w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Mohan Ram v/s State of Rajasthan, Through PP & Another

    Criminal Revision Petition No. 229 of 2022

    Decided On, 01 April 2022

    At, High Court of Rajasthan Jodhpur Bench

    By, THE HONOURABLE DR. JUSTICE PUSHPENDRA SINGH BHATI

    For the Petitioner: R.S. Choudhary, Jassa Ram, Sumer Singh Gour, Jai Kishan, Advocates. For the Respondents: Gaurav Singh, PP, Mukesh Trivedi, PP.



Judgment Text

1. In the wake of instant surge in COVID – 19 cases and spread of its highly infectious Omicron variant, abundant caution is being maintained, while hearing the matters in the Court, for the safety of all concerned.

2. This criminal revision petition under Section 397 read with Section 401 Cr.P.C. has been preferred claiming the following reliefs:

“It is, therefore, most humbly and respectfully prayed that this revision petition may kindly be allowed and impugned order dated 11.01.2022 passed by learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Ladnun District Nagaur in Sessions Case No.16/2018 may kindly be quashed and set aside and the petitioner may kindly be ordered to be discharged from the offence under Section 307, 332, 353 IPC.”

3. The genesis of the present controversy is traceable to an FIR No.201/2017 registered at Police Station, Jaswantgarh, District Nagaur, against the petitioner for the offences under Sections 307, 332 & 353 IPC and Section 3, 25 & 27 of the Arms Act, in connection with an incident wherein the accused is said to have opened fire upon the police team with an intention to kill the members of the police team, while the police tried to stop the vehicle in question; whereafter, the police, after due investigation, filed the charge-sheet against the accused-petitioner for the offences under Sections 307, 332 & 353 IPC and Sections 3/25 & 7/27 of the Arms Act.

4. Thereafter, vide impugned order dated 11.01.2022, the learned trial court framed charges against the accused-petitioner for the offences under Sections 307, 332 & 353 IPC, against which the present petition has been preferred.

5. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the impugned order passed by the learned trial court suffers from an infirmity of misreading of evidence, as the offence under Section 307 IPC is prima facie not made out, on the ground that neither the investigating officer recovered any weapon from the petitioner nor has he found empty cartridge of the weapon from the place of incident.

6. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submits that there is a lack of intention or knowledge on the part of the petitioner which is a fundamental ingredient of Section 307 IPC. Similarly, as per learned counsel, the petitioner should also not be made liable under Sections 332 & 353 IPC, as the necessary ingredients constituting the offence under the said provisions are also absent.

7. In support of his submissions, learned counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on the following judgments:

7.1 Union of India (UOI) Vs. Prafulla Kumar Samal and Ors., (1979) SCC (Cri) 609, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“8. The scope of Section 227 of the Code was considered by a recent decision of this Court in the case of State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh : 1977CriLJ1606 where Untwalia, J. speaking for the Court observed as follows :- Strong suspicion against the accused, if the matter remains in the region of suspicion, cannot take the place of proof of his guilt at the conclusion of the trial. But at the initial stage if there is a strong suspicion which leads the Court to think that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence then it is not open to the Court to say that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. The presumption of the guilt of the accused which is to be drawn at the initial stage is not in the sense of the law governing the trial of criminal cases in France where the accused is presumed to be guilty unless the contrary is proved. But it is only for the purpose of deciding prima facie whether the Court should proceed with the trial or not. If the evidence which the Prosecutor proposes to adduce to prove the guilt of the accused even if fully accepted before it is challenged in cross-examination or rebutted by the defence evidence; if any, cannot show that the accused committed the offence, then there will be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial.

9. In the case of K.P. Raghavan and Anr. v. M.H. Abbas and Anr. : 1967CriLJ653 this Court observed as follows :-

No doubt a Magistrate enquiring into a case under Section 209, Cr.P.C. is not to act as a mere Post Office and has to come to a conclusion whether the case before him is fit for commitment of the accused to the Court of Session.”

7.2 State of Bihar Vs. Ramesh Singh, (1977) 4 SCC 39.

7.3 Dilawar Balu Kurane Vs. State of Maharashtra, (2002) 2 SCC 135, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“ … whether a prima facie case has been made out against the appellant. In exercising powers under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the settled position of law is that the Judge while considering the question of framing the charges under the said section has the undoubted power to sift and weight the evidence for the limited purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused has been made out; where the materials placed before the court disclose grave suspicion against the accused which has not been properly explained the court will be fully justified in framing a charge and proceeding with the trial; by and large if two views are equally possible and the Judge is satisfied that the evidence produced before him while giving rise to some suspicion but not grave suspicion against the accused, he will be fully justified to discharge the accused, and in exercising jurisdiction under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Judge cannot act merely as a post office or a mouthpiece of the prosecution, but has to consider the broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of the evidence and the documents produced before the court but should not make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as if he was conducting a trial [See Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal and Anr. 1979CriLJ154 .]”

