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CID Not Authorized To File Charge Sheet, Proceedings Vitiated: Karnataka High Court Upholds Seer's Acquittal

Mustafa Plumber
11 Jan 2022 12:19 PM GMT
CID Not Authorized To File Charge Sheet, Proceedings Vitiated: Karnataka High Court Upholds Seers Acquittal
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The Karnataka High Court has upheld a 2016 order of the trial court by which it discharged/ acquitted Raghaveshwara Bharathi Shri Swamiji, pontiff of the Shree Ramachandrapura Math, accused in a rape case. Justice V. Srishananda noted that the charge sheet in the matter was not filed by the authorized person. It thus observed,"If the charge sheet is filed by a person who is not...

The Karnataka High Court has upheld a 2016 order of the trial court by which it discharged/ acquitted Raghaveshwara Bharathi Shri Swamiji, pontiff of the Shree Ramachandrapura Math, accused in a rape case.

Justice V. Srishananda noted that the charge sheet in the matter was not filed by the authorized person. It thus observed,

"If the charge sheet is filed by a person who is not the authorised person to file a final report as is contemplated under Section 173 of Cr.P.C, entire proceedings would definitely stand vitiated. Consequently, the further proceedings in pursuance of the said charge sheet is to be declared as non est."

Dismissing the revision petition filed by the state government, the Bench added, "This court is of the considered opinion that the arguments put forth on behalf of the second respondent (pontiff) that the charge sheet filed by the Head of the investigation team of the CID before the jurisdictional Magistrate, is not a charge sheet in the eye of law as it is not filed by the Officer in-charge of a Police Station is to be accepted."

Case Background:

A complaint was filed by the daughter of the victim for the offence punishable under Section 354A and 506 of IPC against the second respondent herein on 26.8.2014 which was initially registered in Banashankari Police Station, later on transferred to Girinagar Police Station.

Girinagar police, after recording the further statement of the victim, invoked Sections 376(2)(f) of the IPC. The investigation was referred to Crime Investigation which thoroughly investigated and filed a charge sheet against the second respondent- Pontiff, under Sections 376(2)(f), 376(2)(n) and 508 of the IPC.

The accused filed an application under Section 227 Cr.PC, seeking an order of discharge. By order dated 31.3.2016, the Trial Judge allowed the application filed by the accused and acquitted the accused from the charges. Being aggrieved by the same, the victim as well as the State approached the High Court.

The court held that the revision filed by the victim was not maintainable and thus proceeded to adjudicate only on the petition filed by the prosecution.

State governments petition.

The plea stated that the trial court order was illegal, invalid, contrary to law, facts and probabilities of the case and therefore, the same is liable to be set aside.

It was submitted that the Court below completely lost sight of the scope of Section 227 of Cr.P.C. and exceeded its jurisdiction.

Further, it was contended that the trial court had failed to appreciate the scope of interference under Section 227 of Cr.P.C. while considering an application for discharge is of limited nature. The Court cannot sift the evidence one way or the other and test the worthiness of the prosecution material at the stage of considering an application for discharge under Section 227 of Cr.P.C.

It was also stated that, "The Court below has not at all appreciated the case of the prosecution in its proper perspective inasmuch as the Court has proceeded to pass the order in respect of the offences punishable under Sections 376(2) (F) and (N) and 506 of IPC, though the charge sheet was filed for the offences under Sections 376 (2)(f), 376(2)(n) and Section 508 of IPC, which establishes the lack of application of mind by the Court below."

It was pointed that the trial court has also disbelieved the statement of the victim recorded under section 164 of CrPC and other medical evidence; it failed to appreciate that offence of rape is a monstrous burial of dignity of a woman in the darkness and it is a crime not only against the holy body of a woman but also soul of the society.

Accused countered the petitions.

Senior Advocate C V Nagesh appearing for the accused submitted that the charge sheet filed by the CID is not a charge sheet, or final report in accordance with law. CID is not a police station and as such, there is no compliance of Section 173 Cr.P.C., resulting in vitiating the very investigation. As such, the final report filed by CID cannot be taken note of by the court and as such, the further proceedings including the impugned order is non est and therefore, the charge sheet is to be discarded.

Court findings:

The court relied on the coordinate bench judgement in the case of Manjunath Hebbar and noted that, "This court has carefully examined the aspects involved of the Hebbar's case supra and the case on hand. It is pertinent to note that the allegations found in Hebbar's case were also against the second respondent herein indirectly."

It added,

"The issue with regard to an officer of Crime Investigation Branch (CID) could be treated as an Officer in-charge of a Police Station has been dealt in detail by the co-ordinate bench of this Court by considering the arguments put forth on behalf of parties and recorded a categorical finding that an officer of CID cannot be construed as an Officer in-charge of Police Station as is found in Section 173 of the Cr.PC."

The court opined that, "The contention urged on behalf of the State and the view taken by the coordinate bench of this Court will have far reaching consequences alone cannot be a ground to take altogether different views. It is also pertinent to note that the State in a similar situation has notified CCB as a Police Station. Therefore, nothing prevented the State to issue similar notification in respect of the CID."

Accordingly it dismissed the revision petition.

Case Title: State Of Karnataka v. Shreemad Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shree Shree Raghaveshwara Bharathi Shri Swamiji

Case No: Crl.Rp No.550/2016

Date Of Order: 29th Day Of December, 2021

Citation: 2022 Livelaw (Kar) 12

Appearance: Senior Advocate M.T.Nanaiah, A/W Advocate M N Nehru For Petitioner; Advocate Thejesh.P, For R1; Senior Advocate C.V.Nagesh, A/W Advocate Manmohan.P.N Advocate Vinay.N, For R2

Related Read: 'Reckless' Order Of Magistrate Taking Cognizance Of Rape Offence Despite Lack Of Allegations : Karnataka HC Quashes Proceedings

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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