Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: Sunil Dutt Yadav, J. granted regular bail on the ground that the case of the commission of offence with pre-meditation was yet to be proved during trial.

A bail application was filed with respect to the offence of murder punishable under Section 302 of the Penal Code, 1860.

The facts of the case were that a complaint was lodged by the complainant against her husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law for harassing the complainant for about two months. It was further submitted that the complainant had gone back to her parent’s house after the altercation with her husband, but thereafter husband came to the parents’ place and started a quarrel, the mother tried to pacify but the petitioner stabbed the complainant’s mother with a knife, who succumbed to the injuries and died. Thus, the case was registered and the accused was arrested.

Tejas N., counsel for the petitioner stated that the petitioner himself had suffered injuries in altercation according to the statement of the witness. It was further submitted that the context in which altercation took place the reaction of the petitioner was in the nature of reaction to the grave and sudden provocation. Thus, prayed for the grant of bail.

The Court opined that the Sessions Judge had dismissed the application of the petitioner stating that prima facie materials were made out against the petitioner with regard to commission of offence but the court held that petitioner was entitled to bail on the ground that context of the altercation including injuries was, matter to be explained and proved in trial. Hence, application for the bail was allowed.[Syed Raheem v. State of Karnataka, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 565, decided on 03-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: H.B. Prabhakara Sastry, J. dismissed the petition under Section 438 of Code of Criminal Procedure for an offence punishable under Sections 307, 504, 506 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The facts of the case were that petitioner and the complainant had a quarrel with respect to the headphone. The petitioner, one night, assaulted the victim with a knife and inflicted several injuries upon him. It was the nearby public that rescued the victim from the fight and he was rushed to the hospital. The complainant received the phone call regarding the incident and rushed to the hospital and found the injured victim in ICU. The complaint was thus registered against the petitioner for offence punishable under Sections 307, 504, 506 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Srinivasa C., Advocate for the petitioner submitted that complaint was an exaggerated version of the simple altercation. It was further submitted that the accused and victim were relatives and were very much interested in living in a coordinated harmony. Therefore, prayed for the grant of the bail.

Divakar Maddur, High Court Government pleader argued that accused and victim were known to each other prior to the incident but the statement of the victim, who had attributed direct overt act against the petitioner as the one who stabbed him and caused several injuries with the help of the knife. It was further submitted that as the investigation was in process, the enlargement of the bail was not warranted and thus prayed for the dismissal of the present application.

The High Court after submission by the parties held that statement of the victim, that too, stated to have given in the hospital in the presence of the doctor to the police officer cannot be discarded at the stage of the investigation. Moreover, the investigation is said to be in progress. As such apprehension expressed by the prosecution that the enlargement of the accused on the relief of the bail may hamper the case cannot be ignored and hence rejected the present petition.[Mohd. Waseem v. State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 3215 of 2019, decided on 23-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K. Agarwal, J. while allowing a writ petition filed by a registered medical practitioner, held that the jurisdictional criminal court has to follow the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the matters of Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab, (2005) 6 SCC 1 and Martin F. D’Souza v. Mohd. Ishfaq, (2009) 3 SCC 1, while directing registration of FIR and investigation under Section 156(3) CrPC against medical professionals.

The petitioner was a qualified gynaecologist. One patient, who was admitted to her Nursing Home, delivered a girl child and thereafter Conventional Tubectomy was performed on her by the petitioner. However, after that, the patient developed some complaints and she was shifted to another hospital where she passed away. Relatives of the deceased accused the petitioner of medical negligence. Complaint was filed against her with the Police. Inquiry was made; the Chief Medical and Health Officer also deputed four doctors to file a report. In the said report, it was found that there was no negligence on the part of the petitioner. However, some time thereafter, the mother of the deceased approached the Chief Judicial Magistrate with an application under Section 156(3), where under the CJM directed the SHO concerned to hold a preliminary enquiry, after which FIR was registered against the petitioner for offences punishable under Sections 269 and 304-A IPC. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the present petition.

Abhishek Sinha and Vaibhav Maheshwari, Advocates for the petitioner contended that the impugned order was sustainable as the petitioner did not first comply with provisions of Sections 154(1) and 154(3), Ravi Kumar Bhagat, Deputy Government Advocate submitted that the final closure report was yet to be filed. Abhishek Sharma, Advocate representing the mother of the deceased supported the order under challenge.

