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Alim and ors. Vs. Taufiq and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1982CriLJ1264
AppellantAlim and ors.
RespondentTaufiq and anr.
Cases ReferredMitar Singh v. Sarjit
Excerpt:
.....the police case diary. nor has he power to take oral evidence save where a specific provision like section 306 enjoins. if made up facts unsupported by any material are reported by the police and a sessions offence is made to appear, it is perfectly open to the sessions court under section 227 cr......stand their trial under section 209 cr.p.c. thereafter some more evidence was recorded by learned trial magistrate including the cross-examination of informant and summar jahan; that evidence consisted of statements of smt. azamat jahan (p.w. 3, nazakat, rama shanker constable (p.w. 5, sri rafat ali (p.w. 6, and ram babu (p.w. 7). it was thereafter on 7-8-'80 that munsif magistrate discharged the accused purporting to act under section 245(2) of cr.p.c. a revision against aforesaid order was preferred by respondent no. 2 which was allowed by sri chandra prakash. it is criminal revision no. 198 of '80. aggrieved by this order revisionists have come up in revision before this court.3. on behalf of revisionists the contention put forward was that the impugned order has undone the effect of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

N.N. Sharma, J.

1. This revision is directed against order of Sri Chandra Prakash learned Sessions Judge Moradabad dated 30-3-1981 in Criminal Revision No. 198 of 1980 by which the order of discharge recorded by Sri S. K. Samadhya, Munsif Magistrate III Moradabad in case No. 1031/9 of 78 was quashed and the learned Magistrate was ordered to proceed in accordance with law in the light of observations made by learned Judge in his order.

2. It appears that these proceedings were initiated on complaint by Smt. Taufiqa Khatoon against the revisionist on 1st Sept. 77 Under Section 396 IPC in the court of C. J. M. Moradabad. Briefly stated the-allegations were that the revisionists were colluding with local police at Police Station Moghalpura in Moradabad city; it was at their instance that on 6-8-'77 while male members of the family of complainant were in lock up all these revisionists variously armed intruded the house of complainant at the dead of night and resorted to indis-scriminate looting; when the ladies etc. protested they were threatened with dire consequences; the revisionists also told to reduce them to status of prostitutes and to cut their noses etc.; thus they ransacked the house and looted the property worth Rs. 5000/-. A report about the occurrence was lodged at Police Station Kotwali but it was not faithfully recorded; police did not take any action in the matter and so the complaint was filed in the court of Magistrate, Statement of Smt. Taufiq a complainant was recorded Under Section 200 and of Smt. Taiaba Khatoon was recorded Under Section 202 of Cr.P.C. The revisionists were summoned Under Sections 148, 380 and 452 IPC Criminal Revision No. 166 of 77 was preferred by respondent No. 2 against the aforesaid order as the revisionists were not summoned Under Section 395 IPC That revision was rejected on 9-2-1978 bv Sri S. K. Jain learned 6th Additional Sessions Judge, Moradabad with the observations that it was open to the Magistrate to record the evidence and to assess the same at the stage of framing the charge and if an offence Under Section 395 IPC was made out at that stage the revisionists could be committed to the Court of Session to stand their trial Under Section 209 Cr.P.C. Thereafter some more evidence was recorded by learned trial Magistrate including the cross-examination of informant and Summar Jahan; that evidence consisted of statements of Smt. Azamat Jahan (P.W. 3, Nazakat, Rama Shanker constable (P.W. 5, Sri Rafat Ali (P.W. 6, and Ram Babu (P.W. 7). It was thereafter on 7-8-'80 that Munsif Magistrate discharged the accused purporting to act Under Section 245(2) of Cr.P.C. A revision against aforesaid order was preferred by respondent No. 2 which was allowed by Sri Chandra Prakash. It is Criminal Revision No. 198 of '80. Aggrieved by this order revisionists have come up in revision before this Court.

