The Supreme Court has observed that for framing the charges under Section 228 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a trial judge is not required to record detailed reasons.
The bench of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that, at the stage of framing the charge, the court is not required to hold an elaborate enquiry; only prima facie case is to be seen.
In this case, the High Court had quashed the case against the accused by observing that, while framing charges, the court should apply the judicial mind and should give reasons in concise manner for framing charges and that the trial court has failed to apply its mind while framing charges.
The bench, while considering the appeal [Bhawna Bai vs. Ghanshyam] filed by the Complainant, noted that allegations in the charge sheet show a prima facie case against the accused. On perusal of record and hearing of parties, if the judge is of the opinion that there is sufficient ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence triable by the Court of Session, he shall frame the charge against the accused for such offence, the bench said. Referring to some earlier judgments, the bench added:
At the time of framing the charges, only prima facie case is to be seen; whether case is beyond reasonable doubt, is not to be seen at this stage. At the stage of framing the charge, the court has to see if there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. While evaluating the materials, strict standard of proof is not required; only prima facie case against the accused is to be seen
While setting aside the High Court order, the bench further said:
"The order dated 12.12.2018 framing the charges is not a detailed order. For framing the charges under Section 228 Crl.P.C., the judge is not required to record detailed reasons. As pointed out earlier, at the stage of framing the charge, the court is not required to hold an elaborate enquiry; only prima facie case is to be seen. As held in Knati Bhadra Shah and another v. State of West Bengal (2000) 1 SCC 722, while exercising power under Section 228 Crl.P.C., the judge is not required record his reasons for framing the charges against the accused."
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