Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

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Somesh Chaurasia V/S State Of Madhya Pradesh (2021): No One Is Rich Or Poor Before The Law

Kevin Moses Paul ,
  31 July 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
LL 2021 SC 317

Date of Judgement:
March 12, 2021

Judges:
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud& Justice M. R. Shah

Parties:
• Somesh Chaurasia – Petitioner
• State of MP & Anr. – Respondent(s)

Subject

"Independence of the judiciary implies independence of each and every judge from political pressures and other external influence and control, as also the independence from their superiors in the judiciary itself in that, there may be no interference in their decisions", elaborated the Court. The case is in connection with the murder of the Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia’s murder in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh.

An Overview

  • The bail of murder accused, Govind Singh, was cancelled by the Supreme Court today.
  • Govind was accused of murdering a Congress leader named Devendra Chaurasia by the husband of Madhya Pradesh BSP MLA, Ramabai.
  • Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah were leading the Division Bench and set aside the Madhya Pradhesh High Court order stating that the High Court allowed misuse of the police authority and ignored the material facts concerning the bail.
  • The hearing was circulating an order which was passed on 23rd July, 2019 by the honourable High Court of Madhya Pradesh. The matter was in regarding cancellation of bail in murder case of Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia, since the accused Govind Singh (husband of BSP MLA) committed the offence while he was out on bail.
  • The crime took place in Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh. Later, it was also found out that Govind Singh was also accused in two more murder cases, where both the deceased belonged to the same family.
  • The Hon’ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh directed that the investigation may be completed as far as possible within three months but not later than 90 days. On completion of the investigation, if the appellant is found involved in the commission of the crime, he is immediately taken into custody, and the procedure as prescribed be followed.

Important Provisions

• Section 319 in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973:The Section deals with – “Power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence”.

(1) Where, in the course of any inquiry into, or trial of, an offence, it appears from the evidence that any person not being the accused has committed any offence for which such person could be tried together with the accused, the Court may proceed against such person for the offence which he appears to have committed.

(2) Where such person is not attending the Court, he may be arrested or summoned, as the circumstances of the case may require, for the purpose aforesaid.

(3) Any person attending the Court, although not under arrest or upon a summons, may be detained by such Court for the purpose of the inquiry into, or trial of, the offence which he appears to have committed.

(4) Where the Court proceeds against any person under sub-section (1), then-

(a) The proceedings in respect of such person shall be commenced a fresh, and the witnesses re- heard;

(b) Subject to the provisions of clause (a), the case may proceed as if such person had been an accused person when the Court took cognizance of the offence upon which the inquiry or trial was commenced.

• Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860:The Section deals with “Punishment for murder”. It states that – “Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine”.

Issues

  • Whether the legal procedure followed for shielding the murder accused who has a relation with the member of the Legislative Assembly, by not getting him arrested for the crime, in pursuance of the provisions of Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, to face the trails of an offence, under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 can be challenged?

Judgement Analysis

  • A bench of consisting of two judges namely Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah, doomed the actions of DGP of MP for his inconsistency in arresting the murder of Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia merely because the accused is husband of a current BSP MLA.
  • The SC bench in addition also condemned the DGP for protecting the accused of the crime.
  • A notice was issued by the Apex Court of the country on 18th November keeping in mind the latitude of the standing counsel for theState of Madhya Pradesh. The notice contained the denouncing of Govind Singh as an accused by the Add. Sess. Jud. (Addition Session Judge), but it also asserted that the accused persons are highly influential political persons and have raised false allegations and made an application for transfer of case before Hon. District Judge, which was found false, and Hon. District Judge had dismissed the application with cost and being contemptuous.
  • But like accused persons, now Police Superintendent Damoh had connived with his subordinates and made false and fabricated pressure. From the above such acts, it is clear that accused persons, with Police Superintendent Damoh, had colluded with his subordinates to frame serious charges.
  • The DG of Police was ordered by the Bench to arrest Govind Singh immediately and also to ensure the compliance by filing a personal affidavit.
  • The Additional Session Judge, in his order, directed the DGP to enquire into the matter levelled by Govind Singh against the Superintendent of Police,Damoh.
  • A notice was also issued but later returnable on March 26, 2021 against the Superintendent of Police, Damoh.
  • The Bench also took serious note of how the ASJ Hata (incharge of the criminal case) was harassed by the law enforcement machinery in Damoh.
  • Mr. Saurabh Mishra, Additional Advocate General, appearing for the State, states that a proclamation has been issued against the second respondent under Section 82 of the CrPC on March 4, 2021, with an award of Rs 10,000.
  • Yet, the second respondent continued to evade arrest.
  • “The rule of law must be preserved”, the Court further noted.
  • The Counsel on behalf of the petitioner placed an order dated January 8, 2021, passed in execution of the provisions u/s 319 CrPC, 1973, to submit that the second respondent was resisting arrest, despite of the warrant.
  • Upon keen visualisation on the matter for April 5, 2021, the Court directed the DGP to take mandatory steps in compliance to the previous order, failing which the Court would be forced to take coercive measures in accordance to the law.
  • The DGP was also directed to file a further affidavit mentioning the date and the cause, based on which the security was granted to the accused and whether the security continues to be provided till a specific date and if not then the date of withdrawal of the security provided.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court stated clearly that India does not have two parallel and simultaneous legal systems, based upon the discrimination of wealth or power or influence, but rather acts as an equaliser for all men, women and children and hence stabilising their capabilities to obtain justice.

While dealing with the matter, the Division Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hrishikesh Roy set aside the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which refused to revoke the bail granted to the murder accused Govind Singh (spouse of the BSP MLA Rambai Singh) and thereby noted that the trial judge’s apprehension in the matter that he was being pressurised due to political influence and hence it showcased that the existence of a dual legal system will only chip away the legitimacy of the law.

The Apex Court slammed the Government of Madhya Pradesh and the police department for attempting to influence the triall judge and helping the accused elope by means of unlawful power.

The Apex Court was hearing an appeal filed by Somesh Chaurasia, son of Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia who was allegedly killed by the accused in the case.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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