3. On behalf of revisionists the contention put forward was that the impugned order has undone the effect of the earlier order by Sri S. K. Jain. That order by Sri S. K. Jain dated 9-2-'78 was an earlier order by a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction and operated as a bar to the order recorded by Sri Chandra Prakash on 30-3-'81. It was further maintained that if trial Magistrate had to summon the revisionists Under Section 395 IPC which was exclusively triable by Court of Session entire evidence must have been recorded under proviso appended to Section 202(2) Cr.P.C. when Magistrate chose to summon the revi-1982 Cri. L. J./80 VII sionists for offences exclusively triable by himself there was no other stage left for recording the evidence except Under Section 244 Cr.P.C. After recording the evidence under the aforesaid provision the accused could be discharged Under Section 245(2). It was a valid discharge order when the Magistrate was trying the case as a warrant case for offences well within his competence. There was no occasion for committal of the accused to the Court of Session. If the revisionists were aggrieved against the order of discharge they could have filed an appeal in this Court Under Section 378 Cr.P.C. There is no stage for enquiry at all in cases exclusively triable by Court of Session in between Sections 190 and 209 of the Code vide Lakshmi Brahman v. State (1975 AH WC 375 or 369).

4. I do not subscribe to the aforesaid contentions for following reasons:

(1) Section 378 Cr.P.C. deals with appeals in cases of acquittals. It does not come into play against an order of discharge. Distinction between discharge and acquittal is well established. Discharge is before the framing of the charge while acquittal is after the framing of the charge in a trial. Acquittal operates as a bar for retrial of the offender on the same factg about the same offence while discharge does not operate as a bar vide Section 300 Cr.P.C. The order of discharge was clearly revisable by learned Sessions Judge. The remedy against acquittal is an appeal to the High Court. Under the old Code the Magistrate was empowered to discharge the accused at the stage of inquiry even in cases triable solely by Court of Session Under Sections 207(2)(6) and 209(1) and (2).

(2) The order of Mr, Jain by which he directed the Magistrate to assess the evidence before framing the charge did not operate as a bar in deciding the revision by learned Sessions Judge. It is significant to note thai Mr. Jain decided the case against the order of summoning the accused which is drawn Under Section 204 Cr.P.C. Sri Chandra Prakash decided the revision at a subsequent stage when learned Magistrate assessed the evidence before framing the charge. If the offence was exclusively triable by a Court of Session the Magistrate was duty bound to commit the case at any stage of enquiry or trial irrespective of the fact that evidence had been recorded by him Under Section 244 Cr.P.C. Section 323 of Cr.P.C. which is in point is worded below:Section 323 - Procedure when after commencement of inquiry or trial, Magistrate finds case should be committed: - If, in any inquiry into an offence or a trial before a Magistrate, it appears to him at any stage of the proceedings before signing judgment that the case is one which ought to be tried by the Court of Session, he shall commit it to that court under the provisions hereinbefore contained and thereupon the provisions of Chapter XVIII shall apply to the commitment so made.

This provision does not mean that if Magistrate finds that an order of commitment is to be made proceedings under Chapter XVI are to be commenced de novo. If the Magistrate has already completed the evidence of the complainant and his witnesses it is not necessary for him to take that evidence afresh and the proceedings up to that stage must be regarded as proceedings in an enquiry preliminary to commitment.

(3) In Laxmi Brahmin v. State (supra) the applicants were involved in a case Under Section 302 IPC They surrendered themselves before Magistrate on 2nd Nov. 74, and were taken into custody on the same day. Police failed to submit a charge-sheet against them even after sixty days of their arrest. Applicants moved an application for bail on the ground that they were entitled to bail Under Section 167(2) %oi Criminal Procedure Code on ac-account of failure of Police in submission of charge-sheet within a period of sixty days. Thus the simple point which fell to be considered in the aforesaid case was about the right of an accused to be bailed out Under Section 167(2) of Cr.P.C. It did not lay down that in cases exclusively triable by a Court of Session there was no occasion to record evidence by enquiring Magistrate at all.