The High Court noted precautions and principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the aforenoted two cases which have been consistently followed in subsequent judgments. The High Court was of the view that the order of the CJM was not unsustainable for more than one reason. It was, inter alia, held: “the principle of law laid down by the Supreme Court in Jacob Mathew and Martin D’Souza for registration of criminal case against a doctor before registering an FIR under Section 154(1) of the CrPC by getting an expert opinion from a qualified doctor would apply with equal force while registering /directing for registration of offence under Section 156(3)…” It was reiterated: “obtaining a medical opinion from experts was sine qua non for direction of registration and investigation of offences against medical practitioners.” Since the directions were not followed by the CJM in the present case, the impugned order was held unsustainable was thereby quashed. The petition was, thus allowed. [Krishna Dixit v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 47, dated 14-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: Reiterating that mere likelihood of suspicion cannot be a reason to charge someone for an offence, Rumi Kumari Phukan, J. allowed a criminal petition and quashed the FIR registered against the petitioners under Section 120-B, 32 and 307 IPC.

The matter related to a long pending land dispute between the petitioners on one hand and the injured and the informant on the other hand. The injured was shot from the backside while riding his motorcycle. The informant, the wife of the injured, lodged an FIR against the petitioners on suspicion that the attack was committed by them in response to their land dispute.

J.J. Borbhuiya, I., Mohan, R. Ali and K.H. Choudhary, Advocates, representing the petitioners vehemently submitted that the criminal proceeding could not stand and continue on sheer suspicion. Per contra, T. Sarma and H.K. Sarma, Advocates, for the informant asserted that the proceedings should continue till the end. However, D. Das, Additional Public Prosecutor, submitted that the injured himself could not identify the assailants.

 Perusing the record, the High Court noted that the informant tried to project the case only on suspicion and there was no supporting evidence to suggest the complicity of the petitioners. It was observed: “Criminal prosecution cannot be permitted to continue on the whims and pleasure of the litigants unless cogent, clear and convicting evidence collected in course investigation.” Holding that the same was very much lacking in the present case, the Court was of the view that continuance of the criminal proceeding against the petitioners would cause a miscarriage of justice. Thus, the prayer made by the petitioners was allowed and the impugned FIR was quashed. [Anuradha Gogoi v. State of Assam, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 2296, decided on 14-05-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Appellate Tribunal for Prevention of Money Laundering: A Coram of Justice Manmohan Singh (Chairperson) and G.C Mishra (Member) allowed an appeal against the order passed by the Adjudicating Authority to retain seized assets based on a reasonable belief of the respondents.

In this instant case, an FIR was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in relation to allegations that Sterling Group of companies and the Sandesara Group were involved in bribing public officials in the period between the period 2005 to 2011 for obtaining tenders for the supply of goods, loans by banks and financial institutions. The statements of one Ajay Panchal, who was maintaining diaries in the year 2011 was recorded, and it was stated that Angadias, one of the appellants, were involved in the transfer of suspected proceeds of crime from Vadodara to Delhi between “Starling Biotech Limited and various individuals/entities based in Delhi”. There was a search of the appellant’s premises and properties were seized based on the FIR.

The Appellate Tribunal took note of the allegations against the appellants and ordered that the impugned orders were passed without any due consideration to the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2000. The Appellate Tribunal, in its findings, opined that the allegations that the appellant’s services were used to transfer funds from the Sandesara Group to certain public officials did not hold true since the averment as to the whether there were any proceeds of crime was not concluded by the Directorate of Enforcement. The properties seized, pertained to the year 2017 whereas in the FIR and complaints it was noted that the transactions took place between 2005 and 2011. The Tribunal opined “the impugned orders have been passed without any application of mind and in a completely mechanical manner.”

