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Prior Sanction Of Magistrate Not Mandatory For Investigating Non-Cognizable Offence Along With Cognizable Offence : Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 Nov 2021 9:24 AM GMT
Prior Sanction Of Magistrate Not Mandatory For Investigating Non-Cognizable Offence Along With Cognizable Offence : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court has held that prior sanction of the Magistrate is not mandatory for investigating a non-cognizable offence along with a cognizalbe offence.A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna held so while dealing with an appeal against a judgment of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which quashed an FIR for offences under under the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act...

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The Supreme Court has held that prior sanction of the Magistrate is not mandatory for investigating a non-cognizable offence along with a cognizalbe offence.

A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna held so while dealing with an appeal against a judgment of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which quashed an FIR for offences under under the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy under Section 120B of the Ranbir Penal Code. The High Court, among other grounds, had quashed the FIR observing that prior sanction of the Magistrate as per Section 155 of the J&K Code of Criminal Procedure was not obtained for investigating the offence of criminal conspiracy, which was non-cognizable as per the Ranbir Penal Code. The High Court also held the delay in completing preliminary enquiry as a reason to quash the case.

The Supreme Court held that the High Court erred in holding that sanction of Magistrate was required to investigate the non-cognizable offence( in this case Section 120B RPC), as the offences under the PC Act were cognizable.

The Supreme Court noted that the the offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a substantive offence. When the investigation in respect of the offence under the PC Act, is coupled with the offence of conspiracy, there is no requirement of prior sanction of the Magistrate.

It was held that the High Court's view was contrary to the decision of the Supreme Court in Pravin Chandra Mody v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1965 (1) SCR 269, wherein it was held that prior sanction under Section 155 CrPC was not needed when the non-cognizalbe offence is being jointly investigated along with a cognizable offence.

With regards High Court quashing the proceedings on failure to obtain prior sanction u/s 155 of J & K CrPC , the bench said that,

"The offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a substantive offence and the investigation in respect of the offence under the PC Act, when considered and coupled with the offence of conspiracy, there is no requirement of prior sanction of the Magistrate. Merely because the offence of the conspiracy may be involved,investigation into the substantive offence, i.e in the present case, offence under the PC Act which is cognizable is not required to await a sanction from the Magistrate, as that would lead to a considerable delay and affect the investigation and it will derail the investigation."

"Therefore, the High Court has erred in quashing the criminal proceedings on theground that as the offence under Section 120B which is a non-cognizable, prior sanction as required under Section 155 of J&K Cr.P.C.is not obtained. The view taken by the High Court is just contrary to the law laid down by this Court in the case of Pravin Chandra Mody (supra),which has been subsequently relied upon by this Court in the cases of Brij Lal Palta (supra); Satya Narain Musadi (supra); Madan Lal (supra);and Bhanwar Singh (supra)".

Also held in this judgment :  PC Act - More Time Taken For Preliminary Enquiry Not A Ground To Quash Criminal Proceedings

Case Title: The State of Jammu and Kashmir v Dr Saleem ur Rehman| CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1170 of 2021

Citation: LL 2021 SC 618

Coram: Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna

Appearances : Senior Advocate R Venkatramani for the State; Senior Advocate R Basant for the respondent


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