On Wednesday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R Bhanumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy ruled that a judge is not required to record detailed reasons at the stage of framing of charges in a criminal trial under Section 228 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In the process, a judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court was set aside. In its verdict, the Madhya Pradesh HC had quashed the charges against the accused on the premise that the trial court failed to give reasons for the charges framed. Thereafter, the complainant challenged the order in the SC.
The three-judge SC bench cited past judgments to highlight the fact that the judge was not required to hold an elaborate inquiry for the framing of charges. It emphasised that the case is only prima facie examined at that stage. Moreover, it noted that the Madhya Pradesh High Court had erred in interfering with the order of the trial court.
"After referring to Amit Kapoor, in Dinesh Tiwari v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another (2014) 13 SCC 137, the Supreme Court held that for framing charge under Section 228 Crl.P.C., the judge is not required to record detailed reasons as to why such charge is framed. On perusal of record and hearing of parties, if the judge is of the opinion that there is sufficient ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence triable by the Court of Session, he shall frame the charge against the accused for such offence." (Paragraph 15)
"As pointed out earlier, at the stage of framing the charge, the court is not required to hold an elaborate enquiry; only prima facie case is to be seen. As held in Knati Bhadra Shah and another v. State of West Bengal (2000) 1 SCC 722, while exercising power under Section 228 Crl.P.C., the judge is not required record his reasons for framing the charges against the accused." (Paragraph 16)
"While so, the High Court was not right in interfering with the order of the trial court framing the charges against the accused-respondent Nos.1 and 2 under Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC and the High Court, in our view, erred in quashing the charges framed against the accused. The impugned order cannot therefore be sustained and is liable to be set aside." (Paragraph 16)