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Ved Parkash Sawhney Vs. R.A. Wania and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Miscellaneous (Main) Appeal No. 59 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1969Delhi1; 4(1968)DLT668; [1969]24STC44(Delhi)
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 526
AppellantVed Parkash Sawhney
RespondentR.A. Wania and anr.
Advocates: B.B. Lal,; N.K. Anand,; Keshav Dayal and;
Excerpt:
.....the mind of the accased that learned magistrate's mind is prejudiced. (i) that the attitude of the learned magistrate and issuing ntoice for disobedience to shri tirath singh who was never served and about whom false report has been made and summon has been affixed, clearly indicats his prejudice mind. (j) that by the above threatening attitude of the learned magistrate towards witnesses and ironical remarks regarding accused and his counsel creates apprehension in the mind of the accused that he will nto have fail trial in the court of this learned magistrate. refusal in presence of some has some meaning, but to rely upon such false report and immediately without waiting for witnesses passing hurriedly vindictive orders clearly creates apprehension in the mind of the accused that he..........been to this court once again as recently as february, 1968 on revision against an order of the learned magistrate in regard to the summoning of witnesses for the defense and 0m parkash j. varied the order of the learned magistrate and directed the witnesses to appear in the trial court on 12th february, 1908, the transfer application proceeds to state inter alia:- '2.that on 26th july 1966 statement of accused was recorded under section 342 cr p.c. uptil this time adjournments were being given as prosecution wanted to file documents. even for statement of accused adjournments were given as senior counsel for the complainant was nto available. since learned magistrate was influeneed by the facts of delay and case being an old one; the above facts have been mentioned to explain that.....
Judgment:

I.D. Dua, C.J.

(1) This is an anpSication ander section 526 Criminal Procedure Code for transfer of a criminal complaint under section 483 and 485, Indian Penal Code filed by Shri R.4. Wania, Manager Tata Od Mills Co., Ltd., against the present petitioner Ved Parkash Sawhney This complaint was filed as far back as 1st August 1958 and an order for farther enquiry was made on 10th April 1964. The statement of the accused under Section 342, Criminal Procedure Code was recorded on 26th July 1966.

(2) The accused against whom this case has been pending for the last more than nine vears was originally discharged of the offence under sections 483 and 488, Indian Penal Code for infringement of trade marks, but this order was reversed by the High Court. The matter has also been to this Court once again as recently as February, 1968 on revision against an order of the learned Magistrate in regard to the summoning of witnesses for the defense and 0m Parkash J. varied the order of the learned Magistrate and directed the witnesses to appear in the trial Court on 12th February, 1908, The transfer application proceeds to state inter alia:-

'2.That on 26th July 1966 statement of accused was recorded under section 342 Cr P.C. uptil this time adjournments were being given as prosecution wanted to file documents. Even for statement of accused adjournments were given as senior counsel for the complainant was nto available. Since learned Magistrate was influeneed by the facts of delay and case being an old one; the above facts have been mentioned to explain that delay was caused by prosecution and nto by accused.

* *

(3) That the accused appeared on 12th February 1968 but the file had nto been received by the learned Magistrate hence the case was adjourned to 27th February 1938 when the learned Magistrate on account of toher Government work did nto come to court and case was adjourned to 28th February 1968. On 28th February 1968 following order was passad. Counsel for the complainant is present and accused is also present. Accused should file complete address of one witness. File be put up for defense evidence on 5th March 1968. All the witnesses be summoned for 5th March 1968. sd/- 28th February, On 5th March 1968, the following order was passed :- 'Counsel for complainant present. Accused present. Perma Nand witness called. Against Permanand bailable warrant for Rs. 500.00 and ntoice under Section 484.A Criminal Procedure Code be issued. Summon on the house of Tirath Singh was affixed. thereforee be is served. It is clear that be refused to accept summons. So against Tirath Singh bailable warrant of same amount be issued and ntoice U/s. 485-A Cr.PC. be issued against him. On the summon of Mtoi Ram there is report that he refuses to accept summons. Bailable warrant for Rs 500.00be issued. R.C.Pandev and Bimal Pershad be summoned. Case to come up on 13th March 1988. The summons and warrants be served specially. 5th March 1908. sd/-

