Magistrate Is Not Required To Record Reasons For Summoning Accused in Cases Instituted On Police Report: SC [Read Judgment]
Supreme Court has re-iterated that in a case based upon the police report, the Magistrate is not required to record any reason at the stage of issuing the summons to the accused.
Allowing appeal against a Gujarat High Court Judgment the bench of Justices R. Banumati and Indira Banerjee has explained the procedure to be adopted by a Magistrate in a case instituted upon a Police Report.
The Bench observed that in summoning the accused, it is not necessary for the Magistrate to examine the merits and demerits of the case and whether the materials collected is adequate for supporting the conviction.
The court is not required to evaluate the evidence and its merits. The standard to be adopted for summoning the accused under Section 204 Cr.P.C. is not the same at the time of framing the charge. For issuance of summons under Section 204 Cr.P.C., the expression used is "there is sufficient ground for proceeding….."; whereas for framing the charges, the expression used in Sections 240 and 246 IPC is "there is ground for presuming 16 that the accused has committed an offence…..".
It is also held that at the stage of taking cognizance of the offence based upon a police report and for issuance of summons under Section 204 Cr.P.C., detailed enquiry regarding the merits and demerits of the case is not required.
According to the bench the fact that after investigation of the case, the police has filed charge sheet along with the materials thereon may be considered as sufficient ground for proceeding for issuance of summons under Section 204 Cr.P.C.
In so far as taking cognizance based on the police report, the Magistrate has the advantage of the charge sheet, statement of witnesses and other evidence collected by the police during the investigation. Investigating Officer/SHO collects the necessary evidence during the investigation conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and in accordance with the rules of investigation. Evidence and materials so collected are sifted at the level of the Investigating Officer and thereafter, charge sheet was filed. In appropriate cases, opinion of the Public Prosecutor is also obtained before filing the charge sheet. The court thus has the advantage of the police report along with the materials placed before it by the police.
Under Section 190 (1)(b) Cr.P.C., where the Magistrate has taken cognizance of an offence upon a police report and the Magistrate is satisfied that there is sufficient ground for proceeding, the Magistrate directs issuance of process.
In case of taking cognizance of an offence based upon the police report, the Magistrate is not required to record reasons for issuing the process. In cases instituted on a police report, the Magistrate is only required to pass an order issuing summons to the accused. Such an order of issuing summons to the accused is based upon subject to satisfaction of the Magistrate considering the police report and other documents and satisfying himself that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
In a case based upon the police report, at the stage of issuing the summons to the accused, the Magistrate is not required to record any reason. In case, if the charge sheet is barred by law or where there is lack of jurisdiction or when the charge sheet is rejected or not taken on file, then the Magistrate is required to record his reasons for rejection of the charge sheet and for not taking on file.
The bench held that in the present case, cognizance of the offence has been taken by taking into consideration the charge sheet filed by the police for the offence under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 477A and 120B IPC, the order for issuance of process without explicitly recording reasons for its satisfaction for issue of process does not suffer from any illegality.