Section 167 of Criminal P- C. occurs in Chapter above investigation. It is correct that at the stage of investigation also Magistrate has to perform some functions but such functioning of Magistrate at that stage does not go to show that these proceedings are inquiries. In-, vestigation is the first stage in a criminal proceeding and has to be conducted by Police vide Sections 154 to 176 Chapter XII of the new Code, Their role at that stage is significant and important. Magistrates can order investigation on the following occasions:

1. When a Magistrate take cognizance upon his own knowledge Or suspicion. (Sections 190(1)(c) and 156(3)).

2. Under Section 202 in a case instituted on a complaint.

3. In a non-cognizable case Under Section 155.

4. When the offlcer-in-charge of a police station does not think it necessary to proceed to the spot (Sec. 157(1) proviso (a)) or he sees no sufficient ground to procd with the investigation (proviso (b) ibid) and sends reports in that behalf Under Section 157(2) to the Magistrate. (vide Section 159).

5. When at the end of the investigation the officer-in-charge of a police station sees no ground to proceed further and releases the accused on a bond Under Section 169(Final report).

No investigation can be properly carried out without the help of the Magistrates. Copies of seizure memos as well as other reports are sent forthwith to the Magistrate having jurisdiction, who can also at any lime see the police case diary.

Magistrates have to conduct identification parade and record confessional statements of accused and statements of prosecution witnesses Under Section 164 of Cr.P.C. Such proceedings cannot be treated as inquiries.

(4) Inquiry is the second stage of a criminal proceedings and is always to be conducted by a Magistrate and not by a Police Officer. Inquiry relates to proceedings prior to trial. Under Section 2(g) of the new Code it has been defined in contradistinction with a trial a below:Inquiry means every inquiry other than trial conducted under this Code by a Magistrate or Court.

5. The term 'trial' has not been defined in the Code. It can, however, be distinguished as an original judicial proceeding in a criminal case which ends either in conviction or acquittal of the accused. A judicial proceeding is a proceeding in which evidence is Or may be legally taken on oath. The proceedings in a summon's case after the appearance of the accused or in a warrant case after the charge is drawn are trials.

6. In criminal matters the inquiry is something different from a trial. Inquiry stops when trial begins so all those pro- ceedings before a Magistrate before framing the charge which do not result in conviction or acquittal can be termed as 'inquiry'. Trial pre-supposes the idea of an offence but inquiry relates to offences and matters which are not offences vide security proceedings and other inquiries relating to dispute about possession of immovable properly etc. So the term 'inquiry' is wider than trial.

7. In the old Code of 1872 trial was defined as proceedings taken in a court after the charge had been drawn up and included the punishment of the offender. Such definition of trial was omitted from the 1882 Code, In Code of 1893 the definition of 'inquiry' was altered by heading the phrase 'other than trial' leaving the word 'trial' undefined.

8. On behalf of revisionists reliance was placed upon the head note at page 368 or (376?) In Laxmi Brahman v. State (supra) which reads as below:

The relevant provisions of the Code do not contemplate that before committing the case to Sessions the Magistrate should conduct some proceeding with a view to ascertain Or verify facts. Section 209 of the Code merely requires the Magistrate, taking cognizance of an offence on the basis of a police report, to look into the report and if he finds that the case is triable exclusively by Court of Session to make an order committing the case to Sessions. Since in such a case tfce Magistrate taking cognizance of the offence is not required to conduct any proceeding for ascertaining or verifying facts with a view to commit the case to Sessions, it cannot be' said that the provisions contained in Sections 204, 207 to 209 of the Code contemplate an inquiry under the Code.

Under the new Code of 1973 the Magistrate taking cognizance of the case is merely required to look into the charge-sheet and if he finds that the facts stated therein constitute an offence triable exclusively by a Court of Session he has got to make an order committing the case to Sessions. He is not to inquire into the case and to see whether or not there is a triable case against the accused. Instead that function hast now been entrusted to Sessions Court itself by Section 227.

9. It appears that all these observations were made by the learned Judges with reference to the power to be exercised by inquiring Magistrate under Sec- tion 209 of the Criminal P. C. to remand the accused to judicial custody.