7.4 Dipakbhai Jagdishchandra Patel Vs. State of Gujarat & Ors., (2019) 16 SCC 547, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“LAW RELATING TO FRAMING OF CHARGE AND DISCHARGE We may profitably, in this regard, refer to the judgment of this Court in State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh ANU/SC/0139/1977 : AIR 1977 SC 2018 wherein this Court has laid down the principles relating to framing of charge and discharge as follows:

Reading Sections 227 and 228 together in juxtaposition, as they have got to be, it would be clear that at the beginning and initial stage of the trial the truth, veracity and effect of the evidence which the prosecutor proposes to adduce are not to be meticulously judged. Nor is any weight to be attached to the probable defence of the Accused. It is not obligatory for the Judge at that stage of the trial to consider in any detail and weigh in a sensitive balance whether the facts, if proved, would be incompatible with the innocence of the Accused or not. The standard of test and judgment which is to be finally applied before recording a finding regarding the guilt or otherwise of the Accused is not exactly to be applied at the stage of deciding the matter Under Section 227 or Section 228 of the Code. At that stage the Court is not to see whether there is sufficient ground for conviction of the Accused or whether the trial is sure to end in his conviction. Strong suspicion against the Accused, if the matter remains in the region of suspicion, cannot take the place of proof of his guilt at the conclusion of the trial. But at the initial stage if there is a strong suspicion which leads the Court to think that there is ground for presuming that the Accused has committed an offence then it is not open to the Court to say that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the Accused. The presumption of the guilt of the Accused which is to be drawn at the initial stage is not in the sense of the law governing the trial of criminal cases in France where the Accused is presumed to be guilty unless the contrary is proved. But it is only for the purpose of deciding prima facie whether the court should proceed with the trial or not.

If the evidence which the prosecutor proposes to adduce to prove the guilt of the Accused even if fully accepted before it is challenged in cross-examination or rebutted by the defence evidence, if any, cannot show that the Accused committed the offence, then there will be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial. If the scales of pan as to the guilt or innocence of the Accused are something like even at the conclusion of the trial, then, on the theory of benefit of doubt the case is to end in his acquittal. But if, on the other hand, it is so at the initial stage of making an order Under Section 227 or Section 228, then in such a situation ordinarily and generally the order which will have to be made will be one Under Section 228 and not Under Section 227.

In Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal and Anr. AIR 1979 Sc 366, after survey of case law, this is what the Court has laid down:

10. Thus, on a consideration of the authorities mentioned above, the following principles emerge: (1) That the Judge while considering the question of framing the charges Under Section 227 of the Code has the undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for the limited purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the Accused has been made out.

(2) Where the materials placed before the Court disclose grave suspicion against the Accused which has not been properly explained the Court will be fully justified in framing a charge and proceeding with the trial.

(3) The test to determine a prima facie case would naturally depend upon the facts of each case and it is difficult to lay down a Rule of universal application. By and large however if two views are equally possible and the Judge is satisfied that the evidence produced before him while giving rise to some suspicion but not grave suspicion against the Accused, he will be fully within his right to discharge the Accused.

(4) That in exercising his jurisdiction Under Section 227 of the Code the Judge which under the present Code is a senior and experienced court cannot act merely as a Post Office or a mouthpiece of them prosecution, but has to consider the broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of the evidence and the documents produced before the Court, any basic infirmities appearing in the case and so on. This however does not mean that the Judge should make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as if he was conducting a trial.”

7.5 State of Rajasthan Vs. Ashok Kumar Kashyap, 2021(2) RCR (Criminal) 871, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“… What is required to be considered at the time of framing of the charge and/or considering the discharge application has been considered elaborately in the said decision. It is observed and held that at the stage of Section 227, the Judge has merely to sift the evidence in order to find out whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the Accused. It is observed that in other words, the sufficiency of grounds would take within its fold the nature of the evidence recorded by the police or the documents produced before the Court which ex facie disclose that there are suspicious circumstances against the Accused so as to frame a charge against him. It is further observed that if the Judge comes to a conclusion that there is sufficient ground to proceed, he will frame a charge Under Section 228 Code of Criminal Procedure, if not, he will discharge the Accused. It is further observed that while exercising its judicial mind to the facts of the case in order to determine whether a case for trial has been made out by the prosecution, it is not necessary for the court to enter into the pros and cons of the matter or into a weighing and balancing of evidence and probabilities which is really the function of the court, after the trial starts.

In the recent decision of this Court in the case of M.R. Hiremath (supra), one of us (Justice D.Y. Chandrachud) speaking for the Bench has observed and held in paragraph 25 as under:

The High Court ought to have been cognizant of the fact that the trial court was dealing with an application for discharge under the provisions of Section 239 Code of Criminal Procedure. The parameters which govern the exercise of this jurisdiction have found expression in several decisions of this Court. It is a settled principle of law that at the stage of considering an application for discharge the court must proceed on the assumption that the material which has been brought on the record by the prosecution is true and evaluate the material in order to determine whether the facts emerging from the material, taken on its face value, disclose the existence of the ingredients necessary toconstitute the offence. In State of T.N. v. N. Suresh Rajan [State of T.N. v. N. Suresh Rajan, : (2014) 11 SCC 709, adverting to the earlier decisions on the subject, this Court held: (SCC pp. 721-22, para 29)

29. ... At this stage, probative value of the materials has to be gone into and the court is not expected to go deep into the matter and hold that the materials would not warrant a conviction. In our opinion, what needs to be considered is whether there is a ground for presuming that the offence has been committed and not whether a ground for convicting the Accused has been made out. To put it differently, if the court thinks that the Accused might have committed the offence on the basis of the materials on record on its probative value, it can frame the charge; though for conviction, the court has to come to the conclusion that the Accused has committed the offence. The law does not permit a mini trial at this stage.”

