High Court cannot conduct mini trial at the stage of framing of charge or considering discharge application
State of Rajasthan Vs Ashok Kumar Kashyap
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 407 OF 2021
About/from the judgment:
High Courts should not hold a mini trial at the stage of discharge application or framing of charge, the Supreme Court reiterated on Tuesday.
The Court held that at the stage of framing of the charge and/or considering the discharge application, a High Court is required to consider whether a prima facie case has been made out or not and whether the accused is required to be further tried or not.
"At the stage of framing of the charge and/or considering the discharge application, the mini trial is not permissible," the judgment said.
The Court was hearing an appeal by the State of Rajasthan against a High Court order discharging an accused under Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The accused was a Patwari and was accused of having demanded a bribe of ₹ 2,800 for endorsing certain residential and caste certificates.
The Special Judge, Bharatpur, had ruled that there was a prima facie case of Section 7 against the accused.
However, the High Court on appeal perused the entire transcript of conversation recordings, noted that there was no specific demand of bribe made by the accused and, therefore proceeded to discharge the accused.
The State in Supreme Court primarily argued that High Court failed to appreciate that at the stage of framing of charge and/or consideration of an application for discharge, the Court is to consider whether there is any prima facie case made out against the accused or not.
It was submitted that the High Court has erred in discharging the accused of the charged offence when there is ample material and evidence on record against the accused and sufficient grounds are available for proceeding against the accused.
Agreeing with the State, the top court ruled that High Court exceeded in its jurisdiction in exercise of the revisional jurisdiction and acted beyond the scope of Section 227/239 of Code of Criminal Procedure.
"While discharging the accused, the High Court has gone into the merits of the case and has considered whether on the basis of the material on record, the accused is likely to be convicted or not. For the aforesaid, the High Court has considered in detail the transcript of the conversation between the complainant and the accused which exercise at this stage to consider the discharge application and/or framing of the charge is not permissible at all," stated the Supreme Court.
The two-judge bench further held that High Court was required to consider whether a prima facie case has been made out or not and whether the accused is required to be further tried or not.
The Court, therefore, allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the High Court.
Read the Judgment
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