On 15th September 2020, a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Justice Ravindra Maithani heard the case of Reena Rani and Others v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors via video conferencing.
The Petitioners, in this case, were seeking the quashing of the charge sheet and summoning order in the case State v. Arvind Pandey and Others, pending in the Court of Special Sessions Judge, Rudrapur, Udham Singh Nagar.
Facts of the Case
The informant, who was working as Naib Tehsildar, was going to the Tehsil Headquarter, during which the co-accused Arvind Pandey, the then Member of Legislative Assembly, intercepted his car and asked him to get down. The co-accused, thereafter, told the informant that he wrongly decided the case of Hem Raj and slapped the informant. Thereafter, the informant was assaulted by other persons who were with the co-accused, and his documents, mobile phone, etc. were also taken away.
An FIR was filed, after which an investigation was conducted and a charge sheet was submitted against the petitioners and others. In the charge sheet, cognizance was taken, and the petitioners and co-accused were summoned under Section 147 (Punishment for rioting), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of an offence committed in prosecution of common object), 395 (Punishment for dacoity), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 333 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 325 (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 412 (Dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity), 323 ( Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of The Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The petitioners contended that they were not named in the FIR and that they were not the persons who allegedly attacked the informant. There were allegations against the co-accused who were facing trial and who were also arrested during the investigation.
Learned counsel further argued that the petitioner had no role in this and that there were serious allegations levelled against them without any reason.
Learned Counsel for the State argued that the factual aspects cannot be considered in proceedings under Section 482 (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The victim, in his statement recorded under Section 164 (Recording of confessions and statements) of the Code, had supported the prosecution case and named the petitioners categorically. They further contended that it was a case of common object and assaulting a public servant on duty, who sustained grievous injuries.
The Court observed that it was a petition under Section 482 of the CrPC. The jurisdiction was invoked to prevent abuse of process of any Court or to give effect to any order under the Code or otherwise and/or to secure the ends of justice. The jurisdiction is very wide but also guided by principles established by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in various judgments.
The Court, while interpreting the scope of the jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC, referred to the case of Indian Oil Corpn. Vs. NEPC India Ltd. And Others, (2006) 6 SCC 736, which held that:
- “A complaint can be quashed where the allegations made in the complaint do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out the case alleged against the accused.
- A complaint may also be quashed where it is a clear abuse of the process of the court.
- The complaint is not required to verbatim reproduce the legal ingredients of the offence alleged.
- The power to quash shall not, however, be used to stifle or scuttle a legitimate prosecution. The power should be used sparingly and with abundant caution.
- The test is whether the allegations in the complaint disclose a criminal offence or not.”
The Court opined that the case was once investigated by the Investigating Officer. He had found the petitioners were involved in the offence and submitted a charge sheet for the same. The accuracy and credibility of the statement of the informant were thus further subject to scrutiny at the trial.
The Court dismissed the petition and requested the following to the Learned Court:
- To conclude the trial of the case as expeditiously as possible.
- If possible, to conduct the trial on day to day basis, as and when the trial resumes without any adjournment to any of the parties.
- The Investigating Officer may be required to remain personally present in Court along with witnesses on all the days when witnesses are examined.
- To ensure the personal presence of the accused without exemption. The exemption to personal appearance may only be granted under exceptional circumstances for a particular day(s).
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