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Yogesh Jagia Vs. Jindl Biochem Pvt. Ltd. - (High Court of Delhi) (10 Jun 2022)

Magistrate can discharge the accused at any stage of the trial if he considers the charge to be groundless

MANU/DE/2143/2022

Criminal

The instant petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) has been filed on behalf of the petitioner seeking an order allowing present petition and quashing the summoning order, qua the Petitioner, issued in complaint case. The Petitioner submitted that Complainant has failed to make out prima facie case of commission of any offence under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).

Section 409 of the IPC necessitates commission of breach of trust with respect to a property that a person, in his capacity of a public servant or in the way of his business, is entrusted with. The necessary elements constituted in the offence must be strictly proved by the prosecution. It is true that prosecution need to prove the actual mode of misappropriation and once entrustment of all dominion over the property is established, then it would be for the accused to explain as to how the property was dealt with. In the instant case, the Court below while issuing summons against the petitioner has overlooked the facts that no material on the record to establish any misappropriation of the money of the escrow account and therefore, the Court below has passed the impugned order without application of mind.

In proceedings initiated on the criminal complaint, exercise of the inherent powers to quash the proceedings is called for only in case where the complaint does not disclose any offence or is frivolous. It is well settled that the power under Section 482 CrPC should be sparingly invoked with circumspection; it should be exercised to see that the process of law is not abused or misused.

Summoning of an accused in a criminal case is a serious matter. Criminal law cannot be set into motion as a matter of course. The complainant has to bring on record material to support his allegations in the complaint to have criminal law set into motion. The order of the Magistrate summoning the accused must reflect that he has applied his mind to the facts of the case and the law applicable thereto. He has to examine the nature of allegations made in the complaint and the evidence both oral and documentary in support thereof and would that be sufficient for the complainant to succeed in bringing charge home to the accused. It is not that the Magistrate is the silent spectator at the time of recording of preliminary evidences before summoning of the accused. The Magistrate has to carefully scrutinize the evidence brought on record and may even himself put questions to the complainant and his witnesses to elicit answers to find out the truthfulness of the allegations or otherwise and then examine if any offence is prima facie committed by all or any of the accused.

It is settled law that the Magistrate can discharge the accused at any stage of the trial if he considers the charge to be groundless, but that does not mean that the accused cannot approach the High Court under Section 482 of the Code or Article 227 of the Constitution to have the proceeding quashed against him when the complaint does not make out any case against him and still he must undergo the agony of a criminal trial.

In view the facts and circumstances as well as allegations in the complaint, the basic essential ingredients of criminal breach of trust are missing. Criminal proceedings are not shortcut for other remedies. Since no case of criminal breach of trust or dishonest intention of inducement is made out and the necessary ingredients of Section 409 of the IPC are missing and the Magistrate concerned while passing the summoning order has certainly not considered the facts of the case in a proper manner and also not assigned any reason for summoning the petitioner, the summoning order and the complaint qua the petitioner is liable to be quashed. The impugned order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate is set aside and the complaint is also quashed qua the petitioner. Petition under Section 482 of the CrPC is allowed.

Tags : CHARGES   PROCEEDINGS   QUASHING OF  

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