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Bhai Mukand Singh Vs. Ladha Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Miscellaneous (Main) Appeal No. 150 of 1973
Judge
Reported inILR1973Delhi926; 1974RLR191
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 202 and 561A
AppellantBhai Mukand Singh
RespondentLadha Singh and anr.
Advocates: Amar Singh and; M.S. Vohra, Advs
Cases ReferredIn Chandra Deo Singh v. Prakash Chandra Bose Alias Chahi Bose and
Excerpt:
.....all the persons of all sections of life. (7) section 202, criminal procedure code .empowers a magistrate, on receipt of a complaint of offence of which he is authorised to take congnizance, to postpone the issue of process, if he thinks fit, for reasons to be recorded in writing, for compelling the attendance of the person complained against and either enquire into the case himself or direct an enquiry or investigation to be made by a police officer for the purposes of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the complaint. but on the receipt of the police report, the magistrate was not satisfied with the same. it was further observed that that did not mean that the magistrate was bound to accept the result of the enquiry or investigation or that he must accept any plea that may be..........judicial magistrate 1st class, against him and four others on a complaint filed by respondent ladha singh under section 352/341/504/506/147/149 i. p. c. be quashed. the grounds on which the proceedings are sought to be quashed are alleged to be that the petitioner earlier on 9th march, 1973, filed a complaint in the court of shri brijesh kumar, judicial magistrate 1st class, under sections 506/323/295/500 1. p. c. read with section 34 1. p. c. against respondent ladha singh and one kartar singh son of ajaib singh on the allegation that on 12th february, 1973, when the petitioner was returning from gurdwara sin guru singh sabha ali ganj after having attended the monthly sangrand jor mela he was waylaid by ladha singh and kartar singh near ali ganj post office. ladha singh 'respondent.....
Judgment:

Prithvi Raj, J.

(1) The petitioner by this petition filed under section 561-A Criminal Procedure Code . has prayed that the proceedings pending before Shri Brijesh Kumar, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, against him and four others on a complaint filed by respondent Ladha Singh under section 352/341/504/506/147/149 I. P. C. be quashed. The grounds on which the proceedings are sought to be quashed are alleged to be that the petitioner earlier on 9th March, 1973, filed a complaint in the Court of Shri Brijesh Kumar, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, under sections 506/323/295/500 1. P. C. read with section 34 1. P. C. against respondent Ladha Singh and one Kartar Singh son of Ajaib Singh on the allegation that on 12th February, 1973, when the petitioner was returning from Gurdwara Sin Guru Singh Sabha Ali Ganj after having attended the monthly Sangrand Jor Mela he was waylaid by Ladha Singh and Kartar Singh near Ali Ganj Post Office. Ladha Singh 'respondent was stated to have caught hold of the petitioner's religious comb and kirpan from his hair which he threw on the ground and hurled filthy abuses on the petitioner. It is also alleged that prior to this incident on the same day both of them had injured the religious feelings of the petitioner by forbidding him to recite Sukhmani Sahib in the Gurdwara.

(2) In the present petition the allegation is that as a counter blast respondent Ladha Singh malaciously filed a complaint under sections 352/341/504/506/147/149 I. P. C. against the petitoner and four others in the Court of Shri Brijesh Kumar, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, on 19th May, 1973, on frivolous grounds so as to put pressure upon the petitioner not to proceed with his complaint filed earlier. The complaint filed by Ladha Singh according to the petitioner was forwarded by the learned Magistrate to the police for enquiry under section 202 Criminal Procedure Code . The enquiry was entrusted to Shri Aschraj Lal S. I' Police Station Lodhi Colony, New Delhi, who after examining certain persons from the locality and enquiring into the matter came to the conclusion that the allegations contained in the complaint of Ladha Singh were not true as none of the neighbours of the locality around the house of Ladha Singh had any knowledge of the alleged assault having been committed on him by the petitioner and four others. This report was forwarded to the Magistrate by Shri Parbhati Lal, Inspector, S. H. O. Lodhi Colony Police Station, who agreed with the report of Shri Aschraj Lal S. 1. and after personally looking into the complaint of Ladha Singh noted that 'the allegations put forward in the complaint diminish due to the fact that no such report was lodged with the police and secondly no independent witness has supported it. The version of respondent carries weight. However, the sanctity of the complaint needs to be further tested through a judicial review. The complainant may be put to trial in the Court'.

