Framing of additional charge on the basis of Application filed by Informant
Criminal Appeal No. 131 of 2016
Bench: Justice Dipak Misra; Justice Shiva Kirti Singh
Case Brief: In the present case before the bench, a Wife- informant had registered FIR against her Husband- appellant and Mother- in- Law in the year 2013 for the offences punishable under sections 498A, 323 and 34 of the India Penal Code, 1860, where she alleged that her Husband was insistent upon getting mutual divorce and when she resisted, he had physically assaulted her and deprived her of basic facilities of life, moreover she based her allegation on the demand of dowry and non- meeting of which by the family members of Wife. However, after due investigation , charge- sheet was filed against Husband alone for the offence under section 498A and 323 of Indian Penal Code before the Magistrate, who framed charges against Husband for commission of such offences, vide its order of 2009. Moreover, while the lis was pending, the Wife placed an application in the year 2014 for framing of an additional charge under section 406 of the Code against Husband and Mother- in- Law. However, the Magistrate had refused to accept the same. However, by filing a criminal revision, she challenged the decision of the Magistrate and in response, the Additional Sessions Judge held that the framing of charges against Mother- in- Law were unsustainable, but the additional charges against Husband cannot be faulted with. Now, the Husband preferred a petition under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in the High Court against the said decision, which the High Court refused to take interference. Now the Apex Court after analysing the contentions preferred by the learned counsels appearing for the parties and various other rulings preferred by them, found that the Court can change or alter the charge if there is defect or something is left out. Moreover, it is the test, that the same should be founded on the material available on record, thus, such basis can also be the complaint, FIR, accompanying documents or material brought on record during the course of trial. Also, such change or alteration can also be done before the pronouncement of judgement, at any time. Moreover, the Court has obligatory on its part to see that no prejudice is caused to the accused and he is allowed to have fair trial. Thus, the Bench has upheld the order passed by the High Court as was distinguishable on facts. In its reasons the Bench instant case did not pertain to trial or any area by which the private lawyer takes control of the proceedings. In the case, the application was preferred by the informant- Wife stated that the as there were allegations against the husband about the criminal breach of trust as far as her Stridhan is concerned. Thus, the application was to bring to the notice of learned Magistrate about the defect in framing of the charge. Thus, the act of framing charges by the learned Magistrate could not be, held, faulted with.
Read Judgement: Anant Prakash Sinha @ Anant Sinha Vs. State of Haryana and Anr