07 May 2121

The high court is imbued with inherent jurisdiction to prevent abuse of process or to secure ends of Justice having regard to the facts and circumstances of individual cases - Supreme Court of India

Case : Sanjay Kumar Rai v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. Criminal Appeal No. 472 of 2021 [ Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 10157 of 2019]

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Aniruddha Bose

Decided on : 07 May 2121

Relevant Statutes

Sections 323, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Right to Information Act, 2005

Sections 155, 61, 239 and 397 of Code of Criminal Procedure,1973

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1A complaint was lodged with the jurisdictional police by Respondent No.2(Kuldeep Mishra), who claimed to be a newspaper correspondent working for ‘The Pioneer.’

2. It was alleged that he had conducted a journalistic investigation for malpractices against one Gas Agency namely ‘Kalpana Indane Service.’

3. He had also applied for certain information The Right to Information, 2005 to investigate the alleged black marketing of gas cylinders by the aforesaid agency.

4. The appellant herein is a partner in the aforesaid gas agency.

5. It is alleged that the appellant had threatened Respondent No.2 to pump numerous bullets in his face so that he may not even be recognised.

6. On 08. 05. 2012  the complainant applied before the concerned Chief Judicial Magistrate under Section 155(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

7. There is a material change in the statement of the respondent–complainant wherein he introduced Mohd. Sharif Khan and Umesh Kumar Bhatt as witnesses for the call deem the appellant herein.

8. It may be out of context to mention here that the investigating officer did not deem it necessary to take a version of the appellant on record or consider his side of the story also.

9. It was further averred that the investigation was not fair and was unilateral in its approach wearing the investigating officer had made no effort to find out the truth and had instead relied on the statement of the complainant and other planted witnesses to fast enough case against the appellant.

10. Dissatisfied with the impugned order, the appellant-accused has approached this court through Special Leave Petition.

The Issue of the Case

Whether the contribution of the proceeding would have amounted to an abuse amounted process of law in this case?

The Observations of the Court

1. It appears to us that while limiting the scopes of a criminal revision to jurisdictional errors alone, the High Court the judgement in Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency Pvt. Ltd. v. Central Bureau of Investigation(2018) 16 SCC 299, observed that interference in the order framing charges or refusing to discharge is gold for in rest of rare cases only to correct the patent error of jurisdiction. Finding no such jurisdictional error in CMJ’s order the Criminal Revision Petition was dismissed.

2. In addition to the judgement of the court which the High Court relied upon, he buttressed his submissions citing the State of Karnataka v. M.R. Hirmath (2019) 7 SCC 515, which held that the court ought not to enter into questions of the evidentiary value of the material adduced at the stage of considering discharge, and Srilekha Sentelkumar v. CBI (2019) 7 SCC 82, whereby this court opined that it was impermissible to look into the merits of the case while exercising powers under Section 239 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The Decision Held by the Court

1. The Honourable Supreme Court set aside the impugned order dated 28.11.2018 and remanded the case back to the High Court for its reconsideration by the law.

2. The appeal was disposed of. And all the pending applications (if any), also stand disposed of accordingly.

Click here to view/download the judgement >