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Exceeding jurisdiction under Section 227/239 by High Court while transcript of conversation in detail: Supreme Court of India

Transcript of the conversation between the complainant and the accused at the stage of framing the charge is not permissible. This honorable judgement was passed by Supreme Court of India in the case of State of Rajasthan vs. Ashok Kumar Kashyap [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 407 OF 2021] by The Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and The Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.R. Shah.

In the facts and circumstances of the case, the delay caused in filing the special leave petition was condoned. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order was passed by the High Court of Rajasthan, had quashed the order passed by the learned Special Judge, Prevention of Corruption Act, Bharatpur, framed the charge against the respondent-accused for the offence under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and consequently had discharged the accused of the alleged offence under Section 7 of the PC Act, the State had preferred the present appeal. The original accused was serving as a Patwari. The complainant submitted a written report before the police, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Bharatpur stating that for the purpose of issuing Domicile Certificate and OBC Certificate of his son, he had submitted an application enclosed with complete certificates before the accused for endorsing his report. In lieu of endorsing his report over the said application demanded a bribe of Rs.2,800/-. A charge sheet filed against the accused for the offence under Section 7 of the PC Act. It was found that there was a prima facie case made out and the defence of the accused is not to be considered at this stage. In high court it was also contended that on reading the entire transcript the factum of demand of Rs.2,800/- is not revealed.

The learned council referred the case of P. Vijayan v. State of Kerana, (2010) 2 SCC 398; Srilekha Sentil Kumar v. Deputy Superintendent of Police, CBI, ACB, Chennai, (2019) 7 SCC 82; Asim Shariff v. National Investigation Agency (2019) 7 SCC 148; and State of Karnataka Lokayukta, Police Station, Bengaluru v. M.R. Hiremath, (2019) 7 SCC 515.

The court opinioned that, “High Court has exceeded in its jurisdiction and has acted beyond the scope of Section 227/239 Cr.P.C. For the aforesaid, the High Court has considered in detail the transcript of the conversation between the complainant and the accused which exercise at this stage to consider the discharge application and/or framing of the charge is not permissible at all.”

The court allowed the appeal stating that, “the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court discharging the accused under Section 7 of the PC Act is unsustainable in law and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside and is accordingly hereby quashed and set aside and the order passed by the learned Special Judge framing charge against the accused under Section 7 of the PC Act is hereby restored. Now the case is to be tried against the accused by the competent court for the offence under Section 7 of the PC Act, in accordance with law and its own merits.”

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