Harjinder Singh‎ > ‎

FINAL REPORT/CLOSURE REPORT - MAGISTRATE'S POWER

 

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.166 OF 2012

(Arising out of Special  Leave  Petition (Crl.) No.1548/2011)

 

VASANTI DUBEY                                        …… Appellant

                                Versus

STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH              . ……Respondent

 

J U D G E M E N T

 

GYAN SUDHA MISRA, J.

            Leave granted.

2.          The appellant herein has challenged the order dated 24.1.2011 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Jabalpur by   which   the   Criminal   Revision   Petition   No.   839/2004   was dismissed holding therein that the impugned order passed by the     Special   Judge   (under   the   Prevention   of   Corruption   Act,

1988) District Narsinghpur did not suffer from any   apparent error of jurisdiction.

3.           In   the   backdrop   of   the   facts   and   circumstances   of the  case   to   be   related   hereinafter,   the   question   inter   alia which  falls for determination     by   this   Court   is   whether   the Magistrate/Special   Judge   could   straightway   direct   for submission  of charge-sheet in case he refused to accept  final report/closure   report     of   the   police/investigating   agency   and thereafter direct the police to submit charge-sheet   in case he was of the opinion that the case was not fit to be closed and it required   to  be   proceeded   further.   The   question   which   also requires   consideration   is   whether   the   Special   Judge   could

refuse to accept closure report and direct reinvestigation of the case for the second time in order to proceed further although he was confronted with the legal mpediment indicating lack of sanction for prosecution in the matter.

4.           However,   the   question   for   determination   is   not   a new or an extra-ordinary one as the question has cropped up time and again before this Court as to what course is left open for   a Magistrate in a situation when the police submits final report   under   Section   173,   Cr.P.C.   or   closure   report   is  submitted by   any other   investigating agency stating that the case is not made out on account of lack of evidence or  for any other reason.

5.           But   before   we   proceed   to   deal   with   the   question involved   herein,   it   is   essential   to   state   the   salient   facts   and circumstances   of   this   matter   which   has   reached   upto   this Court by way of this special leave petition.   On perusal of the materials   on   record,   it   emerges   that   the   appellant   -   Smt. Vasanti Dubey   was posted as the Block Development Officer,

Janpad   Panchayat,   Gotegon,   Narsinghpur   (M.P.)   and   in   that capacity   was   competent   to   award   a   contract   for   constructing concrete road in the village Baroda.  The contract was awarded to   one   Dinesh   Kumar   Patel   who   was   the   Sarpanch   of   village Baroda   for   constructing   the   concrete   road   in   the   village   and was   initially   paid   a   sum   of   Rs.15,000/-   vide   cheque   No. 101626 dated 27.2.2001 for execution of the contract.  He was further   paid   a   sum   of   Rs.15,000/-   vide   cheque   No.101629 dated   8.5.2001   for   execution   of   the   contract   which   was awarded to him.  The awardee Sarpanch - Dinesh Kumar Patel was   still   further   paid   Rs.10,000/-   vide   cheque   No.101635

dated   23.5.2001   and   the   balance     payment   of   Rs.   10,000/-   was   also   finally   paid   to   him   vide   cheque   No.319586   dated 1.8.2001 towards full and final settlement of the consideration for   the   above   mentioned  contract.       Admittedly,   all  the   afore-mentioned payments were made to the Sarpanch contractor - Dinesh Kumar Patel which were due to be paid to him and the

cheques were duly encashed.

