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The effect of non-recovery of the weapon cannot be a reason for not framing charges under Section 397 IPC: Delhi High Court

The fact that the weapon has not been recovered is no ground for not framing charges under Section 397 IPC. The effect of non-recovery of the weapon would be seen only in trial and that cannot be a reason for not framing charges under Section 397 IPC as held by the High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Subramonium Prasad in the case of State V. Hassan Ahmed (CRL.REV.P. 108/2021)

Facts of the case are that a complaint was received from one Navi S/o Sanjiv Bhadu, stating that on 11.04.2016 at about 9 PM, four of his friends, namely, Siddhant, Suyesh, Shubham and Pranav came to meet him at his house. It is stated that at about 1:00 AM he along with his friends went to Janakpuri to drop Pranav to his work in a car. It is stated that at about 1:40 AM the complainant stopped the car, to buy a cigarette. Pranav and Suyesh got off the car and a grey coloured Swift Dzire car came from the wrong side and parked their car behind the car of the complainant. The occupants of the car introduced themselves as officials of Delhi Police and asked the complainant and his friends as to what they were doing there and told them to sit inside the car. After the complainant and his friends sat in the car, one person threatened the complainant and his friends by brandishing a pistol and asked them to give all their belongings. The complainant and his friends gave their belongings to those persons. On the said complaint, was registered at Police Station South Campus for offences under Sections 392/34 IPC. Accused (respondent herein) was arrested in FIR registered at Police Station Malviya Nagar for offences under Sections 411/482 IPC and Sections 25/54/59 Arms Act. It is stated that during interrogation the accused gave a disclosure statement of having committed the offence in FIR No.189/2016 along with other persons who were there with him. The respondent herein refused to join the TIP. Charge-sheet has been filed stating that there is sufficient material against the respondent herein to proceed ahead against him for offences under Sections 397/34 IPC. On 25.02.2020, the learned District and Sessions Judge, Patiala House Courts, passed the impugned judgment framing charges against the respondent herein only for offences under Section 392 IPC. The learned District and Sessions Judge, Patiala House Courts, held that since the pistol had only been brandished, and it had not been used, and therefore, the offence under Section 397 IPC is not made out against the accused. Since, the offence under Section 392 IPC is triable by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, the file was directed to be sent to the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts to assign the case to its own Court or other Court in accordance with law. It is this order which has been assailed in the instant petition.

After the perusal of the facts and arguments, the Hon’ble Court held, “The Apex Court upheld the judgment of the Bombay High Court in Govind Dipaji More v. State, AIR 1956 Bom 353, by observing that that if the knife was used for the purpose of producing such an impression upon the mind of a person that he would be compelled to part with his property, that would amount to ‘using’ the weapon within the meaning of Section 397 IPC. Accordingly, the revision petition is allowed. Charges under Section 397 IPC ought to be framed against the accused. The learned District and Sessions Judge, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, is directed to assign the case to its own Court or other Court in accordance with law. With these observations, the petition is disposed of along with the pending application(s), if any.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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