08 Jan 2121

A second complaint on the same facts shall not be barred only because the final report was accepted after hearing the complainant - Gauhati High Court

Case : Subrata Choudhury @ Santosh Choudhury and 9 Ors v. State of Assam & Anr. Crl. Rev. P./95/2013

Court : Gauhati High Court

Bench : Justice Mir Alfaz Ali

Decided on : 08 Jan 2121

Relevant Statutes

Sections 156(3), 173, 190(1)(a), 190(1)(b), 200, 202, 203, and 204 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Brief Facts & Procedural History

1. The relevant seminal facts are that on November 12, 2010, the complainant, Phani Bhusan Dey, filed a complaint before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Cachar, Silchar. The Magistrate, in turn, forwarded the same to police under section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973 for further investigation. Subsequently, the police submitted a final report, concluding allegations to be false, and the same was notified to the complainant. Unsatisfied with the investigation, the complainant pointed out a lack of adequate evidence and requested the Magistrate to take cognizance of the matter. Nevertheless, the Magistrate proceeded with the final report, thereby disposing of the complaint and the prayer.

2. Consequently, the complainant lodged a fresh complaint, which was again quashed by the Magistrate. Finally, the complainant approached the Gauhati High Court and filed a review petition to claim relief. The Gauhati High Court remanded the plea to the Magistrate of Cachar to determine its admissibility, who held it non-maintainable on the grounds of being a narazi petition. However, the complainant again filed a review petition, this time in a Sessions Court, which dismissed the earlier order and directed the Magistrate to take cognizance of the matter.

3. Aggrieved by the decision, the petitioners, Subrata Choudhury and others, filed a revision petition in the Gauhati High Court.

The Issues of the Case

1. Whether acceptance of a final report acts as a bar to a fresh complaint on the same facts?

2. Whether a complaint can be rejected on the grounds of being a narazi complaint?

The Observations of the Court

1. While determining the maintainability of a petition under Sections 190(1)(a) and 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the honourable Gauhati High Court observed various judgments. However, it relied heavily on the H.S. Bains v. State (Union Territory of Chandigarh), AIR 1980 SC 1883, to deliver its verdict. The Gauhati High Court enumerated the three options, as set by the H.S. Bains v. State (Union Territory of Chandigarh), available to a magistrate in determining the admissibility of a petition. The first option was to reject the petition relying solely on the outcome of the final report. The second option was to allow the petition and take cognizance of the matter, irrespective of the outcome of the final report. And the final option was to take cognizance of the matter and initiate the process accordingly.

2. Through this observation, the Honourable Gauhati High Court differentiated between a dismissal of a complaint after full consideration and a dismissal of a complaint based solely on the final report. While the former treats a fresh complaint as a second complaint, the latter does not. This distinction was imperative for the final verdict as a second complaint was maintainable under special circumstances, whereas, a fresh complaint did not have such limitations. Furthermore, the court referred to the judgments of Jamuna Shah & Ors. v. Bhuban Chandra Kalita, 2001 (2) GLT 427 and Shivshankar Singh Vs. State of Bihar & Anr., (2012) 1 SCC 130, which further strengthened the Gauhati Court’s stand.

3. Lastly, the Honourable Gauhati High Court observed that in the present case, the complaint was set aside by the Judicial Magistrate based solely on the final report submitted by the police. Even after the objections raised by the complainant, no further investigation was conducted under Sections 202, 203, or 204 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The Decision Held by the Court

Relying on the facts and observations made, the Honourable Gauhati High Court held that:

1. Since the Judicial Magistrate of Cachar dismissed the original complaint relying solely on the final report, the subsequent complaint filed by the complainant cannot be termed as a ‘first protest petition’ or a ‘narazi petition.’ Furthermore, the subsequent complaint was again dismissed by the Magistrate without conducting a relevant inquiry under sections 203 and 204 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

2. Additionally, The Gauhati High Court held that in the present case, acceptance of the final report did not bar the complainant to file a subsequent petition. Therefore, the Gauhati High Court upheld the Sessions Court’s judgment and directed the Judicial Magistrate to proceed with the complaint in the said manner.

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