(4) That on 5th March, 1968, i.e. on the date of hearing, Shri Kishan Chand brtoher of Shri Permanand submitted an application that 'My brtoher Permanand has fallen ill and is nto able to attend the court, Medical Certificate is attached and it is requested that some toher date be fixed. Order of the learned Magistrate on this application reads as follows; - 'Presented by Kishen Chand at 2.45 P.M. Orders were passed at 12.P.M. Place on file. sd/- Magistrate, 5th March, 1868'. Dr J.R. Mehra's Certificate reads as follows:- 'Certified that Shri Permanand son of Shri Goverdhan Das whose signatures are given above has been suffering from Dysentry since last night. He is under my treatment. I advise him to take rest for 3 days, sd/- 5th March, 1968.'

(5) That on 13th March, 1968 application for stay of proceedings was moved and the learned Magistrate stayed the proceedings. He could nto issue ntoice and take statement of Permanand under Section 485-A Cr. P, but he called upon him put questions and answers were recorded after stay order was passed and the defense witness was asked to appear as an accused on 30th March, 1968'. Reasonable apprehension lor nto getting afair and impartial trial is stated by the accused in the following words:-

'13* * * (a) That there is feeling in the mind of the learned Magistrate that his previous order regarding discharging one witness although he was nto present in court and issuing warrants for defense witnesses although they were nto served, was set aside by High Court of Delhi and he gave vent to his feelings by passing remarks on 5th of March I have prepared grounds for your going to High Court again.' The accused-petitioner requested him that he be permitted to call his counsel but the learned Magistrate remarked. 'You may call him. What your counsel will do? However I would also like to see bids 'SHAKAL' as he has nto shown 'SHAKAL' for a long time. I have dictated the order'. (b) That the learned Magistrate intentionally flouted the orders of the High Court at Delhi by fixing very short date of five days (i.e. 29th February, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th of March) for defense witnesses to be served when they are residents of different places. (c) That the reports on the summons bear the same date i.e. 4th of March signed by the same person. The wording on summons clearly indicate that these reports were dictated and the person, process server whose name is nto legible has written wrong reports intentionally. (d) That it is impossible for one process server to go to different places, in one day and get service affected unless some special arrangement is made. The summons were nto sent to any S.H.O. who effected the service is nto known. (e) Shri Tirath Singh is retired Sub Inspector Police about whom following is the report which on the face of it is nto believable. That summon on the residential house is affixed. Many a times I have been there, but I could nto meet him. None else received summon,' sd/-. 4th March. 1968. This sort of service has been accepted by the learned Magistrate as personal service and warrant of arrest was ordered against a retired Sab Inspector and a ntoice under sec. 485-A Cr. P.C. was also issued. This clearly creates apprehension in the mind of the accased that learned Magistrate's mind is prejudiced. (f) That the learned Magistrate was requested that he may wait for some time till some witnesses may turn up but the learned Magistrate was bent upon passing such order and so the order was passed, He did nto wait for any witness., there were many cases on the list still to be disposed off. (g) That the application and Medical Certificate was submitted before lunch time to the reader, who directed the brtoher of Shri Permanand to put up personally before the learned Magistrate after lunch time and the same was done. The learned Magistrate instead of informing Shri Kishen Chand brtoher of Permanand that he should ask Permanand to appear on next hearing i.e. 13th March, 1968 he in the order showed an excuse that since application was put up afterwards when case was disposed of the application be filed. (h) That inspire of application he issued warrants and he also issued ntoice under section 485-A Cr. P.C why action be nto taken against Shri Permanand for his disobedience of the order of learned Court. (i) That the attitude of the learned Magistrate and issuing ntoice for disobedience to Shri Tirath Singh who was never served and about whom false report has been made and summon has been affixed, clearly indicats his prejudice mind. (j) That by the above threatening attitude of the learned Magistrate towards witnesses and ironical remarks regarding accused and his counsel creates apprehension in the mind of the accused that he will nto have fail trial in the court of this learned Magistrate. (k) That even the counsel of the accused when he appeared on 13th March 1968 was told by the learned Magistrate that he had prepared grounds for him to go again to the High Court. This ironical remarl is nto expected from an unbiased and impartial Magistrate who in the ordinary course of business would have given of about two weeks date for summoning the witnesses, would have seen, scrutinized each and every summon whether the reports are genuine reports and whether such affixation of summons on the premises of a witness who is nto seen any process-server, would justify the learned Magistrate to issue ntoice under Section 485-A Cr. P.C. to the witnesses especially when application with certificate of sickness was placed on record on the same date when the case was fixed. Ordinarily in routine such applications are considered and orders for nto issuing warrants are passed as the applicants undertakes to produce the witness falling ill on the date of hearing. (1) Refusal to accept summon by Mtoi Ram is antoher wrong report intentionally made. Against Mtoi Ram also bailable warrant turn Rs. 500.00 was ordered to be issued. There is no witness of this report. Refusal in presence of some has some meaning, but to rely upon such false report and immediately without waiting for witnesses passing hurriedly vindictive orders clearly creates apprehension in the mind of the accused that he will nto have fair and impartial trial.'.

