25 Nov 2023 5:57 AM GMT
The Supreme Court recently declined to club multiple FIRs where the offenses against the petitioner involved not only provisions of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) but also invoked various state enactments designed to protect investors. Each state had designated special courts for these offenses, making clubbing of FIRs challenging, as it would undermine the jurisdiction of these...
The Supreme Court recently declined to club multiple FIRs where the offenses against the petitioner involved not only provisions of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) but also invoked various state enactments designed to protect investors. Each state had designated special courts for these offenses, making clubbing of FIRs challenging, as it would undermine the jurisdiction of these specialized courts.
The Court observed “In the instant case, the FIRs have been filed against the petitioner in the respective States not only invoking the provisions of the IPC but also the provisions of the respective State enactments, under which special Courts have been constituted to try the offences under those enactments which are made for protection of investors and under each of the State enactments, special courts have been designated to take cognizance and try offences against the accused therein. Therefore, any clubbing of the FIRs would mean that the jurisdiction of the special courts constituted in each of the States would be taken away and a special jurisdiction would be conferred on one of the Courts where the FIRs are to be clubbed to try the offenses which arise under the different State enactments.”
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices BV Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan was hearing a writ petition under Article 32 for clubbing FIRs filed against the petitioner in various states throughout the country before any appropriate Investigating Agency/Court in the State of Delhi.
The petitioner represented by Senior Advocate J.S. Attri, relied on Radhey Shyam v. State of Haryana case, where 48 FIRs were clubbed together to avoid multiplicity of proceedings. He sought a similar approach since in the present case, he faced 10 FIRs in Chhattisgarh, 4 in Tamil Nadu, 8 in Rajasthan, 2 each in Maharashtra and Delhi, and 3 in Madhya Pradesh, with an additional FIR in Haryana, totaling 30 FIRs.
However, ASG Vikramjit Banerjee appearing for the respondent referred to a recent judgment in the case of Balasaheb Keshawrao Bhapkar v. State of Maharashtra which emphasized that the petitioner could approach the jurisdictional High Courts for relief and consolidation of FIRs within each respective state.
The petitioner had also relied on Pawan Khera's case where the Supreme Court clubbed the FIRs registered against Congress Spokesperson Pawan Khera at Varanasi and Assam over the comment made by him against the Prime Minister and transferred them to Police Station, Hazratganj, Lucknow. Moreover, the petition cited Mohammad Zubair's case where the Court clubbed of all the FIRs and said that the case should be handled by one investigating authority, i.e. Special Cell of Delhi Police.
The Court distinguished these cases since in those cases there was only one common offense in respect of which, there were several FIRs lodged across the country.
The Court after careful consideration expressed the view that the order in Radhey Shyam's case couldn't be replicated in the present scenario since the earlier order was made under by exercising Article 142 of the Constitution of India. Secondly, it was passed with the consent of the concerned states.
Therefore, the court concluded that “In the circumstances, we decline to exercise the jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India in the instant case. However, liberty is reserved to the petitioner to approach each of the jurisdictional High Courts to seek clubbing of the FIRs pending against the petitioner within that particular State and also seek any other interim or final remedies as are available in law to the petitioner.”
Case title: Amandeep Singh Sran v. State of Delhi
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 1012
For petitioner: Sr Adv. Sri J.S. Attri, Adv. Sri Sharma
For respondent: ASG Vikramjit Banerjee for the Union of India, Sr Adv Dr. Manish Singhvi
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