Judicial Orders Cannot Be Passed In A Mechanical Or Cryptic Manner: Delhi HC Sets Aside Order Taking Cognizance
Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain of the Delhi High Court has reiterated that taking of cognizance is a judicial function and that judicial orders cannot be passed in a mechanical or cryptic manner.
"It is not only against the settled judicial norms but also reflects lack of application of judicial mind to the facts of the case.," the court held further.
Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain held that the Court before taking cognizance of an offence needs to be satisfied about the existence of a prima facie case based on the material collected after the conclusion of the investigation.
"The magistrate has to apply his mind to the facts stated in the police report or complaint before taking cognizance for coming to the conclusion that there is sufficient material to proceed with the case," the court held.
In the present case, cognizance was taken by the trial court in pursuance of the charge sheet filed against Sanjit Bakshi under Sections 447, 506, 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code, based on the complaint made by one Vanita Vohra.
While taking cognizance, the trial court passed a short order, the relevant portion of which said, "Heard. Record perused. Cognizance of offence taken".
Thereafter, a petition was filed before the Delhi High Court by the accused seeking quashing of the order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate. Senior Advocate, Dayan Krishnan, appeared for the petitioner whereas Additional Public Prosecutor, Raghuvinder Varma appeared for the state.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that the impugned order had been passed in a cryptic manner and without application of judicial mind. It was also submitted that offences regarding which cognizance was taken by the trial court are also not mentioned.
The Court held that at the time of taking cognizance, a Magistrate is not required to consider the defence of the proposed accused or to evaluate the merits of the material collected during investigation or to pass a detailed order giving detailed reasons while taking cognizance. The Court held that order taking cognizance should only reflect the application of judicial mind.
The Court found that the impugned order is cryptic, non-speaking and is passed without application of judicial mind. The Court further noted that the impugned order was passed in a casual and cursory manner and even the offences regarding which the cognizance was taken were not mentioned.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the impugned order and directed the trial court to re-consider the issue of taking the cognizance afresh and to pass the speaking order on the basis of the charge sheet.