 It was noted by the Tribunal that the Respondents failed to produce any material having relation or link between the appellants and Sterling Biotech Ltd., they also could not provide any proceeds of crime being generated from the transactions. The Petitioners have the option to enforce Section 8(8) of PMLA which provides an alternative statutory remedy to allow the release of property even during trials. The Appellate Tribunal noted that Sections 17 to 21 of PMLA provide that the outer limit up to the date for deciding the application for retention of property within the meaning Section 21(4) is 180 days from the date of seizure of any property or records and this said period cannot be extended. Thus, the Appellate Tribunal reiterated the provisions of Sections 17 and 18 of PMLA and stated that if the Adjudicating Authority has a legitimate reason for investigation of the said property, it should pass an order on the same and direct for investigation wherein the assets will be frozen for a period not exceeding 90 days, otherwise, the properties shall be defreezed.

The Appellate Tribunal ordered that in this instant case, the properties were seized for the purpose of investigation and the 90 days period had elapsed and there were no concrete averments against the appellants or their property hence the properties were to be defreezed.[Kapoor Chand Galbaji Prajapati v. Joint Director, Directorate of Enforcement, Delhi, FPA-PMLA-2231-2334/DLI/2018, decided on 02-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Bench of Sonia Gokani, J., while hearing the grievance of the petitioner regarding non-filing of FIR, ordered the authorities to do a necessary investigation after lodging FIR.

A writ petition was made by the petitioner who was aggrieved by non-registration of the first information report on the basis of complaint given in writing. S.D. Mansur, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the offence being a cognizable offence doesn’t take away his right to lodge the FIR. Thus an application for appropriate order of the court was made by the petitioner.

Jirga Jhaveri, the learned counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, submitted that though a cognizable offence is made out, his first information report was not registered.

The Court after hearing the party relied on the Judgment of Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1, which mandates that registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of Code of  Criminal Procedure, 1973.  The Court held that the police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering the offence if the cognizable offence is disclosed and the action should be taken against erring officer who does not register the FIR. The court further held that in order to ascertain the information regarding the cognizable offence it was important to conduct the preliminary inquiry. The court thus instructed the respondents to lodge the report and conduct the preliminary inquiry within one week and further instructed the petitioner that if the action is not taken, it shall be open to him to approach the higher officials, as provided under Section 154(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.[Avdhesh Bhawaniprasad Yadav v. State of Gujarat, Special Criminal Application No. 930 of 2019, Order dated 07-02-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Appellate Tribunal for Prevention of Money Laundering: The Coram comprising of Manmohan Singh, J. (Chairperson) and G.C. Mishra (Member) allowed the appeal against the order under Section 26(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. 

The brief facts of the case are that the police report against G.S. Sawhney i.e. husband of Sudeep Kaur Sawhney was filed as it was alleged that with the help of forged power of attorney, the persons attempted to get transferred showroom in favor of O.P. Mittal.  It was alleged on behalf of appellants that the respondent did not record any reason of freezing the bank accounts and also did not communicate any order to the appellant. The respondent intimated the order to the banker of the appellant on which the banker didn’t allow the appellant to operate/withdraw/debit money from the accounts and account was freezed by the bank. The application for the seizure of the account during pendency of the offence beyond 90 days under the Act was allowed by the adjudicating authority. Hence, the present appeal.   

Counsel for the appellant, Deepak Gupta contended that as per the provisions of Section 8 (3)(a) of the PMLA, 2000 the attachment or retention of property or record seized shall continue during the investigation for a period not exceeding ninety days which were already over. 

The Court in light of the facts held that there was no compliance of the said section of the Act and the time period of more than 3 years and 10 months have elapsed and no complaint has been lodged against the appellant and thus the order of defreeze of account was passed by the tribunal. 

Reliance in this regard was also placed on a judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Dipak Babaria v. State of Gujarat, (2014) 3 SCC 502 in which it was held that if a particular thing is to be done in a particular manner, it must be done in that manner only and none other.  [S.K. Sawhney v. Directorate of Enforcement, FPA-PMLA-971of 2015, Order dated 26-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: M. Dhandapani, J., quashed a case registered against the petitioner along with others for demonstrating and raising slogans against the Principal and the Head of the Department (English) of Government College affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University.