7.6 Niranjan Singh Karam Singh Punjabi and Ors. Vs. Jitendra Bhimraj Bijja and Ors., (1990) 4 SCC 76, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“In the State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh : 1977CriLJ1606 this Court observed that at the initial stage of the framing of a charge if there is a strong suspicion-evidence which leads the Court to think that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence then it is not open to the Court to say that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. If the evidence which the prosecutor proposes to adduce to prove the guilt of the accused, even if fully accepted before it is challenged by cross examination or rebutted by the defence evidence, if any, cannot show that the accused committed the offence, then there will be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial.”

7.7 Ramdeo and Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan, 1993 WLN (UC) 76, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“Having gone through the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court in Nirajan Singh's case (supra), the submissions made before me on behalf of both the sides and having gone through the order dated 18.5.92 passed by the trial court and the charge as has been framed against Ramdeo and Prabhu Dayal and the record which is available with me, I am of the opinion that in the instant case, the trial court has not discharged its duty of evaluating the material to find out if the facts emerging therefrom taken at their face value, establish the ingredients constituting the offences or not. This failure on the part of the trial court has resulted into framing of the charges which is not at all compatible with the trial court's own order dated 18.5.92, and I am of the opinion that it will not be in the interest either of the accused petitioners or the prosecution to allow the trial court to proceed on the basis of the charges as have been framed against the petitioners Ramdeo and Prabhu Dayal. According to the provisions of Sections 227 and 228 Cr.P.C. evaluation of the material and documents on record, with a view to find out as to whether the facts emerging therefrom, taken at their face value, disclose the existence of ingredients of the offences or not, is a condition precedent and prerequisite. If this condition precedent is not followed, for the purpose of consideration of the question on the point of framing of charge, the charge framed cannot be sustained and therefore, in the facts of this case, I find that there is total non compliance of Sections 227 and 228 Cr.P.C. so far as the present two accused petitioners Ramdeo and Prabhu Dayal are concerned and the matter deserves to be remanded back to the trial court.”

7.8 Kalu Ram @ Dharmendra Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors. (S. B. CRIMINAL REVISION PETITION NO.92/2013, decided by this Hon’ble Court on 13.12.2013), relevant portion of which reads as under:

“As per the judgment rendered by the Apex Court in the case of Shoraj Singh Ahlawat and Ors. Vs. State of U.P. and Anr. reported in 2012 AIR SCW 6171, at the stage of framing of charge, the court is not expected to go deep into the probative value of the material on record and only the material produced on record by the prosecution has to be accepted as true at that stage.”

7.9 Om Prakash Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors., , (2012) 5 SCC 201.

8. On the other hand, learned Public Prosecutors, while opposing the aforementioned submissions made on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that the learned trial court, after taking into due consideration all the facts and circumstances of the present case and after considering the evidence placed on record before it, has rightly passed the impugned order.

9. Learned Public Prosecutors further submitted that the learned trial court has passed the impugned order framing the charges against the petitioner wherein a detailed analysis or a roving enquiry is not required at the stage concerned.

10. Learned Public Prosecutors harped upon the word “presumption” occurring in Section 228 Cr.P.C. stating that if the Judge is of the opinion that a ground for presumption of the alleged offence against the accused lies after consideration and hearing of the case, then charges can be framed against such accused person(s).

11. In support of their submissions, learned Public Prosecutors placed reliance on the following judgments:

11.1 Kanti Bhadra Shah and Ors. Vs. The State of West Bengal, (2000) 1 SCC 722, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“Even in cases instituted otherwise than on police report the Magistrate is required to write an order showing the reasons only if he is to discharge the accused. This is clear from Section 245. As per first sub section of Section 245, if a Magistrate, after taking all the evidence considers that no case against the accused has been made out which If unrebutted would warrant his conviction, he shall discharge the accused. As per Sub-section (2) the Magistrate is empowered to discharge the accused at any previous stage of the case if he considers the charge to be groundless. Under both subsections he is obliged to record his reasons for doing so. in this context it is pertinent to point out that even in a trial before a Court of Session, the Judge is required to record reasons only if he decides to discharge the accused, (vide Section 227 of the Code), But if he is to frame the charge he may do so without recording his reasons for showing why he framed the charge.

If there is no legal requirement that the trial Court should write an order showing the reasons for framing a charge, why should the already burdened trial Courts be further burdened with such an extra work. The time has reached to adopt all possible measures to expedite the Court procedures and to chalk out measure to avert all roadblocks causing avoidable delays. If a Magistrate is to write detailed orders at different stages merely because the counsel would address arguments at all stages, the snail paced progress of proceedings in trial Courts would further be slowed down. We are coming across interlocutory orders of Magistrates and Sessions Judges running into several pages. We can appreciate if such a detailed order had been passed for culminating the proceedings before them. But it is quite unnecessary to write detailed orders at other stages, such as issuing process, remanding the accused to custody, framing of charges, passing over to next stages in the trial. It is a salutary guideline that when orders rejecting or granting bail are passed, the Court should avoid expressing one way or other on contentions raised except in cases such as those falling within Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.”

11.2 State of Maharashtra and Ors. Vs. Som Nath Thapa and Ors., (1996) 4 SCC 659, relevant portion of which reads as under:-

“In Antulay's case, Bhagwati, CJ., opined, after noting the difference in the language of the three pairs of section, that despite the difference there is no scope for doubt that at the stage at which the Court is required to consider the question of framing of charge, the test of "prima facie" case has to be applied. According to Shri Jethmalani, a prima facie case can be said to have been made out when the evidence, unless rebutted, would make the accused liable to conviction. In our view, better and clearer statement of law would be that if there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence, a court can justifiably say that a prima facie case against him exists, and so, frame charge against him for committing that offence".

