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Enquriy under Section 202 of Cr.P.C. is of a limited nature to find out as to whether there is a prima facie case to issue process against the person accused but meticulous appreciation of evidence is not necessary : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Smt. Snehlata vs Vireshwar Singh (Criminal Revision No.3494/2021) upheld that enquriy under Section 202 of Cr.P.C. is of a limited nature to find out as to whether there is a prima facie case to issue process against the person accused but meticulous appreciation of evidence is not necessary.

Facts of the case: Criminal Revision under Sections 397, 401 of Cr.P.C was filed.  The applicant filed a criminal complaint against the respondents for offence under Sections 420, 463, 464, 467, 468, 471, 472 and 120-B/34 of IPC on the allegation that her brother-in-law Ravindra Singh was assisting her in looking after her agricultural land situated in village Sirsod, Police Station Hastinapur, District Gwalior. After the death of the grandmother of the applicant as well as marriage of the applicant and as she was residing at a different place, therefore, she had authorized her brother-in-law Ravindra Singh Ghuraiya to look after the property and he was giving a lump sum amount by way of agricultural income every year. When the respondent no.2-Ravindra Singh Ghuraiya did not make payment of agricultural income for the last one and a half year, then the applicant came to Gwalior in the month of December, 2015 and enquired from the respondent no.2. The respondent no.2 informed that the land does not belong to the applicant and the same has been sold. Thereafter, she enquired from the office of Sub Registrar Gwalior and obtained the certified copy of the sale deeds dated 20/1/2017. From inspection of those sale deeds, it was found that respondents no.1, 2 and 3 by preparing a forged power of attorney of the applicant have sold her joint property. The criminal complaint was filed.

The Trial Magistrate by order dated 31/7/2021 took cognizance of offence under Sections 420, 463, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC. 9. The respondents preferred three different Criminal Revisions, which were allowed by the impugned order dated 18/11/2021 passed by the Court below.

Challenging the order passed by the Court below, it was submitted by the counsel for the applicant that the Revisional Court had exceeded its revisional jurisdiction by meticulously appreciating the evidence. It was submitted that at the stage of issuance of summons although application of judicial mind is required, but meticulous appreciation of evidence is not necessary.

Judgment: The moot question for consideration was “as to whether the Revisional Court could meticulously appreciate the evidence led by the complainant at the stage of issuance of summons or not?” 

The court was of the opinion that enquiry under Section 202 of Cr.P.C. is of a limited nature to find out as to whether there is a prima facie case to issue process against the person accused of the offense or not. The evidence is not required to be meticulously appreciated. If the reasons assigned by the Revisional Court are considered, then it is clear that it has exceeded its jurisdiction by meticulously appreciating the evidence / material available on record. It is the case of the applicant that the power of attorney was never executed by her and her signatures / thumb impressions on the power of attorney are forged. Whether the report of the handwriting expert can be relied upon or not, is a matter which is to be considered at the stage of trial.

Accordingly, the Court was of the considered opinion that the order passed by the Revisional Court could not be given the stamp of judicial approval.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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