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State Vs. Lakha Mana - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1982)2GLR573
AppellantState
RespondentLakha Mana
Excerpt:
- .....on that day, neither the learned assistant public prosecutor nor the witnesses were present. the learned magistrate rejected the application for adjournment submitted by the learned public prosecutor and proceeded to pass an order of acquittal under section 255(1) of the criminal procedure code. this order of the learned magistrate is appealed against by the state.2. the learned public prosecutor has urged before this court that the learned magistrate ought not to have rejected the application for adjournment and should not have proceeded to dispose of the matter by acquitting the accused. while it is true that the parties should be given full opportunity to adduce such evidence as they wish to produce and that the court should not give an impression of being unduly hasty in disposing.....
Judgment:

A.S. Qureshi, J.

1. In this appeal the State has challenged the order of acquittal passed by the learned Judicial Magistrate, First-Class, Radhanpur in Criminal Case No. 48 of 1979 on 8th May, 1979. The prosecution had alleged that the accused had committed offences under sees 447 & 379 of the Indian Penal Code by illegally entering into the Wada (cattle shed) of the complainant on 29th October, 1978, between 8 hours and 18 hours and had stolen two iron chains which were being used for tethering buffalows. The value of the two chains was said to be Rs. 20/-. The accused was charge-sheeted on 9-1-79 and he entered the plea of not guilty on 6-2-79. The matter came up for hearing on 1-3-79 when the accused was not present, but his Advocate who was present, gave an application for adjournment and hence the matter was fixed for hearing on 1st May, 1979. On that day the accused and his Advocate were present in the court, but the witnesses for the prosecution did not remain present. The court being busy with other work, the matter stood adjourned to 8th May, 1979. On that day, neither the learned Assistant Public Prosecutor nor the witnesses were present. The learned Magistrate rejected the application for adjournment submitted by the learned Public Prosecutor and proceeded to pass an order of acquittal under Section 255(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. This order of the learned Magistrate is appealed against by the State.

2. The learned Public Prosecutor has urged before this Court that the learned Magistrate ought not to have rejected the application for adjournment and should not have proceeded to dispose of the matter by acquitting the accused. While it is true that the parties should be given full opportunity to adduce such evidence as they wish to produce and that the court should not give an impression of being unduly hasty in disposing of matters, at the same time the court cannot be expected to wait indefinitely for the parties to bring evidence before the court at their own sweet will and pleasure or convenience. It is the duty of the parties to proceed with the matter when it is called out. In the given circumstances of a case if the court feels that there are reasonable grounds for granting adjournment to enable a party to produce evidence before the court it may grant time to do so. But this is a matter of discretion of the court and would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.

3. There cannot be any hard and fast rule as to when an adjournment can be granted or refused. Of course, the court's discretion is a judicial discretion and it would be exercised judiciously and not arbitrarily or unreasonably. In the facts and circumstances of the present case it cannot be said that the learned Magistrate had unreasonably rejected the application for adjournment by the Public Prosecutor or that he had in any way prevented the prosecution from proving its case. It must be noted that the witnesses of the prosecution were not present either on 1st May, 1979 or on 8th May, 1979 and, therefore the learned Magistrate was fully justified in proceeding with the matter and deciding it on merits.

4. The prosecution has absolutely no case on merits. The charge sheet very vaguely mentions that the accused committed illegal trespass and stole two iron chains on 29th October, 1979 between 8 hours and 18 hours i.e. in the broad day light. The value of the two iron chains is put at Rs. 20/- only. The charge besides being trivial is also very vague. On the face of it, the prosecution story seems to be unbelievable. Moreover, the witnesses of the prosecution not remaining present on two consecutive dates would suggest that there were no defendable witnesses on whom the prosecution could rely and hence the matter was, as it were, allowed to go by default. In the circumstances of the case, it cannot be said that the learned Magistrate has wrongly passed the order of acquittal against accused.

5. In the result, the State's appeal fails, and is therefore, dismissed.


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