Sunday, 8 December 2019

Whether judge should record detailed reasons for framing of charge in session trial?

After referring to Amit Kapoor, in Dinesh Tiwari v. State of
Uttar Pradesh and another (2014) 13 SCC 137, the Supreme Court
held that for framing charge under Section 228 Crl.P.C., the judge is

not required to record detailed reasons as to why such charge is
framed. On perusal of record and hearing of parties, if the judge is
of the opinion that there is sufficient ground for presuming that the
accused has committed the offence triable by the Court of Session,
he shall frame the charge against the accused for such offence.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1820 OF 2019

BHAWNA BAI Vs   GHANSHYAM 

R. BANUMATHI, J.
Dated:December 03, 2019.

Leave granted.
2. This appeal arises out of the impugned judgment and final
order dated 25.02.2019 passed by the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh at Indore Bench in Criminal Revision No.402 of 2019 in
and by which the High Court has quashed the charges framed by
the trial court/Additional Sessions Judge against respondent Nos.1
and 2/accused Nos.1 and 2.
3. Brief facts which led to filing of this appeal are as follows:-
On 24.12.2015, the husband of the complainant-Gopal Saran
at about 06.00 pm went saying to prepare food as he is going
outside to plough the field and shall return by 09.00-10.00 pm.
Even by 12.00 mid night, Gopal Saran did not return home; then
his wife Bhawna Bai, appellant herein tried to contact him over his

mobile; but he did not receive the call. The appellant informed her
father-in-law who tried to search the deceased and there was no
information about the deceased. On the next morning at about
08.00 am, the appellant-complainant and her family members came
to know from the neighbours that Gopal Saran was lying in the
tank//hose in the field of the first respondent-Ghanshyam. The
appellant has alleged that when she tried to approach her husband
then Ganesh s/o Mohanlal Kushwah prevented her going near her
husband and locked her in a room and did not allow her to see her
husband. The dead body of Gopal Saran was taken to government
hospital. The appellant-complainant alleged that without informing
her, post-mortem of her husband was conducted. Merg No.94 of
2015 was registered for investigation under Section 174 Crl.P.C.;
but no case was registered against any person.
4. On 31.12.2015, the appellant made a written complaint before
the Superintendent of Police, Khargaon and in spite of the same, no
case was registered. Thereafter, the complainant-appellant filed a
complaint before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM),
Kasrawad under Section 156(3) Crl.P.C. on 12.04.2016. The
learned ACJM accepted the complaint and directed the Officer-in-
Charge, P.S. Kasrawad to register the FIR under Section 302 IPC

and proceed with the investigation. FIR was registered in Crime
No.145 of 2016 under Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC.
Challenging the direction of ACJM to register a FIR, the State of
Madhya Pradesh has filed revision before the Additional Sessions
Judge, Mandleswar in Criminal Revision No.300051 of 2016. The
said revision petition was dismissed vide order dated 27.10.2016.
5. Respondent Nos.1 and 2/accused Nos.1 and 2 have prayed
for anticipatory bail and the same was dismissed by the learned
Special Judge SC/ST (Prevention of Attrocities) Act, West Nimad,
Mandleswar vide order dated 10.09.2018. Being aggrieved,
respondent Nos.1 and 2 filed appeal before the High Court and the
High Court had granted anticipatory bail to them vide order dated
19.09.2018. Against the grant of anticipatory bail, the appellantcomplainant
has filed SLP(Crl.) Diary No.39785/2018 before the
Supreme Court in which the Supreme Court by order dated
14.12.2018 has issued notice. In the meanwhile, charge sheet has
been filed against the accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 under
Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC on 26.09.2018. Upon
hearing the prosecution and also the respondents-accused, vide
order dated 12.12.2018, the learned Second Additional Sessions
Judge, Mandleswar has found that there are sufficient grounds for

proceeding against the accused and framed the charges against the
accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 under Section 302 IPC read with
Section 34 IPC.
6. Challenging the order of framing charges, respondent Nos.1
and 2 have filed revision before the High Court. Holding that, while
framing charges, the court should apply the judicial mind and should
give reasons in concise manner for framing charges and that the
trial court has failed to apply its mind while framing charges, the
High Court vide impugned order dated 25.02.2019 has quashed the
charges against respondent Nos.1 and 2 and discharged them.
Being aggrieved, the appellant-complainant has preferred this
appeal.
7. Mr. Bijan Kumar Ghosh, learned counsel appearing for the
appellant has submitted that there are circumstances like “last seen
together”; “recovery of dead body”; “not informing the family of the
victim immediately upon discovery of dead body”; “not informing the
police”; “recovery of other belongings of dead body including tractor”
and such other circumstances connecting the accused-respondent
Nos.1 and 2 with the death of Gopal Saran and considering those
circumstances, the learned Second Additional Sessions Judge
satisfied himself that there are sufficient ground for framing charges

