While taking cognizance, the court is not required to consider the defence version nor it is required to evaluate the merits of the materials or evidence of the complainant: Jharkhand High Court

At the stage of taking cognizance, the concerned court is not required to consider the defence version or materials or arguments in that respect nor is it required to evaluate the merits of the materials or evidence of the complainant, because the Magistrate must not undertake the exercise to find out at this stage whether the materials will lead to conviction or not. The judgement was passed by the High Court of Jharkhand in the case of Satish Kumar Singh v. The Union of India [Cr.M.P. No.1058 of 2020] by Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Anil Kumar Choudhary.

The facts of the case are that the accused persons respectively being the member, examination controller-cum-secretary entered into a criminal conspiracy and fraudulently manipulated the merit list of the selection process of lecturers for the 3 universities of Jharkhand through JET,2006. After completion of investigation of the case, they were booked under Sections 120 B, 201, 420, 468, 471 of the IPC and under Section 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner was not named in the FIR and the allegation against the petitioner is false. It is then submitted that though after being appointed as a lecturer the petitioner has become a Public Servant no sanction for prosecution has been obtained for prosecuting the petitioner. It is next submitted that none of the offences alleged is made out against the petitioner. It is also submitted that the order taking cognizance is cryptic and nonspeaking hence it is submitted that the impugned order be set aside.

The learned counsel for the respondent on the other hand submitted that the average marks given by the experts in the interview to the petitioner was worked out at 26.5 and this average mark of 26.5 was calculated being the mean of the different marks given by different experts and was arrived at after manipulating the initially given 26 marks by one of the experts to 36. Hence there is no merit in the contention of the petitioner that no illegality was done in his selection process. It is next submitted by the counsel that the impugned order taking cognizance categorically reflects application of judicial mind on the part of the learned trial court and there is no illegality in the impugned order. It is lastly submitted that this petition being without any merit be dismissed.

While relying on the supreme court judgment State of Karnataka & Another v. Pastor P. Raju, it was held that “It is a settled principle of law that cognizance is regarding the offence and not the offender. Taking cognizance does not involve any formal action or indeed action of any kind but occurs as soon as a Magistrate as such applies his mind to the suspected commission of an offence. Taking cognizance of an offence is not the same thing as issuance of process.”

While dismissing the petition the court observed that “it is crystal clear that this a clear cut case against the petitioner that the petitioner in criminal conspiracy with the co-accused public servant member and controller of examinations of the Jharkhand Public Service Commission got the marks awarded in the interview by one of the experts manipulated from 26 to 36 to bring the average of the marks given by the experts to 26.5.”

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