6.             However,   the   Sarpanch/contractor   after   several days of receipt of the final payment, filed a complaint  against the appellant/BDO - Smt. Vasanti Dubey in the  Special Police Establishment,   Lokayukta   Office,   Jabalpur   stating  inter-alia that   the   complainant   -   Dinesh   Kumar   Patel   had   been   paid   a sum of Rs.40,000/- only with respect to the contract awarded to   him   and     when   the   balance   payment   of   Rs.10,000/-   was demanded   by   him,   the   appellant   demanded   a   sum   of Rs.3,000/- as commission.  The complainant's  further case is that   he   although   paid     a   sum   of   Rs.500/-,   he   felt   aggrieved and   hence   did   not   pay   any   further   amount   to   the   appellant

but   preferred  to   lodge   a   complaint   on   7.8.2001     in   regard   to the   illegal   demand     made   by   her.     Since   the   alleged   incident was   falling   within   the   jurisdiction   of   the   Special   Police Establishment,   Lokayukta   Office,   Bhopal,   a   case   was registered against the appellant on the basis of the complaint on the same date i.e. 7.8.2001 under Sections 7 and   13(1)(d) read   with   Section     13(1)(2)     of   the   Prevention   of   Corruption Act, 1988. 

7.           The Special Police Establishment, Lokayukta Office, proceeded   to   investigate   the   matter   and   carried   out   detailed investigation and also recorded statements of various persons including that of the complainant on 26.3.2002.   In course of investigation, the complainant resiled from his  earlier version and stated that he had made a false complaint at the instance of   someone   else   whose   name   he   did   not   divulge.     Further statement   of   one   Shankar   Singh     was   also   recorded   that   the complainant   had paid Rs.2,500/- to the appellant   when she had   gone   to   the     bathroom   and   the   money   thereafter   was recovered   from   her.     The   police     also   seized     various documents  from  the  office  of  the  BDO  located  in  the   office  of Janpad   Gotegaon   which   included   the   files     containing   the details of the cheques   from which   payment had been   made to  the  complainant.      After  completion   of the  investigation  by the Office of Lokayukta  who was competent  to get the matter investigated by the police and in view  of the statement of  the

complainant   that   he   made   false   complaint   at   the   instance   of someone   else   as   also   on   account   of     the   fact   that   the   entire payment except Rs. 10,000/- had been made by the appellant  -  Smt. Vasanti Dubey to the complainant  prior to the date on which     the   complaint   was   filed,   it   was   inferred   that   the complaint   did   not   disclose   commission   of   any   offence   and hence the Lokayukta   directed that a   closure report   be filed in regard to the complaint lodged against Vasanti Dubey and appropriate   action   be   initiated   against   the     complainant   for lodging a false complaint.

8.           Accordingly,   the   closure   report   was   submitted before   the     Special   Judge,   Narsinghpur     but   by   order   dated 5.8.2002, the Special Judge   refused to accept the same.   He thus   rejected   the   closure   report   and   thereafter   directed   the police   to   file   charge-sheet   in   the   case   against   the   appellant against   which   the   State   Government   filed   a   criminal   revision bearing   Criminal   Revision   No.   1206/2002   in   the   High   Court challenging   the   order   of   the   Special   Judge   who   refused   to accept the closure report and issued direction for submission of the charge-sheet against the appellant. 

9.              The   learned   single   Judge   of   the   High   Court     by order   dated   14.1.2003   was   pleased   to   allow   the   Revision Petition  and quashed   the order passed  by  the  Special  Judge who had refused  to accept the closure report and had directed submission   of   charge-sheet     against   the   appellant     on   the ground that there is no power  expressly or impliedly conferred under   the   Code   on   a   magistrate   to   call     upon   the   police   to submit   a   charge-sheet   when   police   had   sent   a   report   under Section     169  of  the  Code  stating that  there  is  no    case  made out  for sending up  an accused for a trial.  The learned single Judge took this view relying upon the ratio of the authoritative

pronouncement   of   this   Court   delivered   in   the   matter   of Abhinandan   Jha   &   Ors.   Vs.    Dinesh   Mishra1  wherein   it   was observed   that the functions of the   magistrate and the police are entirely different and   though the magistrate  may  or may not   accept   the   report   and   take   action   according   to   law,   he

cannot     impinge   upon   the   jurisdiction     of   the   police   by compelling them  to  change their opinion so as to accord  with his   view.     The   learned   Judge   also   took   notice     of   the observation     of   the   Supreme   Court   which   had     further   been pleased   to   hold   therein   that   the   magistrate   however,   while

