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High Court cannot conduct 'mini trial' while deciding Section 482 CrPC application
State of Uttar Pradesh and Anr Vs Akhil Sharda and Ors
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 840 of 2022
About/from the judgment:
Observing that the High Courts, while deciding an application under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., cannot conduct a mini trial, the Supreme Court set aside the order passed by Allahabad High Court quashing the FIR and all proceedings arising from it.
The Court observed that, “no mini trial can be conducted by the High Court in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. jurisdiction and at the stage of deciding the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the High Court cannot get into appreciation of evidence of the particular case being considered.”
A case under Section 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code was registered at Husainganj Police Station, District Lucknow. The matter pertained to the allegation of trucks carrying consignment of beer not reaching the concerned destination for which payment had already been made.
The accused preferred a petition under Section 482/378/407 of the Cr.P.C for quashing of all proceedings that arose out of the FIR. The High Court of judicature at Allahabad quashed the said case.
The State of Uttar Pradesh preferred an appeal against the judgment of the High Court. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the State of Uttar Pradesh and Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the original informant in the case, argued that in the facts and circumstances of the case the High Court had committed a grave/serious error in quashing the entire criminal proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
It was further submitted on behalf of the appellant state while passing the impugned judgment and order while quashing the criminal proceedings arising out of Case Crime No.260 of 2018 the High Court has not properly appreciated and/or considered the larger conspiracy. High Court has failed to note and/or appreciate the allegations in the FIR being FIR No.260 of 2018 which were relating to disappearances of trucks loaded with beer from highways in Uttar Pradesh which involve allegations of forging data and uploading incorrect data against the accused. It was also contended that by passing the impugned judgment and order the High Court has curtailed and narrowed the scope of the investigation.
The counsels for the appellant further submitted that two whole trucks loaded with beer went missing and the beer bottles was not found. There was no recovery or seizure of the goods concerned. It had come during investigation that there were other such instances of disappearance of trucks loaded with beer bottles. It is submitted that there is a syndicate operating with the connivance of the accused persons.
The counsels for the appellants also argued that it was after six months that the judgment was delivered after having been reserved by the High Court and therefore it was fit for being set aside.
The counsels for accused Senior Advocates Ranjeet Kumar and Sidhartha Dave, opposed the appeal by the state and submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the case and after having satisfied that the ingredients of Sections 406 and 420 IPC were not made out and the case fell within the parameters laid down in Bhajan Lal vs. State 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 which were required to be considered while quashing the criminal proceedings.
The Supreme Court, in Bhajan Lal’s case issued guidelines which the Court must consider while exercising powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C.
After hearing both sides, the Supreme Court observed that, “it appears that the High Court has virtually conducted a mini trial, which as such is not permissible at this stage and while deciding the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C.”
While allowing the appeal of the appellant state, the Court held, “the High Court cannot get into appreciation of evidence of the particular case being considered.”
The Apex Court held that the High Court had not appreciated the allegations of a larger conspiracy into the disappearance of trucks carrying alcohol and that a role of an organised syndicate could not be ignored.
The judgment of the High Court was set aside without prejudice being caused to the trial.
Read the Judgment
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