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18/04/2024

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18/03/2024

Case Title: RAKESH RANJAN SHRIVASTAVA VERSUS THE STATE OF JHARKHAND & ANR

Citation : 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 235

The Supreme Court observed that mere filing of the cheque dishonor complaint under the Negotiable Instruments Act would not grant a right to a complainant to seek interim compensation under Section 143A (1) of the N.I. Act, as the power of the court to grant interim compensation, isn't mandatory but discretionary and needs to be decided after prima facie evaluating the merits of the case.

Considering the drastic consequences of exercising the power under Section 143A and that also before the finding of the guilt is recorded in the trial, the word “may” used in the provision cannot be construed as “shall”. The provision will have to be held as a directory and not mandatory. Hence, we have no manner of doubt that the word “may” used in Section 143A, cannot be construed or interpreted as “shall”. Therefore, the power under sub-section (1) of Section 143A is discretionary.”

The broad parameters for exercising the discretion under Section 143A

The Court laid down the following parameters :

i. The Court will have to prima facie evaluate the merits of the case made out by the complainant and the merits of the defence pleaded by the accused in the reply to the application. The financial distress of the accused can also be a consideration.

ii. A direction to pay interim compensation can be issued, only if the complainant makes out a prima facie case.

iii. If the defence of the accused is found to be prima facie plausible, the Court may exercise discretion in refusing to grant interim compensation.

iv. If the Court concludes that a case is madeout to grant interim compensation, it will also have to apply its mind to the quantum of interim compensation to be granted. While doing so, the Court will have to consider several factors such as the nature of the transaction, the relationship, if any, between the accused and the complainant, etc.

v. There could be several other relevant factors in the peculiar facts of a given case, which cannot be exhaustively stated. The parameters stated above are not exhaustive.

07/03/2024

N. MANOGAR vs. THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE., Diary No.- 27058 – 2021

Citation : 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 197

The Supreme Court reiterated that while allowing an application under Section 319 of the CrPC, the test to be applied is more than just a prima facie case, as exercised at the time of framing of charge, but short of evidence that if left unrebutted would lead to conviction. This Section confers power on the Court to proceed against persons, other than named as accused in the chargesheet, appearing to be guilty of offence.

The Court heavily relied upon its decision in Hardeep Singh v State of Punjab & Ors., (2014) 3 SCC 92. Therein, the Constitution Bench had held:

“Power Under Section 319 Code of Criminal Procedure is a discretionary and an extraordinary power. It is to be exercised sparingly and only in those cases where the circumstances of the case so warrant. It is not to be exercised because the magistrate or the sessions judge is of the opinion that some other person may also be guilty of committing that offence. Only where strong and cogent evidence occurs against a person from the evidence laid before the court that such power should be exercised and not in a casual and cavalier manner.”

07/03/2024

THE STATE OF JHARKHAND vs. SANDEEP KUMAR, Diary No.- 23716 - 2023

Citation : 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 205

The Hon'ble SC held that an order of bail, bereft of any cogent reason, could not be sustained.

The Hon'ble SC referred to ratio in Ram Govind Upadhyay vs. Sudarshan Singh and others,wherein this Court noted that, though grant of bail is discretionary, it calls for exercise of such discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course. It was observed that an order of bail, bereft of any cogent reason, could not be sustained.”,

16/03/2023

Vikas Rathi versus The State of U.P. & Anr. (2023 LiveLaw (SC) 172)

Section 319 Cr.P.C - the power under Section 319 is a discretionary and an extraordinary power. It is to be exercised sparingly and would require much stronger evidence than near probability of the accused person’s complicity.

The test elucidated by the Constitution Bench is as under -The test that has to be applied is one which is more than prima facie case as exercised at the time of framing of charge, but short of satisfaction to an extent that the evidence, if it goes unrebutted, would lead to conviction.

Followed Hardeep Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 3 SCC 92 (Para 10 to 12)

16/03/2023
16/03/2023

NIKHIL CHANDRA MONDAL versus STATE OF WEST BENGAL (2023 LiveLaw (SC) 171)

It is a settled principle of law that extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence.

It has been held that where an extra-judicial confession is surrounded by suspicious circumstances, its credibility becomes doubtful and it loses its importance.

