30 Sep 2022 8:00 AM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently quashed the order of the lower court whereby charges were framed against the accused under the provisions of the NDPS Act solely based on the testimony of a co-accused recorded under Section 27 Evidence Act. Setting aside the impugned order, Justice Nandita Dubey noted that while framing the charges, the trial court ought to rely on documents that...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently quashed the order of the lower court whereby charges were framed against the accused under the provisions of the NDPS Act solely based on the testimony of a co-accused recorded under Section 27 Evidence Act.
Setting aside the impugned order, Justice Nandita Dubey noted that while framing the charges, the trial court ought to rely on documents that are admissible under the law of evidence-
At the admission stage though the Judge is not required to meticulously judge the evidence proposed to be adduced by the prosecution, but he is expected to exercise its judicial mind to determine the total effect of the evidence and the documents produced, to find out as to whether a prima facie case against the accused is made out or not. Needless to say, any such evidence and documents relied upon by the prosecution should be admissible under the law of evidence, as no inadmissible evidence or document can be taken into account for the purpose of framing the charge.
Facts of the case were that a truck carrying loads of Ganja was intercepted by the police. One of the co-accused in their statement named the Petitioner to be the owner of the consignment. The investigating agency submitted the charge-sheet before the lower court, pursuant to which, charges were framed against the Petitioner for offences punishable under Sections 8, 20(b)(2c), 29 of the NDPS Act. Aggrieved, the Petitioner moved the Court to challenge the order of framing of charges against him.
The Petitioner submitted before the Court that there was no material gathered by the Prosecution to demonstrate that the seized contraband belonged to him or that he was the owner of the offending truck. It was further pointed out that he was being roped into the alleged crime based on the statement given by a co-accused under Section 27 Evidence Act. The Petitioner argued that the confessional statement made under Section 27 was barred under Section 25 of the Evidence Act and also under Section 162 and 164 CrPC. Hence, the Petitioner asserted that the statement of the respective co-accused could not be taken into account in order to convict him.
Examining the submissions of parties and documents on record, the Court opined that apart from the memorandum statement of co-accused, there was no other evidence or document or seizure from Petitioner, which may form the basis of a strong suspicion, or which may implicate or connect the present Petitioner with the offence as alleged.
Elaborating on the dos and don'ts by the trial court at the stage of framing of charges, the Court opined that the allegations against the accused have to be looked in totality to determine whether prima facie a case is made out or not.
While framing a charge, the Court is expected to apply its mind to the entire record and documents placed therewith before the Court. No meticulous examination of evidence is needed for considering whether the case would end in conviction or not. However, the Court is required to consider and apply its judicial mind, whether the allegations taken as a whole will, prima facie constitute an offence and if so, whether continuation of proceedings is an abuse of process of Court leading to injustice.
With the aforesaid observations, the Court allowed the petition and accordingly, set aside the impugned order. Resultantly, the Petitioner was discharged.
Case Title: KAMTA PRASAD versus THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
Case citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 223
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