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At the stage of framing of charges, the Court has to consider the material only with a view to find out if there is a ground for “presuming” that the accused had committed the offence: The Supreme Court of India

It is observed and held that at that stage, the High Court is required to evaluate the material and documents on record with a view to finding out if the facts emerging therefrom, take at their face value, disclose the existence of all the ingredients constituting the alleged offence or offences. It is further observed and held that at this stage the High Court is not required to appreciate the evidence on record and consider the allegations on merits and to find out on the basis 12 of the evidence recorded the accused chargesheeted or against whom the charge is framed is likely to be convicted or not. The aforesaid has been relied upon by the Supreme Court of India while adjudicating the case of Saranya v. Bharathi and Anr. [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 873 OF 2021] which was adjudicated upon by the single judge bench comprising Justice M.R. Shah on 24th August 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. As per the statement and the allegations in the FIR, her husband was serving as Assistant Professor a year before. However, thereafter he was unemployed; that she had studied up to B.Com and looking after the domestic works; that since her husband was unemployed and it was difficult to maintain the family expenses, at that time, one Vela alias Velayutham was introduced by respondent no.1 herein and told them that the said Vela alias Velayutham is employed at Guindy Employment Exchange and that if they give money, he can arrange Government employment for them; it was further alleged that believing in his words they gave Rs. 4 lakhs to Velayutham about six months before; he asked them to come to his place where he gave them a certain substance after the consumption of which, thye husband died on the spot. Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, Chennai; that by the impugned judgment and order, the High Court in exercise of powers 4 under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has quashed and set aside the entire chargesheet and the criminal proceedings qua respondent no.1 hereinA2 in P.R.C. No. 250 of 2019 on the file of the learned X Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, Chennai for the offences under Sections 420, 302 r/w 109 IPC. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court quashing and setting aside the entire criminal proceedings/chargesheet qua respondent no.1 herein-A2 in P.R.C. No. 250 of 2019 on the file of the learned X Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, Chennai for the offences under Sections 420, 302 r/w 109 IPC, the original complainant – victim – wife of the deceased has preferred the present appeal.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented and relied on several judgments. It was of the opinion that “The High Court has committed a grave error in quashing the chargesheet/entire criminal proceedings qua her in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. Quashing the chargesheet against the accused is not justified. The High Court has evidently ignored what has emerged during the course of investigation. The High Court has entered into the appreciation of the evidence and considered whether on the basis of the evidence, the accused is likely to be convicted or not, which as such is not permissible at all at this stage while considering the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The High Court was not as such conducting the trial and/or was not exercising the jurisdiction as an appellate court against the order of conviction or acquittal. Therefore, in the facts and 14 circumstances of the case, the High Court ought not to have quashed the chargesheet qua respondent no.1 herein – original accused no.2.”

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