Landmark judgment on discharge of accused and framing of charge
This Court the went on to cull out principles as regards scope of Sections 227 and 228 of the Code, which in our view broadly apply to Sections 238 and 239 of the Code as well. It was observed thus in para 21: 21. On consideration of the authorities about the scope of Section 227 and 228 of the Code, the following principles emerge: (i) The Judge while considering the question of framing the charges Under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has the undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for the limited purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused has been made out. The test to determine prima facie case would depend upon the facts of each case. (ii) Where the materials placed before the Court disclose grave suspicion against the accused which has not been properly explained, the Court will be fully justified in framing a charge and proceeding with the trial. (iii) The Court cannot act merely as a Post Office or a mouthpiece of the prosecution but has to consider the broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of the evidence and the documents produced before the Court, any basic infirmities etc. However, at this stage, there cannot be a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as if he was conducting a trial. (iv) If on the basis of the material on record, the Court could form an opinion that the accused might have committed offence, it can frame the charge, though for conviction the conclusion is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has committed the offence. (v) At the time of framing of the charges, the probative value of the material on record cannot be gone into but before framing a charge the Court must apply its judicial mind on the material placed on record and must be satisfied that the commission of offence by the accused was possible. (vi) At the stage of Sections 227 and 228, the Court is required to evaluate the material and documents on record with a view to find out if the facts emerging therefrom taken at their face value discloses the existence of all the ingredients constituting the alleged offence. For this limited purpose, sift the evidence as it cannot be expected even at that initial stage to accept all that the prosecution states as gospel truth even if it is opposed to common sense or the broad probabilities of the case. (vii) If two views are possible and one of them gives rise to suspicion only, as distinguished from grave suspicion, the trial Judge will be empowered to discharge the accused and at this stage, he is not to see whether the trial will end in conviction or acquittal.” (Emphasis given) 10. In Crl.A.Nos.285-287 of 2015 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) Nos.300-302 of 2013) ‘Sonu Gupta vs. Deepak Gupta & ors.’ decided on 11.02.2015, Supreme Court held : “It is also well settled that cognizance is taken of the offence and not the offender. Hence at the stage of framing of charge an individual accused may seek discharge if he or she can show that the materials are absolutely insufficient for framing of charge against that particular accused. But such exercise is required only at a later stage, as indicated above and not at the stage of taking cognizance and summoning the accused on the basis of prima facie case. Even at the stage of framing of charge, the sufficiency of materials for the purpose of conviction is not the requirement and a prayer for discharge can be allowed only if the court finds that the materials are wholly insufficient for the purpose of trial. It is also a settled proposition of law that even when there are materials raising strong suspicion against an accused, the court will be justified in rejecting a prayer for discharge and in granting an opportunity to the prosecution to bring on record the entire evidence in accordance with law so that case of both the sides may be considered appropriately on conclusion of trial.” (Emphasis given)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI DECIDED ON : 15th MAY, 2015
CRL.REV.P. 162/2014 & Crl.M.A.4214/2014
BHUPINDER SINGH BISHT & ORS.
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE S.P.GARG Citation: 2015VIIAD(Delhi)735, 220(2015)DLT266