Libertatem Magazine

Chhattisgarh High Court: The Special Judge under Section 14 of the SC & ST Atrocities Act Has the Jurisdiction to Pass Order under Section 156(3) of Crpc

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Facts of the Case

The facts surround the land dispute between the two parties and it dates back to the year 2012. The petitioner in the case started working on the land property which was in the name of the respondent and which was opposed by the latter. This led to the dispute between the two parties.

The dispute continued for some years wherein after in 2017 the respondent asked the police to register the case against the petitioner for threatening to kill him, under IPC and SC & ST Atrocities Act.

The police refused to register the case after which the respondent filed the petition before the Special Judge constituted under the SC & ST Atrocities Act to ask him to register the case under Section 156(3) of the CrPc to which the special court asked the police to register the case. 

The petitioner challenged the order of the special court under section 482 of CrPC that the special judge does not have the power to order the police to register FIR under Section 156(3) of CrPC. 

Arguments on Behalf of the Appellant

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted before the Court that under Section 156(3), only the magistrate has the power to initiate the investigation and not the special judge.

Even if the Court has the power under Section 156(3) of the Act, then also the conditions required for fulfilling Section 156(3) have not been fulfilled and therefore as per the SC judgment in Mrs. Priyanka Srivastava & Another v. Union of India & Others, the complaint should be dismissed.

Arguments on Behalf of the Respondent

The counsel for the respondent submitted before the Court that the procedure regarding Section 156(3) complied as the police refused to file the complaint under section 154 of the Code. Moreover, as per Section 14 of the Atrocities Act, the special judge has the jurisdiction to directly deal with the cases. 

Observation of the Court

The court took into consideration the apex court judgment in Rattiram & Others v. the State of M.P. Through Inspector of Police & Others, in which it was observed that though the complaint or charge sheet cannot be straight away filed before the special judge, it does not mean that if it is fled the trial shall be vitiated.

The High Court observed that the special court can directly take cognisance of the offence via Section 14 of the Atrocities Act without any committal of the same by the magistrate.  The Court took into consideration the Judgment of Supreme Court in A.R. Antulay v. R..S Nayak, to observe that the special judge has the power to take cognizance of the offense under Section 14 of the Atrocities Act. 

The Court observed that in the present issue, there was no compliance of filing the complaint before the police under Section 154 of CrPC and it was merely a letter addressed to the collector. 

Court’s Judgment

The Court held that since there was no compliance of Section 154(1) and Section 154(3) of the Code, therefore the order passed by the Special Court under section 156(3) of the Code was without any jurisdiction.

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