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Special Court Under SC-ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act Has Power To Direct Registration Of FIR U/s 156(3) CrPC: Chhattisgarh HC [Read Judgment]

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1 Nov 2020 2:01 PM GMT
Special Court Under SC-ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act Has Power To Direct Registration Of FIR U/s 156(3) CrPC: Chhattisgarh HC [Read Judgment]
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The Chhattisgarh High Court has held that the Special Courts constituted under Section 14 of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, has power and jurisdiction to invoke provisions contained in Section 156(3) of the CrPC and direct for registration of FIR and investigation.

Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal was considering a petition challenging an order passed by Special Court directing the Police to register FIR against the petitioners. The contention raised was that the Court had no power and jurisdiction to invoke Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

To answer this contention, the court referred to Section 156 and 193 of the Code and also to various provisions of the SC-ST Act. It noted that the Special Court having established under Section 14 of the Act by notification has power and jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offence under the provisions of the Act of 1989 directly without committal proceeding and the Magistrate is not a Special Court notified by the State Government within the meaning of Section 14 of the Act of 1989 read with Section 193 of the Code and therefore, the Magistrate is not empowered to entertain complaint under the Act of 1989.

Referring to the Constitution Bench judgment in A.R. Antulay v. Ramdas Sriniwas Nayak, the court noted that the dictum that a private complaint can be entertained by the Special Judge in respect of the offences committed by public servants under the PC Act. It also referred to a Full Bench judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Anand Swaroop Tiwari v. Ram Ratan Jatav and observed:

it is quite vivid that the Special Court constituted under Section 14 of the Act of 1989 is the criminal court of original jurisdiction and is not governed by Section 193 of the Code, and the Special Court can take cognizance in any of the circumstances referred to in Section 190 of the Code and is governed by Chapters XV & XVI of the Code and such other provisions of the Code which are not inconsistent with the status and functions as Courts of original jurisdiction. Therefore, the Special Courts constituted under the Act of 1989 will also have power and jurisdiction to invoke Section 156(3) of the Code to direct investigation in exercise of power conferred, to the Station House Officer subject to fulfillment of making two prior applications under 122000(1) MPLJ 459 25 Section 154(1) and thereafter under Section 154(3) of the Code by the complainant. As such, I do not find any merit in the submission of learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners that the Special Judge under SC & ST Act has no power and jurisdiction to invoke Section 156(3) of the Code and to direct registration of FIR and investigation. Such a submission being merit­less and substance­less deserves to be and is accordingly rejected.

However, the court noted that, in the instant case, there is total non­compliance of Sections 154(1) and 154(3) of the Code. In order to file a duly competent application under Section 156(3) of the Code there has to be existence of prior applications under Sections 154(1) and 154(3) of the Code, both these aspects should be clearly spelt out in the 36 application under Section 156(3) of the Code and necessary documents to that effect has to be filed in order to make the application under Section 156(3) of the Code to be duly constituted, the court said while quashing the order passed by Special Judge.

Case: Jaisingh Agrawal vs. State of Chhattisgarh [Criminal Misc Petition No.173 of 2018]
Coram: Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal
Counsel: Sr.Adv Dr. N.K. Shukla with Adv Arijit Tiwari, Deputy Advocate General Animesh Tiwari, Adv Surfaraj Khan

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