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]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, J. heard a petition challenging the order of the trial court that had allowed admission of letters by the respondent as secondary evidence. The petitioner contended that there was nothing on record to show that those letters had been issued by the respondent and the respondent’s contention that they were in the possession of the petitioner was also not true. Therefore, the petitioner requested that the application seeking request to produce letters in the form of secondary evidence be rejected.

The Court upheld the decision of the trial court allowing the respondent to produce secondary evidence stating that the necessary foundation for production of the secondary evidence had been established but merely because the respondent was allowed to lead secondary evidence does not imply that they will be exhibited or admitted in evidence.

Therefore, the issue as to admitting them in evidence had been left open by the trial court and the High Court to be dealt with at an appropriate stage and the petition was dismissed. [Rajendra Mahadev Todkar v. M/s Paranjape Schemes (Construction) Company Limited, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 15, order dated 05-01-2018]