(3) The learned Magistrate after perusal of the report proceeded to enquire into the matter. On 9th July, 1973 he recorded the statement of the complainant as also of one witness, Kartar Singh, By order dated 21st July, 1973, the Magistrate after going through the statement of the complainant and the witness produced by him was satisfied that there was sufficient ground to proceed against the accused-person as on the basis of evidence recorded by the Magistrate a prima facie case against all the accused persons was made out under section 352/149 I. P. C. The petitioner and four other accused persons were accordingly summoned by the magistrate under the aforesaid sections 354/149 I. P. C. for 30th July, 1973.

(4) Feeling aggrieved by the order whereby the petitioner and four others accused person were summoned, the petitioner has approached this Court praying that the proceedings pending in the Court of Judicial Magistrate 1st Class be quashed, as they were taken out of spite to Wreak vengeance against the petitioner so as to put pressure upon him not to proceed with his complaint filed against Ladha Singh and one other earlier in point of time.

(5) The petitioner who gives his age as 76 years states that he is a. freedom fighter and has earned a pension of Rs. 200.00 per month from the Central Government. He further states that he is a religious and social worker, enjoying high status in life and is very well respected in his locality, and enjoys great respects amongst all the persons of all sections of life.

(6) Shri Amar Singh appearing for the petitioner contended that the complaint filed by Ladha Singh was by way of a counter blast to put pressure on the petitioner to withdraw his complaint against Ladha Singh and another. Besides, it was contended that the Magistrate having forwarded the complaint for enquiry under section 202 Criminal Procedure Code . should have accepted the report of the police made on the basis of enquiries to the effect that the complaint of Ladha Singh was without any basis and that no incident, as alleged, had taken place. In not accepting the result of the enquiry conducted by the police, Shri Amar Singh contended, the petitioner who is respectable and an aged person was being unnecessarily put to harassment in commencing the trial on the allegations which were already found to be false in the investigations conducted by the police. It was also urged that Kartar Singh who had appeared as a witness in the complaint filed by Ladha Singh to corroborate his version, is a coaccused with Ladha Siagh in the complaint filed by the petitioner. That being so, it was urged that the testimony of Ladha Singh and Kartar Singh being interested parties, is not credit-worthy.

(7) Section 202, Criminal Procedure Code . empowers a Magistrate, on receipt of a complaint of offence of which he is authorised to take congnizance, to postpone the issue of process, if he thinks fit, for reasons to be recorded in writing, for compelling the attendance of the person complained against and either enquire into the case himself or direct an enquiry or investigation to be made by a police officer for the purposes of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the complaint. The learned Magistrate in the instant case resorted to this procedure on receiving the complaint of Ladha Singh.

(8) The result of the investigation made by the police, as already noted above, was reported to the Magistrate. But on the receipt of the police report, the Magistrate was not satisfied with the same. In the circumstances, he called the complainant and recorded his statement and that of Kartar Singh, a witness produced by the complainant. After going through the statements of the complainant and his witness, he issued a process against the petitioner and four others.

(9) Section 203 Criminal Procedure Code . empowers a Magistrate to dismiss a complaint if afte rconsidering the statement on oath, if any, of the complainant and the witness, and the result of the investigation or enquiry, if any, under section 202 Criminal Procedure Code ., if there was in his judgment not sufficient ground for proceedings. In such a case he would briefly record his reasons for doing so. A bare perusal of section 203 Cr. P. C. would show that a complaint can be dismissed only if the Magistrate after considering the statements on oath, if any, of the complainant and the witness and the result of the investigation or enquiry, if any, under section 202 Criminal Procedure Code . found in his judgment that there was no sufficient ground existing on the record for proceeding in the matter. In other words, a Magistrate is under no obligation to dismiss a complaint straightway on receipt of the result of the investigation or enquiry under section 202 Criminal Procedure Code . The result of the investigation or enquiry under section 202 Criminal Procedure Code . has to be considered along with the statements on oath of the complainants and the witness. In the instant case the Magistrate after perusing trate after perusing the statements on oath of the complainant and his the statements on oath of the complainant and his witness, was of the opinion that there was sufficient ground for proceeding in the matter. In the circumstances, it is not possible to support the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the Magistrate should not have proceeded into the matter after the result of the enquiry conducted by the police under section 202 Cr. P. C. was reported to him. It may be noted here that the S. H. O. had suggested that 'the complaint needs to be further tested through a judicial review. The complainant may be put to trial in the court'. The learned Magistrate was within his right on the receipt of the result of the enquiry conducted by the police to examine the complainant and his witness and issue a process to the petitioner and other accused persons as according to the Magistrate there was sufficient ground to proceed in the matter.