against the accused. The learned counsel submitted that when the
trial judge has so satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for
framing the charges against the accused, in exercise of its
revisional jurisdiction, the High Court ought not to have interfered
and quashed the charges framed by the trial court.
8. Mr. Harsh Parashar, learned counsel appearing for the State
of Madhya Pradesh reiterated the contentions and submitted that
the averments in the charge sheet and the circumstances indicated
thereon are sufficient to prima facie link respondent Nos.1 and 2 to
the occurrence and while so, the High Court erred in setting aside
the order of the Second Additional Sessions Judge and quashing
the charges.
9. Mr. Santosh Kumar, learned counsel appearing for the
accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 submitted that even if the
averments in the charge sheet are accepted, no prima facie case is
made out against the accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 and there
was non-application of judicial mind by the learned trial judge and
considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court
rightly quashed the charges framed against the accused-respondent
Nos.1 and 2 and the impugned order therefore, does not suffer from
any infirmity.

10. We have carefully considered the submissions and perused
the impugned order and materials on record.
11. As per the allegations in the charge sheet, on the date of
occurrence i.e. 24.12.2015, the accused-respondents Ghanshyam
and Bhagwan went with deceased Gopal Saran to the farm of
Ghanshyam for ploughing the land with tractor and that all the three
consumed liquor together at the place of incident. Thus, as per the
allegations in the charge sheet, the deceased was last seen alive in
the company of accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2. As per the
statement of Usha, wife of Ghanshyam and Nisha, daughter of
Ghanshyam, the accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 had returned
home at 09.00 pm in the night of 24.12.2015. Though, the body of
deceased was found in the field of respondent-accused
Ghanshyam, he did not inform the family of deceased Gopal Saran
nor informed the police about the same. In the complaint filed by
the appellant before the Magistrate, the appellant has alleged that
“when she went running near to her husband’s dead body, Ganesh
son of Ghanshyam caught hold of her and forcibly locked her in a
room in his house and did not allow her to go near the dead body of
her husband”. The allegations in the charge sheet also suggest that
the accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 had earlier quarrelled with

deceased Gopal Saran and thereby suggesting a motive for the
crime.
12. Though the circumstances alleged in the charge sheet are to
be established during the trial by adducing the evidence, the
allegations in the charge sheet show a prima facie case against the
accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2. The circumstances alleged by the
prosecution indicate that there are sufficient grounds for
proceedings against the accused. At the time of framing the
charges, only prima facie case is to be seen; whether case is
beyond reasonable doubt, is not to be seen at this stage. At the
stage of framing the charge, the court has to see if there is sufficient
ground for proceeding against the accused. While evaluating the
materials, strict standard of proof is not required; only prima facie
case against the accused is to be seen.
13. Chapter XVIII Crl.P.C. deals with “Trial before a Court of
Session”. As per Section 226 Crl.P.C., the public prosecutor is
required to open the case before the Sessions Court by describing
the charge brought against the accused and stating by what
evidence, he proposes to prove the guilt of the accused. Section
227 Crl.P.C. deals with discharge and it reads as under:-
“227. Discharge.—If, upon consideration of the record of the case and
the documents submitted therewith, and after hearing the submissions of

the accused and the prosecution in this behalf, the Judge considers that
there is not sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused, he
shall discharge the accused and record his reasons for so doing.”
14. Considering the scope of Sections 227 and 228 Crl.P.C., in
Amit Kapoor v. Ramesh Chander and another (2012) 9 SCC 460,
the Supreme Court held as under:-
“17. Framing of a charge is an exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court in
terms of Section 228 of the Code, unless the accused is discharged
under Section 227 of the Code. Under both these provisions, the court is
required to consider the “record of the case” and documents submitted
therewith and, after hearing the parties, may either discharge the
accused or where it appears to the court and in its opinion there is
ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence, it shall
frame the charge. Once the facts and ingredients of the section exists,
then the court would be right in presuming that there is ground to
proceed against the accused and frame the charge accordingly. This
presumption is not a presumption of law as such. The satisfaction of the
court in relation to the existence of constituents of an offence and the
facts leading to that offence is a sine qua non for exercise of such
jurisdiction. It may even be weaker than a prima facie case. There is a
fine distinction between the language of Sections 227 and 228 of the
Code. Section 227 is the expression of a definite opinion and judgment
of the Court while Section 228 is tentative. Thus, to say that at the stage
of framing of charge, the Court should form an opinion that the accused
is certainly guilty of committing an offence, is an approach which is
impermissible in terms of Section 228 of the Code.
………..
19. At the initial stage of framing of a charge, the court is concerned not
with proof but with a strong suspicion that the accused has committed an
offence, which, if put to trial, could prove him guilty. All that the court has
to see is that the material on record and the facts would be compatible

