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S.14A SC/ST Act | Order Taking Cognizance & Issuing Summons Is Appealable As It Is An 'Intermediate Order', Not 'Interlocutory Order': Orissa HC

Jyoti Prakash Dutta
11 Aug 2022 5:15 AM GMT
S.14A SC/ST Act | Order Taking Cognizance & Issuing Summons Is Appealable As It Is An Intermediate Order, Not Interlocutory Order: Orissa HC
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The Orissa High Court has held that an order taking cognizance and issuing summons for offences alleged under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is an 'appealable order' in terms of Section 14-A(1) of the Act.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Aditya Kumar Mohapatra further held that such order cannot be classified as 'interlocutory order' as the same qualifies to be an 'intermediate order'.

"…this Court has no hesitation to hold that the order taking cognizance and issuing summons to the accused person is not clearly an interlocutory order, but an intermediate order. Therefore, the same is appealable in view of the provisions contained under Section 14-A(1) of the S.C. and S.T. (PoA) Act."

Notably, Section 14-A(1) of the Act reads,

"14A. Appeal: (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), an appeal shall lie, from any judgment, sentence or order, not being an interlocutory order, of a Special Court or the Exclusive Special Court, to the High Court both on facts and on law"

Brief Facts:

The appellant filed the appeal under Section 14-A of the SC & ST Act, challenging the order dated 12.04.2021 whereby the Special Court had taken cognizance of offences punishable under Sections 376(2)(n)/294/34, IPC read with Section 3(1)(r)(s)/3(2)(va) of the SC & ST Act and issuing summons to the accused persons.

The issue for consideration before the Court was whether the order passed by the Special Court taking cognizance under the provisions of the SC & ST (PoA) Act and issuing summons therein is an 'interlocutory' order and hence, not appealable to the High Court under Section 14-A(1) of the Act?

Court's Observations:

The Court noted that so far as the nature of the order passed in the present case i.e. whether the same is interlocutory order or not, the law in that regard is well settled by multiple judgments of the Supreme Court. Then, it went on to rely on the following observations made by the Supreme Court in Girish Kunar Suneja v. CBI, wherein it took note of the decision in Madhu Limaye v. State of Maharashtra on the issue.

"The concept of an intermediate order was further elucidated in Madhu Limaye v. Stae of Maharashtra by contradistinguishing a final order and an interlocutory order. This decision lays down the principle that an intermediate order is one which is interlocutory in nature but when reversed, it has the effect of terminating the proceedings and thereby resulting in a final order. Two such intermediate orders immediately come to mind-an order taking cognizance of an offence and summoning an accused and an order for framing charges. Prima facie these orders are interlocutory in nature, but when an order taking cognizance and summoning an accused reversed, it has the effect of terminating the proceedings against that person resulting in a final order in his or her favour. Similarly, an order for framing of charges if reversed has the effect of discharging the accused persons and resulting in a final order in his or her favour. Therefore, an intermediate order is one which if passed in a certain way, the proceedings would terminate but if passed in another way, the proceedings would continue."

In view of the aforesaid precedents, the Court held that the order taking cognizance and issuing summons to the accused person is not an interlocutory order, but an intermediate order. Therefore, the same is appealable in view of the provisions contained under Section 14-A(1) of the Act.

Accordingly, the appeal was admitted as maintainable.

Case Title: Smrutikant Rath & Ors. v. State of Odisha & Anr.

Case No.: CRLA No. 408 of 2022

Order Dated: 20th June 2022

Coram: Aditya Kumar Mohapatra, J.

Counsel for the Appellant: Mr. Sudipto Panda, Advocate

Counsel for the Respondent: Mr. M.K. Mohanty, Additional Standing Counsel

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ori) 121

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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