Prosecution of a person based on second FIR is not sustainable if its substratum is same as first FIR: 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

A bench of Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Krishna Murari of the Supreme Court observed that the prosecution of a person on the basis of a second FIR is not sustainable if its substratum is same as that of the first FIR.

Prior Facts:

The complainant lodged the First FIR stating that he had never executed any general Power of Attorney in favour of the accused therein and that the accused forged general Power of Attorney to sell his lands illegally. The Trial Court ultimately tried and acquitted the accused. Aggrieved with the judgement, the complainant again filed an application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C, in which he roundabout repeated same allegations. This was forwarded to the Police leading to registration of the second FIR. The application was ultimately dismissed, and then the accused approached the Apex Court in appeal.

Key Features:

  • The accused contended that in the facts of the case, the institution of the FIR on 09.10.2008 long years after the execution of the general power of attorney dated 02.05.1985.
  • The charges should be therefore, a complete abuse of the process of law and the proceedings are fit to be quashed.
  • He referred to Section 300 Cr.P.C., and submitted that the appellant couldn’t have been tried for the same offence twice at the behest of the respondent who is the complainant himself in both the FIRs.

Legal Provision: (CrPC)

  • 156 (3) Any Magistrate empowered under section 190 may order such an investigation as above- mentioned.
  • 300 (1) A person who has once been tried by a Court of competent jurisdiction for an offence and convicted or acquitted of such offence shall, while such conviction or acquittal remains in force, not be liable to be tried again for the same offence, nor on the same facts for any other offence for which a different charge from the one made against him might have been made under sub- section (1) of section 221, or for which he might have been convicted under sub- section (2) thereof.

Judgement:

The Court observed that it is, therefore, apparent that the subject matter of both the FIRs is the same general power of attorney dated 02.05.1985 and the sales made by the appellant in pursuance of the same. If the substratum of the two FIRs is common, the mere addition of Sections 467, 468 and 471 in the subsequent FIR cannot be considered as different ingredients to justify the latter FIR as being based on different materials, allegations and grounds.

In addition to this the court remarked in connection to provision of Section 300 CrPC that, “In view of the conclusion that the substratum of the two FIRs are the same and that the appellant has already stood acquitted on 07.08.1998 of the charge with regard to forging any general power of attorney of the respondent, we are of the considered opinion that the subsequent prosecution of the appellant in FIR No. 114 of 2008 dated 09.10.2008 is completely unsustainable”.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference:

  • Case of Prem Chand Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, Criminal Appeal No. 237 OF 2020, Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No.4592 of 2017, decided by the Supreme Court of India on February 07, 2020.
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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.