I may now turn to the comments of the learned Magistrate which are as under '2. It is admitted that the statement of the accused was recorded under section 342 Cr. P. C. on 26th July, 1966. It is also admitted that on 11th July, 1966 and 18th July, 1966 adjoumments were given as the senior counsel of the complainant was nto present further I had taken over the charge of the present post on 7th July, 1966 and I had myself by that time, nto gone through the case file.

( 6) The facts mentioned in this para are partly correct. The statement of the accused was recorded on 26th July 1966 and after that the accused had to submit the list of the witnesses before the next date of hearing which was fixed for 27th August 1966. But the list of witnesses was filed by the accused on 27th August 1966 and the summers were issued for the production of the defense witnesses on 15th September, 1966. On 15th September, 2966 two defense witnesses were present who were examined. Again the case was fixed for 3rd October, 1966 for farther defense witnesses. No defense witnesses appeared on 3rd October, 1966 and the fresh summons weie issued for 13th October, 1966. On 13th October. 1966 a telegram was received from the accused stating that he was busy in a case in Bombay. thereforee, the adjournment was given. No defense witness was present that day. Then the case was fixed for 4th November, 1966 for the evidence of the detence witnesses. On 6th November, 1966 no defense witness was present in the court. Then the case was fixed for 19th November, 1966. On 19th November, 1966 I was busy in law and order duty. thereforee the case was adjourned for 3rd December, 1966. On 3rd December, 1966 no witness was present. Summons were again issued for 7th January, 1967. On 7th January, 1967 Perma Nand witness for the defense was present in the court and he was bound down for appearance on 17th January, 1967 in the court. On 17th January, 1967 witness Perma Nand again appealed but the counsel for the complainant was absent, there- tore, the case was again adjourned, and the case was fixed for 4th February, 1967. On 4th February, 1967 the case was again called for defense witnesses but neither Permanand Witness who was bound down was present nor the summons issued for the defense witnesses were received back after compliance. Beacuse Perma Nand was bound down and he did nto appear, thereforee, bailable warrant was issued against him. On 28th February, 1967 the case was again called but as I was on election duty, thereforee, it was adjourned. Then the case was fixed for 18th March, 1967 on which date I was busy in law and order duties, thereforee the case was fixed for 28th March, 1967. On 28th March, 1967 no defense witness was present. Last opportunity was given to the accused to produce his witnesses and he was asked to receive 'dusty' summons for service noon his witnesses, and the case was fixed for 10th April. 1907. On 10th April, 1967 no defense witness was present nor the witnesses were produced by the accused. As on that date, it was observed that from the report of the process-server on the 'summons, lit was clear that the address of R.C. Pandey was incomplete, thereforee, be could nto be served, witness R.C. Pandey was discharged. The accused was given antoher opportunity to bring his witnesses personally but he did nto avail of this opportunity. Warrants against Parma Nand and Bimal Parshad Jain were issued and Tirath Ran. was summoned for 25th April, 1967. Proceedings of 12th February, 1968, 27th February 1968 and 28th February, 1968 admitted. Proceedings mentioned regarding 5tb March, 1968 also admitted. Admittrd. On 13th March, 1968 an application for transfer was moved by the learned counsel for I be accused. thereforee, the accused was asked to submit a personal bond of Rs. 200 and the case was adjourned. But the ntoice was given to Parma Nand under section 480 A Cr. P.C because it was a separate proceedings and it had gto no bearing with the main case. Parma Nand was summoned on 30th March, 1968 for consideration of his ntoice. 13(a) It is ttoally incorrect No such remark was passed for the laerned counsel for the accused. All counsels are given due respect by this court. (b) Incorrect. There was no intention to flout the order of the Hon'ble High Courst. It is admitted that on 28th February, 1966, 5th March was given as the next date of hearing. Most of the witnesses are the residents of Delhi. (e) No comments as the summons are served by the police agency. (d) Most of the defense witnesses summoned were the residents of Delhi and it is nto difficult to serve them on the same day. The summons were sent to S.H 0. Sarar Bazar. (e) The report regarding the service on Tirath Singh is very clear, and on the report of the process-server, warrant was issued against Tirath Singh and a ntoice under section 485A Cr. P.C. was also issued to him. Often proceedings under section 485A Cr. P.C. is being initiated against the police officers who are on active duty, who do nto appear on the date of hearing without any valid reasons. (f) No witness appeared throughout the day even after the passing of the order. (g) The application was put up before me at 2.30 p.m. The case bad already been taken up before lunch. thereforee, the application of Parmanand was filed. (b) Parma Nand appeared for the first time on 13th March, 1968 and he was given ntoice under section 485-A Cr. P.C. which had already been passed. On the same day the transfer application was moved by the learned counsel for the accused. (i) No comments except that there was sufficient service for passing necessary orders against Tirath Singb. (j) Nto admited. (k) Nto correct. The order regarding the processes was passed against the witnesses after due care and with judicial mind. In this connection, I may also bring it to year kind ntoice that the case is ten years old. (l) No comments. If the learned counsel thinks that the report regarding Mtoi Ram was false, he should have objected to it. He cannto now claim that it was a wrong report and that there was no refusal on the part of the witness to accept it. On the report of the process-server that the witness refused to accept the summon, necessary orders were passed.'