Let us note the meaning of the word "presume". In Black's Law Dictionary it has been defined to mean "to believe or accept upon probable evidence".

(Emphasis ours).

In Shorter Oxford English Dictionary it has been mentioned that in law "presume" means "to take as proved until evidence to the contrary is forthcoming", Stroud's Legal Dictionary has quoted in this context a certain judgment according to which "A presumption is a probable consequence drawn from facts (either certain, or proved by direct testimony) as to the truth of a fact alleged." (Emphasis supplied). In Law Lexicon by P. Ramanath Aiyer the same quotation finds place at page 1007 of 1987 edition.

The aforesaid shows that if on the basis of materials on record, a court could come to the conclusion that commission of the offence is a probable consequence, a case for framing of charge exists. To put it differently, if the Court were to think that the accused might have committed the offence it can frame the charge, though for conviction the conclusion is required to be that the accused has committed the offence. It is apparent that at the stage of framing of charge, probative value of the materials on record cannot be gone into; the materials brought on record by the prosecution has to be accepted as true at that stage.

The legal question having been examined, we may advert to the facts of each appellant to decide whether a prima facie case against him exists, requiring framing of charge, as has been ordered. Before we undertake this exercise, it may be pointed out that the learned Designated Court in his impugned judgment, instead of examining the merits of the prosecution case qua the charged accused, has given reasons as to why he discharged 26 accused. A grievance has, therefore, been made by all the learned counsel appearing for the accused that this was not the legal approach to be adopted. We find merit in this grievance in as much as the impugned order ought to have shown that the Designated Court applied its judicial mind to the materials placed on record against the charged accused. This was necessary because framing of charge substantially affects the liberty of the concerned person. Because of the large number of accused in the case (and this number being large as regards charged accused also), the court below might have adopted the approach he had done. But we do not think it was right in doing so. Be that as it may, now that we have been apprised by the prosecution regarding all the materials which were placed before the Designated Court against each of the appealing accused, we propose to examine, whether on the basis of such materials, it can reasonably be held that a case of charge exists. We would do so separately for each of the appellants.

Though it appears intriguing as to why only part of the money was sent through bank and that too by more than one draft, the aforesaid facts brought to our notice by Shri Rajender Singh do show that the only incriminating material, namely, crediting the amount of Rs. 9,939 in the account of the appellants' firm in the books of M/s Hans Air Services, is a weak circumstance to say that the appellant might have abetted the offences in question, which is the real charge against him. We may state that as framing of charge affects a person's liberty substantially, as pointed out in Muniswamy's case (supra), the materials on record must satisfy the mind of the Court framing the charge that the commission of offence by the accused in question was probable. We do not think if a conclusion can reasonably be drawn only from the above-noted incriminating fact pressed into service by the prosecution that the appellant might have abetted the offences in question. There being no material to frame individual charge under Section 3(3) of TADA, we are of opinion that the general charge qua this appellant has also to fail, as the only overt act attributed to him is the aforesaid activity of booking tickets.”

11.3 State of Rajasthan Vs. Fatehkaran Mehdu, (2017) 3 SCC 198, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“The scope of interference and exercise of jurisdiction Under Section 397 of Code of Criminal Procedure has been time and again explained by this Court. Further, the scope of interference Under Section 397 Code of Criminal Procedure at a stage, when charge had been framed, is also well settled. At the stage of framing of a charge, the court is concerned not with the proof of the allegation rather it has to focus on the material and form an opinion whether there is strong suspicion that the Accused has committed an offence, which if put to trial, could prove his guilt. The framing of charge is not a stage, at which stage final test of guilt is to be applied. Thus, to hold that at the stage of framing the charge, the court should form an opinion that the Accused is certainly guilty of committing an offence, is to hold something which is neither permissible nor is in consonance with scheme of Code of Criminal Procedure. Now, reverting to the limit of the scope of jurisdiction Under Section 397 Code of Criminal Procedure, which vests the court with the power to call for and examine the records of an inferior court for the purposes of satisfying itself as to the legality and regularity of any proceedings or order made in a case. The object of this provision is to set right a patent defect or an error of jurisdiction or law or the perversity which has crept in the proceeding.”

11.4 Sonu Gupta Vs. Deepak Gupta & Ors., (2015) 3 SCC 424, relevant portion of which reads as under:-

“It is also well settled that cognizance is taken of the offence and not the offender. Hence at the stage of framing of charge an individual accused may seek discharge if he or she can show that the materials are absolutely insufficient for framing of charge against that particular accused. But such exercise is required only at a later stage, as indicated above and not at the stage of taking cognizance and summoning the accused on the basis of prima facie case. Even at the stage of framing of charge, the sufficiency of materials for the purpose of conviction is not the requirement and a prayer for discharge can be allowed only if the court finds that the materials are wholly insufficient for the purpose of trial. It is also a settled proposition of law that even when there are materials raising strong suspicion against an accused, the court will be justified in rejecting a prayer for discharge and in granting an opportunity to the prosecution to bring on record the entire evidence in accordance with law so that case of both the sides may be considered appropriately on conclusion of trial.”

