Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Reminding the Courts of the scope of their powers, the bench of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ has said:

“While considering the case of discharge sought immediately after the charge­sheet is filed, the Court cannot become an Appellate Court and start appreciating the evidence by finding out inconsistency in the statements of the witnesses.”

Background of the case:

  • An Inspector of Police and Sub-­inspector of Police were prosecuted for commission of the offences punishable under Section 7 read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • On charge­sheet being filed by the State Prosecuting Agency against the respondents after obtaining necessary sanction as required in law, both of them filed applications under Section 227 of the Cr.P.C. in the Court of Special Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate.
  • The Chief Judicial Magistrate allowed the applications and discharged them from the case.
  • State approached the High Court and the High Court dismissed the revisions and affirmed the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, giving rise to filing of these appeals by the State by way of special leave in this Court.

When the matter reached Supreme Court, it had to decide whether the Courts below were   justified in allowing the discharge applications filed by the respondents under Section 227 of the Cr. P.C. Stating that the Court the High Court acted like an Appellate Court than as a Revisionary Court as if it was hearing the appeal against the final verdict of the Special Court, the Court said:

“consideration of the record for discharge purpose is one thing and the consideration of the record while deciding the appeal by the Appellate Court is another thing.”

The Court, hence, set aside the impugned order, dismissed the applications filed by the respondents under Section 227 of the Cr.P.C. and remanded the case to the Special Judge/CJM for its trial on merits in accordance with law.

[State v. J. Doraiswamy, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 338, decided on 07.03.2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a matter where the Gujarat High Court had set aside the order passed by a Chief Judicial Magistrate who had taken cognizance of the offences punishable under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 477A and 120-B IPC on the basis of the second supplementary charge sheet filed by the police and ordered issuance of process to the accused, the bench of R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee, JJ held that the High Court ought not to have gone into the merits of the matter when the matter is in nascent stage.

Holding that the High Court overstepped in the said matter, the bench said:

“When the prosecution relies upon the materials, strict standard of proof is not to be applied at the stage of issuance of summons nor to examine the probable defence which the accused may take. All that the court is required to do is to satisfy itself as to whether there are sufficient grounds for proceeding.”

Stating that while hearing revision under Section 397 Cr.P.C., the High Court does not sit as an appellate court and will not reappreciate the evidence unless the judgment of the lower court suffers from perversity, the bench said:

“materials produced by the prosecution ought not to have been brushed aside by the learned Single Judge to quash the order of issuance of summons to the respondent-accused. As to whether these evidences are sufficient to sustain the conviction of the respondent-accused or whether he has a plausible defence or explanation is the matter to be considered at the stage of trial. The learned Single Judge ought not to have weighed the merits of the case at the initial stage of issuance of summons to the accused.”

The Court explained that while taking cognizance of an offence based upon a police report, it is the satisfaction of the Magistrate that there is sufficient ground to proceed against the accused and when the satisfaction of the Magistrate was based on the charge sheet and the materials placed before him, the satisfaction cannot be said to be erroneous or perverse and the satisfaction ought not to have been interfered with.

It was, hence, held that the High Court committed a serious error in going into the merits and  demerits of the case and hence, the impugned order was set aside. [State of Gujarat v. Afroz Mohammed Hasanfatta, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 132, decided on 05.02.2019]

Bail Application
Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Himachal Pradesh : Deciding upon an issue  as to whether Regular First Appeal or Civil Revision or petition under Article 227 of the Constitution  would lie against the order passed by the Wakf Tribunal, the Bench comprising of Mansoor Ahmad Mir, CJ., and Sandeep Sharma, J., held that the Regular First Appeal or Civil Revision or petition under Article 227 is not maintainable against any decision or order whether interim or otherwise, given or made by the Wakf Tribunal, since sub-section (9) of Section 83 of the Wakf Act provides an efficacious alternative remedy to the aggrieved party to invoke the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court against such order/decision of the Wakf Tribunal.

The Court while considering a bunch of petition involving the question as to  maintainability of suit in the civil court against the decision or orders of the Wakf tribunal observed that since the Act provides that the decision of the Wakf Tribunal shall be final and binding hence no appeal shall lie against any decision or order whether interim or otherwise, given or made by the Wakf Tribunal. The Court stated that it is astonishing that the present writ petitions and Regular First Appeals are being preferred by the aggrieved parties before this Court challenging the decisions rendered by the Tribunals constituted under the Act without understanding how such appeals or writ petitions will be entertained because of the existence of the specific bar in terms of Section 83(9) of the Act that no appeal will lie against the decision/order of the Tribunal.

The Court stated that if any person is aggrieved by the decisions/orders of the Wakf Tribunals can invoke the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court hence remedy is provided to the aggrieved person by way of filing revision petition and not by the medium of appeal. The Court also observed it is settled law that suit for eviction from wakf property is triable by a civil court and not by the Wakf Tribunal since the Act does not provide determination of dispute of eviction by the Tribunal. [Mumtaz Ahmad v. State of H.P., 2016 SCC OnLine HP 2603, decided on November 16th 2016]