(7) The contents of the transfer application and the Governments of the learned Magistrate do certainly seem to suggest that the accused has perhaps had cm some dates tried to seek adjournment on grounds which may nto be held sufficient, but under our, law, the Courts have to see that they do nto do anything which may give to the accosed persons a reasonable apprehension that they would nto have a fair and impartial trial in that Court. As observed in paragraph 11 of Chapter 26-A, Vol. Iii, High Court Rules & Orders, the Presiding Officers of Courts should cerefully bear in mind that it is their duty no' only to be thoroughly impartial, but to conduct themselves in such a manner as nto to give rise to any reasonable apprehension in the minde of an accused person that he will nto. have a fair and impartial enquiry or trial. In dealing with applications for transfer, the Court has to consider nto. merely the question whether there has been any real bias in the mind of the Presideng Judge against the appelicant, but also the further question whether incidents may nto have happened which, though they may be susceptible of Explanationn and may have happened without there being any real has in the mind of the Judge, are nevertheless such as are calculated to create in the mind of the applicant a justifiable apprehen that be would nto have an impartial trial, The law has regard nto so much to the mtoive which may be supposed to bias the Judge as the susceptibilities of the litigant-parties. Feeling of confidence in the ad- ministration of justice is essential to social order and security, and to promtoe such a feeling must be the endeavor of every Court. In the case in hand, it does seem to me that certain unfortunate events have happened which may give rise to a reasonable apprehention in the mind of the accused person that he may nto have a fair and impartial trial at the hands of the learned Magistrate. In such cases, one has to consider the position from the point of view of the accused person concerned. On 11th July, 1966 and 18th July 1966 the learned Magistrate admits to have adjourned the case merely because of the absence of the senior counsel for the complainant, though only the statement of the accused was to be recorded and though the case wase nearly 8 years old. These adjournments are nto easy to appreciate. From the record, I also find that on 16th April, 1966, the case was adjourned to 9th May, 1966, for the statement of the accused and 9th May, 1966 being a holiday, on 10th May, 1966 the case was taken up, but at the fag end of the day, with the result that it had to be adjourned to 20th June, 1968. On that date, the Presiding Officer was on leave, necessitating adjournment of the case to 11th July, 1966. It is in this background that one has to consider the present Magistrate's manner of dealing with the case on 11th July, 1966 and 18th July, 1966. The Magistrate, it may be remembered, had himself to question the accused generally for the purpose of enabling him to explain the circumstances appearing in evidence against him. The power given under section 342. Criminal Procedure Code it may be pointed out, is nto to be used to elicit information from the accused to fill up gaps in the prosecution evidence. And then, this provision is for the benefit of the accused and is nto intended to be used to elicit his defense. To wait for the senior counsel for the complainant to be present for this purpose and to adjourn the case because of his absence on two occasions, may well give rise to an apprehension in the mind of the accased about the Magistrate's leaning in favor of the complainant. At least an accused may consider this as indicative, to some extent, of such a leaning. The rea- son that as the learned Magistrate had only taken over as Presiding Officer of the Court on 7th July, 1966 and, thereforee, he had nto had sufficient time to go through the file of the case fixed before him, serves, merely to add to the unhappy impression of this Court that the learned Magistrate was nto devtoing the expected serious attention and care to this old case and was feeling somewhat unconcerned about the lto of the accused or speedy disposal of the cafe. The learned Magistrate seems apparently to have behaved as if he was merely a disinterested auditor of the contest between the complainant and the accused. Such, I must point out, is nto the position under the law and I consider it necessary to impress it on all the Magistrates. In any event, the accusid could nto possibly have assumed that the learned Magistrate was completely unaware of the facts of the case before him and be could have legitimately presumed that the learned Magistrate fully knew that on that date the accused had merely to be examined under section 342,Cr.P.C.

