J&K High Court: Summoning Order of the Accused Must Reflect the Trial Court’s Application of Mind

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On 31st August 2020, Justice Rajnesh Oswal heard the case of Vipan Aggarwal and others vs. the State of J&K, via video-conferencing. The Court held that the trial court passed the order without applying its mind. Therefore, directed it to issue a fresh order in accordance with the law.

Facts of the case

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jammu received a complaint from the petitioners. On 6th July 2010, an order was passed forwarding the complaint to the In-charge Crime Branch, Jammu for investigation. Thereafter, the Crime Branch conducted preliminary verification. It was found that the petitioners had lodged a false and frivolous complaint. Therefore, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch filed a complaint under section 182 RPC against the petitioners.  The said complaint was filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jammu.

 On 26th September 2012, the trial court summoned the petitioners. The petitioners challenged the said summon order. The grounds of challenge were that the Crime Branch failed to register FIR and further failed to perform their obligation. Moreover, the preliminary verification was conducted against the mandate of law. Therefore, the complaint is misconceived. Furthermore, the trial court did not assail any reason while issuing the process against the petitioners. The same was issued without even perusing the complaint. Thus, the present petition is sought to quash the complaint filed against them. Further, they also seek to quash the process issued in the said complaint for summoning them.

Arguments of the Petitioners

The learned counsel for the petitioners argued based on the grounds that have been already mentioned in the facts of the case.  Based on the grounds of challenge, the petitioners seek to quash the complaint and process initiated against them.

Arguments of the Respondent

The learned counsel for the respondent submits that there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against the petitioners under section 182 RPC. Hence, the complaint cannot be quashed at this stage.

Court’s Analysis

The trial court after receiving the complaint summoned the Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch. Thereafter, it straight away issued summons against the petitioners. The perusal of the summoning order reveals that it was passed in a mechanical manner without any application of mind. 

The Court relied on the Supreme Court case of  M/s Pepsi Food Limited and another v Special Judicial Magistrate and others, AIR 1998 SC 128. It was held that summoning of an accused in a criminal case is a serious matter. The order of the magistrate summoning the accused must reflect that he has applied his mind to the facts of the case and the law applicable thereto. Further, the magistrate should carefully scrutinize the evidence brought on record. He may even put questions to the complainant and his witnesses to elicit answers to find out the truthfulness of the allegations. Further, he must examine if any offence is prima facie committed by all or any of the accused. It is clear that the trial court passed the order contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court. Therefore, this Court would not determine if the petitioners committed an offence or not under Section 182 RPC. This Court directs the trial court to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for proceedings against the petitioners or not.

Court’s Decision

This Court held that the trial court passed the summoning order against the petitioners in a mechanical manner. Therefore, it is quashed. The trial court is directed to pass a fresh order in accordance with the law. The copy of this order should be sent to the trial court for information. The Court disposed of the petition.


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