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Magistrates Should Apply Mind, Record Reasons While Rejecting B-Summary Reports: Karnataka High Court Quashes Criminal Intimidation Case

Mustafa Plumber
2 Sep 2021 12:45 PM GMT
Magistrates Should Apply Mind, Record Reasons While Rejecting B-Summary Reports: Karnataka High Court Quashes Criminal Intimidation Case
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Reasons are the "live links" between mind of decision taker, to the controversy in question and the decision arrived at, the Court said.

The Karnataka High Court has said that the magistrates while rejecting a B-summary report filed by the police in a given case should record reasons. Such reasons, it said, need not be elaborate but must bear application of mind. Justice M. Nagaprasanna said "Application of judicious mind is demonstrable only in the order the learned Magistrate would make, for the order...

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The Karnataka High Court has said that the magistrates while rejecting a B-summary report filed by the police in a given case should record reasons. Such reasons, it said, need not be elaborate but must bear application of mind.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna said "Application of judicious mind is demonstrable only in the order the learned Magistrate would make, for the order to demonstrate application of mind it must contain reasons, as recording of reasons is the only way that one can construe such application of mind."

It added,

"Reasons are the live links between the mind of the decision taker, to the controversy in question and the decision arrived at. Reason and application of mind are impregnable for a judicial order to sustain the scrutiny of law. Reasons in every circumstance need not be elaborate, but nevertheless should bear application of mind."

Also Read: What Is 'A Summary', 'B Summary' & 'C Summary'? Amit Desai Explains To Bombay High Court

Background

The Petitioner in this case was aggrieved by the rejection of B-summary report filed by the Police before Judicial Magistrate. He was booked for the offence of criminal intimidation under Section 506 IPC. The case emanates from a complaint filed by one Manjunath BP, whose property was purchased by the Petitioner in an auction for default of payment.

According to the complainant, the petitioner had threatened him not to interfere with the auction proceedings, which was already over. Thus, a private complaint alleging offence punishable under Section 506 of the IPC was filed and an investigation was ordered. The police, after conducting an investigation, filed a 'B' report. The complainant filed a protest petition against acceptance of 'B' report under Section 200 of the CrPC The Magistrate recorded the sworn statement of the complainant and on perusal of the report, directed registration of criminal case against the petitioner and issued summons.

The petitioner sought to quash this order before the high court.

Advocate KN Nitish, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the entire allegation against the petitioner would not make out an offence punishable under Section 506 of the IPC. He claimed that complaint was filed only because the Petitioner had purchased the property belonging to the complainant. Moreover, it was claimed that the Magistrate, while rejecting 'B' report and directing registration of the criminal case, did not apply his mind with regard to the offence alleged.

Advocate BG Namitha Mahesh, argued "Since the Police have conducted investigation and the Court has not accepted the 'B' report, it is a matter for trial and the learned Magistrate at this stage need not apply his mind as everything would be at large in the trial."

Findings

On going through the facts of the case the court said,

"The aforesaid sequence of events would clearly indicate that the 2nd respondent, a disgruntled owner of the property having lost the property in the auction, wanted to teach a lesson to the auction purchaser i.e., the petitioner and accordingly, registers a bald complaint alleging offence punishable under Section 506 of the IPC."

Further, the court said "If the complaint is seen qua Section 506 of the IPC, it does not link any action of the petitioner to Section 503 of the IPC, for an offence punishable under Section 506 of the IPC."

It added "It is only because the petitioner was the auction purchaser of the property, though, through legal means, the complaint is registered by the complainant. Therefore, there cannot be a better case of giving a criminal colour to a legal act of the Corporation."

On considering the order passed by the magistrate, the court said,

"A cursory perusal of the order would indicate blatant non-application of mind on the part of the learned Magistrate. All that the learned Magistrate would indicate is that, on a perusal of oral sworn statement of the complainant and documentary evidence coupled with complaint averments, in the opinion of the learned Magistrate, because it prima facie disclosed a case against the accused for the offence punishable under Section 506 of the IPC, directs registration of a criminal case and issued summons, thereby the learned Magistrate takes cognizance, under Section 191(1)(b) of the Cr.P.C. and sets the criminal trial in motion."

Justice Nagaprasanna observed,

"The order that sets criminal trial in motion by taking cognizance under Section 191(1)(b) of the Cr.P.C. should bear the stamp of application of mind, more so, in the cases like the subject petition, where an investigation is ordered on the complaint registered under Section 200 of the Cr.P.C. and a final report is filed by the Police after investigation." It added, "Setting the criminal trial in motion cannot become a matter of course or done as a routine exercise."

Further it said,

"Merely because a complainant files a protest petition and gives a statement with regard to his protest petition, the learned Magistrate ought not be swayed away by such a protest petition. It is incumbent upon the learned Magistrate to consider 'B' report, protest petition and the evidence on record and record his finding as to why he rejects the 'B' report and accepts the protest petition."

The court also pointed that,

"In the present case the allegation against the petitioner being a non- cognizable offence punishable under Section 506 of the IPC, the procedure under Section 155 of the Cr.P.C, ought to have been followed by the police. The registration of FIR could not have been done by the Police without at the outset referring the matter to the learned Magistrate."

Mushrooming of Registration of Criminal Cases

The court took note about the mushrooming of registration of criminal cases by the handiwork of certain disgruntled complainants, as is found in the case at hand. Referring to the Apex Court's order in the case of Chandrapal Singh And Others V. Maharaj Singh And Another, it said "The learned Magistrate before whom the proceedings are instituted must have exercised care and caution while taking cognizance of the allegation of such offence."

The court concluded by saying,

"In the normal circumstance, when the order taking cognizance bears the stamp of non-application of mind, the matter could be remitted back to the learned Magistrate for consideration afresh. In the peculiar facts of this case, where there is an error even in the registration of FIR and the complaint itself not linking even to the remotest sense to the offence alleged, I deem it appropriate not to remit the matter back to the hands of the Magistrate for consideration afresh."

Case Title: Nagaraj Rao C.H. v. State By Its S.P.P. Bangalore

Case No: Criminal Petition No.8922/2017

Date Of Order: August 17, 2021

Appearance: Advocate K.N.Nitish For Petitioner; Advocate Namitha Mahesh BG For Respondent.

Click Here To Read/ Download Order


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