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Sri Nagaraj Rao Vs State & Anr (2021): Reason And Application Of Mind Are Impregnable For A Judicial Order To Sustain The Scrutiny Of Law

Umamageswari Maruthappan ,
  04 September 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
Karnataka High Court
Brief :
The Second Respondent had established a company after securing a loan from the Karnataka State Finance Corporation. However, on failure of repayment of the loan amount, the concerned property was auctioned off to the petitioner. A complaint was made against the petitioner under Section 506, IPC. The Magistrate, without any reasons, rejected the report submitted by the Police and directed registration of the case.
Citation :
CRIMINAL PETITION No.8922/2017

Date of Judgement:
17th August 2021

Coram:
Justice M. Nagaprasanna

Parties:
Petitioner: Sri Nagaraj Rao
Respondents: State and Anr.

Subject

The judgement dealt with the duty of the Magistrate to apply his mind and record reasons for not accepting the B-summary report of the Police.

Overview

  • The wife of the Second Respondent had received a loan from the Karnataka State Finance Corporation and established Sri Durga Printers and Sri Durga Printers Conventional Hall in Brahmavar city.
  • However, on their failure to repay the loan, the Corporation sold the concerned property to the petitioner by way of public auction on 11th November 2010. A case was registered by the Second Respondent thereafter under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • It was stated that the property was sold for only Rs. 29 lakhs while its worth was more than Rs. 55 lakhs. It was also alleged that the petitioner had threatened the complainant.
  • The Police conducted an investigation and found out that there was no evidence supporting the commission of an offence by the petitioner that would attract punishment under Section 506. Accordingly, it submitted a ‘B’ Report to the Magistrate.
  • The Magistrate rejected the ‘B’ report and, on the basis of the Second Respondent’s statement, ordered for the registration of a case, under Section 506, against the petitioner. Aggrieved by the order, the petitioner approached the Karnataka High Court.
  • The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that there is no material in the complainant’s allegations under Section 506 since the petitioner is an innocent purchaser, and that the case was made out on purpose to harm him.
  • It was further stated that the Magistrate had failed to apply his mind while rejecting the ‘B’ report, and had mechanically ordered the registration of the case.
  • The Counsel for the Respondents’, however, argued that there was no need for the Magistrate to apply his mind since the matter was in the trial stage.

Issues Involved

  1. Whether it is mandatory for the Magistrate to apply his mind while, and record reasons for rejecting the police investigation report?

Important Provisions

  1. Section 506, Indian Penal Code: This Section prescribes punishment for criminal intimidation with imprisonment for maximum two years, or with fine, or both. The concept of criminal intimidation has been explained in Section 503 of the Code. According to it, criminal intimidation is committed when someone threatens another person with injury to his person, or reputation, or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with the intention to cause alarm to that person, or to cause him/her to do any act which he is not legally bound to, or to omit to do any act which he/she is legally entitled to, to avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.
  2. Section 155(1), Code of Criminal Procedure: Section 155 provides information pertaining to the trial procedure and investigation of non-cognizable cases. Section 155(1) states that when information has been given, to an officer who is in-charge of a police station having jurisdiction, of a non-cognizable offence, he shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of the information in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, and refer the informant to the Magistrate.

Judgement Analysis

  • The Court ruled that it was mandatory for the Magistrate to apply his mind while deciding on the rejection of the ‘B’ report and the acceptance of the complainant’s statement. It was opined that the application of judicial mind could be demonstrable only in the Magistrate’s order, and the only way for an order to demonstrate the application of mind is recording of reasons. (Paragraph No. 15)
  • It was also stated that consideration of such reports of the Police is mandatory as there may be cases wherein the reports may have been filed without proper investigation. (Paragraph No. 16)
  • The Court further observed that the entire proceedings against the petitioner was erroneous because the procedure for Section 506 of IPC, being a non-cognizable offence, ought to have been followed in accordance with Section 155 of CrPC, and that the Police had erred in registering the FIR without referring the matter to the Magistrate. (Paragraph No. 18)
  • It was concluded that the case does not link even to the remotest sense to the offence alleged, and the learned judge deemed it inappropriate to remit the matter back to the Magistrate.

Accordingly, the Magistrate’s order as well as the entire proceedings was quashed.

Conclusion

Judicial decisions, even in a petty case, make a visible impact when the same is analysed as precedents in the future. The proceedings of a criminal case are like a chain of events that occur involuntarily in accordance with the provisions under the Code of Criminal Procedure. The main authorities that are empowered to exercise relevant powers and duties are required to perform them with careful considerations. A deviation from the same would impair the validity of the entire proceedings, as was the case in this suit. Therefore, as observed by the Court, Magistrates, and even all other relevant authorities, must apply their mind while deciding on a case. It is also mandatory to record reasons for the same as it clearly manifests the application of mind.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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