Addition of Charge under S.216 Criminal Procedure Code Valid when no prejudice whatsoever caused: Himachal Pradesh High Court

While addressing a criminal revision petition regarding the addition of a charge, the high court held that under section 216 of the Code of criminal procedure the same can be done if there is no prejudice caused to the case of defense or prosecution. This judgment was passed in the case of Jitender Kumar vs. State of Himachal Pradesh [Cr. Revision No.114/2021] by a Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua.

The petitioner aggrieved against the order of the learned Special Judge (Forests) for modifying the charge against him preferred the instant revision petition. The state had moved an application for the addition of charge under section 120B of IPC as well as for alteration of charge under section 13(1)(c) r/w section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The court had held that accused persons connived with each other to hatch conspiracy and misappropriate public funds. The petition was allowed to the extent that the charge for criminal misconduct under the prevention of corruption act was challenged.

The petitioner contended that when the other co-accused were discharged, there was no point in framing a charge under section 120B against the petitioner. The petitioner further contended that The charges were framed on 11.4/8. 2014. the respondent filed for the addition/modification of charge 6 years after 2014 when the case was fixed for arguments. Thus, the application deserved to be dismissed.

The High Court after hearing the parties and going through the documents observed that it is not a dispute that the trial court discharged the accused persons. When the state filed a criminal revision petition in 2014, the High Court dismissed the same. The High court observed that the contention of the petitioner had no point since the additional charge of section 120B was not agreed to by the trial Court. The high court dismissed the petitioner’s contention for the addition of charge since on the said date the petitioner was already charged under section 409 IPC and section 13(2) of the Prevention Of Corruption Act. Section 13(1)(c) of the said act merely laid out the ingredient of the offense. Furthermore, under 216 Cr.PC the alteration/modification of charge can be made by the court at any time before the judgment is made subject to the conditions laid under that section.

The High Court held that since there was no prejudice to the Defence’s case or the prosecution’s and all the necessary evidence was over and no witness had to be recalled or re-summoned, there was no prejudice and the application for alteration of charge to the extent of section  13(1)(c) could be admitted.

The High Court concluded by holding, “the present petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed along with the pending miscellaneous application(s) if any.”

Click here to read the judgment


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