1 AIR 1968 SC 117 = (1967) 3 SCR 668 disagreeing   with   a   final   report/closure   report     of   a   case   can take   cognizance   under   Section   190(1)(c)   or     order       further investigation   under   Section   156(3)   of   the   Code   of   Criminal Procedure   but   cannot   straightaway   direct   for   submission   of charge-sheet to the police.  Applying the aforesaid test  as  laid

down by this Court in the case of Abhinandan  Jha (supra), the impugned   order   passed   by   the   Special   Judge,   Narsinghpur was   held   to   be   illegal   and   without   jurisdiction   and consequently   was   quashed.     However,   the   learned   single Judge   had   added   an   observation   in   the   judgment   and   order that if the learned Special Judge thinks it fit   and appropriate to   take   cognizance,   the   same   can   be   taken   under   Section 190(c)  of the Code of Criminal Procedure or he  may direct the Lokayukta   police   for   further   investigation.     As   already   stated the revision   accordingly was allowed and the impugned order of the Special Judge dated  5.8.2002 was quashed. 

10.          The Special Police Establishment, Lokayukta Office, Jabalpur,  thereafter  again  got  the  complaint   examined   in  the light of the statement   of the witnesses and the evidence and noticed that there were no materials  against the appellant  to proceed as she had   made all payments from  27.2.2001 up to

2.8.2001   yet   a   complaint   dated   7.8.2001   was   subsequently filed   by   the   complainant   -   Dinesh   Kumar   Patel   alleging   that the appellant  had demanded commission/bribe  of Rs.2,500/-  from   the   complainant   in   order   to   clear   his   bills   which complaint   was   found   to   be   untrustworthy   and   hence  unacceptable since all payments had already been received by the complainant prior to the lodgement of complaint specially in view of the  subsequent  version  of the  complainant  that he had lodged a malicious complaint at the instance  of  a rival  of the appellant. 

11.         The Special Police Establishment, Lokayukta Office, therefore,   once   again   filed   an   application/closure   report before the Special Judge, Narsinghpur but the Special Judge, Narsinghpur   this   time   again   rejected   the   closure   report   by order   dated   18.5.2004     observing     therein   that   it   had   been clarified  by order dated 5.8.2002 that there is sufficient basis to   take   cognizance     against   the   appellant   -     Smt.   Vasanti Dubey   and   there   is   no     change   in   the   circumstance   on   the basis   of   which   closure   report   can   be     accepted   clearly overlooking   that   the   High   Court     had   already   quashed   the order   dated   5.8.2002  passed  by   the  Special   Judge     as  it   had

held   that   the   Special   Judge   had   no   jurisdiction   to   direct   the police   to   submit     charge   sheet   in   case   he   refuses   to   accept closure   report   although   he   could   take   cognizance     under Section 190(C) of the Cr.P.C. or direct  further investigation of the case.  In pursuance of this, further investigation was done by   the   Special   Police   Establishment,   Lokayukta   Office   and closure        report   was          submitted   after   completion   of reinvestigation.     On   this   occasion,   when   the   Special   Judge refused to accept closure report, it was his statutory and legal duty     to   either     pass   a   fresh   order   taking   cognizance     if   he refused   to   dismiss   the   complaint     and   proceed   with   the enquiry     under   Section   200   Cr.P.C.     by   examining   the complainant     after   which   he   had     to   record   reasons   why   he disagreed with the closure report.   But the Special Judge   did not   discharge     this   legal   obligation   and   simply     in   a mechanical manner directed the investigating agency to obtain

sanction  to  prosecute    the  appellant  despite  the   fact  that  the investigating agency  had consistently  reported that sufficient evidence was not there to justify prosecution of the appellant. At   this   stage,   if   the   Special   Judge   found   that   there   were sufficient  ground  to  proceed,  it  could  have  taken   cognizance

but having been confronted  with the legal impediment  that it could   not   proceed   without   sanction   for   prosecution,   the Special Judge directed to reinvestigate   the matter once again for the second time and also directed the investigating agency to obtain sanction for prosecution.        