with the innocence of the accused or not. The final test of guilt is not to
be applied at that stage. We may refer to the well-settled law laid down
by this Court in State of Bihar v. Ramesh Singh (1977) 4 SCC 39: (SCC
pp. 41-42, para 4)
“4. Under Section 226 of the Code while opening the case for the
prosecution the Prosecutor has got to describe the charge against
the accused and state by what evidence he proposes to prove the
guilt of the accused. Thereafter comes at the initial stage the duty
of the court to consider the record of the case and the documents
submitted therewith and to hear the submissions of the accused
and the prosecution in that behalf. The Judge has to pass
thereafter an order either under Section 227 or Section 228 of the
Code. If ‘the Judge considers that there is no sufficient ground for
proceeding against the accused, he shall discharge the accused
and record his reasons for so doing’, as enjoined by Section 227.
If, on the other hand, ‘the Judge is of opinion that there is ground
for presuming that the accused has committed an offence which
— … (b) is exclusively triable by the court, he shall frame in
writing a charge against the accused’, as provided in Section 228.
Reading the two provisions together in juxtaposition, as they have
got to be, it would be clear that at the beginning and the initial
stage of the trial the truth, veracity and effect of the evidence
which the Prosecutor proposes to adduce are not to be
meticulously judged. Nor is any weight to be attached to the
probable defence of the accused. It is not obligatory for the Judge
at that stage of the trial to consider in any detail and weigh in a
sensitive balance whether the facts, if proved, would be
incompatible with the innocence of the accused or not. The
standard of test and judgment which is to be finally applied before
recording a finding regarding the guilt or otherwise of the accused
is not exactly to be applied at the stage of deciding the matter
under Section 227 or Section 228 of the Code. At that stage the
court is not to see whether there is sufficient ground for conviction

of the accused or whether the trial is sure to end in his conviction.
Strong suspicion against the accused, if the matter remains in the
region of suspicion, cannot take the place of proof of his guilt at
the conclusion of the trial. But at the initial stage if there is a
strong suspicion which leads the court to think that there is
ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence
then it is not open to the court to say that there is no sufficient
ground for proceeding against the accused. The presumption of
the guilt of the accused which is to be drawn at the initial stage is
not in the sense of the law governing the trial of criminal cases in
France where the accused is presumed to be guilty unless the
contrary is proved. But it is only for the purpose of deciding prima
facie whether the court should proceed with the trial or not. If the
evidence which the Prosecutor proposes to adduce to prove the
guilt of the accused even if fully accepted before it is challenged
in cross-examination or rebutted by the defence evidence, if any,
cannot show that the accused committed the offence, then there
will be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial. An
exhaustive list of the circumstances to indicate as to what will lead
to one conclusion or the other is neither possible nor advisable.
We may just illustrate the difference of the law by one more
example. If the scales of pan as to the guilt or innocence of the
accused are something like even at the conclusion of the trial,
then, on the theory of benefit of doubt the case is to end in his
acquittal. But if, on the other hand, it is so at the initial stage of
making an order under Section 227 or Section 228, then in such a
situation ordinarily and generally the order which will have to be
made will be one under Section 228 and not under Section 227.””
15. After referring to Amit Kapoor, in Dinesh Tiwari v. State of
Uttar Pradesh and another (2014) 13 SCC 137, the Supreme Court
held that for framing charge under Section 228 Crl.P.C., the judge is

not required to record detailed reasons as to why such charge is
framed. On perusal of record and hearing of parties, if the judge is
of the opinion that there is sufficient ground for presuming that the
accused has committed the offence triable by the Court of Session,
he shall frame the charge against the accused for such offence.
16. As discussed above, in the present case, upon hearing the
parties and considering the allegations in the charge sheet, the
learned Second Additional Sessions Judge was of the opinion that
there were sufficient grounds for presuming that the accused has
committed the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC read with
Section 34 IPC. The order dated 12.12.2018 framing the charges is
not a detailed order. For framing the charges under Section 228
Crl.P.C., the judge is not required to record detailed reasons. As
pointed out earlier, at the stage of framing the charge, the court is
not required to hold an elaborate enquiry; only prima facie case is to
be seen. As held in Knati Bhadra Shah and another v. State of
West Bengal (2000) 1 SCC 722, while exercising power under
Section 228 Crl.P.C., the judge is not required record his reasons for
framing the charges against the accused. Upon hearing the parties
and based upon the allegations and taking note of the allegations in
the charge sheet, the learned Second Additional Sessions Judge
was satisfied that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against

the accused and framed the charges against the accusedrespondent
Nos.1 and 2. While so, the High Court was not right in
interfering with the order of the trial court framing the charges
against the accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 under Section 302
IPC read with Section 34 IPC and the High Court, in our view, erred
in quashing the charges framed against the accused. The
impugned order cannot therefore be sustained and is liable to be
set aside.
17. In the result, the impugned judgment dated 25.02.2019
passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Indore Bench in
Criminal Revision No.402 of 2019 is set aside and this appeal is
allowed. Sessions Trial Case No.ST/150/2018 is restored and
Second Additional Sessions Judge, Mandleswar, West Nimad,
Madhya Pradesh shall proceed with the matter in accordance with
law. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on
the merits of the matter.
………………………..J.
[R. BANUMATHI]
………………………..J.
[A.S. BOPANNA]
.………………………..J.
[HRISHIKESH ROY]
New Delhi;
December 03, 2019.

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