HCs should consider whether prima facie case has been made out or not at charge framing stage: SC

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New Delhi, Apr 13 (PTI) Th Supreme Court Tuesday said that High Courts should not hold a mini trial at the stage framing of charges and should consider whether a prima facie case has been made out or not.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud made the observation while quashing a Rajasthan high court order which discharged an accused under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“At the stage of framing of the charge and/or considering the discharge application, the mini trial is not permissible,' the bench also comprising Justice M R Shah said. The apex court said,” While discharging the accused, the High Court has gone into the merits of the case and has considered whether on the basis of the material on record, the accused is likely to be convicted or not. “For the aforesaid, the High Court has considered in detail the transcript of the conversation between the complainant and the accused which exercise at this stage to consider the discharge application and/or framing of the charge is not permissible at all,” the bench said.

The top court's judgment came on an appeal by the State of Rajasthan against a High Court order discharging an accused Patwari Ashok Kumar Kashyap under Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Patwari was accused of having demanded a bribe of Rs 2,800 for endorsing certain residential and caste certificates.

The trial court judge at Bharatpur had ruled that there was a prima facie case of Section 7 against the accused and framed the charges against him.

However, the High Court quashed and set aside the order passed by the Special Judge framing the charge against the accused for the offence under Section 7 of the PC Act and consequently discharged the accused from the alleged offence. PTI PKS RKS RKS