PLR - Supreme Court e@Journal - Criminal Law Updates

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Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1860), Section 509 -  To call a woman, even if she is one’s own wife a prostitute and to call her that she earns money by indulging in prostitution amounts to insulting the modesty of a woman - WhatsApp.. Read Here

Case involves a civil dispute and for settling a civil dispute, the criminal complaint has been filed, which is nothing but an abuse of the process of law.

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Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881,  Section 138 - Notice - Nature of the debt or liability of the petitioner not mentioned in notice will not render the notice as defective - There is no statutory mandate that the notice shall narrate the nature of the debt or liability - Therefore, the omission or error in the notice to mention the nature of the debt or liability, does not render it invalid. 2019 PLRIJ e@journal 100 

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 S. 138, 139  - The word "security"  used in the agreement, refers to the cheques being towards repayment of installments - The repayment becomes due under the agreement, the moment the loan is advanced and the installment falls due. Referred in 2019 PLRIJ e@journal 104 (Chatt.)

Cr.P.C., Section 311 – Video conferencing - Discretionary powers like those under  Section  311  CrPC  ...............- In order to avoid inconvenience to the witness as also to the parties, issuing of commission and recording his evidence through video-conferencing appears to be a viable alternative - Application under Section 311 CrPC deserves to be allowed. 2019 SCeJ 607


Cr.P.C. Section 311 - Delay in trial - Age of a case, by itself, cannot be decisive of the matter when a prayer is made for examination of a material witness.  2019 SCeJ 607


Cr.P.C. Section 432, 433  - Section 432, provides for the power to suspend or remit sentences and also to refuse the same - Section 433 (b) Cr.P.C. provides for commuting a sentence of imprisonment for life to 14 years -  2019 SCeJ 614


Dowry death - Appeal - Whether solely on the ground that the High Court has not examined the reasons on which the order of acquittal was passed and convicted the accused by interfering with the order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court, the same is further required to be interfered with by the apex Court? – Even in the case where the High Court in an appeal against the order of acquittal interfered with the order of acquittal without specifically considering the reasons arrived at by the learned trial court and without specifically observing that the reasons are perverse, this Court can still maintain the order of conviction passed by the High Court, if this Court is satisfied itself that the approach of the trial court in dealing with the evidence was patently illegal or the conclusions arrived at by it are demonstrably unsustainable and the judgment of the appellate court is free from those infirmities -  It also emerges that the High Court is entitled to re¬appreciate the entire evidence independently and come to its own conclusion, however, the High Court would not be justified in interfering with the order of acquittal solely on the ground on re¬appreciation of the entire evidence that two views are possible - IPC , Section 302. 2019 SCeJ 596


Dying declaration  - Dowry death –  There is a dying declaration given by the deceased which has been proved and supported by the independent witnesses, metropolitan magistrate, it has been established and proved by examining the medical officer and even the medical officer certified that the patient was conscious and coherent and fit state of mind to give the statement - Trial Court discarded the same on some minor contradictions/omissions and gave undue importance to the initial statement of the victim while giving the history to the doctor - However, the trial Court did not consider her explanation on the above giving in the dying declaration - Defence has miserably failed and proved that it was an accidental burns/death -  The appellant was last seen in the house and immediately on the occurrence of the incident he ran away - Approach of the trial Court was patently erroneous and the conclusions arrived at by it were wholly untenable . 2019 SCeJ 596


Rajasthan Prisons (Shortening of Sentences) Rules, 2006 Rule 8(2)(i) -  Rule is held to be valid and consistent with the law. 2019 SCeJ 614


Rajasthan Prisons (Shortening of Sentences) Rules, 2006 Rule 8(2)(i) -  Prisons Act, 1894, Section 59 (1) Clause (2) & (5) - Rules, 2006 were framed by the State Government in exercise of powers under Clause (2) & (5) of Section 59 (1) of the Prisons Act, 1894 - Section 59(2)  provides that “ (2) Every Rule made under this section shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before the State Legislature” - Rules not having been placed before the Legislature of the State as required by Section 59(2) of the Act, the High court held that the rules did not acquire statutory force  - Plain language of Section 59(2) makes it manifest that there is no requirement for laying of the Rules before the Legislature prior to promulgation - No time limit for laying has been provided -  Use of words “as soon as” coupled with the absence of any consequence for not laying makes the provision directory and not mandatory  - Cr.P.C., Section 433¬A .        2019 SCeJ 614


CrPC, Section 197 - In order to attract the rigor of Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it is necessary that the offence alleged against a Government Officer must have some nexus or/and relation with the discharge of his official duties as a Government Officer -  Having regard to the nature of the allegations made no prior sanction to prosecute was required.  2019 SCeJournal 560