(10) In Vadilal Panchal v. Dattatraya Dulaji Ghadigaonkar and another : [1961]1SCR1 , it was observed that the judgment that a Magistrate had to form at the time of issuing a process was whether or not there were sufficient grounds for proceeding. It was further observed that that did not mean that the Magistrate was bound to accept the result of the enquiry or investigation or that he must accept any plea that may be set up on behalf of the persons complained against. It was also observed that the Magistrate must apply his judicial mind to the material on which he had formed his judgment and that he was not bound to accept what the enquiry officer had said in the matter.

(11) The argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the Magistrate issued the process on the testimony of the complainant and Kartar Singh who are the accused in the complaint filed by the petitioner. He submitted that no credence should have been placed on their testimony as they being interested persons and inimically disposed towards the petitioner, were bound to make false allegations against him. On the other hand the allegations of the complainant, in his testimony and in his complaint corroborated by Kartar Singh are that the Executive Body of Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha of which he was the Vice President till September, 1972, controlled the affairs of one School, namely, Siri Guru Teghbahadur Khalsa Girls Higher Secondary School, Ali Ganj, New Delhi, in which School Mrs. Parkash Kaur daughter of the petitioner is employed as a teacher. She was caught red handed while' stealing the milk powder and sugar meant for the school childern about three years back and the Board of Management of the School which included Ladha Singh and Kartar Singh took action against her but she was pardoned on her making clean breast of her guilt. The petitioner. according to Ladha Singh, became inimical towards him and Kartar Singh and formed a new faction to wreak vengeance against them. Ladha Singh accordingly in his complaint averred that the five accused persons in prosecution of their common intention formed an unlawful assembly and used criminal force against him and criminally intimidated him and caused wrongful restrain on him on 22nd April, 1973.

(12) The question to be determined is as to whether the allegations made in the complaint are true or not. Merely because the petitioner had filed a complaint against them earlier in point of time would not per se be enough to throw out the sworn testimony of Ladha. Singh and Kartar Singh. It is only in a case where the prosecution version as stated in the complaint or on the basis of evidence adduced which clearly leads to the conclusion that there is no case against the accused that this Court in the exercise of its power under section 561-A Criminal Procedure Code . would be prone to quash the proceedings, as in such a case alone further prolongation of the prosecution would amount to harassing the accused. In the instant case, the complainant Ladha Singh's sworn testimony as corroborated by Kartar Singh cannot be said to be incredible on a bare perusal.

(13) In R. P. Kapur v. State of Punjab, : 1960CriLJ1239 , it was observed that 'in exercising its jurisdiction under S. 561-A the High Court would not embark upon an enquiry as to whether the evidence in question is reliable or not. That is the function of the trial Magistrate, and ordinarily it would not beopen to any party to invoke the High Court's inherent jurisdiction and contend that on a reasonable appreciation of the evidence the accusation made against the accused would not be sustained.'

(14) That being the position in law this Court would be oustepping the bounds of its jurisdiction in appreciating the evidence at this stage which primarily is the function of the trial Court. In R. P. Kapur's case (supra) their Lordships of the Supreme Court had also observed that ordinarily criminal proceedings instituted against an accused person must be tried under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and the High Court would be reluctant to interfere in the said proceedings at an interlocutary stage, and that it is only in those cases where appreciation of evidence was not involved and merely by looking at the complaint or the F.I.R. the High Court could decide whether an offence was disclosed or not that the High Court could interfere in case by looking at the complaint it could said that no offence as alleged was made out. But this is not the position in the present case. In the complaint, there are categorical accusations which are supported on sworn testimony. I need hardly emphasise that while issuing the process to an accused person the Magistrate has to act on the material before him at that time without considering any possible defense which may be put in by the accused on his appearance in the Court.

(15) In Chandra Deo Singh v. Prakash Chandra Bose Alias Chahi Bose and another, : [1964]1SCR639 , it was observed that for determining the question whether any process was to be issued or not, what the Magistrate had to be satisfied was whether there was sufficient ground for proceeding and not whether there was sufficient ground for conviction. It was also observed that whether the evidence was adequate for supporting the conviction could be determined only at the trial and not at the stage of enquiry. What the Magistrate had to see was, their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed, whether there was sufficient ground for proceeding and not whether there was sufficient ground for conviction.

(16) Examining the complaint filed by Ladha Singh and the statement made by him on oath in support of the said complaint and corroborated by the testimony of Kartar Singh, it cannot be said that there was not sufficient evidence in support of the complaint. The mere fact that they happened to be accused in the complaint filed by the, petitioner would not be a determining factor in not issuing' the process to the petitioner and four others. It is only when a bare perusal of a complaint or the evidence led in support of it reveals that the ingredients of the offences alleged are not made out that a complaint can be dismissed under section 203 of Criminal Procedure Code . For the reasons stated above, the petition fails and is dismissed.


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