Tag Archives: criminal proceedings

Departmental and Criminal Proceedings – Are Different

The law is fairly well settled. Acquittal by a criminal court would not debar an employer from exercising power in accordance with the Rules and Regulations in force. The two proceedings, criminal and departmental, are entirely different. They operate in different fields and have different objectives. Whereas the object of criminal trial is to inflict appropriate punishment on the offender, the purpose of enquiry proceedings is to deal with the delinquent departmentally and to impose penalty in accordance with the service rules. In a criminal trial, incriminating statement made by the accused in certain circumstances or before certain officers is totally inadmissible in evidence. Such strict rules of evidence and procedure would not apply to departmental proceedings. The degree of proof which is necessary to order a conviction is different from the degree of proof necessary to record the commission of delionquency. The rule relating to appreciation of evidence in the two proceedings is also not similar. In criminal law, burden of proof is on the prosecution and unless the prosecution is able to prove the guilt of the accused “beyond reasonable doubt”, he cannot be convicted by a court of law. In a departmental enquiry, on the other hand, penalty can be imposed on the delinquent officer on a finding recorded on the basis of “preponderance of probability”. Acquittal by the Trial Court, therefore, does not ipso facto, absolve the employee from the liability under the disciplinary jurisdiction. Om Prakash Singh v. State Bank of India, 2016 (150) FLR 939.

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Offence Under Section 138 Negotiable Instrument Act – Jurisdiction

(1)An offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act is committed no sooner a cheque drawn by the accused on an account being maintained by him in a bank for discharge of debt/liability is returned unpaid for insufficiency of funds or for the reason that the amount exceeds the arrangement made with the bank.
(2)Cognizance of any such offence is however forbidden under section 142 of the Negotiable Instrument Act except upon a complaint in writing made by the payee or holder of the cheque in due course within a period of one month from the date the cause of action accrues to such payee or holder under clause (c) of proviso to Section 138.
(3)The cause of action to file a complaint accrues to a complainant/payee/holder of a cheque in due course if —
(a)the dishonoured cheque is presented to the drawee bank within a period of six months from the date of its issue.
(b)If the complainant has demanded payment of cheque amount within thirty days of receipt of information by him from the bank regarding the dishonor of the cheque, and
(c)If the drawer has failed to pay the cheque amount within fifteen days of receipt of such notice.
(4)The facts constituting cause of action do not constitute the ingredients of the offence under Section 138 of the Act.
(5)The proviso to Section 138 simply postpones/defers institution of criminal proceedings and taking of cognizance by the Court till such time cause of action in terms of clause (c) of proviso accrues to the complainant.
(6)Once the cause of action accrues to the complainant, the jurisdiction of the Court to try the case will be determined by reference to the place where the cheque is dishonoured.
(7)The general rule stipulated under Section 177 CrPC applies to cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Prosecution in such cases can, therefore, be launched against the drawer of the cheque only before the court within whose jurisdiction the dishonor takes place except in situations where the offence of dichonour of the cheque punishable under Section 138 is committed alongwith other offences in a single transaction within the meaning of Section 220(1) read with Section 184 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or is covered by the provisions of Section 182(1) read with Sections 184 and 220 thereof. Dashrath Rupsingh Rathod v. State of Maharashtra, 2014 (86) ACC 882.

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Denial of Fair Trial – Is Injustice to the Accused

Fair Trial is the main object of criminal procedure and such fairness should not be hampered or threatened in any manner. Fair Trial entails the interests of the accused, the victim and of the Society. Thus, fair trial must be accorded to every accused in the spirit of the right to life and personal liberty and the accused must get free and fair, just and reasonable trial on the charge imputed in a criminal case. Any breach or violation of public rights and duties adversely affects the community as a whole and it becomes harmful to the society in general. In all circumstances, the courts have a duty to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice and such duty is to vindicate and uphold the “majesty of the law” and the courts cannot turn a blind eye to vexatious or oppressive conduct that occurs in relation to criminal proceedings.
Denail of a fair trial is as much injustice to the accused as is to the victim and the society. Since the object of the trial is to mete out justice and to convict the guilty and protect the innocent, the trial should be a search for the truth and not a bout over technicalities and must be conducted under such rules as will protect the innocent and punish the guilty. Justice should not only be done but seen to have been done. Therefore, free and fair trial is a sine qua non of Article 21 of the Constitution. Right to get a fair trial is not only a basic fundamental right but a human right also. Therefore, any hindrance in a fair trial could be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. “No trial can be allowed to prolong indefinitely due to the lethargy of the prosecuting agency or the State Machinery and that is the raison d’etre in prescribing the time frame” for conclusion of the trial.
Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for the right to a fair trial what is enshrined in Article 21 of our Constitution. Therefore, fair trial is the heart of criminal jurisprudence and, in a way, An important facet of a democratic polity and is governed by the rule of law. Denial of fair trial is crucifixion of human rights. J. Jayalalithaa and others v. State of Karnataka, (2014) 2 SCC 401.

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Quashing of Criminal Proceedings/F.I.R.

Section 482 of CRPC:

The Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 reads as below:

“482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court.— Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.”

Basic Guidelines

In State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 : AIR 1992 SC 604,  the Apex Court after reviewing large number of cases on the question of quashing the FIR, laid down the following guidelines:

(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

(2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.

(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code.

(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the Act concerned (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the Act concerned, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.

The abovementioned principle was reiterated in Union of India v. Ramesh Gandhi, (2012) 1 SCC 476.

 

 

Fresh Investigation – Order for

 

State of Punjab v. CBI, (2011) 9 SCC 182

Section 482 CrPC, however, states that nothing in CrPC shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as is necessary to give effect to any order under CrPC or to prevent the abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Thus, the provisions of CrPC do not limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order of the court or to prevent the abuse of any process of the court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. The language of sub-section (8) of Section 173 CrPC, therefore, cannot limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to pass an order under Section 482 CrPC for fresh investigation or reinvestigation if the High Court is satisfied that such fresh investigation or reinvestigation is necessary to secure the ends of justice.

 

Limitations Under

 

TGN Kumar v. State of Kerala, (2011) 2 SCC 772

It is equally trite that the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code have to be exercised sparingly with circumspection, and in rare cases to correct patent illegalities or to prevent miscarriage of justice. In Madhu Limaye v. State of Maharashtra, (1977) 4 SCC 551, a Bench of three learned Judges of the Apex Court had observed that:

“the following principles may be noticed in relation to the exercise of the inherent power of the High Court …:

(1) that the power is not to be resorted to if there is a specific provision in the Code for the redress of the grievance of the aggrieved party;

(2) that it should be exercised very sparingly to prevent abuse of process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice;

(3) that it should not be exercised as against the express bar of law engrafted in any other provision of the Code.”

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