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Sanjay Kumar Rai Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (07 May 2021)

Orders framing charges or refusing discharge neither interlocutory nor final and not affected by bar under Section 397 (2) of Cr.PC



Present appeal emanates from the judgment passed by the High Court whereby a criminal revision against the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, refusing to discharge the Appellant under Sections 504 and 506 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 ["IPC"], has been turned down.

The High Court has dismissed the Criminal Revision on the ground of lack of jurisdiction under Section 397 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). The High Court did not examine the issue in detail to find out whether the continuation of proceedings will amount to abuse of process of law in present case.

The correct position of law as laid down in Madhu Limaye v. The State of Maharashtra, is that orders framing charges or refusing discharge are neither interlocutory nor final in nature and are therefore, not affected by the bar of Section 397(2) of CrPC. The High Court is imbued with inherent jurisdiction to prevent abuse of process or to secure ends of justice having regard to the facts and circumstance of individual cases.

Further, it is well settled that, the trial Court while considering the discharge application is not to act as a mere post office. The Court has to sift through the evidence in order to find out whether there are sufficient grounds to try the suspect. The Court has to consider the broad probabilities, total effect of evidence and documents produced and the basic infirmities appearing in the case and so on. Likewise, the Court has sufficient discretion to order further investigation in appropriate cases, if need be.

The High Court has committed jurisdictional error by not entertaining the revision petition on merits and overlooking the fact that, 'discharge' is a valuable right provided to the Accused. In line with the fact that the High Court and the court below have not examined the fairness of criminal investigation in this case and other related aspects concerning improvement of witness statements, it is necessary for the High Court to reconsider the entire matter and decide the revision petition afresh. Accordingly, the impugned order is set aside and case remanded back to the High Court for its reconsideration in accordance with law. The appeal is disposed of.

Relevant : Madhu Limaye v. The State of Maharashtra MANU/SC/0103/1977


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