It has further been held that it is well-settled that it is a rule of caution where the court would generally look for an independent reliable corroboration before placing any reliance upon such extra-judicial confession.

It has been held that there is no doubt that conviction can be based on extra-judicial confession, but in the very nature of things, it is a weak piece of evidence.

Referred to Sahadevan and Another v. State of Tamil Nadu (2012) 6 SCC 403 (Para 15).

18/10/2021

Goutam Joardar vs. State of West Bengal LL 2021 SC 558

CrA 1181 of 2019 | 7 October 2021

The Supreme Court observed that a delay in recording the statements of eye-witnesses by itself cannot result in rejection of their testimonies.

18/10/2021

Randheer Singh vs. State of UP | LL 2021 SC 574
CrA 932 OF 2021 | 2 September 2021

Civil Dispute should not be given colour of criminal offence .

"There can be no doubt that jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. should be used sparingly for the purpose of preventing abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Whether a complaint discloses criminal offence or not depends on the nature of the allegation and whether the essential ingredients of a criminal offence are present or not has to be judged by the High Court. There can be no doubt that a complaint disclosing civil transactions may also have 18 a criminal texture. The High Court has, however, to see whether the dispute of a civil nature has been given colour of criminal offence. In such a situation, the High Court should not hesitate to quash the criminal proceedings as held by this Court in Paramjeet Batra."

16/09/2021

V. K. Mishra and another Vs. State of Uttarakhand.

The Supreme Court had the occasion to consider the correct manner of proving contradictions as to any previous statement made by a witness.

The Apex Court in that case had held,

"Under Section 145 of the Evidence Act when it is intended to contradict the witness by his previous statement reduced into writing, the attention of such witness must be called to those parts of it which are to be used for the purpose of contradicting him, before the writing can be used. While recording the deposition of a witness, it become the duty of the trial court to ensure that the part of the police statement with which it is intended to contradict the witness is brought to the notice of the witness in his cross-examination. The attention of witness is drawn to that part and this must reflect in his cross-examination by reproducing it. If the witness admits the part intended to contradict him, it stands proved and there is no need to further proof of contradiction and it will be read while appreciating the evidence. If he denies having made that part of the statement, his attention must be drawn to that statement and must be mentioned in the deposition. By this process the contradiction is merely brought on record, but it is yet to be proved. Thereafter when investigating officer is examined in the court, his attention should be drawn to the passage marked for the purpose of contradiction, it will then be proved in the deposition of the investigating officer who again by referring to the police statement will depose about the witness having made that statement. The process again involves referring to the police statement and culling out that part with which the maker of the statement was intended to be contradicted. If the witness was not confronted with that part of the statement with which the defence wanted to contradict him, then the court cannot suo motu make use of statements to police not proved in compliance with Section 145 of the Evidence Act that is, by drawing attention to the parts intended for contradiction."

05/09/2021

Gumansinh @ Lalo @ Raju Bhikhabhai Chauhan Vs. State Of Gujarat ;
CrA 940-941 OF 2021

The Supreme Court observed that to attract the applicability of Section 113-A of the Evidence Act, three conditions are required to be fulfilled:

:The woman has committed su***de.

:Such su***de has been committed within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage.

:The charged-accused had subjected her to cruelty.

04/09/2021

Gumansinh @ Lalo @ Raju Bhikhabhai Chauhan Vs. State Of Gujarat ;
CrA 940-941 OF 2021.

:Evidentiary value of close/ related witness

The bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari of Hon'ble SC observed that the evidentiary value of the close relatives/interested witness is not liable to be rejected on the ground of being a relative of the deceased.

"Most often the offence of subjecting the married woman to cruelty is committed within the boundaries of the house which in itself diminishes the chances of availability of any independent witness and even if an independent witness is available whether he or she would be willing to be a witness in the case is also a big question because normally no independent or unconnected person would prefer to become a witness for a number of reasons. There is nothing unnatural for a victim of domestic cruelty to share her trauma with her parents, brothers and sisters and other such close relatives. The evidentiary value of the close relatives/interested witness is not liable to be rejected on the ground of being a relative of the deceased. Law does not disqualify the relatives to be produced as a witness though they may be interested witness." it said.

