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Balwant Singh and ors. Vs. State of Bihar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 863 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1977SC2265; 1977CriLJ1935; (1977)4SCC448; [1978]1SCR604; 1977(9)LC671(SC)
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)
AppellantBalwant Singh and ors.
RespondentState of Bihar
Advocates: S.K. Sinha, Adv
Prior historyFrom the Judgment and order dated March 28, 1977 of the Patna High Court in Crl. Misc. No. 824 of 1977
Excerpt:
criminal - withdrawal of prosecution - section 321 of criminal procedure code, 1973 - public prosecutor directed by district magistrate to withdraw from case relying on subsequent inquiry report submitted after matter seized by court - public prosecutor to consider interest of justice before acting on direction of dm - prosecutor bound to act in accordance with provisions of code - discretionary power vested upon him - court not bound by executive suggestions - district magistrate and public prosecutor failed to exercise discretionary powers vested upon them - held, application for leave liable to be dismissed. - indian penal code, 1890.section 376: [dr. arijit pasayat & asok kumar ganguly, jj] rape non-mention of name of accused in f.i.r. accused was a truck driver and not personally..........justice-not political favours nor party pressures nor like concerns. of course, the interests of public justice being the paramount consideration they may transcend and overflow the legal justice of the particular litigation. for instance, communal feuds which may have been amicably settled should not re-erupt on account of one or two prosecutions pending. labour disputes which, might have given rise to criminal cases, when settled, might probably be another instance where the interests of public justice in the broader connotation may perhaps warrant withdrawal from the prosecution. other instances also may be given where public justice may be served by withdrawal even apart from the merits of the case. in the present case, the situation is totally different. here is an ordinary.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V.R. Krishna Iyer, J.

1. We are not inclined to grant leave for reasons which we may indicate briefly so that similar error may not be committed later.

2. The sole consideration for the Public Prosecutor when he decides to withdraw from a prosecution is the larger factor of the administration of justice-not political favours nor party pressures nor like concerns. Of course, the interests of public justice being the paramount consideration they may transcend and overflow the legal justice of the particular litigation. For instance, communal feuds which may have been amicably settled should not re-erupt on account of one or two prosecutions pending. Labour disputes which, might have given rise to criminal cases, when settled, might probably be another instance where the interests of public justice in the broader connotation may perhaps warrant withdrawal from the prosecution. Other instances also may be given where public justice may be served by withdrawal even apart from the merits of the case. In the present case, the situation is totally different. Here is an ordinary criminal case where the first informant gave information to the police, investigation followed and charge sheet was filed. Thereafter, the learned magistrate who tried the case framed charges. Somehow-by a suspiciously mysterious process-the State Criminal Intelligence Department went into the veracity of the prosecution story by a second investigation. At that time the criminal case was already pending and the Magistrate was seized of the case. There was no reason for the police to start off on a second investigatory course. Morever, the District Magistrate, on a report from the Superintendent of Police examined the matter and satisfied himself that the second investigation was truer than the first and therefore came to the conclusion that the case which the police brought before the Court was a false one and directed the Public Prosecutor to withdraw from the case. The statutory responsibility for deciding upon withdrawal squarely vests on the public prosecutor. It is non-negotiable and cannot be bartered away in favour of those who may be above him on the administrative side. The Criminal Procedure Code is the only matter of the public prosecutor and he has to guide himself with reference to Criminal Procedure Code only. So guided, the consideration which must weigh with him is, whether the broader cause of public justice will be advanced or retarded by the withdrawal or continuance of the prosecution. As we have already explained, public justice may be a much wider conception than the justice in a particular case. Here, the Public Prosecutor is ordered to move for withdrawal. This is not proper for a District Magistrate to do. Indeed, it is not proper to have the public prosecutor ordered about. It is entirely within the discretion of the public prosecutor. It may be open to the District Magistrate to bring to the notice of the Public Prosecutor materials and suggest to him to consider whether the prosecution should be withdrawn or not. He cannot command where he can only command. In this case, the facts clearly bring out that the Public Prosecutor obeyed and not acted and therefore the statutory responsibility vested in him was not properly exercised. If he comes to the conclusion, on the materials passed on to him that the case deserves to be withdrawn, he may initiate action in that behalf. Likewise, the Court's order in this case is a puzzle to us. The order says that records have been perused by the court; the District Magistrate has directed the Public Prosecutor; the Public Prosecutor has duly obeyed and the District Magistrate has also mentioned that the Superintendent of Police has reported to him 'to withdraw the case'. The independent judgment brought to bear on the desirability or otherwise of according permission is nil. What is curious is that the Public Prosecutor says that the Court encores that public policy is not involved in this case for the administration of justice. That must be reason why the law must run its course. For justice ordinarily demands that every case must reach its destination, not interrupted en route. If some policy consideration bearing on the administration of justice justifies withdrawal, the court may accord permission; not if no public policy bearing on the administration of justice is involved. We think that surrender of discretion by the Public Prosecutor and the Magistrate are unfortunate. The court has to be vigilant when a case has been pending before it and not succumb to executive suggestion made in the form of application for withdrawal with a bunch of papers tacked on. Moreover, the State should not stultify the court by first stating that there is a true case to be tried and then make a volte face to the effect that on a second investigation the case has been discovered to be false. In these circumstances, we refuse leave.


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