Supreme Court: Accused Cannot Submit Evidence During Charge Framing

Supreme Court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: October 11, 2023 at 17:19 IST

The Supreme Court clarified that during the stage of framing charges, the accused does not possess the right to present any material or documents to contest the case.

The Court emphasized that at this preliminary stage, the trial court should base its decision solely on the chargesheet material provided by the prosecution and presume it to be true for the purpose of determining the existence of a prima facie case.

The case in question involved an appeal against a Gujarat High Court judgment that had overturned the trial court’s decision to reject the respondent’s application seeking discharge under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The respondent was facing charges under Section 13(1)(e) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The prosecution alleged that the respondent, a former Sub Inspector of police, had acquired assets valued at 1 crore 15 lakhs in his and his wife’s name through misuse of power and corrupt practices between 2005 and 2011.

These acquisitions were alleged to be disproportionate to his known sources of income, exceeding 40% of his legitimate earnings.

In response to the charges, the accused had filed an application for discharge under Section 227 of the CrPC. The trial court, following established legal principles, dismissed the application.

However, the Gujarat High Court set aside the trial court’s decision, citing that if the Investigating Officer had recorded the statements of persons from whose account promissory notes were received, there would be no evidence to consider the amount available with the petitioner as disproportionate to his source of income.

The Supreme Court clarified that during the framing of charges, the primary consideration is to determine the existence of a prima facie case, and a thorough examination of the probative value of the evidence on record is not necessary at this stage.

It also highlighted that the High Court’s jurisdiction under Section 397 of the CrPC allows it to examine the records of an inferior court to ensure the legality and regularity of proceedings, rectify defects, errors in jurisdiction or law, or instances of perversity in the lower court’s proceedings.

As a result, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s decision and directed the trial court to proceed with the trial, emphasizing that it should conclude the trial within one year.

Case title: “State of Gujarat v. Dilipsingh Kishorsinh Rao.”

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