper appreciation of the facts.

The observation came from Justice Sanjay Dhar:

"It is a settled law that while considering the case for charge or discharge of an accused, the court is not required to enter into deeper appreciation of the facts. The evidence and the material available before the trial court is not to be scanned and evaluated in the manner as if the court has to find whether the accused has committed the offence or he is innocent. At the stage of framing of charge, the court has only to consider the material for framing opinion as to whether prima facie offence is committed which would require the accused to be put on trial. A strong suspicion is enough to suggest commission of offence by an accused. At the stage of framing of charge, the court has to merely sift the evidence in order to find out whether or not there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against the accused. A meticulous examination of the record, in order to find whether the accused can be held guilty on the basis of the said material, is not to be undertaken."

Two petitions were filed challenging an order of Additional Sessions Judge, whereby charges for offences under Section 8/20/29 of NDPS Act were framed against the petitioner and seeking bail in the case.

The petitioner challenged the impugned order of framing of charge on the ground that the only material connecting the petitioner with the alleged crime is the confessional statement of co-accused Suresh Kumar, which is not admissible in evidence.

The Court noted that there is no quarrel with the proposition of law that a confessional statement of an accused is not admissible in evidence against a co-accused. However, an exception to this rule is "disclosure statement". Thus, if the statement of co-accused leads to "discovery" of incriminating material, the statement to that extent becomes relevant.

In the instant case, the co-accused had stated that he obtained the delivery of recovered charas from some person at the behest of the petitioner and that he has concealed the said charas at a particular place inside his truck. Pursuant to the aforesaid disclosure, the charas has been recovered from that particular place.

"In this background the Court observed, a confessional statement made by an accused in the custody of police which leads to discovery of a fact is admissible in evidence. Thus, the statement of the co-accused Suresh Kumar, to the extent it relates to the recovery of charas that had been concealed inside the truck, is definitely admissible in evidence. There is also material on record which substantiates the fact that the petitioner happens to be the owner of the truck in question."

It added,

"there is sufficient material on record of the challan to connect the petitioner with the alleged crime. The trial court was, therefore, justified in framing the charge against the petitioner and putting him to trial. The jurisdiction of this court to interfere with an order of framing of charge is very limited and in the absence of any grave illegality or perversity in the order framing charge against the petitioner, this Court would be reluctant to interfere with the said order."

It also rejected the bail plea while observing that the petitioner was prima facie found to be involved in the conspiracy relating to possession of commercial quantity of contraband and therefore, the rigour of Section 37 of the NDPS Act would get attracted.


Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (JKL) 99

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

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