Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Magistrate Can't Refer Defamation Complaint To Police For Investigation U/S 156(3) CrPC Even If Other Offences Are Also Alleged: Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
6 Jun 2022 2:30 PM GMT
Magistrate Cant Refer Defamation Complaint To Police For Investigation U/S 156(3) CrPC Even If Other Offences Are Also Alleged: Karnataka High Court
x

The Karnataka High Court has said the bar under Section 199 CrPC on a Magistrate from exercising powers under section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) on a complaint involving offences punishable under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, would be applicable even in cases where offences are alleged for other offences in addition with Section 500 of the IPC.

Section 199 stipulates that no Court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under Chapter XXI (Defamation) of IPC except upon a "complaint" made by some person aggrieved by the offence.

A single judge bench of Justice M. Nagaprasanna made the above observation while allowing a petition filed by Divya and another, calling in question proceedings before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bangalore arising out of a private complaint registered for offences punishable under Sections 211, 500 and 499 of the IPC.

Case Details:

The petitioners and the complainant/ 2nd respondent are residents of the same apartment complex "Brigade Gateway". A complaint was registered by the 2nd respondent invoking Section 200 of the Cr.P.C. against the petitioners alleging that registration of a complaint on an alleged false incident has tarnished the image of the complainant in the eyes and minds of the residents of the apartment complex.

The Magistrate on 06-06-2016 directed investigation under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. to be conducted by the jurisdictional Police and a report to be submitted. The Police, after investigation, filed a charge sheet in the matter for offences punishable under Sections 211, 499, 500 r/w Section 34 of the IPC.

Petitioner submissions:

It was submitted that the Magistrate could not have directed investigation by the Police in the matter of defamation as there can be no involvement of the Police. It was would further submitted that there is nothing that is defamatory in the complaint that was lodged before the Police or the President of the Association and under Section 199 of the Cr.P.C. the complainant cannot be claimed to be an aggrieved person.

Complainant's arguments:

The counsel appearing for the 2nd respondent contended that the petitioners had foisted a false case against the complainant and the allegations did require an investigation as Sections 211 and 34 of the IPC were also part of the FIR that was registered or the charge sheet that is filed by the Police after investigation and it is a matter of trial that the petitioners have to come out clean, as they have admittedly tarnished the image of the complainant in the eyes of the residents of the apartment complex who are members of the Association.

Court findings:

The bench said, "The instant case concerns defamation under Section 499 of the IPC which becomes punishable under Section 500 of the IPC. Therefore, there cannot be any controversy about how the learned Magistrate should take cognizance of the offence. The cognizance shall be taken only on a complaint and not on a report filed by the Police."

It added,

"In the case at hand, when the complaint came to be registered, the learned Magistrate fell in error in directing investigation to be conducted by the Police under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. and thereafter takes cognizance of the offences on filing of the report by the Police."

The bench then relied on Subramaniam Swamy v. Union of India, (2016) 7 SCC 221, where it was held that where the complaint before the Magistrate involves offence punishable under Section 500 of the IPC, the Magistrate cannot exercise powers under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. so as to direct Police to register a crime and then investigate into the offence, in view of the specific bar contained in Section 199 of the Cr.P.C. This would become applicable even in cases where offences are alleged of other provisions of law along with Section 500 of the IPC.

Accordingly, it held, "In the light of the judgment of the Apex court and that of the learned single Judge of the High Court of Kerala (supra) interpreting Sections 199, 499 and 500 of the IPC, the order of the learned Magistrate directing investigation is rendered unsustainable and all proceedings thereto would be a nullity in law. Therefore, the proceedings are necessarily to be obliterated and the matter remitted back to the learned Magistrate to take up such proceedings bearing in mind the observations made in the course of the order."

Thus, it allowed the petition and set aside the order of the magistrate court and directed the Magistrate to take up further proceedings in the case from the stage of registration of the complaint and all appropriate action thereon, in accordance with law.

Case Title: DIVYA & ANR v. STATE OF KARNATAKA and Anr

Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION No.675 OF 2020

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 193

Date of Order: 25TH DAY OF MAY, 2022

Appearance: Advocate VISHNUMURTHY for petitioner; Advocate K.P.YASHODHA, HCGP FOR R1; Advocate K.J.KAMATH, FOR R2

Click Here To Read/Download Order



Next Story