Tag Archives: Criminal Procedure Code

Acquittal – Double Presumption in Favour of Accused

There is an acquittal and therefore, there is double presumption in favour of the accused. Firstly, the presumption of innocence available to the accused under the fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence that every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he is proved guilty by a competent court of law. Secondly, the accused having secured acquittal, the presumption of their innocence is further reinforced, reaffirmed and strengthened by the Trial Court. For acquitting accused, the Trial Court observed that the prosecution had failed to prove its case. State of Maharashtra v. Chandrakant Bhagwan Katkar, Cri. Appeal No. 677 of 2003 decided on 16.12.2019

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Criminal Jurisprudence – Requires a Fair and Truthful Investigation

The principle in criminal jurisprudence requires a fair and truthful investigation. If an investigating agency which has been conferred the power to investigate on the basis of an FIR, if a second FIR as regards the same transaction is introduced, it is likely to be abused i.e. keeping in mind the interest of the accused. From the point of view of the victim when such information comes within the knowledge of the investigating officer, he can treat it as a part of continuing investigation under the Code and eventually file the charge-sheet or an additional charge-sheet as contemplated under Section 173 of the Code. The interests of both are involved. A fair investigation, conceptually speaking, is an acceptable facet of criminal jurisprudence, similarly it is also the duty of the courts to see whether the investigation carried out really causes prejudice to the accused requiring the court to exercise the power under Section 482 or Article 226 of the Constitution to quash the same, or it has looked into the interest of both the accused and the victim and, therefore, it should be left for the trial court to see the veracity of the truth of allegations that has come out in investigation. Manoj Kumar v. State of Uttarakhand, (2019) 5 SCC 667

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Honourable Acquittal

The expression “honourable acquitta” was considered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Deputy Inspector General of Police v. S. Samuthiram, (2013) 1 SCC 598. In that case the Hon’ble Court was concerned with a situation where disciplinary proceedings were initiated against a police officer. Criminal case was pending against him under Section 509 IPC and Section 4 of the Eve Teasing Act. He was acquitted in that case because of the non-examination of key witnesses. There was a serious flaw in the conduct of the criminal case. Two material witnesses turned hostile. Referring  to the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in RBI v. Bhopal Singh Panchal, (1994) 1 SCC 541, wherein in somewhat similar fact situation, the Hon’ble Court upheld a bank’s action of refusing to reinstate an employee in service on the ground that in the criminal case he was acquitted by giving him benefit of doubt and, therefore, it was not an honourable acquittal. It was further held that the High Court was not justified in setting aside the punishment imposed in the departmental proceedings. It was observed that the expressions “honourable acquittal”, “acquitted of blame” and “fully exonerated” are unknown to the Criminal Procedure Code or the Indian Penal Code. They are coined by judicial pronouncements. It is difficult to define what is meant by the expression “honourably acquitted”. The Hon’ble Court expressed that when the accused is acquitted after full consideration of the prosecution case and the prosecution miserably fails to prove the charges leveled against the accused, it can possibly be said that the accused was honorably accused.” State of Madhya Pradesh v. Abhijit Singh Pawar, 2018 (4) ESC 782.

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Concurrent Sentence

 In the case of Anil Kumar v. State of Punjab(2017) 5 SCC 53, it was held by the Hon’ble court that “in terms of sub-section (1) of Section 427 of CrPC, if a person already undergoing a sentence of imprisonment is sentenced on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment, such subsequent term of imprisonment would normally commence at the expiration of the imprisonment to which he was previously sentenced. Only in appropriate cases, considering the facts of the case, the court can make the sentence run concurrently with an earlier sentence imposed. The investiture of such discretion, presupposes that such discretion be exercised by the court on sound judicial principles and not in a mechanical manner. Whether or not the discretion is to be exercised in directing sentences to run concurrently would depend upon the nature of the offence/offences and the facts and circumstances of each case.” Vickyalias Vikas v. State, Cri. Appeal No. 208 of 2020 (Arising out of SLP (cri) No. 4201 of 2019.

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Negotiable Instruments Act – Deposit of 20% of Fine

Amended Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act confers power upon the appellate court to pass an order pending appeal to direct the appellant-accused to deposit the sum which shall not be less than 20% of the fine or compensation either on an application filed by the original complainant or even on the application filed by the appellant-accused under Section 389 Criminal Procedure Code to suspend the sentence. The aforesaid is required to be construed considering the fact that as per the amended Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, a minimum of 20% of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial court is directed to be deposited and that such amount is to be deposited within a period of 60 days from the date of the order, or within such further period not exceeding 30 days as may be directed by the appellate court for sufficient cause shown by the appellant. Therefore, if amended Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is purposively interpreted in such a manner it would serve the Objects and Reasons of not only amendment in Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, but also Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The Negotiable Instruments Act has been amended from time to time so as to provide, inter alia, speedy disposal of cases relating to the offence of the dishonour of cheques. So as to see that due to delay tactics by the unscrupulous drawers of the dishonoured cheques due to easy filing of the appeals and obtaining stay in the proceedings, an injustice was caused to the payee of a dishonoured cheque who has to spend considerable time and resources in the court proceedings to realise the value of the cheque and having observed that such delay has compromised the sanctity of the cheque transactions, Parliament has thought it fit to amend Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Therefore, such a purposive interpretation would be in furtherance of the Objects and Reasons of the amendment in Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and also Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Surinder Singh Deswal v. Virender Gandhi, (2019) 11 SCC 341

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Unlawful Assembly – Ingredients Of

The basic principles remain that the important ingredients of an unlawful assembly are the number of persons forming it, i.e. five, and their common object. Common object of the persons composing that assembly could be formed on the spur of the moment and does not require prior deliberations. The course of conduct adopted by the members of such assembly; their behavior before, during, and after the incident; and the arms carried by them are a few basic and relevant factors to determine the common object. Manjit Singh v. State of Punjab, (2019) 8 SCC 529.

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Protest Petition – Consideration of

It is undoubtedly trues that before a Magistrate proceeds to accept a final report under Section 173 CrPC and exonerates the accused, it is incumbent upon the Magistrate to apply his mind to the contents of the protest petition and arrive at a conclusion thereafter. While the investigating officer may rest content by producing the final report, which, according to him, is the culmination of his efforts, the duty of the Magistrate is not one limited to readily accepting the final report. It is incumbent upon him to go through the materials, and after hearing the complainant and considering the contents of the protest petition, final decide the future course of action to be, whether to continue with the matter or to bring the curtains down.

If a protest petition fulfills the requirements of a complaint, the Magistrate may treat the protest petition as a complaint and deal with the same as required under Section 200 read with Section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code.  Vishnu Kumar Tiwari v. State of U.P., (2019) 8 SCC 27.

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