12.           Hence,   the   appellant     assailed     the   order   of   the Special   Judge   dated   18.5.2004   by   filing     a   criminal   revision petition   No.   839/2004   but   the   High   Court   on   this   occasion dismissed   the   revision   petition   and   was   pleased   to   hold   that the order of the Special Judge who had refused to   accept the closure   report   for   the   second   time   did   not   suffer   from   any apparent     error   of   jurisdiction.     The   learned   single   Judge while   dismissing   the   revision     petition   observed   that    it   shall still   be   open   to   the   appellant     to   raise   all   such   pleas   as   are available   to     her   under   the   law   in   case   charge-sheet   is   filed against her.

13.           However,   the   learned   single   Judge   completely missed   the   ratio   laid   down   in   the   case   of  Abhinandan   Jha (supra)   which   had   been     relied   upon   by   the   learned   single Judge of the High Court  on an earlier occasion also when the order   of     the   Special   Judge   refusing   to   accept   closure   report and   directing   submission   of   charge-sheet   was   quashed   and

the entire legal position was summed up in unequivocal terms as follows:-

            "There   is   no   power,   expressly   or   impliedly  conferred under the Code, on a Magistrate to call upon the police to submit a charge- sheet, when they have sent a report under Section   169   of   the   Code,   that   there   is   no          case   made   out   for   sending  up  an  accused for   trial.     The   functions   of   the   magistrate  and   the   police   are   entirely   different,   and  though,   the     Magistrate   may   or   may   not  accept the report, and take suitable action             according to law, he cannot impinge upon  the jurisdiction of the police, by compelling  them   to   change   their   opinion   so   as   to  accord with his view."

This position has been further reiterated and reinforced   in a recent judgment of this Court delivered in the matter of   Ram  Naresh   Prasad  vs.  State   of   Jharkhand2,   wherein   it   has   been held     that   when   the   police     submitted   a   final   report   of investigation     of   the   case   which   in   colloquial   term   is   called closure   report,   the   magistrate   cannot   direct   the   police   to submit   the   charge-sheet.     However,   on   the     basis   of   the material in the charge-sheet, he may take cognizance or direct further investigation.  In fact, this position is clearly  laid down 2 (2009) 11 SCC 299 under Section 190 read with Section   156 of the Cr.P.C. itself and   the   legal   position   has   been   time   and   again     clarified     by this  Court   in  several  pronouncements    viz.    in  the  matter  of

Bains vs. State3, wherein their lordships have summarised the position as follows:-

            "1. When a Magistrate   receives a complaint, he may, instead of taking cognizance at once  under   Section   190(1)(a)   direct   a   police  investigation under Section 156(3) ante;

            2.                 Where,   after   completion   of   the  investigation,   the   police   sends   an   adverse  report   under   Section   173(1),   the   Magistrate   may take  any of the following  steps :

                  "i.          If   he   agrees   with   police   report,  and   finds   that   there   is   no sufficient   ground   for   proceeding  further,   he   may   drop   the proceeding   and   dismiss   the  complaint.

                  ii.          He may not agree  with  the police  report   and   may   take   cognizance  of the offence  on  the  basis of the  original complaint,  under Section                                190(1)(a)  and proceed  to examine the   complainant   under   Section  200.

