Both Chargesheet and Supplementary Chargesheet should be considered to decide if accused committed crime

Both Chargesheet and Supplementary Chargesheet should be considered to decide if accused committed crime

Luckose Zachariah Vs Joseph Joseph

Supreme Court

18/02/2022

Criminal Appeal No 256 of 2022

About/from the judgment:

The Supreme Court held that while deciding whether or not an accused has committed an offence, it is necessary for the Magistrate to consider the chargesheet submitted under Section 173(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) as well as the supplementary chargesheet which is submitted after further investigation in terms of Section 173(8) of CrPC.

The Court stated that this position of law is clearly settled in the judgments of the top court in Vinay Tyagi v. Irshad Ali and Vinubhai Haribhai Malaviya v. State of Gujarat.

"Both the reports have to be read conjointly by analyzing the cumulative effect of the reports and the documents annexed thereto, if any, while determining whether there existed grounds to presume that the appellants have committed the offence," the Court said.

Only after the Magistrate considers both reports, he can take a view in accordance with law as to whether there is ground for presuming that the persons named as accused have committed an offence, the apex court emphasised.

Pertinently, the Court also held that the a judgment of a single-judge of the Kerala High Court in Joseph v. Antony Joseph is contrary to the position set out in Vinay Tyagi judgment and is, therefore, bad law.

In the present case, a first information report (FIR) had been registered against three persons for offences under Section 294(b) [sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place], 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons).

The Sub-Inspector of police submitted a chargesheet under Section 173(2) implicating the appellants for the alleged offences.

After one of the accused lodged a complaint that the charges were false, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch submitted a supplementary report before the Magistrate under Section 173(8) recommending that the proceedings against the appellants be dropped on the ground that no offence had been established during the course of the further investigation.

The respondent filed a protest petition and magistrate dismissed the protest petition for want of prosecution. Thereafter, the Magistrate accepted the final report of the police and closed the case.

Respondent challenged it before Sessions Court which directed the Magistrate to take the case on file and proceed further in accordance with law.

In this regard, the Sessions Court placed reliance on the judgment of the single-judge in Joseph v. Antony Joseph.

Aggrieved by the order of the Sessions Judge, the appellants moved the High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Kerala High Court dismissed the petition stating that positive and negative reports submitted under the Sub-sections (2) and (8) of Section 173 respectively must be read conjointly to determine if there is prima facie ground for believing that the accused has committed the offence and that the reports do not have a separate existence.

The Supreme Court held that Sessions Judge was justified in setting aside the order of the Magistrate for the simple reason that after the supplementary report submitted by the investigating officer, the Magistrate was duty bound in terms of the decision in Vinay Tyagi, as well as the subsequent three-Judge Bench decision in Vinubhai Haribhai Malaviya to consider both the original report and the supplementary report before determining the steps that have to be taken further in accordance with law.

"The Magistrate not having done so, it was necessary to restore the proceedings back to the Magistrate so that both the reports could be read conjointly by analyzing the cumulative effect of the reports and the documents annexed thereto, if any, while determining whether there existed grounds to presume that the appellants have committed the offence," held the apex court.

The top court, therefore, remitted the matter back to magistrate to take into account both the reports and proceed in accordance with law.

However, the Court also noted that the Sessions Court while remitting the matter back to the Magistrate had placed reliance on Joseph v. Antony Joseph which is contrary to the position in Vinay Tyagi.

"Hence, the Judicial First Class Magistrate – I Alappuzha shall reexamine both the reports in terms of the decisions of this Court in Vinay Tyagi vs Irshad Ali alias Deepak and Vinubhai Haribhai Malaviya vs State of Gujarat as noted above and in terms of the observations contained in the present judgment," the top court said.

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