11.5 Dinesh Tiwari Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2014) 13 SCC 137, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“Relative scope of Sections 227 and 228 Code of Criminal Procedure was noticed and considered by this Court in Amit Kapoor v. Ramesh Chander and Anr. (2012) 9 SCC 460. This Court held as follows:

Framing of a charge is an exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court in terms of Section 228 of the Code, unless the accused is discharged Under Section 227 of the Code. Under both these provisions, the court is required to consider the "record of the case" and documents submitted therewith and, after hearing the parties, may either discharge the accused or where it appears to the court and in its opinion there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence, it shall frame the charge. Once the facts and ingredients of the section exists, then the court would be right in presuming that there is ground to proceed against the accused and frame the charge accordingly. This presumption is not a presumption of law as such. The satisfaction of the court in relation to the existence of constituents of an offence and the facts leading to that offence is a sine qua non for exercise of such jurisdiction. It may even be weaker than a prima facie case. There is a fine distinction between the language of Sections 227 and 228 of the Code. Section 227 is the expression of a definite opinion and judgment of the Court while Section 228 is tentative. Thus, to say that at the stage of framing of charge, the Court should form an opinion that the accused is certainly guilty of committing an offence, is an approach which is impermissible in terms of Section 228 of the Code.

At the initial stage of framing of a charge, the court is concerned not with proof but with a strong suspicion that the accused has committed an offence, which, if put to trial, could prove him guilty. All that the court has to see is that the material on record and the facts would be compatible with the innocence of the accused or not. The final test of guilt is not to be applied at that stage. We may refer to the well-settled law laid down by this Court in State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh: (SCC pp. 41-42, para 4)

4. Under Section 226 of the Code while opening the case for the prosecution the Prosecutor has got to describe the charge against the accused and state by what evidence he proposes to prove the guilt of the accused. Thereafter comes at the initial stage the duty of the court to consider the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith and to hear the submissions of the accused and the prosecution in that behalf. The Judge has to pass thereafter an order either Under Section 227 or Section 228 of the Code. If 'the Judge considers that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused, he shall discharge the accused and record his reasons for so doing', as enjoined by Section 227. If, on the other hand, 'the Judge is of opinion that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence which-- …

(b) is exclusively triable by the court, he shall frame in writing a charge against the accused', as provided in Section 228. Reading the two provisions together in juxtaposition, as they have got to be, it would be clear that at the beginning and the initial stage of the trial the truth, veracity and effect of the evidence which the Prosecutor proposes to adduce are not to be meticulously judged. Nor is any weight to be attached to the probable defence of the accused. It is not obligatory for the Judge at that stage of the trial to consider in any detail and weigh in a sensitive balance whether the facts, if proved, would be incompatible with the innocence of the accused or not. The standard of test and judgment which is to be finally applied before recording a finding regarding the guilt or otherwise of the accused is not exactly to be applied at the stage of deciding the matter Under Section 227 or Section 228 of the Code. At that stage the court is not to see whether there is sufficient ground for conviction of the accused or whether the trial is sure to end in his conviction. Strong suspicion against the accused, if the matter remains in the region of suspicion, cannot take the place of proof of his guilt at the conclusion of the trial. But at the initial stage if there is a strong suspicion which leads the court to think that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence then it is not open to the court to say that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. The presumption of the guilt of the accused which is to be drawn at the initial stage is not in the sense of the law governing the trial of criminal cases in France where the accused is presumed to be guilty unless the contrary is proved. But it is only for the purpose of deciding prima facie whether the court should proceed with the trial or not. If the evidence which the Prosecutor proposes to adduce to prove the guilt of the accused even if fully accepted before it is challenged in crossexamination or rebutted by the defence evidence, if any, cannot show that the accused committed the offence, then there will be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial. An exhaustive list of the circumstances to indicate as to what will lead to one conclusion or the other is neither possible nor advisable. We may just illustrate the difference of the law by one more example. If the scales of pan as to the guilt or innocence of the accused are something like even at the conclusion of the trial, then, on the theory of benefit of doubt the case is to end in his acquittal. But if, on the other hand, it is so at the initial stage of making an order Under Section 227 or Section 228, then in such a situation ordinarily and generally the order which will have to be made will be one Under Section 228 and not Under Section 227.”

11.6 Chitresh Kumar Chopra Vs. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), (2009) 16 SCC 605, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“… It is trite that at the stage of framing of charge, the court is required to evaluate the material and documents on record with a view to finding out if the facts emerging therefrom, taken at their face value, disclose the existence of all the ingredients constituting the alleged offence or offences. For this limited purpose, the court may sift the evidence as it cannot be expected even at the initial stage to accept as gospel truth all that the prosecution states. At this stage, the court has to consider the material only with a view to find out if there is ground for "presuming" that the accused has committed an offence and not for the purpose of arriving at the conclusion that it is not likely to lead to a conviction. (See: Niranjan Singh Karam Singh Punjabi and Ors. v. Jitendra Bhimraj Bijja and Ors. (1990) 4 SCC 76).

19. In Som Nath Thapa and Ors. (supra), a three-Judge Bench of this Court explained the meaning of the word "presume". Referring to dictionary meanings of the said word, the Court observed thus:

...if on the basis of materials on record, a court could come to the conclusion that commission of the offence is a probable consequence, a case for framing of charge exists. To put it differently, if the Court were to think that the accused might have committed the offence it can frame the charge, though for conviction the conclusion is required to be that the accused has commuted the offence. It is apparent that at the stage of framing of charge, probative value of the materials on record cannot be gone into; the materials brought on record by the prosecution has to be accepted as true at that stage. (emphasis supplied)

… Similarly, the scope of revisional powers of the High Court under Section 401 of the Code being limited, . . . .”