                  iii.         Even   if   he   disagrees   with   the  police   report,   he   may   either   take  cognizance   at   once   upon   the  complaint,   direct   an   enquiry                                under Section 202 and after such  enquiry take action under Section 203.     However,   when   the   police  submits a final report   or closure   in   regard   to   a   case   which   has been lodged by the informant   or   complainant,   the   magistrate   cannot   direct   the   police   to  straightway   submit   the   charge-                     sheet as   was the view expressed  in   the   matter   of  Abhinandan   Jha  (supra)   which   was   relied   upon   in  the   matter   of  Ram      Naresh  Prasad (supra)."    3 AIR 1980 SC 1883 = 1980 (4) SCC 631

14.           Thus   it   is   undoubtedly   true   that   even   after   the police   report   indicates   that   no   case   is   made   out   against   the accused,     the   magistrate   can     ignore   the   same   and   can   take cognizance   on applying his mind  independently  to the case. But   in   that   situation,       he   has   two   options     (i)     he   may   not agree   with   the   police   report   and   direct     an   enquiry     under Section 202 and after such enquiry  take action under Section 203.  He is also entitled to take cognizance under Section 190 Cr.P.C.   at   once   if   he   disagrees   with   the   adverse   police   report but   even   in   this   circumstance,   he   cannot   straightway   direct submission of the charge-sheet by the police.  

15.           In the light of the aforesaid  legal position, when we examined the merit of the instant matter, we noticed that the order   dated   18.5.2004   passed   earlier   by   the     Special   Judge straightway   directing   the   police   to   submit   charge-sheet   was quashed   by   the   learned   single   Judge   of   the   High   Court   and

 

liberty   was   left   open   to   him   either   to   take   cognizance   under Section 190(c) of the Cr.P.C. or direct the Lokayukta Police for further investigation.   In spite of this order, the  Special Judge did not pass an order  taking  cognizance which he could have done  under Section 190(c) of the Cr.P.C.    However,  he chose to   direct   office   of   the   Lokayukta   to enter   into   further investigation   which   after   further   investigation   assigned reasons   given   out   hereinbefore,   stating   that   in   view   of   the statement   of   the   complainant   that   he   had   complained   at   the instance   of  a  rival   of   the   accused  as  also   the   fact  that  entire payment   had   already   been  made   by   the   complainant   prior   to

the lodgement of complaint, no case was made out against the complainant.   In spite of this, if the Special Judge considered it   legal   and   appropriate   to   proceed   in   the   matter,   he   could have   taken   cognizance   upon   the   complaint   and   could   have proceeded    further   as  per   the   provision   under   Section   200   of the   Cr.P.C.   by   examining   the   complainant   and   if   there   were sufficient ground for proceeding, he could have issued process for   attendance   of   the   accused.     However,   such   process   could  not   have   been   issued,   unless   the   magistrate   found   that   the evidence   led   before   him   was   contradictory   or   completely untrustworthy.       Conversely,   if   he   found   from   such   evidence that   sufficient   ground   was   not   there   for   proceeding     i.e.   no prima facie  case against the accused was made out, he had to dismiss     the  complaint,     since  the  complaint  did  not  disclose the   commission   of     any   offence.     But   instead   of     taking   any step either by issuing  the process or dismissing the complaint at   once,   he   could   have   taken   immediate   step   as   a   third alternative to make an enquiry   into the truth or  falsehood of the complaint  or for an investigation to be made by the police for ascertaining whether there was any prima facie evidence so as   to   justify   the   issue   of   process.     In   short,     on   receipt   of   a complaint, the magistrate is not bound  to take cognizance but he   can   without   taking   cognizance   direct   investigation   by   the police   under   Section   156(3)   of   Cr.P.C.     Once,   however,   he takes   cognizance   he must examine the complainant and his

witnesses under Section 200.  Thereafter, if he  requires police investigation   or   judicial   enquiry,   he   must     proceed   under Section   202.     But   in   any   case   he   cannot   direct   the   Police   to straightaway   file   charge-sheet   which   needs   to   be   highlighted  this   point   is   often   missed   by   the   Magistrates   in   spite   of   a series   of   decisions   of   this   Court   including   the   case   of Abhinandan   Jha    (supra)   and  Ram  Naresh   Prasad  (supra) referred to hereinbefore.

