Delhi HC: Accused Lacks Authority Until Summoned by Criminal Courts; Limits Intervention in Magistrate Proceedings

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Published on: January 10, 2024 at 11:00 IST

The Delhi High Court has emphasized that an accused holds no authority to intervene in proceedings before a Magistrate until summoned by Criminal Courts, as observed by Justice Tushar Rao Gedela.

The Court affirmed that until the accused receives a summons from the Criminal Courts, they lack the standing to intervene or influence Magistrate proceedings.

Justice Gedela highlighted that until the offense’s cognizance occurs, the accused lacks identification as a party involved, thus devoid of any rights for representation. Additionally, the Magistrate might dismiss a complaint even without involving the accused after the preliminary inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C.

The case stemmed from the petitioner’s Section 482 applications in the Code of Criminal Procedure, seeking a halt on a portion of the ACMM (Special Acts) Court’s order dated 06.04.2023.

The Income Tax Office lodged a complaint accusing Anil Tuteja and others, including a senior IAS officer in Chattisgarh, of offenses under the Income Tax Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Allegations involved unaccounted cash movements related to agriculture, mining, liquor trade, and licensing in Chhattisgarh.

The ACMM acknowledged the accusations but found they fell outside Delhi’s jurisdiction. Consequently, the ACMM directed the complaint’s return, citing Chhattisgarh’s jurisdiction.

The petitioner sought a stay on the order’s specific part regarding the complaint’s return, contending the offenses had connections to Delhi due to financial transactions conducted in the capital.

The High Court, hearing the interim application, noted the ACMM’s procedural irregularity, entertaining arguments from the proposed accused before taking cognizance.

The Court restrained the ACMM’s order regarding the complaint’s return pending further orders, considering it a violation of established legal principles by the Constitutional Courts.

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