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The State of Punjab Vs. Gurdip Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1980CriLJ1027
AppellantThe State of Punjab
RespondentGurdip Singh and ors.
Cases ReferredSubhash Chander v. State
Excerpt:
- - the first ground urged was that the acts complained of were motivated by the accused not for personal interest or bias against the complainant or his son but were done in bona fide discharge of their official duties. in all civilised countries, like ours, the police has not been given the authority to use third degree and inhuman methods in order to obtain confessions from suspects or criminals. that consideration is not towards promotion of the interest of justice which warrants prosecution of offenders under the law, however, high and well placed in life they may be. but here the underlying motive behind such suggestion appears to be to keep the police force in pampering good humour failing which the maintenance of law and order would seemingly jeopardise......the trial of the complainant in the court of session made considerable progress when the public prosecutor sought permission of the court under section 321, cr.p.c. to withdraw from the prosecution of the case. the grounds mentioned by the public prosecutor were that the accused had no personal interest or bias against the complainant or his son and all what they did was bona fide in discharge of their official duties. it was also pleaded that the withdrawal was essential so as to keep up the morale of the police force which was the prime agency charged with the maintenance of law and order, and in broader interests of public justice. the public prosecutor also took the plea that the trial had been long and protracted causing suffering to the accused and employment of time of.....
Judgment:

M.M. Punchhi, J.

1. The State of Punjab has filed this petition to seek revision. of an order dated 6-12-1978 passed by Shri D.B. Gupta, Additional Sessions Judge. Ludhiana, whereby he refused permission to the Public Prosecutor to withdraw from the Sessions trial 'State V. Gurdip Singh' pending before him.

2. The case reveals a grim and sordid episode. In 1973, the complainant Moti Sagar filed a complaint against Gurdip Singh and others; all police officials, alleging that he and his son were illegally detained by the accused who caused them severe beatings for obtaining their confessional statements. For that purpose, it was alleged that even urine Was poured in the mouth of the son of the complainant. On such allegations, the trial of the complainant in the Court of Session made considerable progress when the Public Prosecutor sought permission of the Court under Section 321, Cr.P.C. to withdraw from the prosecution of the case. The grounds mentioned by the Public Prosecutor were that the accused had no personal interest or bias against the complainant or his son and all what they did was bona fide in discharge of their official duties. It was also pleaded that the withdrawal was essential so as to keep up the morale of the police force which was the prime agency charged with the maintenance of law and order, and in broader interests of public justice. The Public Prosecutor also took the plea that the trial had been long and protracted causing suffering to the accused and employment of time of the Court. The trial Court rejected the prayer of the Public Prosecutor being of the view that the grounds put forth by the Public Prosecutor were not grounds which apparently furthered the cause of the administration of justice. that view of the Court is the subject matter of challenge in this revision petition.

3. Before adverting to the grounds of withdrawal pressed and reiterated by the learned Deputy Advocate General, Punjab, it would be appropriate to quote herein the relevant extract of Section 321 of the Cr. P.C.:

The Public Prosecutor or Assistant Public Prosecutor in charge of a case may, with the consent of the Court, at any time before the judgment is pronounced, withdraw from the prosecution of any person either generally or in respect of any one or more of the offences for which he is tried and, upon such withdrawal,

(a) if it is made before a charge has been framed, the accused shall be discharged in respect of such offence or offences;

(b) if it is made after a charge has been framed or when under this Code no charge is required, he shall be acquitted in respect of such offence or offences:

Provided that where such offence-

X X X X X

4. The Supreme Court time and again emphasised that Section 494 of the Cr.P.C. 1898 and Section 321 of the new Code was in general terms and did not circumscribe the powers of Public Prosecutor to seek permission to withdraw from the prosecution. The essential consideration which was found implicit in the grant of the power was that it should be in the interest of administration of justice and it was the duty of the Court to see that in furtherance of that cause permission is not sought on grounds extraneous to interest of justice, or that offences which are offences against the State (Sic) go unpunished merely because the Government as a general policy or expediency, unconnected With its duty to prosecute offenders under the law, directs the Public Prosecutor to withdraw from the prosecution, and a Public Prosecutor merely does so at its behest. Thus ultimately both the Public Prosecutor in seeking permission, and the Court granting it. have to be guided by considerations which must always be in the interests of administration of justice, and that is the touchstone on which the question in the instant case must be determined whether the prosecution should be allowed to be withdrawn. These principles are forthcoming in State of Bihar v. Ram Naresh Pandey : 1957CriLJ567 , M.N. Sankaranarayanan Nair v. P.V. Balakrishnan : 1972CriLJ301 and State of Orissa v. Chandrika Mohapatra : 1977CriLJ773 .