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Section 482 - High Court while hearing the application Under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure had no jurisdiction to appreciate the statement of the witnesses and record a finding that there were inconsistencies in their statements and, therefore, there was no prima facie case made out against the Respondent  -..........................– Quashing order set aside. 2019 SCeJournal 560

Archives updates of 2019

Cr.P.C. S. 482 – Quashing based on compromise  - Non-compoundable offences, seriousness of the offences, distinction between a personal or private wrong and a social wrong and the social impact thereof, antecedents of the accused – Duty to scan the facts  -   High Court reliance on Shiji @ Pappu v. Radhika, (2011) 10 SCC 705 quashing the criminal proceedings against the accused on the ground that the accused and the complainant have settled the disputes amicably, misplaced. 2019 SCeJ 283

Cr.P.C., S. 456 – Restoration of the possession of the property to the person who was forcibly dispossessed . 2019 SCeJ 233  Click here

Cr.P.C., S. 456 – Section  456 (1)  clearly indicates that the Trial Court can pass an order for restoration of the possession of the property to the person who was forcibly dispossessed -   The proviso no doubt lays down that no such order shall be passed after one month of the date of conviction - Limitation of 30 days would not apply. It would apply only if the Trial Court had not passed any order in respect of the case property while convicting the accused – Section 456(2) provides that if the Court trying the offence has not made such an order, the Court of appeal, confirmation or revision can also make such an order while disposing of the proceedings pending before it -   No limitation has been provided for the higher courts to make such order. 2019 SCeJ 233

Cr.P.C., Section 203 – Second complaint  -There is no provision in the Criminal Procedure Code or any other statute which debars a complainant from making a second complaint on the same allegations, when the first complaint did not lead to conviction, acquittal or discharge. (2018)2 SceJ 1874 Click Here

Cr.P.C., Section 482 - Quashing of the charges - Exercise needs to be undertaken by the High Court in exceptional cases - Framing of charges being initial stages in the trial process, the court therein cannot base the decision of quashing the charge on the basis of the quality or quantity of evidence rather the enquiry must be limited to a prima facie examination. 2019 SCeJ 246

Cr.P.C., Section 482  - Quashing - a. Allegations of civil nature b. Quashing the criminal proceedings is called for only in a case where the complaint does not disclose any offence, or is frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive . 2019 SCeJ 230. Click here

 Cr.P.C., Section 482  - Quashing - Allegations of civil nature  - Criminal complaints cannot be quashed only on the ground that the allegations made therein appear to be of a civil nature - The correctness or otherwise of the allegations has to be decided only in the Trial -  At the initial stage of issuance of process it is not open to the Courts to stifle the proceedings by entering into the merits of the contentions made on behalf of the accused - If the ingredients of the offence alleged against the accused are prima facie made out in the complaint, the criminal proceeding shall not be interdicted -  Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 read with Section 34.          2019 SCeJ 230

Cr.P.C., Section 482  - Quashing - Quashing the criminal proceedings is called for only in a case where the complaint does not disclose any offence, or is frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive -  If the allegations set out in the complaint do not constitute the offence of which cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate, it is open to the High Court to quash the same - It is not necessary that a meticulous analysis of the case should be done before the Trial to find out whether the case would end in conviction or acquittal - If it appears on a reading of the complaint and consideration of the allegations therein, in the light of the statement made on oath that the ingredients of the offence are disclosed, there would be no justification for the High Court to interfere - Defences that may be available, or facts/aspects which when established during the trial, may lead to acquittal, are not grounds for quashing the complaint at the threshold.    2019 SCeJ 230

Criminal prosecution - Informant and the investigating officer were the same person - Hold that all pending criminal prosecutions, trials and appeals prior to the law laid down in Mohan Lal v. State of Punjab, (2018)2 SCeJournal 1314, shall continue to be governed by the individual facts of the case. 2019 SCeJ 216. Click here 

Criminal Trial - If two views are possible accused is indeed entitled to have the benefit of one which is favourable to him.  2019 SCeJournal 68. Click here

Criminal Trial - Suspicion - “may be true” to “must be true” -  Though the materials on record hold some suspicion towards them, but the prosecution has failed to elevate its case from the realm of “may be true” to the plane of “must be true”- Acquitted -  IPC S. 307. 2019 SCeJournal 68. Click here 

Criminal trial  - Framing of charges -  It is the duty of the court to apply its judicial mind to the material placed before it and to come to a clear conclusion that a prima facie case has been made out against the accused -  An order for framing of charges is of serious concern to the accused as it affects his liberty substantially -  Courts must therefore be cautious that their decision at this stage causes no irreparable harm to the accused. 2019 SCeJ 246

