Magistrate while holding inquiry u/s 202 CrPC required to take a broad view and a prima facie case: SC

The Supreme Court observed that a contract is void if prohibited by a statute under a penalty, even without express declaration that the contract is void

What if the accused is residing beyond the jurisdiction of the court under which the crime has been committed? Before taking the cognizance of such offences on the complaint or on its own, the magistrate forwards the inquiry against the accused into the case directly or order the investigation officer or the person he may think fit to find out whether there is a sufficient ground to initiate proceedings against the person who was charged with the offences and residing outside the jurisdiction of the concerned court. The inquiry by the magistrate is a mandatory process established under section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 before summoning the accused under the jurisdiction of the magistrate.  

Brief facts

  • The appeal was made in the Supreme Court of India by the accused on the order of the Patna High Court. The accused filed the quashing petition against the order of the session court in Patna high court for the proceeding of offences under Sections 323, 341, 379 of the IPC. The brother of the complainant and the accused are the partners in the partnership firm and the building where the firm has been established is taken on the lease.
  • After the firm was closed, the two of the partners without informing the complainant reached the building and broke the lock. They have collected all the documents of the firm and also the movable properties of the firm. Suddenly the complainant has reached the place and found all this happening without informing him. When he objected then the accused gave a kick to the complaint and threatened to kill him.
  • After the investigation, the learned court took cognizance against the accused person under sections 323, 341, 379 of IPC.
  • The accused filed appeal in the High court of Patna for quashing the petition and dismiss the action taken through the cognizance of the magistrate. The High court rejected the appeal and also refuses to quash the criminal proceeding, hence, observed that the appellant has the liberty to move to the lower court. 

Key features

  • The accused raised the contention that the complainant has tried to convert the civil dispute into a criminal and try to abuse the process of law.
  • The appeal was made to quash the order of the lower court as the criminal proceeding was raised against the appellant in the matter of civil disputes.
  • At the time of taking the cognizance the trial court will be required to hold the inquiry to satisfy himself whether there is a prima facie case existed.
  • The complainant was not a part of the partnership firm as he was the brother of one of the partners who is residing outside and has no connection with the partnership business. 

Order

The Supreme Court has stated that before taking the cognizance of the offence the magistrate must inquire directly or through ordering the investigation officer to check whether a prima facie criminal case exists against the accused or not, under section 202 of the criminal procedure code. The court have to check whether the criminal proceeding initiated is the abuse of process of law as the dispute was completely civil and presented like a criminal case 

While taking note of the allegation of the complainant, the bench opined that the criminal proceedings have abused the process of law. No ingredients of section 323, 342, 379 of IPC have observed in the case and a purely civil dispute was tried to be given the colour of the criminal suit. 

Therefore, the order of the lower court will be quashed and set aside as it is impugned in criminal proceedings.

Edited by Vartika Gajendra Singh

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Previous articleRamjanambhoomi – Babri Masjid Dispute
Next articleBudget 2020: Guiding the economy further
I am Mohita Yadav pursuing BBA. LLB(Hons.) at The ICFAI university, Dehradun. I am dedicated law student who learn through analysing. My basic interest is in field of contract law and constitutional law as no law in land is above the constitution. I love to do research on facts behind religious myth. I believe in intellectual work greatly inspired by Chanakya. At my free time, I like to spent my knowledge as it helps me to memorize and also motivate others. Not the least but I give best of my skill as I know a man is great by his deeds.