On 17-02-2016, on Anandharaj, a student of B.A. (English), III year, in the said college, committed suicide in his house by self-immolation. After his post-mortem, the petitioner and other students started a demonstration and raised slogans. Since during the demonstration, the petitioner and other students prevented the ingress and egress of the general public from the Government Hospital, a complaint was lodged against them. After completing the investigation, the Police filed a charge-sheet before the Judicial Magistrate. The present petition was filed for quashing of the same.

Holding that the present case was squarely covered an earlier decision of the Court in Jeevanandham v. State, Crl. OP (MD) No. 1356 of 2018, dated 20-09-2018, the High Court observed: “this Court has held that the assembly of persons were expressing and claiming for minimum rights that are guaranteed to an ordinary citizens. If such an assembly of persons are to be trifled by registering an FIR under Section 143 IPC and filing a Final Report for the very same offence, no democratic dissent can ever be shown by the citizens and such prohibition will amount to a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.” In such view of the matter, the present petition was allowed and the case against the petition pending before the Judicial Magistrate was quashed. [G. Ayyapan v. State, Crl. OP (MD) No. 4305 of 2019, dated 08-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: The Bench of Dr A. K. Mishra, J., allowed a petition filed to quash the order passed taking cognizance of the offences under Sections 448, 427, 380, 506 and 149 IPC.

The facts of the case were that a complaint was filed against the petitioner stating that the Executive Officer of Phulbani NAC and Tahasildar, accompanied by their staff and police, demolished the toilet and room of the complainant’s house. Getting the said news, when opposite party 2 arrived at the spot and made a protest, the accused persons abused and threatened him. After demolition, they took away the belongings kept in that house for construction purpose. His report in this regard was not accepted by the police. Later on when a case was registered and investigation was conducted police filed the final report. The Court, vide an earlier order observed that the act complained of appeared to have inseparable nexus with the discharge of the official duty and as such the Court should not have taken cognizance of the offences against the petitioner in the absence of sanction order under Section 197 CrPC. The Court quashed the proceeding in the case against two other accused persons. The act complained of was found to have integrally connected to the duty of the officers like that of the petitioner.

The Court held that the present petitioner stood at equal footing with that of the co-accused persons against whom proceeding was already quashed for want of sanction under Section 197 CrPC. Hence the proceeding against present petitioner was also ordered to be quashed under Section 482 CrPC. [Rabindranath Mohanty v. State of Orissa, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 107, Order dated 07-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ashwani Kumar Singh, J. dismissed a petition praying for the arrest of a few persons named in a first information report.

Petitioner herein had lodged a police case against Respondent’s 6 to 9 for offence under Sections 304-B, 34 and 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860. Since the said respondents had not been arrested so far, the instant petition was filed praying for a direction to the State to arrest them.

The Court observed that there may be a case in which innocent persons may be implicated in the criminal case. The police in course of an investigation may not like to arrest such person. On completion of investigation, the police may submit a report that those persons named in the FIR are innocent. There may be a case where even informant may turn into the category of accused in the same police case. In such cases also, it would be highly unfair to arrest a person, who may be innocent and whose name is maliciously be given by the informant in the FIR.

It was opined that only because a person is named in the first information report, the Court would not issue any direction for the arrest of those persons. Since the instant police case was under investigation; to arrest or to not arrest an accused named in the FIR was within the exclusive domain of police. In view thereof, it was held that it would be highly unsafe for a Court to issue direction, while exercising extraordinary writ jurisdiction, to the respondent authorities to arrest a person named in the FIR.[Govinda Kumar v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 248, Order dated 25-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Manojit Mandal and Joymalya Bagchi, JJ., in the wake of rising cyber crimes in the present times, issued directions to ensure that the investigation of crimes involving electronic evidence is conducted in a fair, impartial and effective manner.

Allegations, as mentioned in the FIR, pertain to a matrimonial dispute between the petitioner and his wife. Further, it has been alleged that the petitioner with the object of defaming and denigrating the wife had posted objectionable pictures of wife on a social network platform and circulated such materials widely. Offences under Sections 66 E & 67A of IT Act were not added in the FIR, an investigation by Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police in violation of Section 78 of the IT Act was conducted.

Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the present case and due to lack of materials on record that objectionable pictures were circulated without consent and knowledge of de-facto complainant, the Court was of the opinion that custodial interrogation of accused/petitioner may not be necessary and he may be granted anticipatory bail subject to the conditions as laid down under Section 438(2) of CrPC, 1973.

