Proceedings under Section 174-A IPC can’t be initiated unless accused is declared as proclaimed offender by competent court

Delhi High Court: The Court dealt with an important question of law in criminal proceedings in a case, where the process under Sections 82 and 83 CrPC was issued against the accused. While the statement of process server under Section 82 CrPC was recorded by the CMM, the process couldn’t be completed under Section 83 for want of any property in the name of petitioner. Section 82 deals with proclaiming a person as proclaimed offender if he/she is absconding while Section 83 provides for attachment of the property of the person.

In the meanwhile before the petitioner could be declared as proclaimed offender, Investigation Officer filed a supplementary charge-sheet dated 31.08.2013 under Sections 384/387/419/420/467/468/471/474/174A/506/120B/34 IPC. Thereafter, his anticipatory bail application was accepted by Add. Sessions Judge, New Delhi. The grievance of the petitioner is that the Investigating Officer had no power to add Section 174-A IPC in the supplementary charge-sheet prior to declaring the petitioner a proclaimed offender by the trial court. The petitioner was declared as proclaimed offender after the supplementary charge-sheet was filed against him including the charge of Section 174-A IPC which provides for imprisonment of a person for non-appearance in response to a proclamation under Section 82  CrPC.

So, in the present petition the vital question before the Court was whether Section 174-A IPC could be added by the Investigating Officer before declaring the petitioner to be a proclaimed offender. To this question, the Court responded in negation. The Court held that the IO had added the charge of Section 174-A IPC much before the date when the order of his proclamation as proclaimed offender had been issued and said that he had no power to do so. Justice I.S. Mehta observed that the bare reading of the section was making it amply clear that proceeding under Section 174-A could only be started only after the person is declared as proclaimed offender and thus, allowed the petition. [Deepak Kumar@ Deepak Saha v. State, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 6920, decided on 07.02.2017]

 

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