CrPC , S. 482 - Jurisdiction to quash the proceedings at the stage of issuance of process, or at the stage of committal, or at the stage of framing of charges, that is to say before the commencement of actual trial, in the light of material placed on record by the accused – Steps to determine the veracity of a prayer for quashment raised by an accused by invoking the power vested in the High Court under Section 482 CrPC laid down - Rajiv Thapar and Others v. Madan Lal Kapoor, (2013) 3 SCC 330, Click here

CrPC, 1860, S. 482 -  Compromise quashing – Non compoundable offences - High  Court  has committed a grave error in quashing the criminal proceedings for the offences under Sections 307, 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC solely on the ground that the original Complainant and the accused have settled the dispute. 2019 SCeJ 58. CLICK HERE

 CrPC, Section 319 - Power of the Court to proceed against other persons who “appear” to be guilty of an offence, though not accused before the Court. 2019 SCeJournal 140. Click here

Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, S. 4, 5  - Fingerprints - There cannot be any hard and fast rule that in every case, there should be a magisterial order for lifting the fingerprints of the accused. 2019 SCeJ 89 Click here

IPC , S. 405 read with 406 -  Loan transaction -  A mere breach of a promise, agreement or contract does not, ipso facto, constitute the offence of the criminal breach of trust contained in Section 405 IPC without there being a clear case of entrustment - Dispute arises out of a loan transaction between the parties – Parties knew each other before lending the loan - A summary civil suit for recovery was still pending adjudication - Law clearly recognizes a difference between simple payment/investment of money and entrustment of money or property -  There is nothing in the complaint that any property was entrusted to the appellant at all which he dishonestly converted for his own use so as to satisfy the ingredients of Section 405 punishable under Section 406 of IPC - Magistrate committed a serious error in issuing process against the appellants for the said offence   - Cr.P.C., Section 482. 2019 SCeJ 246

IPC, 1860 – Section  307, 325 - Quashed – Considering material on record, the medical certificate more particularly, the injuries sustained by the Complainant - It cannot be said that the intention of the accused was to cause death of the complainant – Under Section 307 Quashed. 2019 SCeJ 49. CLICK HERE

IPC, 1860, Section 107 – Instigation. Click Here

IPC, 1860, Section 306 – Abetment  - Conviction under Section 306 IPC is not sustainable on the allegation of harassment without there being any positive action proximate to the time of occurrence on the part of the accused, which led or compelled the person to commit suicide -  In order to bring a case within the purview of Section 306 IPC, there must be a case of suicide and in the commission of the said offence, the person who is said to have abetted the commission of suicide must have played an active role by an act of instigation or by doing certain act to facilitate the commission of suicide -  Act of abetment must be proved and established -  Penal Code, 1860, Section 107.  Amalendu Pal alias Jhantu v. State of West Bengal, (2010) 1 SCC 707, referredClick Here

IPC, 1860,  S. 302, 326(A) and 460  - Cr.P.C., 1973  S. 354(3) -  Whether second conviction for murder would warrant the imposition of a death sentence -  ‘special reasons’  - ‘rarest of the rare’ . 2019 SCeJournal 128Click here.

IPC, 1860,  S. 302, 363, 366 & 376(2)(i) – Cr.P.C., 1973  S. 354(3) - Special Reasons required to impose Death Penalty  - Rape and murder of minor girl aged 8 years - Life imprisonment with actual period of 25 years, without any benefit of remission. 2019 SCeJ 122

IPC, S. 415, 420 -  Contracts  - In the context of contracts, the distinction between mere breach of contract and cheating would depend upon the fraudulent inducement and mens rea -  The mere inability of the appellant to return the loan amount cannot give rise to a criminal prosecution for cheating unless fraudulent or  dishonest intention is shown right at the beginning of the transaction, as it is this mens rea which is the crux of the offence -  Court in a number of cases has usually cautioned against criminalizing civil disputes, such as breach of contractual obligations - The legislature intended to criminalize only those breaches which are accompanied by fraudulent, dishonest or deceptive inducements, which resulted in involuntary and in¬efficient transfers, under Section 415 of IPC -  Cr.P.C., Section 482.  Hridaya Ranjan Prasad Verma v. State of Bihar, (2000) 4 SCC 168,  Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, referred .   2019 SCeJ 246

IPC, Section 420, 406 read with Section 34 – Under agreement for availing of intellectual services for marketing the products of the complainant, the accused did not pay the amount due and payable under the agreement - FIR quashed. (2018)2 SCeJ 1872 Click Here

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, S. 138 - Holder of the Cheque can make successive presentation of the cheque and institute the criminal complaint based on the second or successive dishonour of the cheque on its presentation  - Cheques were presented twice and notices were issued on 31.08.2009 and 25.01.2010 and complaint filed on the basis of the second notice - Complaint filed based on the second statutory notice is not barred. 2019 SCeJ 115