16.           When   the   facts   of   the   instant   matter   is   further tested on the anvil of the aforesaid  legal position, we find that the   Special   Judge   instead   of   following   the   procedure enumerated in the Cr.P.C.   appeared to insist on rejecting the closure   report   given   by   the   Special   Police   Establishment,

Lokayukta   Office   and   in   the   process   consistently   committed error of law and jurisdiction not only  once, but twice.  On the first   occasion   when   the   order   of   the   Special   Judge   was quashed   and   set   aside   by   the   High   Court   granting   liberty   to the   Special   Judge     either   to   take   cognizance   under   Section 190(c) or order for  further  investigation as he had committed

an error of jurisdiction by   directing the police to   straightway submit   the   charge-sheet   against   the   accused-petitioner,   the Special   Judge   did   not   consider     it   appropriate   to   take cognizance but ordered for further investigation by Lokayukta Police  and when the matter was reinvestigated by the Special Police   Establishment   of   the   Lokayukta     Office,   the   Special

Judge   in   spite   of   the   finding   of   the   investigating   agency holding that no further material to proceed in the matter was found,   refused   to   accept   the   closure   report   and   this   time     it further     realized     that   it   could   not   proceed   in   the   matter   as there   was     no   sanction   for   prosecution,   which   the   Special Judge   obviously   noticed     since   he   was   not   in   a   position     to take   cognizance   directly     under   Sections   7,   13(1)(d)   of   the Prevention of Corruption Act in absence of sanction which was a statutory requirement.  In spite of this,  he refused to accept closure report but recorded a direction  to obtain  sanction for prosecution   of   the   appellant     and   thereafter   ordered   for

reinvestigation of the complaint  for the second time creating a peculiar and anomalous situation which is not in consonance with   the   provision   of   the   Code   of   Criminal   Procedure enumerated under the Chapter relating to conditions requisite for initiation of proceedings.

17.          It  may be worthwhile to highlight at this stage that the   enquiry   under   Section   200   Cr.P.C.   cannot   be   given   a  go-bye   if   the   Magistrate   refuses   to   accept   the   closure   report submitted by the investigating agency as this enquiry is legally vital   to   protect   the   affected   party   from   a   frivolous   complaint and   a   vexatious   prosecution   in   complaint   cases.     The relevance, legal efficacy and vitality of the enquiry enumerated under   Section   200   Cr.P.C.,   therefore,   cannot   be   undermined, ignored   or   underplayed   as   non   compliance   of   enquiry   under Section 200 Cr.P.C. is of vital importance and necessity as it is at   this   stage   of   the   enquiry   that   the   conflict   between   the finding   arrived  at  by   the  investigating   agency  and   enquiry   by the   Magistrate   can   prima   facie   justify   the   filing   of   the omplaint   and   also   offer   a   plank   and   a   stage   where   the justification   of   the   order   of   cognizance   will   come   to   the   fore. This   process   of   enquiry   under   Section   200   Cr.P.C.   is   surely not  a  decorative   piece  of   legislation     but  is   of   great  relevance and value to the complainant as well as the accused.

18.          It is no doubt possible to contend that at the stage of taking cognizance or refusing to take cognizance, only prima facie   case   has   to   be   seen   by   the   Court.     But   the   argument would be fit for rejection since it is nothing but mixing up two different   and   distinct   nature   of   cases   as   the   principle   and

procedure   applied   in   a   case   based   on   Police   report   which   is registered  on  the   basis   of   First   Information   Report  cannot  be allowed   to   follow   the   procedure   in   a   complaint   case.     A   case based on a complaint cannot be allowed to be dealt with and proceeded as if it were a case based on Police report.  While in a   case   based   on   Police   report,   the   Court   while   taking

