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High Court Cannot Quash Criminal Proceedings U/Sec 482 CrPC Relying On 'Draft Charge Sheet' Which Is Yet To Be Filed Before Magistrate: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
12 Nov 2021 2:37 PM GMT
High Court Cannot Quash Criminal Proceedings U/Sec 482 CrPC Relying On Draft Charge Sheet Which Is Yet To Be Filed Before Magistrate: Supreme Court
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A High Court cannot place reliance on a "draft charge-sheet" which is yet to be placed before the Magistrate to quash the criminal proceedings under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment delivered on Friday (12 November 2021).The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna observed that a High Court can neither direct an investigating agency...

A High Court cannot place reliance on a "draft charge-sheet" which is yet to be placed before the Magistrate to quash the criminal proceedings under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment delivered on Friday (12 November 2021).

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna observed that a High Court can neither direct an investigating agency to submit the investigation report before it nor can it quash a criminal proceeding under Section 482 relying on such a report when the report has not been submitted to the Magistrate. 

In this case, an FIR was registered against the accused under Sections 465, 467, 468 and 120B of the IPC by the Gandhigram Police Station, Rajkot on a complaint. In a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC filed by some of the accused, the High Court directed that the investigation may continue but the charge-sheet be filed only with its permission. A draft charge-sheet was placed before the High Court for offences punishable under Sections 385, 389, 418, 477, 506 (2), 120B and 34 of the IPC. Taking note of the contents of draft charge sheet, the High Court quashed the FIR against some of the accused.

In appeal, the Apex Court bench took serious exception to the procedure adopted by the High Court.

"In its interim order dated 2 May 2016, the High Court allowed the investigation to continue against the accused but directed that the final report cannot be submitted to the Magistrate without its permission. The direction was not supported by any reasoning whatsoever. Even at the interim stage, the High Court must demonstrate an application of mind and furnish reasons for issuing any interlocutory direction, which is capable of being tested before this Court in an appropriate case. The interim direction amounted to an unnecessary interference in the investigative process envisaged under the CrPC. The High Court transgressed the scope of the powers conferred upon it by restricting the police from submitting the charge-sheet before the Magistrate and by further perusing the contents of the "draft charge-sheet" in the proceedings before it.", the court said.

The court said that the police have a statutory right to investigate a cognizable offence under Sections 154 and 156 of the CrPC.

"Sub-Section 2 (i) of Section 173 of the CrPC provides that after the completion of investigation, the police officer in charge of the police station shall forward the final report to the Magistrate who is empowered to take cognizance of the offence alleged in the report. Before taking cognizance of the offence, the Magistrate has to apply their own mind and is not bound by the conclusions drawn by the police. In Pratibha v. Rameshwari Devi, a two-judge Bench of this Court has held that the High Court can neither direct an investigating agency to submit the investigation report before it nor can it quash a criminal proceeding under Section 482 relying on such a report when the report has not been submitted to the Magistrate.", it noted.

The court added that the proceedings before the High Court have followed an unusual, if not extraordinary course. The judgment also noted various factual aspects in this case and concluded that the quashing of the FIR by the High Court was unwarranted.

"The High Court transgressed the limitations on the exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC in quashing the FIR and all consequential proceedings. There has been a clear abuse of the process before the High Court.", the court observed while setting aside the judgment.


Case name and Citation: Jitul Jentilal Kotecha vs State of Gujarat | LL 2021 SC 642

Case no. and Date: CrA 1328-1333 of 2021 | 12 November 2021

Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna

Counsel: Adv Nikhil Goel for appellant


Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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