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SC/ST Act Offences - Petition U/S 482 CrPC Not Maintainable Against The Order Taking Cognizance; Only Appeal U/S 14A(1) Maintainable": Allahabad High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
9 Oct 2021 12:34 PM GMT
SC/ST Act Offences - Petition U/S 482 CrPC Not Maintainable Against The Order Taking Cognizance; Only Appeal U/S 14A(1) Maintainable: Allahabad High Court
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The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday held that an Application U/s 482 Cr.P.C. can't be filed against a cognizance order passed by Special Judge in an SC/ST Act Offence and that against such an order, only an appeal shall lie before the High Court under Section 14A(1) of the S.C./S.T. Act.In this matter, an application under 482 CrPC was moved to pray to quash the cognizance order passed by...

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday held that an Application U/s 482 Cr.P.C. can't be filed against a cognizance order passed by Special Judge in an SC/ST Act Offence and that against such an order, only an appeal shall lie before the High Court under Section 14A(1) of the S.C./S.T. Act.

In this matter, an application under 482 CrPC was moved to pray to quash the cognizance order passed by Special Judge SC/ST Act, Allahabad (Prayagraj) under sections 323, 504, 506 I.P.C. and Section 3(1)(D), Dha SC/ST Act against the applicant

It may be noted that Section 14A (1) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 commences with a non-obstante clause and is designed to override the general provisions contained in the Cr.P.C. Let's read, what does it say:

"14A. Appeals.- (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 an Exclusive Special Court, to the High Court both on facts and on law."

In simpler terms, under Section 14A(1) of the SC/ST Act, an appeal shall lie from any judgment, cognizance order, order not being interlocutory order of Special Court, or an exclusive Special Court to the High Court, both on facts and on the law.

Essentially, this means that while the constitutional and inherent powers of this Court are not "ousted" by Section 14A, they cannot be invoked in cases and situations where an appeal would lie under Section 14A and this position of law has already been accepted by the Top Court in Re: Provision of Section 14a of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.

Now, the only question before the Court was - as to whether the word "order" as occurring in subsection (1) of Section 14A would also include intermediate orders and as to whether taking cognizance of an offence and summoning the accused is intermediate order.

To answer this, the Bench of Justice Anil Ojha referred to the Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Girish Kumar Suneja v. CBI, (2017) 14 SCC 809, in which it was held that taking cognizance of an offence and summoning the accused is an intermediate order

Further, referring to Re: Provision of Section 14a of SC/ST (supra), the Court held that the word "order" as occurring in subsection(1) of Section 14A would also include intermediate orders.

Against this backdrop, the Court thus:

"Thus if any intermediate order is passed by Special Court or an exclusive Special Court in case relating to an offence in the S.C./S.T. Act, that will come in the category of order as provided under Section 14A(1) of SC/ST Act against which only an appeal shall lie before the High Court, both on facts and on law. In view of the above discussion, I am of the considered opinion that Application U/s 482 Cr.P.C. cannot be filed against cognizance order dated 2.12.2020 passed by learned Special Judge, S.C./S.T. Act, Allahabad (Prayagraj)."

Therefore, Application U/s 482 Cr.P.C. was disposed of with the liberty to the applicant to file a fresh petition before the appropriate forum. 

Case title - Sher Ali v. State of U.P. and Another

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