Further, the High Court felt that there is a crying need to train and familiarise members of the police force in the matter of collection, reception, storage, analysis, and production of electronic evidence. The bench also stated that:

“It is also relevant to note that electronic evidence by its very nature is susceptible to tampering and/or alteration and requires sensitive handling. A breach in the chain of custody or improper preservation of such evidence render it vitiated and such evidence cannot be relied in judicial proceedings. Necessary certification under Section 65D of the Information Technology Act is also a pre-requisite for admissibility of such evidence. Even if such certification is present, reliability of electronic evidence depends on proper collection, preservation and production in court. Any lacuna in that regard would render such evidence vulnerable with regard to its probative value. These factors have come to our notice not only in the present case but also in a number of cases argued before us in recent times.”

For the said purpose, certain directions were issued to ensure that investigation of crimes involving electronic evidence is conducted in a fair, impartial and effective manner.

Following are the directives:

  • Proper training of members of police force in reception, preservation and analysis of electronic evidence.
  • Only the officers who have been trained in accordance to the manner as stated above shall be involved in the investigation of crimes involving offences under IT Act and the offences in which electronic evidence plays a pre-dominant part.
  • Every district shall have a cyber cell comprising of officers with specialised knowledge in the matter of dealing with electronic evidence in order to render assistance to local police.
  • A standard operating procedure regarding preservation, collection, analysis and producing electronic evidence to be submitted by Director General of Police, West Bengal on the next date of hearing.
  • Specialised forensic units to be set up in the State in order to facilitate examination and/or analysis of electronic evidence.

The matter has been posted for further hearing on 11-03-2019. [Subhendu Nath v. State of W.B., 2019 SCC OnLine Cal 242, Order dated 18-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Karuna Nand Bajpayee and Ifaqat Ali Khan, JJ. dismissed a petition seeking quashing of a First Information Report filed against the petitioner for offences committed under Sections 148, 307, 353 and 504 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, and Section 7 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The Court observed that grounds for quashing of FIR are well-settled, and thus in such cases court must refrain itself from embarking upon a roving enquiry into details of the case. It was noted that all the contentions raised by the petitioner’s counsel related to the determination of disputed questions of fact which may be adequately discerned either through proper investigation or adjudicated by the trial court. The ambit of an investigation into the alleged offence is an independent area of operation and does not call for interference except in rarest of rare cases. Relying on Ajit Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2006 SCC OnLine All 1409 it was opined that operational liberty to collect sufficient material, if any, cannot be scuttled prematurely by any uncalled for overstepping of the Court. 

The Court held that perusal of the case records, prima facie, made out the offence alleged and there appeared to be sufficient ground for investigation in the case. In view thereof, prayer for quashing FIR was refused. However, it was directed that the petitioner shall not be arrested unless credible evidence against him is collected by the Investigating Officer.[Umar Mohd. v. State of U.P, Criminal Misc. Writ Petition No. 330 of 2019, Order dated 08-01-2019]

Business NewsNews

As reported by media, the board of ICICI Bank had appointed Retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Srikrishna to investigate in regard to the allegations placed against Kochhar. The investigation concluded with Justice Srikrishna finding Kocchar guilty of violating the lender’s code of conduct.

On 30-01-2019, the board of ICICI Bank released a statement stating that, “After due deliberations, the Board of Directors decided to treat the separation of Ms Chanda Kochhar from the Bank as a ‘Termination for Cause’ under the Bank’s internal policies, schemes and the Code of Conduct, with all attendant consequences (including revocation of all her existing and future entitlements such as any unpaid amounts, unpaid bonuses or increments, unvested and vested & unexercised stock options, and medical benefits), and require the clawback of all bonuses paid from April 2009 until March 2018, and to take such further actions as may be warranted in the matter.”

[Source: Indianexpress.com]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: The Bench of S. Talapatra, J. dismissed a criminal revision petition challenging an order whereby the Sessions Court refused to take cognizance of a police report filed under Section 173(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on the ground that further investigation was continuing against the arrested and absconding accused persons.