11.7 State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Mohanlal Soni, (2000) 6 SCC 338, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“The crystallized judicial view is that at the stage of framing charge, the court has to prima facie consider whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. The court is not required to appreciate evidence to conclude whether the materials produced are sufficient or not for convicting the accused.

Decision in the case of State of M.P. v. J.B. Johari and Ors. (cited above),strongly relied on by the learned Counsel for the petitioner, in our view does not advance or support the case of the petitioner. That was a case where FIR was lodged at the Police Station, Bhopal to the effect that there was criminal conspiracy in purchase of medicines by the concerned hospital authorities including Dean, Superintendent, Medical Officer In-charge and Ors. It was alleged that aforesaid accused entered into criminal conspiracy with some local businessmen of Indore by misusing their posts and also by using some forged documents caused wrongful loss to the Government. It was stated that though many of items had not been purchased, amount was paid on bogus vouchers. After considering the material on record, learned Sessions Judge framed the charges against the accused for the offence punishable under Section 5(1)(d) and 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1948 read with Section 120B I.P.C. and in the alternative for the offence punishable under Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The High Court in revision quashed the charges accepting the contentions raised by the accused after detailed consideration of material produced on record. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case and referring to earlier decisions of this Court in paragraph 4 it is held thus:

4 . In our view, it is apparent that the entire approach of the High Court is illegal and erroneous. From the reasons recorded by the High Court, it appears that instead of considering the prima facie case, the High Court has appreciated and weighed the materials on record for coming to the conclusion that charge against the respondents could not have been framed. It is settled law that at the stage of framing the charges, the Court has to prima facie consider whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. The Court is not required to appreciate the evidence and arrive at the conclusion that the materials produced are sufficient or not for convicting the accused. If the Court is satisfied that a prima facie case is made out for proceeding further then a charge has to be framed. The charge can be quashed if the evidence which the prosecutor proposes to adduce to prove the guilt of the accused, even if fully accepted before it is challenged by cross examination or rebutted by the defence evidence, if any, cannot show that accused committed the particular offence. In such case, there would be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial. In Niranjan Singh Karam Singh Punjabi etc.

v. Jitendra Bhimraj Bijjaya and Ors. etc. reported in 1990CriLJ1869 , after considering the provisions of Sections 227 and 228, Cr.P.C. Court posed a question, whether at the stage of framing the charge, trial court should marshal the materials on the record of the case as he would do on the conclusion of the trial? The Court held that at the stage of framing the charge inquiry must necessarily be limited to deciding if the facts emerging from such materials constitute the offence with which the accused could be charged. The Court may peruse the records for the limited purpose, but it is not required to marshal it with a view to decide the reliability thereof. The Court referred to earlier decisions in State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh 1977CriLJ1606 , Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal 1979CriLJ154 and Supdt. and Remembrancer of Legal Affairs, West Bengal v. Anil Kumar Bhunja 1979CriLJ1390 , and held thus:

From the above discussion it seems well settled that at the Sections 227-228 stage the court is required to evaluate the material and documents on record with a view to finding out if the facts emerging there from taken at their face value disclose the existence of all the ingredients constituting the alleged offence. The Court may for this limited purpose shift the evidence as it cannot be expected even at the initial stage to accept all that the prosecution states as gospel truth even if it is opposed to common sense or the broad probabilities of the case.”

11.8 Vinay Tyagi Vs. Irshad Ali & Ors., (2013) 5 SCC 762, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“It would be appropriate for the Court to examine the relevant provisions and scheme of the Code in relation to filing of a report before the court of competent jurisdiction and the extent of its power to examine that report and pass appropriate orders. The criminal investigative machinery is set into motion by lodging of a First Information Report in relation to commission of a cognizable offence. Such report may be made orally, in writing or through any means by an officer in charge of a police station. Such officer is required to reduce the same into writing, read the same to the informant and wherever the person reporting is present, the same shall be signed by such person or the person receiving such information in accordance with the provisions of Section 154 of the Code. A police officer can conduct investigation in any cognizable case without the orders of the Magistrate. He shall conduct such investigation in accordance with the provisions of Chapter XIII, i.e., in accordance with Sections 177 to 189 of the Code. Where information as contemplated in law is received by an investigating officer and he has reasons to believe that an offence has been committed, which he is empowered to investigate, then he shall forthwith send a report of the same to the Magistrate and proceed to the spot to investigate the facts and circumstances of the case and take appropriate measures for discovery and arrest of the offender. Every report under Section 157 shall be submitted to the Magistrate in terms of Section 158 of the Code upon which the Magistrate may direct an investigation or may straight away proceed himself or depute some other magistrate subordinate to him to hold an inquiry and to dispose of the case in accordance with the provisions of the Code. It needs to be recorded here that the proceedings recorded by a police officer cannot be called into question at any stage on the ground that he was not empowered to conduct such investigation. The provisions of Section 156(3) empower the Magistrate, who is competent to take cognizance in terms of Section 190, to order investigation as prescribed under Section 156(1) of the Code. Section 190 provides that subject to the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Code, any Magistrate of the first class and any magistrate of the second class specifically empowered in this behalf may take cognizance of any offence upon receipt of a complaint, facts of which constitute such offence, upon a police report of such facts or upon information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his own knowledge, that such offence has been committed. The Chief Judicial Magistrate is competent to empower any Magistrate of the second class to take cognizance in terms of Section 190. The competence to take cognizance, in a way, discloses the sources upon which the empowered Magistrate can take cognizance. After the investigation has been completed by the Investigating Officer and he has prepared a report without unnecessary delay in terms of Section 173 of the Code, he shall forward his report to a Magistrate who is empowered to take cognizance on a police report. The report so completed should satisfy the requirements stated under Clauses (a) to (h) of Sub-section (2) of Section 173 of the Code. Upon receipt of the report, the empowered Magistrate shall proceed further in accordance with law. The Investigating Officer has been vested with some definite powers in relation to the manner in which the report should be completed and it is required that all the documents on which the prosecution proposes to rely and the statements of witnesses recorded under Section 161 of the code accompany the report submitted before the Magistrate, unless some part thereof is excluded by the Investigating Officer in exercise of the powers vested in him under Section 173(6) of the Code. A very wide power is vested in the investigating agency to conduct further investigation after it has filed the report in terms of Section 173. The legislature has specifically used the expression 'nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude further investigation in respect of an offence after a report under Section 173 has been forwarded to the Magistrate', which unambiguously indicates the legislative intent that even after filing of a report before the court of competent jurisdiction, the Investigating Officer can still conduct further investigation and where, upon such investigation, the officer in charge of a police station gets further evidence, oral or documentary, he shall forward to the Magistrate a further report or reports regarding such evidence in the prescribed form. In other words, the investigating agency is competent to file a supplementary report to its primary report in terms of Section 173(8). The supplementary report has to be treated by the Court in continuation of the primary report and the same provisions of law, i.e., Sub-section (2) to Sub-section (6) of Section 173 shall apply when the Court deals with such report.