(8) On 7th January, 1967, Parma Nard witness was present but be was nto examined for leasers nut disclosed in the comments of the learned Magistrate and the case was adjourned to 17th January, 1967, on which date again the witness was present, but the case was adjourned to 4th February, 1967 because of the absence of the counsel for the complainant. On 4th February, 1967, Parma Nand was absent and bailable warrants were issued against him, as it seems to me, without judicious consideration of all the relevant factors. On two hearings, the defense witness was present, but he was nto examined for no fault of his and on the third day because of his absence, warrants were issued against him, as if mechanically. The comments of the learned Magistratt do nto furnish any satisfactory Explanationn of this action and an accused who has been in dock for nearly nine years, might well entertain an apprehension that his witness had been harassed and humiliated and that he was nto likely to get a fair and impartial trial in this Court. Such an apprehension may nto be considered as wholly unreasonable or imaginary or completely unjustifiable.

(9) The argument that these incidents happened lung ago is of little cogency because this background Is inextricably linked up with the future proceeding and cannto be ignored and subsequent incidents cannto be looked at in complete isolation I may once again point out that however blameworthy or undesirable the activities of an accused person, in the Courts of law in this country, he is entitled to a fair and impartial trial and it is the duty of all the Courts to ensure such trial. Justice in all cases must nto only be done but must also be clearly seem to be done.

(10) In view of the foregoing discussion, I think the accused is entitled to the transfer of his case and I direct that the present case be transferred from the Court of Shri V.N. Chuttervedi, Magistrate 1st Class to the Court of seme toher competent Magistrate, but the transferee Court must try to dispose of the case with due dispatch and promptitude. Parties are directed to appear before the learned District Magistrate on 10th June, 1968 when appropriate orders would be made for the Transfer of the case to some toher competent Court and for the appearance of the parties in the transferee Court on a date to be fixed by the learned District Magistrate. In this case also, it is eminently desirable that the Magistrate trying this case should nto be allocated non-judicial functions which are likely to interfere wish the speedy trial of this case and he must be allowed to deal with it with single-minded-judicial devtoion Belated cases like the present are likely to damage the image of our criminal judicial process an aspect, the importance of whica to the cause of justice, is unhappily nto being proparly appreciated.


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