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Discharge Plea Cannot Be Discarded Merely Because HC Had Earlier Refused To Quash Criminal Proceedings: SC [Read Order]

Ashok Kini
5 Nov 2019 3:22 AM GMT
Discharge Plea Cannot Be Discarded Merely Because HC Had Earlier Refused To Quash Criminal Proceedings: SC [Read Order]

"The grounds for quashing a criminal proceeding and the reasons for allowing or disallowing an application for discharge preferred by the accused are completely different."

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The Supreme Court has observed that a Trial Court cannot decline to consider the application for discharge filed by an accused merely because his earlier application to quash the entire prosecution under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was dismissed by the High Court.

The grounds for quashing a criminal proceeding and the reasons for allowing or disallowing an application for discharge preferred by the accused are completely different and the grounds falling for consideration in the two jurisdictions are completely different, the bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice BR Gavai observed in Harish Dahiya @ Harish vs. State Of Punjab.

The bench was considering an appeal filed by sister in law of the deceased who had committed suicide. In the suicide note they (sister in law and her husband) have been blamed by the deceased for forcing her to take the extreme step of ending her life. They had first moved the High Court seeking to quash the criminal proceedings against them. After the High Court dismissed their petition under Section 482, they filed discharge application before the Trial Court, which was dismissed.

The bench observed that such refusal by the Trial Court to discharge the accused on this ground suffers from abdication of jurisdiction. It said:

Merely because an earlier application to quash the entire prosecution under section 482 of Cr.P.C. may have been dismissed, the Additional Sessions Judge could not decline to consider the application for discharge on that ground. The grounds for quashing a criminal proceeding and the reasons for allowing or disallowing an application for discharge preferred by the accused are completely different. The grounds falling for consideration in the two jurisdictions are completely different.

Setting aside the Trial Court order, the Apex Court remanded the discharge application to the Trial Court for fresh consideration and to pass a reasoned and speaking order. 

Click here to Read/Download Order


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