Once the Court examines the records, applies its mind, duly complies with the requisite formalities of summoning the accused and, if present in court, upon ensuring that the copies of the requisite documents, as contemplated under Section 173, have been furnished to the accused, it would proceed to hear the case. After taking cognizance, the next step of definite significance is the duty of the Court to frame charge in terms of Section 228 of the Code unless the Court finds, upon consideration of the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith, that there exists no sufficient ground to proceed against the accused, in which case it shall discharge him for reasons to be recorded in terms of Section 227 of the Code. It may be noticed that the language of Section 228 opens with the words, 'if after such consideration and hearing as aforesaid, the Judge is of the opinion that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence', he may frame a charge and try him in terms of Section 228 and if exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions, commit the same to the Court of Sessions in terms of Section 228. Why the legislature has used the word 'presuming' is a matter which requires serious deliberation. It is a settled rule of interpretation that the legislature does not use any expression purposelessly and without any object. Furthermore, in terms of doctrine of plain interpretation, every word should be given its ordinary meaning unless context to the contrary is specifically stipulated in the relevant provision. Framing of charge is certainly a matter of earnestness. It is not merely a formal step in the process of criminal inquiry and trial. On the contrary, it is a serious step as it is determinative to some extent, in the sense that either the accused is acquitted giving right to challenge to the complainant party, or the State itself, and if the charge is framed, the accused is called upon to face the complete trial which may prove prejudicial to him, if finally acquitted. These are the courses open to the Court at that stage. Thus, the word 'presuming' must be read ejusdem generis to the opinion that there is a ground. The ground must exist for forming the opinion that the accused had committed an offence. Such opinion has to be formed on the basis of the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith. To a limited extent, the plea of defence also has to be considered by the Court at this stage. For instance, if a plea of proceedings being barred under any other law is raised, upon such consideration, the Court has to form its opinion which in a way is tentative. The expression 'presuming' cannot be said to be superfluous in the language and ambit of Section 228 of the Code. This is to emphasize that the Court may believe that the accused had committed an offence, if its ingredients are satisfied with reference to the record before the Court. At this stage, we may refer to the judgment of this Court in the case of Amit Kapur v. Ramesh Chander and Anr. JT 2012 (9) SC 329 wherein, the Court held as under:

The above-stated principles clearly show that inherent as well as revisional jurisdiction should be exercised cautiously. If the jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code in relation to quashing of an FIR is circumscribed by the factum and caution afore-noticed, in that event, the revisional jurisdiction, particularly while dealing with framing of a charge, has to be even more limited. Framing of a charge is an exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court in terms of Section 228 of the Code, unless the accused is discharged under Section 227 of the Code. Under both these provisions, the court is required to consider the 'record of the case' and documents submitted therewith and, after hearing the parties, may either discharge the accused or where it appears to the court and in its opinion there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence, it shall frame the charge. Once the facts and ingredients of the Section exists, then the Court would be right in presuming that there is ground to proceed against the accused and frame the charge accordingly. This presumption is not a presumption of law as such. The satisfaction of the court in relation to the existence of constituents of an offence and the facts leading to that offence is a sine qua non for exercise of such jurisdiction. It may even be weaker than a prima facie case. There is a fine distinction between the language of Sections 227 and 228 of the Code. Section 227 is expression of a definite opinion and judgment of the Court while Section 228 is tentative. Thus, to say that at the stage of framing of charge, the Court should form an opinion that the accused is certainly guilty of committing an offence, is an approach which is impermissible in terms of Section 228 of the Code. It may also be noticed that the revisional jurisdiction exercised by the High Court is in a way final and no inter court remedy is available in such cases. of course, it may be subject to jurisdiction of this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. Normally, a revisional jurisdiction should be exercised on a question of law. However, when factual appreciation is involved, then it must find place in the class of cases resulting in a perverse finding. Basically, the power is required to be exercised so that justice is done and there is no abuse of power by the court. Merely an apprehension or suspicion of the same would not be a sufficient ground for interference in such cases.”

