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Karnataka HC quashes charge sheet exercising its Discretionary Power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C

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The criminal petition was filed before the High court of Karnataka, Kalaburgi bench under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. praying to quash the charge sheet in Crime No.135/2018 of Jewargi Police Station for the offences Punishable under sec.123 of Representation of People Act and 171 (C) (F) & 188 of IPC and consequently quash all further proceedings arising out of the said charge sheet and also grant such other reliefs as this Court deems fit was allowed.

Brief facts of the case

The complaint was filed on Veeresh /petitioner who was carrying cash more than the limit of election guidelines ie 50,000/- during the election period. On 12.05.2018 in the midnight at about 2.30 a.m. when the cop who was patrolling on duty in connection with Assembly Elections in the State, noticed Veeresh/ petitioner standing near the Government Urdu School in the town of Jewargi. Starting enquiring him about his identity and checked him when he noticed that the petitioner was in possession of cash of `52,050/- without any documentation supporting to the possession of the said cash. The cop drew an inference that it is violation of the election guidelines and that he was possessing the said cash to distribute the same to the voters, he summoned two panchas and drew a panchanama by seizing the said cash and brought the petitioner along with cash and also panchanama to the jurisdictional police and lodged the complaint under Sections 171C, 171F and 188 of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 123 of Crl.P.No.201192/2019 Representation of People Act.

Arguments before the Court

Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that even assuming for a moment that the petitioner was found in possession of said cash with him on an alleged day, still in the absence of any material to show that petitioner was in possession of the said cash only to distribute the same to the voters or bribing in any manner, the alleged offences cannot be attributed.

Per contra, the learned High Court Government Pleader in his argument submitted that as per the standard procedure issued to the Electoral Officer that an individual cannot possess a cash more than `50,000/- for the purpose of election without any documentation, as such, the complainant has rightly apprehended the petitioner and a prima facie case has been made out by the cop, which requires the police to subject him for trial.

Decision of the Court

There was no proof that the petitioner was either acting as an agent or as a party worker or at least was in possession of any electoral material including posters, banners etc. As such, initiation of the complaint and the charge sheet does not make out necessary ingredients to proceed further in the matter and to compel the petitioner to face a full-fledged trial; the matter deserves interference by the Court by exercising the discretion under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. in quashing the criminal proceedings instituted against the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition is allowed.

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