Crl.A No. 317 of 2008
K.B. Rasheed Vs. the State of Kerala
Date of Order:
Justice P.G. Ajithkumar
K.B. Rasheed – Petitioner
The State of Kerala – Respondent
It was ruled that the courts failing to comply with Sections 279(1), 279(2) or 281(4) of CrPC, which deal with the interpretation of evidence and the memorandum of charges to the accused in a language they can understand, cannot be cited as a reason to overturn the whole proceeding, it is an irregularity at best.
- The appellant was booked under Section 20(b)(ii)(B) of the NDPS Act in the Special Court at Vadakara, he was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of 3 years along with a fine of Rs. 10,000/-.
- A less than commercial quantity but more than one person could consume, amount of Ganja was found with the accused, the exact weight of the contraband being 1.250 kg. He was apprehended at the Palayam bus stand at Kozhikode.
- The policeman sent a report as stipulated in Section 42(2) of the NDPS Act, upon finding the appellant at the bus stop, he made him aware of his right to be searched in presence of a Gazetted officer, which was later waived.
- Under the current petition in the High Court, these orders and the sentence are impugned by the petitioner under Section 374(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Arguments Forwarded by the Petitioner
- The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted before the court that there have been a series of irregularities throughout the course of the proceedings which have influenced the decisions of courts and have caused the conviction of an innocent man.
- He submitted that the applicant only speaks and understands Kannada, and in none of the phases of the proceedings was he made aware of the process in a way he would understand i.e., there was no compliance with Sections 279(1), 279(2) or 281(4) of CrPC.
- The bench took notice of the fact that there was no record of the charges or the memorandum of the accused’s examination being translated into Kannada for his benefit not that he knew Malayalam, suggesting no involvement of an interpreter anywhere in the case.
- It also highlighted the fact that nowhere in the proceedings did the petitioner’s party mention that the accused knew no other language except Kannada.
- The Court, relying upon the judgment of Shivanarayan Kabra v. the State of Madras,
- specified that language prejudice caused by non-interpretation of important documents does not negate the whole proceeding and is a mere inconvenience/irregularity.
- But it was further held that this does not mean that the provision is to be disregarded completely.
It was finally held that if in a case the accused cannot speak or understand any other language, the magistrate/court is expected to follow through with the procedure stipulated in Chalam Sheikh v. State of Kerala.
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