11.9 State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. Golconda Linga Swamy and Ors., (2004) 6 SCC 522, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“… At the time of framing the charge it can be decided whether prima facie case has been made out showing commission of an offence and involvement of the charged persons. At that stage also evidence cannot be gone into meticulously. It is immaterial whether the case is based on direct or circumstantial evidence. Charge can be framed, if there are materials showing possibility about the commission of the crime as against certainty. That being so, the interference at the threshold with the F.I.R. is to be in very exceptional circumstances as held in R.P. Kapoor and Bhajan Lal cases (supra).”

12. Heard learned counsel for the parties as well as perused the record of the case, alongwith the judgments cited at the Bar.

13. With regard to the judicial precedents laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court, as cited above, this Court notices the following:

13.1 In Kanti Bh

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adra Shah (supra), it was observed that the order passed by the court at the stage of framing of charge, need not be a detailed order. 13.2 In State of Maharashtra and Ors. Vs. Som Nath Thapa (supra), it was observed that a prima facie test was to be applied at the stage of framing of charge and the probative value of the materials on record cannot be gone into. The meaning of the word “presume” was also analyzed and it was held to mean that unless evidence to the contrary is forthcoming. 13.3 In State of Rajasthan Vs. Fatehkaran Mehdu (supra), it was observed that under Section 397 of the Cr.P.C., the High Court’s jurisdiction under revision is limited and that at the stage of framing of charge, the Court should not be bothered with the proof of allegations made in the case therein, but merely presume whether based on the material available on record, could lead to finding the accused person(s) guilty. 13.4 In Sonu Gupta (supra), it was observed that if a prayer for discharge has been included in the petition then the same can only be allowed only if the Court finds that the materials on record are wholly insufficient for the purpose of trial. 13.5 In Dinesh Tiwari (supra), it was observed that Section 227 Cr.P.C. is the expression of a definite opinion and judgment of the Court, while Section 228 Cr.P.C. is tentative. The Hon’ble Apex Court further observed that if a strong suspicion exists in the mind of the Court, at the stage of framing of charge, that the accused has committed the alleged offence(s), then the same is a sufficient ground to proceed with the framing of charge(s) against the accused person(s). 13.6 In Chitresh Kumar Chopra (supra), it was observed that at the stage of framing of charge, the facts that emerge from the case may be taken at face value and if they disclose the existence of ingredients constituting the alleged offences, then charges may be framed against the accused; however the Hon’ble Apex Court also noted that it cannot be expected even at the initial stage to accept as gospel truth all that the prosecution states. 13.7 In State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Mohanlal Soni (supra), also speaks of the aforementioned judicial enunciations. 13.8 In Vinay Tyagi (supra), the Hon’ble Apex Court examined in lucid details the scheme of the Cr.P.C. and held that the word 'presuming' must be read ejusdem generis to the opinion that there is a ground. 13.9 In State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. Golconda Linga Swamy (supra), it was held that at the stage of framing of charge, evidence cannot be gone into meticulously and that it would be immaterial whether the case was based on direct or circumstantial evidence, a charge could be framed against the accused persons nonetheless. 14. The allegation in the present case is that the accused opened fire on the police team, when they attempted to stop the accused, and that, the accused subsequently also tried to run the vehicle over the police team. 15. This Court, on the basis of the aforementioned principles judicially adumbrated by the Hon’ble Apex Court, makes the following observations: 15.1 At the stage of framing of charge, the Court is only required to prima facie presume whether a case against the accused person(s) may be made out. And that the facts that emerge from the case may be taken at face value; if they disclose the existence of ingredients constituting the alleged offences, then the charges may be framed. 15.2 The word “presuming” in Section 228 Cr.P.C. has been consciously inserted by the legislature, with the intention that if the Court strongly suspects that the accused person(s) is in any way connected with the commission of the alleged offence(s), then it may proceed to frame charges against the accused person(s). The said word must be read ejusdem generis to the opinion that there is a ground for forming an opinion that the accused person(s) has committed the alleged offence(s). 15.3 It would also be immaterial whether the said opinion has been formed either on the basis of direct, or circumstantial evidence. 15.4 The Hon’ble High Courts’ revisional jurisdiction under Section 397 Cr.P.C. is limited, more so when the order of the lower court is one of framing of charge against the accused person(s). 15.5 The order passed by the court framing charges against the accused person(s), need not be a detailed order as Section 228 Cr.P.C. is tentative, meaning thereby, if a strong suspicion exists in the mind of the court at the said stage, then the same is sufficient for the court to proceed with the framing of the charge against the accused person(s). And if a prayer for discharge has been made before a revisional court, then the same may only be allowed if the court finds that the materials on record are wholly insufficient for the purpose of trial. 16. The argument of learned counsel for the petitioner that there was no use of fire-arm by the accused in the incident in question, even if believed, then also if somebody has knowingly tried to run the vehicle over any person, such an act could still come within the purview of attempt to commit murder; and since the degree of belief at this stage is only presumption, no case for interference is made out. 17. The precedent laws cited by learned counsel for the petitioner does not render any assistance to the case of the present petitioner. 18. In light of the aforesaid observations, which derives strength from the aforementioned judicial pronouncements of the Hon’ble Apex Court, this Court does not find a case to be made out so as to warrant any interference by this Court. 19. Consequently, the present petition is dismissed. All pending applications stand disposed of.
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