DISCHARGE OF THE ACCUSED AT THE STAGE OF THE FRAMING OF THE CHARGE: THE LAW IN INDIA

It  is  well   settled law that  at  the  stage  of  framing of charge, the court has power to shift and weigh the evidence for the limited purpose of  finding out whether or  not a prima facie case against accused has been made out. It  is  held that when the material placed before the court discloses great suspicion against the accused which has not been properly explained, the court will  be justified in  framing charge.  The judge should not make a roving inquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weight the evidence as if he was conducting a trial. If on the basis  of   materials  on  record  a  court  could  come  to  the conclusion that commission of the offence is a provable consequence, a case of   framing  of   charge  exists.  To   put  it differently, if the courts were to think  that the accused might have committed the offence it  can frame a charge, though for conviction the conclusion  is  required  to be that accused has committed  the  offence. At  the stage of  framing of  a charge, probative  value of  the  materials on records cannot be gone into, the material  brought on record by the prosecution has to be accepted as true at that stage.   The truth, veracity and effect of the evidence which has prosecutor proposes to adduce are not to be meticulously judged. Nor   is  any weight to be attached  to  the  provable defence  of   the  accused. It  is   not obligatory  for  the judge at that stage of  the trial  to consider in any detail  and weight 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 this stage of deciding the matter u/s 227 or  u/s 228 of the Code. At that stage the court is not to see whether there is sufficientground for  conviction of the accused or  whether the trial is sure to end in  his conviction. 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.  While deciding the question of  framing of  charge in  a criminal case, the court is  not to apply exactly the standard and test which it finally applies for  determining the Guilt or  otherwise.  This being the initial stage  of the trial, the court is not supposed to decide whether the  materials collected by the  Investigating  Agency provides  sufficient  ground  for   conviction  of   the  accused or whether the trial  is  sure to culminate in  his conviction. What is required to be seen is  whether there is  strong suspicion which may  lead  to  the  court  to  think  that  there  is   ground  for presuming that the accused has committed an offence.  

The above proposition is supported  with law  laid down by the  Hon'ble Apex Court and Hon'ble  High Court reported  as “Union of India  vs Prafulla Kumar,    AIR     1979   Supreme   Court    366,   State   of Maharashtra and others vs Som Nath Thapa and other JT 1996 (4) SC 615,  State  of Bihar vs Ramesh  Singh, AIR 1997 SC 2018: (1997 CRI LJ 1606), Umar Abdula Sakoor Sorathia vs. Intelligence  Officer Narcotic Control  Bureau JT 1999 (5) SC 394, Kalu Mal Gupta  vs. State 2000 I AD Delhi 107.

#Discharge #Discharge of the accused #Cr.P.C. #Income tax prosecution #criminallaw #India law 
 
By
 
Vijay Pal Dalmia, Advocate
 
Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court
 
Email: vpdalmia@gmail.com 
 
Mobile: +91 9810081079
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