Not Arraying Persons Who Might Have Committed Offence As Accused Is Not A Ground For Quashing Proceedings Against Chargesheeted Accused – Supreme Court
A two-judge Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna has held that merely because some persons were not arrayed as accused in the chargesheet, it cannot be a ground for quashing of criminal proceedings against the accused charge-sheeted after having found prima facie case against him after thorough investigation.
Advocate Mr. Amith Kumar appeared for the Appellant while Advocate Mr. H.V. Nagaraja Rao appeared for the Respondent before the Apex Court.
An appeal was preferred by the original Complainant before the Supreme Court assailing the judgment of Karnataka High Court which had quashed the criminal proceedings against the Respondent punishable for the offences under Sections 120B, 408, 409, 420, and 149 of IPC.
In this case, criminal proceedings were initiated against the Respondent in which the Complainant-Bank had filed a complaint under Section 200 CrPC. After the competition of the investigation, a chargesheet was filed in which the Respondent was arrayed as Accused No. 1.
The High Court had quashed the criminal proceedings against the Respondent on the ground that in the absence of the original accused 2 &3 in the PCR and in the absence of officers of the drawee bank informing the payee's banker with reference to the dishonor of one of the cheques was well within the time period as specified in the Clearing House Rules, charge sheet could not have been filed against Accused No. 1.
The Apex Court observed, "Having gone through and considered the reasoning given by the High Court while quashing the criminal proceedings against original accused no.1, we are of the opinion that the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court quashing the criminal proceedings against the private respondent herein – original accused no.1 is unsustainable, both, in law and on facts."
Further, the Bench opined that the criminal proceedings against the accused who was charge-sheeted by the Investigating Officer after thorough investigation could not have been quashed, in this context, the Court further noted –
"Merely because some other persons who might have committed the offences, but were not arrayed as accused and were not charge-sheeted cannot be a ground to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused who is charge-sheeted after a thorough investigation."
Additionally, the Court opined "During the trial if it is found that other accused persons who committed the offence are not charge-sheeted, the Court may array those persons as accused in exercise of powers under Section 319 Cr.P.C."
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned order of the High Court with a direction that the accused be prosecuted for the offences for which he was charge-sheeted and shall face trial.