A Sessions Court in Mumbai has dismissed a defamation complaint filed by Dy. Commissioner of Police of Mumbai Abhishek Trimukh against Republic TV's Editor in Chief Arnab Goswami, his wife Samyabrata Ray Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd.
The complaint was filed under Section 199(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure against some statements made by Arnab in respect of the role of the Mumbai Police in the investigation into the death of one Sushant Singh Rajput.
"Section 199(2) of the Cr. P. C. requires that the complaint has to be in writing and has to be made by the public prosecutor. This, in other words, means that no other person, be that even the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed, can make such a complaint.", the judge Uday M. Padwad observed.
The court observed that combined reading of Sub Section2 and Sub Section 6 of Section 199 of the Cr. P. C. makes it clear that the complainant has essentially to be the public prosecutor only. It noted that the complaint in the end is signed by the public prosecutor for Greater Mumbai.
"But mere signing a complaint would not necessarily make its signatory the complainant. As observed earlier, the public prosecutor has to be the complainant. In the present complaint, the complainant is not the public prosecutor. He merely has filed the complaint of Shri. Trimukhe, exactly similar to what the prosecutors do while filing Appeals, Revisions and other proceedings on behalf of the State/Prosecution. The public prosecutor thus is nothing more than a medium to file this complaint. This certainly is not in compliance with what the Section 199(2) of the Cr. P. C. mandates. The sanction to make complaint is also given to the public prosecutor and not to Shri. Trimukhe. Therefore, the present complaint ought to have been made by the public prosecutor alone, which is not the case here. The present complaint, in these circumstances, has but to be treated as the one made by Shri. Trimukhe and not the public prosecutor, although filed by the latter. Consequently, such filing of the complaint by the public prosecutor cannot be equated with making of a complaint by him.", the court said.
Referring to Section237 (1) of the Cr. P. C., the court observed that status of the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed would be that of a witness only.
"This undoubtedly means that status of the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed would be that of a witness only. He can never become a complainant. Since he cannot become the complainant, it is made mandatory to examine him as a witness, unless directed otherwise. In the present case, the complainant and the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed are one and the same. This again is not in conformity with the mandatory requirement of Section 199(2) of the Cr. P. C. 13. It is not that the aggrieved public servant or the person against whom the said offence is alleged to have been committed has no forum to take his grievances to. He has the remedy to make a complaint before the competent Magistrate. His filing the complaint even through the public prosecutor however, would not confer any jurisdiction on this Court to take cognizance of the alleged offence.", the judge said while dismissing the complaint.