31/08/2021

Manjeet Singh vs. State of Haryana LL 2021 SC 398

Hon'ble SC enumerated following principles in respect of power of courts under section 319 Cr.P.C :

1. While exercising the powers under Section 319 CrPC and to summon the persons not charge-sheeted, the entire effort is not to allow the real perpetrator of an offence to get away unpunished;

2. For the empowerment of the courts to ensure that the criminal administration of justice works properly;

3. The law has been properly codified and modified by the legislature under the CrPC indicating as to how the courts should proceed to ultimately find out the truth so that the innocent does not get punished but at the same time, the guilty are brought to book under the law;

4. To discharge duty of the court to find out the real truth and to ensure that the guilty does not go unpunished;

5. Where the investigating agency for any reason does not array one of the real culprits as an accused, the court is not powerless in calling the said accused to face trial;

6. Section 319 CrPC allows the court to proceed against any person who is not an accused in a case before it;

7. The court is the sole repository of justice and a duty is cast upon it to uphold the rule of law and, therefore, it will be inappropriate to deny the existence of such powers with the courts in our criminal justice system where it is not uncommon that the real accused, at times, get away by manipulating the investigating and/or the prosecuting agency;

8.Section 319 CrPC is an enabling provision empowering the court to take appropriate steps for proceeding against any person not being an accused for also having committed the offence under trial;
the power under Section 319(1) CrPC can be exercised at any stage after the charge-sheet is filed and before the pronouncement of judgment, except during the stage of Sections 207/208 CrPC, committal, etc. which is only a pretrial stage intended to put the process into motion;

9. The court can exercise the power under Section 319 CrPC only after the trial proceeds and commences with the recording of the evidence;

10.The word "evidence" in Section 319 CrPC means only such evidence as is made before the court, in relation to statements, and as produced before the court, in relation to documents;

11. It is only such evidence that can be taken into account by the Magistrate or the court to decide whether the power under Section 319 CrPC is to be exercised and not on the basis of material collected during the investigation;

12. If the Magistrate/court is convinced even on the basis of evidence appearing in examination-in-chief, it can exercise the power under Section 319 CrPC and can proceed against such other person(s);

13. That the Magistrate/court is convinced even on the basis of evidence appearing in examination-in-chief, powers under Section 319 CrPC can be exercised;

14. That power under Section 319 CrPC can be exercised even at the stage of completion of examination-in-chief and the court need not has to wait till the said evidence is tested on cross-examination;

15. Even in a case where the stage of giving opportunity to the complainant to file a protest petition urging upon the trial court to summon other persons as well who were named in FIR but not implicated in the charge-sheet has gone, in that case also, the Court is still not powerless by virtue of Section 319 CrPC and even those persons named in FIR but not implicated in the charge-sheet can be summoned to face the trial, provided during the trial some evidence surfaces against the proposed accused (may be in the form of examination-in-chief of the prosecution witnesses);

16. While exercising the powers under Section 319 CrPC the Court is not required and/or justified in appreciating the deposition/evidence of the prosecution witnesses on merits which is required to be done during the trial.

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06/08/2021

Surajdeo Mahto and Anr. ..... Appellant(s)

VERSUS

The State of Bihar ..... Respondent

Hon'ble SC reiterated that where the fact of last seen is established, an adverse inference can be drawn against the accused if he fails to explain the circumstances in which he departed the company of the deceased.

Ref:1.) Rajasthan v. Kashi Ram (2006) 12 SCC 254
2.) Satpal v. State of Haryana,
3.) Section 106 Indian evidence act.

In satpal (supra) the court observed that unless the fact of last seen is corroborated by some other evidence, the fact that the deceased was last seen in the vicinity of the accused, would by itself, only be a weak kind of evidence.

19/07/2021

BHAGWANRAO MAHADEO PATIL VERSUS APPA RAMCHANDRA SAVKAR & ORS. (CR. Appeal no. 601/2021)

Hon'ble SC reiterated the observation made in Bhupendra vs. State of Madhya Pradesh - (2014) 2 SCC 106

" We are, therefore, of the opinion that Section306 IPC is much broader in it's application andtakes within its fold one aspect of Section 304BIPC. These two sections are not mutually exclusive.If a conviction for causing a su***de is based onSection 304B IPC, it will necessarily attractSection 306 IPC. However, the converse is not true."

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