The first issue whether the learned CMM should have, in the facts and circumstances of the case, ordered a joint trial. For this purpose, it may be relevant to note the provisions with respect to joinder of charges which are provided in Part B of Chapter XVII of the Cr.P.C. The Sections in the said part of Chapter XVII span from 218 to 224. Section 218 in a sense embodies a general rule which postulates that for every distinct offence of which any person is accused of, there shall be a separate charge for each of the said offences and every such charge shall be tried separately. The Section contains a proviso which enables an accused to move a written application, and if the Court is of the view that no prejudice would be caused to the accused, it may try all or any number of the charges framed against the accused. Sub-section (2) clearly stipulates that the provisions of Section 218 shall not impinge upon the provisions of Sections 219, 221 and 223. Therefore, a bare reading of Section 218 brings to fore the point that the law requires that for each distinct offence a separate charge should be framed and each charge should be tried separately. The exceptions are provided in the subsequent provisions, that is,Sections 219 to 221 and 223. 7.2 In the present case, the learned counsel for the petitioners has relied upon Sections 219 and 220 of the Cr.P.C. to buttress his submissions that a joint trial ought to have been ordered. 7.3 Section 219 stipulates that when a person is accused of more than one offence of the same kind which are committed within a time span of 12 months from first to the last of such offences, whether in respect of the same person or not, the accused may be charged with, and tried at one trial for any number of offences not exceeding three (3). Sub-section (2) provides that offences are of the same kind when they are punishable with the same amount of punishment under the same Section of the IPC or of any special or local law. The proviso not being relevant for the purposes of this case has not been referred to herein. A bare reading of Section 219 would show that firstly, it is an exception to the general rule laid out inSection 218 of the Cr.P.C., which stipulates separate charges for each distinct offence and each charge be tried separately. Section 219 thus being an exception to the general rule crafted inSection 218 permits joint trial if a person is accused of more offences than one, provided they are of the same kind and they are committed within a time frame of 12 months as indicated in the provision. The limiting factor being that the Section enables a Court to order one trial in respect of three charges for three offences of the same kind even though they may be committed against different persons. On the face of it, Section 219 is not applicable to the facts of the present case since the petitioners has asked for a joint trial with respect to seven cases. Even if one were to assume for the sake of argument that these were offences of the same kind committed within a period of 12 months, the provision would not apply in view of the statutory limit prescribed therein. The purpose of the statute is clear that if more than three charges are tried by a single trial the accused is likely to be bewildered and hence, the legislature abjures the Court from joinder of charges of more than three offences in a single trial.
Delhi High Court
M/S Nova Vision Electronics ... vs State And Another on 15 July, 2009
Citation;2011 CRLJ868 Delhi
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