Sunday 18 September 2022

Whether it is necessary to hear accused before condonation of delay in criminal case?

 The learned Judicial Magistrate did not apply his mind on the said averments. It did not issue any notice upon the appellant to show cause as to why the delay shall not be condoned. Before condoning the delay the appellant was not heard. In State of Maharashtra Vs. Sharadchandra Vinayak Dongre and Others [(1995) 1 SCC 42] this Court held; "5. In our view, the High Court was perfectly justified in holding that the delay, if any, for launching the prosecution, could not have been condoned without notice to the respondents and behind their back and without recording any reasons for condonation of the delay. However, having come to that conclusion, it would have been appropriate for the High Court, without going into the merits of the case to have remitted the case to the trial court, with a direction to decide the application for condonation of delay afresh after hearing both sides. The High Court however, did not adopt that course and proceeded further to hold that the trial court could not have taken cognizance of the offence in view of the application filed by the prosecution seeking permission of the Court to file a "supplementary charge- sheet" on the basis of an "incomplete charge-sheet" and quashed the order of the CJM dated 21-11-1986 on this ground also. This view of the High Court, in the facts and circumstances of the case is patently erroneous."{Para 9}

10. In view of the aforesaid decision, there cannot be any doubt whatsoever that appellant was entitled to get an opportunity of being heard before the delay could be condoned.

Supreme Court of India
P.K. Choudhury vs Commander, 48 Brtf (Gref) on 13 March, 2008
Author: S Sinha

Bench: S.B. Sinha, V.S. Sirpurkar
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