cognizance   will   straightaway   examine   whether   a   prima   facie case is made out or not and will not enter into the correctness of   the   allegation   levelled   in   the   F.I.R.,   a   complaint   case requires   an   enquiry   by   the   Magistrate   under   Section   200 Cr.P.C.   if   he   takes   cognizance   of   the   complaint.     In   case   he refuses   to   take   cognizance   he   may   either   dismiss   the complaint   or   direct   the   investigating   agency   to   enter   into further   investigation.     In   case,   he   does   not   exercise   either   of these   two   options,   he   will   have   to   proceed   with   the   enquiry himself   as   envisaged   and   enumerated   under   Section   200 Cr.P.C.   But, he cannot exercise the fourth option of directing the Police to submit a charge-sheet as such a course is clearly not   envisaged   under   the   Cr.P.C.   and   more   so   in   a   complaint case.   As already stated, this position can be clearly deduced from   the   catena   of   decisions   including   those   referred   to hereinbefore but needs to be reinstated as time and again this

magisterial   error  reaches   up  to   this   Court   for   rectification   by judicial intervention. 

19.          The instant matter is one such example and is one step ahead wherein the Special Judge was confronted with yet another   legal   impediment   of   lack   of   sanction   for   prosecution giving   rise   to   a   peculiar   situation   when   he   noticed   and recorded   that   he   could   not   proceed   in   the   matter     under   the Prevention of Corruption Act without sanction for prosecution, but in spite of this  he directed to obtain sanction, ordered for reinvestigation   and   consequently     refused   to   accept   closure report.

20.          Since   the   Special   Judge   in   the   instant   matter refused to accept the closure report dated 18.05.2004 without any enquiry or reason why he refused to accept it which was submitted   by   the   Special   Police   Establishment,   Lokayukta Office,   Jabalpur   after   reinvestigation   for   which   reasons   had

been   assigned   and   there   was   also   lack   of   sanction   for prosecution   against   the     appellant   which   was   necessary   for launching prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act, we deem it just and appropriate to hold that the Special Judge clearly   committed   error   of   jurisdiction   by   directing reinvestigation   of   the   matter   practically   for   the   third   time   in spite   of   his   noticing   that   sanction   for   prosecution   was   also lacking,   apart   from   the   fact   that   the   Special   Police Establishment,   Lokayukta   Office,   after   reinvestigation   had given   its   report   why   the   matter   was   not     fit   to   be   proceeded with.

21.          We   are   therefore   of   the   considered   view   that   the Special  Judge  in  the  wake  of  all  these  legal  flaws   as  also  the fact   that   the   Special   Judge   under   the   circumstance   was   not competent   to   proceed   in   the   matter   without   sanction   for prosecution,  could not have ordered for reinvestigation  of the case   for   the   third   time   by   refusing   to   accept   closure   report dated   18.05.2004.     This   amounts   to   sheer   abuse   of   the process   of   law   resulting   into   vexatious   proceeding   and harassment   of   the   appellant   for   more   than   10   years   without discussing any reason why he disagreed with the report of the Lokayukta   and   consequently   the   closure   report   which   would have emerged if the Special  Judge had carefully proceeded in accordance   with   the   procedure   enumerated   for   initiation   of proceeding under the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

22.          In view  of  the   aforesaid     discussion   based on the existing   facts   and   circumstances,   we   deem   it   just   and appropriate     to   set   aside   the   impugned   order     passed   by   the Special   Judge   refusing   to   accept   the   closure   report   dated 18.05.2004   and   consequently   the   judgment   and   order   of   the High   Court     by   which   the   order   of   the   Special   Judge   was upheld,  also stands quashed and set aside.   Accordingly, the appeal is allowed.                                                

                                                                    (Asok Kumar Ganguly)……..J

                                                                        (Gyan Sudha Misra……….J

New Delhi,

January 17, 2012

Comments