5. In a recent case which arose from this Court, the Supreme Court in Subhash Chander v. State (Chandigarh Admn.) 1980 Cur LJ (Cri) 36 : 1980 Cri LJ 324 while noticing its earlier decisions quoted above, observed as follows:

The functionary clothed by the Code with the power to withdraw from the prosecution is the Public Prosecutor. The Public Prosecutor is not the executive, nor a flunkey of political power. Invested by the statute with a discretion to withdraw or not to withdraw, it is for him to apply an independent mind and exercise his discretion. In doing so, he acts as a limb of the judicative process, not as an extension of the executive.

6. In Ram Naresh Fandey's case 1957 Cri LJ 567(supra) the Supreme Court took the view that the judicial function implicit in the exercise of judicial discretion for granting the consent should normally mean that the Court has to satisfy itself that the executive function of the Public Prosecutor has not been improperly exercised, or that it is not an attempt to interfere with the normal course of justice for illegitimate reasons or purposes. Whereas in the aforesaid case, the functions of Public Prosecutor were taken to be executive but in Subhash Chander's case 1980 Cri LJ 324 (SC) (supra), the functions of Public Prosecutor have been categorised as part of the judicative process and not as an extension of the executive. Be that as it may, the Public Prosecutor has a statutory function entrusted to him by the Code with a power to withdraw from a prosecution but that too with the consent of the Court. To intercept or scuttle an inquiry or a trial in a Court, save in the manner and to the extent provided for in the Code itself, would cleanly be an abuse of the functions entrusted to the Public Prosecutor. Section 321, Cr.P.C, is one of those few exceptions to the uninterrupted flow of the Court process, however, unpalatable the continuance of the prosecution might be to the concerned authorities or the Public Prosecutor in person. To sacrifice a pending case for a wider benefit must be to the satisfaction of the Public Prosecutor alone and not the executive authority behind him to influence the working of his mind.

7. Now it is to be seen whether the reasons put forth by the Public Prosecutor are within the domain of Section 321, Cr.P.C. or are for considerations which can be termed extraneous. Why roust the Public Prosecutor be impelled to opt for a course which has the effect of causing acquittal of the accused on his withdrawal from the prosecution. The first ground urged was that the acts complained of were motivated by the accused not for personal interest or bias against the complainant or his son but were done in bona fide discharge of their official duties. One has to scoff at the very suggestion of such a ground. In all civilised countries, like ours, the police has not been given the authority to use third degree and inhuman methods in order to obtain confessions from suspects or criminals. A sense of revulsion arises on the suggestion that pouring of urine in the mouth of a human being would be part of the official duties of the police., The second ground taken up was that the withdrawal was appropriate to keep up the morale of the police force which is the prime agency charged with the maintenance of law and order and in broader interests of public justice. that consideration is not towards promotion of the interest of justice which warrants prosecution of offenders under the law, however, high and well placed in life they may be. But here the underlying motive behind such suggestion appears to be to keep the police force in pampering good humour failing which the maintenance of law and order would seemingly jeopardise. In other words, let the police force break the law in the name of maintaining it and the Public Prosecutor instead of prosecuting the offending police officers would prefer to turn his Nelson's eye to the subject. In a welfare State and a democracy, broader interest of public justice would warrant that the police force is not above the law but sub-servient to it. The third ground advanced was that the trial against the police officers had been long and protracted and the accused had suffered great agony, besides Court time had been employed. Experience tells us that delays are inevitable in our judicial system and the processual laws make it essential that a trial takes place in the given manner, providing safeguards to the prosecution and the accused. The accused could not be termed to have suffered more then the complainant as a party to the proceedings, and the ordeal of the trial must be treated to be common to both the parties.

8. All the reasons advanced by the Public Prosecutor are extraneous to the promotion of the cause of justice and every judicial process has only that goal in view. The request of the Public Prosecutor was obviously to stiffle the legitimate cause of the complainant to bring the culprits to book if they were so found guilty. that effort cannot be permitted, in the circumstances, to be scuttled by the Public Prosecutor. The trial Court rightly saw through the game and declined the permission by rejecting the application. There is no reason to differ from the view taken by the trial Court.

9. Resultantly, this petition fails and is hereby dismissed.


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