Opportunity of hearing not necessary to the would-be Accused before a Complaint: Supreme Court

Opportunity of hearing not necessary to the would-be Accused before a Complaint: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled that the opportunity of hearing is not necessary to the would-be accused before a complaint. 

Background 

The impugned judgment of the High Court granting relief to the respondent while dealing with an aspect of forgery in a civil case is predicated on a reasoning that the FIR which was registered against the respondent-accused did not comply with the mandatory requirements of Section 340 read with Section 195 of the Cr.P.C.

The FIR had given rise to the provisions since it had been filed without any inquiry and without giving any opportunity to the respondent to be heard.

Court Order

The three judges bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Vikram Nath noted that the first judgment of the three Judges Bench was Pritish vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. which noticed that the purpose of a preliminary inquiry under Section 340 (1), Cr.P.C. was not to find whether a person is guilty or not but only to decide whether it was expedient in the interest of justice to inquire into the offence. 

The court further noticed that it was thus observed that the Court is not obliged to make a preliminary inquiry on a complaint but if the Court decides to do so, it should make a final set of the facts which is expedient in the interest of justice that offence should be further probed into.

The bench said that the reference order is a conflicting view in Sharad Pawar vs. Jagmohan Dalmiya & Ors. to the extent that in para 7 while noticing the submissions of the counsels it was observed that it was necessary to conduct a preliminary inquiry as contemplated under Section 340 Cr.P.C. and “also to afford an opportunity of being heard to the defendants, which was admittedly not done.”

The court viewed that the Constitution Bench’s view would naturally prevails that makes the legal position quite abundantly clear. 

Not only that, the court noted that what is reported in Sharad Pawar’s case is only an order and not a judgment. An order is in the given factual scenario. 

The court stated that it has little doubt that there is no question of opportunity of hearing in a scenario of this nature and it say nothing else but that a law as enunciated by the Constitution Bench in Iqbal Singh Marwah’s case is in line with what was observed in Pritish’case.

The bench added that the scope and ambit of such a preliminary inquiry, also stands resolved in terms of the Constitution Bench judgment of this Court in the Iqbal Singh Marwah’s case.

Case title: The State of Punjab v/s Jasbir Singh 

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 335/2020

Click here to read the Order/Judgment 

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