Strong Suspicion Based On Materials Which Can Be Translated Into Evidence Required While Framing Charge Against Accused: SC [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court has observed that a strong suspicion would suffice at the stage of framing charge against the accused.
The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph explained the position further:
"However, a strong suspicion must be founded on some material. The material must be such as can be translated into evidence at the stage of trial. The strong suspicion cannot be the pure subjective satisfaction based on the moral notions of the Judge that here is a case where it is possible that accused has committed the offence. Strong suspicion must be the suspicion which is premised on some material which commends itself to the court as sufficient to entertain the prima facie view that the accused has committed the offence."
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Dipakbhai Jagdishchandra Patel who had challenged the orders of the Trial Court and the High Court refusing to discharge him of the offences under Sections 489B and 489C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
While allowing his appeal, the bench discussed the law relating to framing of charge and discharge. It referred to judgments in State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh, Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal. The court said:
"At the stage of framing the charge in accordance with the principles which have been laid down by this Court, what the Court is expected to do is, it does not act as a mere post office. The Court must indeed sift the material before it. The material to be sifted would be the material which is produced and relied upon by the prosecution. The sifting is not to be meticulous in the sense that the Court dons the mantle of the Trial Judge hearing arguments after the entire evidence has been adduced after a full-fledged trial and the question is not whether the prosecution has made out the case for the conviction of the accused. All that is required is, the Court must be satisfied that with the materials available, a case is made out for the accused to stand trial"
It observed that the Trial Court had relied on the statements given by the accused under Section 161 and the statement also given by the co-accused. The court, referring to Suresh Budharmal Kalani Alias Pappu Kalani vs. State of Maharashtra, said that confession by a co-accused containing incriminating matter against a person would not by itself suffice to frame charge against the accused.
The bench finally allowed the appeal and discharged the accused.