The question before the Court was that whether a police report can be filed in part keeping the investigation incomplete or continuing; and whether such a report could be brought within the definition of ‘police report’ under Section 2(r) of CrPC.

Learned public prosecutor submitted that the trial court was duty bound to consider the police report and infer whether any offence has been disclosed. Whereas counsel on behalf of respondent argued that a police report can be filed only after completion of investigation as there was no other provision in CrPC to file a police report in part.

The Court observed that Section 2(r) of CrPC clearly stated that a report forwarded by a police officer to the Magistrate is a police report. Whether on the basis of the said report, cognizance of any offence shall be taken by the Magistrate, is altogether a different question.

It was opined that after receipt of a police report, the Magistrate can do one of following: (i) he may decide that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding further and drop action; (ii) he may take cognizance of offence under Section 190(1)(b) of CrPC on the basis of materials in the police report; or (iii) he may direct further investigation by the police.

After a perusal of records, the Court noted that eighteen charge sheets had been filed in the instant case. Admittedly, these charge sheets were not a result of the further investigation but of a continuing investigation. Hence, it was inferred that the subject police report was not filed on completion of the investigation. In view thereof, it was held that there was no infirmity in the impugned order.[State of Tripura v. Bimal Chakraborty, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 1, decided on 03-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: Appalled at the shocking revelations made in a bail application, the Bench of Sanjay Karol, CJ. asked for a detailed tabulated data on the number of people granted bail under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and the reasons for granting such bail.

While hearing a bail application on behalf of Krishna Kumar, who along with four others were found consciously possessing 298 kilograms of a contraband substance, the Court made the above-mentioned observations. Another accused in the same case, Pritam Roy, was granted ad-interim bail by a Special Judge on humanitarian grounds. During the hearing of the present case, the Director General of Police (Tripura) was also present. Under instructions from the DGP, a statement with regard to the status of the cases under the provision of the NDPS Act and release of the accused persons only for the year 2018 was furnished. According to this statement, 435 out of 660 people against whom a case was registered under the NDPS Act, were granted bail.

When presented with such shocking data, the learned Judge asked for the reason why was it so facile for accused to get bail under the NDPS Act. The Court questioned “the reasons for grant of bail; is it what is commonly termed as a default bail; is it that the Public Prosecutor conceded to the grant of bail; is it that the Public Prosecutors did not oppose the same; is it that the Courts have passed the orders without following the settled principles of law; or is it that innocent stand falsely implicated. If so, then why no action, in accordance with law, stands taken against the erring persons by the authorities?”

The DGP, Tripura was directed to submit a detailed report of all cases registered under NDPS Act in 2018 in the State of Tripura. It was directed that such report should also include the reasons for the grant of bail (if any) among others.[Haricharan Biswas v. State of Tripura, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 24, Order dated 10-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Karuna Nand Bajpayee and Ifaqat Ali Khan, JJ., dismissed a petition on the ground that the contentions raised by the petitioners’ counsel were related to disputed questions of fact.

The Court had been called upon to adjudge the worth of prosecution allegations and evaluate the same on the basis of various intricacies of factual details. The veracity and credibility of the indictment was questioned, the absence of material which would substantiate the allegations that were contended and false implication was pleaded.

The High Court dismissing this petition held that only a prima facie satisfaction of the court about the existence of sufficient ingredients constituting the offence is required in order to see whether the FIR required to be investigated or deserves quashing. The ambit of the investigation into the alleged offence is an independent area of operation and does not call for interference in the same except in rarest of rare cases. Further, it stated that the operational liberty to collect sufficient material cannot be scuttled prematurely by any uncalled for overstepping of the Court. It has to be an extremely discreet exercise. Call for determination on pure questions of fact should be adequately discerned either through proper investigation or should be adjudicated upon only by the trial court and even the submissions made on points of law can also be more appropriately gone into only by the trial court in case a charge sheet is submitted. The Court did not deem it proper to have a pre-trial before the actual trial begun. The FIR was thus not quashed. [Seraj Ahamad v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 23, Order dated 08-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Bench of Sanjay Kumar Gupta, J. allowed this petition seeking a direction to the official respondents for reinvestigation because of shoddy, incomplete and unreasoned investigation conducted in a perfunctory manner.