10. The proceedings Under Section 209 of Cr.P.C. relate to committal of the accused in offences exclusively triable by a Court of Session. A mere casual look at the provisions prior to Section 209 and in between Section 190 of Cr.P.C. shall go to disclose that these proceedings are before a Magistrate and evidence has to be recorded by the Magistrate for summoning the accused; he has to record evidence of all the witnesses which are to be examined by the complainant in offences exclusively triable by Court of Session under proviso appended to Section 202(2) of the Code. He has to form an opinion as to whether there is a prima facie case against the accused or not while issuing process Under Section 204 of the Code, there is a mention of the word inquiry Under Section 205(2) of the Code also. In San jay Gandhi v. Union of India : 1978CriLJ642 it was observed (at p. 643 of Cri LJ):

Under the new Code in cases where offence is triable exclusively by the Court of Session. The committing Magistrate has no power to discharge the accused. Nor has he power to take oral evidence save where a specific provision like Section 306 enjoins.

It is also not open to the committal court to launch on a process of satisfying itself that a prima facie case has been made out on the merits. The jurisdiction once vested in him under the earlier Code but has been eliminated now under the present Code. The narrow inspection hole through which the Committing Magistrate has to look at the case limits him merely to ascertain whether the case as disclosed by the police report appears to the Magistrate to show an offence triable solely by the Court of Session. If it is so, the Magistrate has simply to commit for trial before the Court of Session. If, by error, a wrong section of the Penal Code is quoted, ha may look into that aspect. If made up facts unsupported by any material are reported by the police and a Sessions offence is made to appear, it is perfectly open to the Sessions Court Under Section 227 Cr. P, C. to discharge the accused.

At page 515(of AIR SC :at p. 643 of Cri LJ) it was further observed:

In our view, the narrow inspection hole through which the committing Magistrate has to look at the case limits him merely to ascertain whether the case, as disclosed by the police report, appears to the Magistrate to show an offence triable solely by the Court of Session. Assuming the facts, to be correct as stated in the police report, if the offence is plainly one Under Section 201 IPC the Magistrate has simply to commit for trial before the Court of Session. If by error, a wrong section of the Penal Code is quoted, he may look into that aspect.

11. Thus it is obvious that the narrow inspection hole through which Magistrate has to do the screening shall constitute an inquiry even though the power of Magistrate to discharge the accused Under Sections 207(a)(vi) and 209(1) and (2) as vested in him under the old Code has been taken away now in cases triable exclusively by a Court of Session.

12. A similar point came up for consideration before the learned Judges of the Rajasthan High Court in a Full Bench case reported in Swaroop Singh v. State of Rajasthan (1976 Cri LJ 1655) where it was. observed (at p. 16157):

The proceedings taken Under Section 209 by the Magistrate would squarely fall within the ambit of the term 'inquiry' and the Magistrate has a power Under Section 309(2) of the Code to remand the accused to custody if inquiry Under Section 209 is adjourned Or postponed by him.

Section 209 enjoins a duty on Magistrate before the accused is committed to the Court of Session that he must satisfy himself whether the case exclusively triable by the Sessions Court. It is true that in order to satisfy himself the Magistrate has not to record any evidence or to hear the accused but he is to study the papers that have been placed before him by the police and in that process of study he may take time and may be required to adjourn the case to future date.

That process of study which makes it appears to the Magistrate that the case wag triable exclusively by the Court of Session, does fall within the expression 'Inquiry' as defined in Section 2(g) of the CrIPC

13. I have myself perused the evidence on record and find that the appreciation of evidence as recorded by learned Sessions Judge was not wrong or illegal. When the accusation was made Under Section 395 IPC which is an offence exclusively triable by a Court of Session such assessment of evidence on the yardstick of probabilities and objective circumstances was not open to the learned Magistrate vide Mitar Singh v. Sarjit (1970 All Cri R 220). After coming in operation of new Code of Criminal Procedure (Act No. 2 of 74) Chapter XVIII which related to committal proceedings and was termed as inquiry as provided under the old Cr.P.C. (Act No. 5 of 1898) has been abolished.

14. So the Magistrate had no power to discharge the accused if the evidence at any stage of inquiry Or trial disclosed an offence exclusively cognizable by a Court of Session. Thus the order of discharge was rightly held by learned trial Judge as beyond the jurisdiction of Magistrate who by making the same simply usurped the jurisdiction of the Court of Session.

15. The revision fails as devoid of force. Stay order is- vacated. Send the record at once to court concerned for a quick despatch.


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