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'Prima Facie Evidence' For Summoning An Accused Doesn't Mean Warranting Conviction: Allahabad HC [Read Judgment]

Akshita Saxena
4 Nov 2019 1:47 PM GMT
Prima Facie Evidence For Summoning An Accused Doesnt Mean Warranting Conviction: Allahabad HC [Read Judgment]
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The Allahabad High Court on Friday reiterated that a magistrate is obligated to mention his satisfaction as to the existence of a prima facie case, for summoning an accused.

The observation was made in agreement with the argument raised by the Applicants that trial court had simply recorded a conclusion that on the basis of the statement of the complainant and his witnesses, prima facie case appeared to have been committed. The said conclusion recorded by the Court below however, was not preceded by a discussion of the allegations made in the complaint or the statement of the complainant and his witnesses as recorded under Sections 200 and 202 of CrPC.

In support of this view, Justice Rajeev Misra cited a plethora of judgments.

In Smt. Shiv Kumar & Ors. v. State of U.P. & Anr., 2017 (2) JIC, 589, (All) (LB), the high court had cautioned the courts against summoning the accused mechanically. It said,

"Learned Magistrate was required to atleast mention in the order about the prima facie satisfaction for summoning the accused. The order must reflect that the learned Magistrate has exercised his jurisdiction in accordance with law after satisfying himself about the prima facie allegations made in the complaint. The accused cannot be summoned mechanically merely by writing that perused the statements under Sections 200 and 202 Cr. P. C."

Similarly, in S.M.S. Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Neeta Bhalla, (2005) 8 SCC 89, the high court while stressing upon the mandatory recording of satisfaction as to the existence of sufficient grounds for proceeding against the accused, the court had explained the scope of such satisfaction.

"Section 203 of the Code empowers a Magistrate to dismiss a complaint without even issuing a process. It uses the words "after considering" and "the Magistrate is of opinion that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding". These words suggest that the Magistrate has to apply his mind to a complaint at the initial stage itself and see whether a case is made out against the accused persons before issuing process to them on the basis of the complaint…

It is settled principle that while summoning an accused, the court has to see prima facie evidence. The ''prima facie evidence' means the evidence sufficient for summoning the accused and not the evidence sufficient to warrant conviction. The enquiry u/s 202 CrPC is limited only to ascertain of truth or falsehood of allegations made in the complaint and whether on the material placed by the complainant a prima facie case was made out for summoning the accused or not."

In the case at hand, the Applicants Girjesh along with six others had approached the high court under Section 482 of CrPC, challenging the summoning order passed by Civil Judge under Sections 323, 352, 452, 504, 506 of IPC.

The Applicants had contended that in absence of any finding recorded by the Court below, on the basis of the averments made in the complaint, the statement of the complainant and that of the witnesses, no prima facie satisfaction was recorded by the Court below for summoning the applicant.

Accordingly, the high court held that the impugned summoning order was "cryptic" and did not stand the test laid down by the high court on various occasions. Accordingly, the application was allowed and the trial court was directed to pass a fresh order in accordance with law.

The Applicants were represented by Advocate Vipin Kumar Singh with Advocate Amit Saxena and the State by the Govt. Advocate.

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[Read Judgment]

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