The facts of the case are that the father, brother of the petitioner and the petitioner himself were criminally abused, beaten up and restrained by the accused persons. An FIR was lodged but the police refused to take any actions against the accused persons. It was stated that the Challan in the aforesaid FIR was produced before the Court of Learned Munsiff only under Sections 341/323/34 RPC and only against a few of the respondents and left over the serious offences and rest of the accused persons. The petitioners further contended that the criminal case under the FIR whose challan was presented in the Court of Munsiff required a reinvestigation as the medical record which had been annexed with the petition was not considered by the Investigating Officer during the investigation.

The Court allowed the petition and ordered for further investigation. [Mohd. Arif v. State of J&K, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 1046, decided on  24-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sandeep Sharma, J. allowed a bail application due to full cooperation of the petitioner during the investigations.

A bail petition has been filed under Section 438 CrPC for grant of anticipatory bail with regard to the FIR under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 120-B IPC.

It was stated by the petitioner that the object of bail was to secure the attendance to which he was fully cooperative during the time of investigation and that at this stage nothing was required to be recovered from him.

The Court relied on the Supreme Court decision in the case of Dataram Singh v. State of U.P., (2018) 3 SCC 22, whereby relevance was drawn towards participation in the investigation and not absconding when required by the investigating officer. It further held that if the accused was hiding due to the fear of being victimized, the court shall take it into account and act accordingly. Accordingly, the Court allowed the bail petition but warned the petitioner that if he misuses his liberty or violates any of the conditions imposed upon him the bail shall be cancelled.[Narinder Awasthy v. State of H.P.,2018 SCC OnLine HP 1592, decided on 15-11-2018]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Single Judge Bench of R.P. Dholaria, J., allowed a petition filed against the order of the lower courts, whereby petitioner’s application for granting custody of his vehicle which was involved in an offence under the provision of Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949, was dismissed.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the lower courts were justified in rejecting the application of petitioner for the release of his vehicle, pending investigation.

The Court observed that the lower courts have not handed over the interim custody of the vehicle to petitioner in view of Section 98 of the Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949, which provides embargo for handing over the custody of the vehicle used in the offence pending the trial. The respondent’s contention with regard to the lower courts and revisional courts having no jurisdiction to hand over custody of the vehicle used in the offence as per the provisions of Section 451 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, was rejected by the Court.

The Court held that this instant case was covered by the judgment delivered in Hardikbhai Mukeshbhai Chauhan v. State of Gujarat, Special Criminal Application No. 7642 of 2018 and subsequently allowed the petition filed by the petitioner. The Court directed the lower court to immediately release the vehicle owned by the petitioner after due verification and following the procedure of recording such evidence as it thinks necessary as provided under Section 451 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. [Rangrej Shokatbhai Noormohammed v. State of Gujarat, R/Special Criminal Application No. 9528 of 2018, Order dated 30-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Annie John, J., allowed an appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby accused was found guilty for the offence punishable under Section 58 of the Kerala Akbari Act.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the order of the trial court was good in law.

The Court observed that there was several loopholes in the investigation conducted by the police. Firstly, the sample of the contraband articles was sent to the Court after a delay for 4 days and such delay was unexplained by the prosecution. Secondly, the chemical analysis report was unclear and lastly, the forwarding note did not contain a sample seal. The appellant relied upon the case of Ramankutty v. Excise Inspector, Chelannur Range, 2013 (3) KHC 308, wherein it was held that an accused becomes entitled to the benefit of doubt if there is an unexplained delay on the part of the prosecution. The Court found this case applicable to the facts and circumstances of the instant case and it also observed that it was the duty of the prosecution to prove that the contraband articles were produced before the Court without any sort of tampering. The investigation under the Kerala Akbari Act could be conducted by the Akbari Officer appointed by the state government and every Akbari Officer had a territorial jurisdiction, however, in the instant case, the investigating officer was not authorized to investigate the matter since it was outside his territorial jurisdiction.

The Court after considering all the lacunae in the investigation held that the order of the trial court was liable to be set aside since it was based on such faulty investigation. Resultantly, the appeal was allowed and the order of the trial court was set aside.[Ravi v. State,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 4640, order dated 30-10-2018]