The Andhra Pradesh High Court held that a Magistrate can take cognizance under Section 190 of Cr.P.C against suspects who were deleted as accused from the chargesheet if the Magistrate finds material against them.

The petitioner, who was an agriculturist, had admitted his daughter to a PG Course at GSL Medical College where she committed suicide after succumbing to physical and mental harassment.

Consequently, the petitioner registered an FIR against twelve people under Section 174 Cr.P.C. which was altered to Section 306 I.P.C. After the investigation, the charge sheet was filed against an accused and the names of the other ten accused were deleted.

Aggrieved by this deletion, the petitioner filed a protest petition whereby the Judicial Magistrate took cognizance of the case against five of the accused under Section 306 I.P.C. while dismissing the complaint against six others. However, this order was set aside by the Additional Sessions Judge. Against this, the petitioner filed a petition before the High Court.

The High Court had to determine whether a Magistrate can take cognizance against the deleted person when a case triable by the Court of Sessions or the Court has to wait till the stage of Section 319 Cr.P.C. reaches.

A Single Bench of Justice Tarlada Rajasekhar Rao observed, “Learned Magistrate has taken cognizance and committed the matter to the Sessions Court, as the case is triable by the Court of Session for the offence under Sections 306 and 420 I.P.C. Therefore, in view of the…Dharam Pal’s case (3 supra), the Magistrate can take cognizance and commit the case for trial to the Court of Session. Once the Magistrate took cognizance, the learned Sessions Judge cannot take cognizance for the same offence for the second time.

Advocate Srinivasa Rao Narra represented the petitioner, while Advocate Venkat Challa appeared for the respondents.

The High Court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dharam Pal & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Anr. (2014) 3 SCC 306 where it was held that in the event a Magistrate disagrees with the police report, the Magistrate has two choices: a Magistrate may act based on the protest petition that may be filed or the Magistrate while disagreeing with the police report may issue process and summon the accused.

The Dharam Pal’s case established that there was no need to wait till the stage of Section 319 Cr.P.C. before proceeding against a person against whom a case was made out by the learned Magistrate while committing the case to the Court of Session.

Subsequently, the Court explained that the Magistrate had taken cognizance against the accused and committed the accused to the Sessions Court and the Sessions Judge deleted names from the array of the accused that can be added only under Section 319 Cr.P.C. was unsustainable in law and it was contrary to the law laid down in Dharam Pal’s case.

Therefore the Court held that “the order of the learned Sessions Judge to add the array of the deleted accused has to wait till the case reaches the stage of Section 319 Cr.P.C. is un-sustainable in view of the law laid down in Dharam Pal’s case (3 supra). Accordingly, it is liable to be set aside.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the petition.

Cause Title: Merla Bhavani Shankar Prasad v. Vallabhaneni Mytri Priyadarshini & Ors.


Petitioner: Advocate Srinivasa Rao Narra

Respondents: Advocate Venkat Challa

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