Where accused is not prejudiced by non-framing of written charge, defect can be cured

Calcutta High Court: While deciding a revisional application against the order of the Special Court (CBI) in a corruption case, the Court held that where the accused was not prejudiced as no written charge was framed against him, the defect can safely be cured.

The petitioner contended that a charge-sheet was filed against all the accused, the Special Court did not frame the  charges  in writing in its order dated May 31, 2010 and that no form was filled in. The counsel for CBI contended that non-filling up of the form is one irregularity and no illegality and for that reason, the prosecution case cannot suffer. He submitted that vide the impugned order dated May 15, 2014 , the learned court tried to cure the irregularity by framing a written charge to cure the defect.

The Court observed that in the instant case the charge was framed against the accused and that was read over the explained to the accused petitioner also but unfortunately at a later stage of proceeding it was found that the form of charge was not there in the record. The court ought to have made administrative inquiry as to why that form of charge was not there in the record.

The Court held that the only point involved was that whether this accused was prejudiced as no written charge was framed against him when the order dated 31st of May, 2010, was passed vide which charge was read over and explained. The Court observed that the said order had not been assailed before the court and as such it stands and cannot be interfered with. On scrutiny of the said order it appeared that charge was framed against the petitioner along with other accused persons and this accused was charged in respect of the offence punishable under Section 420/511  IPC read with Section 120-B of the Code.

The Court held that Section 464 CrPC naturally comes after Section 228(1)(b) of the Code and naturally this Court can say that Section 464 of the Code is a curative section and the defect that the trial court even did not frame in writing a charge against the accused can safely be cured. Dismissing the application, the Bench of Indrajit Chatterjee, J observed that as the circumstances of this case do not show that any prejudice was caused to this accused, there was no need to frame fresh charge in the format in the case as charge for all purposes was already framed as per the impugned order.  [Ramesh Sharma v. Superintendent of Police, 2016 SCC OnLine Cal 4872 , decided on September 6, 2016]

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