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Merely because some of the persons who might have committed the offences are not charge-sheeted, cannot be a ground to quash the proceedings: Supreme Court of India

Merely because some other persons who might have committed the offenses, but were not arrayed as accused and were not charge-sheeted cannot be a ground to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused who is charge-sheeted after a thorough investigation. During the trial, if it is found that other accused persons who committed the offense are not charge-sheeted, the Court may array those persons as accused in the exercise of powers under Section 319 Cr.P.C. Such an opinion was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India before Hon’ble Justice M.R. SHAH & Hon’ble Justice B.V. NAGARATHNA in the matter of M/S SUVARNA COOPERATIVE BANK LTD vs STATE OF KARNATAKA AND ANR [CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 1535 OF 2021].

The facts of the case were that the complainant – bank filed the complaint under Section 200 Cr.P.C. before the Court of learned Addl. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bangalore being PCR 15250 of 2009 (re-numbered as CC 22308 of 2012). Thereafter an FIR (Crime No.127 of 2010) was registered before the Chickpet Police Station under Sections 120B, 408, 409, 420 and 149 of IPC. That on completing the investigation a charge-sheet was filed against the private respondent herein. The private respondent herein – original accused no.1 approached the High Court by way of Criminal Petition No.5763 of 2013 to quash the criminal proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr. P.C. By the impugned judgment and order the High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against the private respondent – original accused no.1. Aggrieved by the said order of the High court the original complainant has preferred the present appeal.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the said impugned order of the Hon’ble High court quashing the criminal proceeding was unsustainable, both, in law and on facts. The reason held by Hon’ble High court for the aforesaid judgment was that the prosecution against two of them without the presence of other persons, who are said to have been involved in the same, would not be a complete charge sheet and the alleged offense would not be complete against two of them without there being the accomplice to the said act also being arraigned as the accused. In that view of the matter, this Court feels that prosecuting accused nos. 1 and 6 in the instant case, in the absence of accused 2 and 3, would be of no avail and would not take this matter to the logical end. Hence, the same is required to be quashed which is unjustified and erroneous both in the eyes of law and fact.

Additionally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the reasons held by the Hon’ble High Court cannot be a ground to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused who was charge-sheeted by the Investigating Officer after thorough investigation. Merely because some other persons who might have committed the offenses, but were not arrayed as accused and were not charge-sheeted cannot be a ground to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused who is charge-sheeted after a thorough investigation. During the trial, if it is found that other accused persons who committed the offense are not charge-sheeted, the Court may array those persons as accused in the exercise of powers under Section 319 Cr. P.C.

Finally, in view of the above observation, the Hon’ble Supreme Court allowed the instant appeal and set aside the impugned order. 

Click Here To Read The Judgment

Judgment Reviewed by: Rohan Kumar Thakur

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