Proposed Accused Has Right To Be Heard In Revision Filed Against Dismissal Of Petition Under Section 156(3) CrPC : Supreme Court
25 May 2023 8:54 AM GMT
The Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Manoj Misra, while adjudicating an appeal filed in Santhakumari & Ors. v State of Tamil Nadu & Anr., has reiterated that a proposed accused has a right to be heard in the revisional proceedings under Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”). The Bench has set aside an order whereby the dismissal of Section 156(3) application was reversed by the High Court and a direction for registration of First Information Report (FIR) against the accused was given, without notice being issued to the accused.
The Complainant (Respondent) had preferred an application under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”) before the Trial Court, seeking registration of First Information Report (FIR) against the prospective Accused (Appellant). The Trial Court dismissed the application. The Complainant preferred a revision petition before the High Court under Section 401 of CrPC against the order of rejection passed by the Trial Court. No notice was issued to the prospective Accused.
Section 401 of CrPC bestows the High Court with revisional jurisdiction and Section 401(2) mandates that the accused be given an opportunity of being heard in such proceedings.
On 18.11.2022, the High Court directed registration of FIR against the Appellant, without granting an opportunity to be heard to the proposed accused (Appellant).
The Appellant field an appeal before the Supreme Court and contended that the High Court ought to have granted an opportunity of being heard to the proposed accused.
SUPREME COURT VERDICT
The Bench placed reliance on the judgment in Manharbhai Muljibhai Kapadia & Anr v. Shaileshbhai Mohanbhai Patel & Ors., (2012) 10 SCC 517, and, wherein it has been held as under:
“…by virtue of Section 401(2) of the Code, the suspects get right of hearing before Revisional Court although such order was passed without their participation. The right given to “accused” or “the other person” under Section 401(2) of being heard before the Revisional Court to defend an order which operates in his favour should not be confused with the proceedings before a Magistrate under Sections 200, 202, 203 and 204. In the revision petition before the High Court or the Sessions Judge at the instance of complainant challenging the order of dismissal of complaint, one of the things that could happen is reversal of the order of the Magistrate and revival of the complaint. It is in this view of the matter that the accused or other person cannot be deprived of hearing on the face of express provision contained in Section 401(2) of the Code. The stage is not important whether it is preprocess stage or post process stage.”
Thereafter, in Bal Manohar Jalan v. Sunil Paswan, (2014) 9 SCC 640, the Supreme Court had held that an accused person cannot be deprived of hearing in view of the express provision contained in Section 401(2) of CrPC.
In view of the aforementioned precedents, the Bench concurred with the view that a prospective accused must be heard in proceedings under Section 401 of CrPC.
Accordingly, the Bench has set aside the order of High Court allowing the revision petition without hearing the prospective accused and has remitted the matter back to the High Court to be decided afresh.
Case Title: Santhakumari & Ors. v State of Tamil Nadu & Anr.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 465