Read Judgement: Simarjeet Singh Bains v. State of Punjab and another
Chandigarh, July 23, 2021: In a major setback to Lok Insaf Party (LIP) MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains from Ludhiana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed his plea for quashing of a recent lower court order based on which he was booked on charges of rape, conspiracy and criminal intimidation along with others.
“The mere registration of an FIR cannot be construed as an act which might prejudice the petitioner in any manner. The court is only required to examine the existence of a cognizable offence and direct registration of FIR in case the necessary ingredients with respect to the cognizable offence are made out,” stated the bench of Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul.
“I do not thus find any illegality in the impugned orders dated 07.07.2021 passed by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), Ludhiana, wherein the court rightly directed the registration of the case on the basis of the material before it,” said the bench.
The FIR filed by the Ludhiana police on July 13, 2021 named Bains, his brothers — Karamjit Singh and Paramjit Singh — and four others — Baljinder Kaur, Jasbir Kaur, Sukhchain Singh and Gogi Sharma PA. The suspects have been booked under the Sections 376 (rape), 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (conspiracy) of IPC, at Ludhiana’s division number 6 police station.
The FIR was based on the complaint of a 44-year-old woman, who is a widow and alleged that she was raped by MLA Bains multiple times.
The woman alleged that the MLA and his men had promised to help her in a property dispute case but instead started exploiting her sexually. While accusing Ludhiana police of not acting on her complaint for months, she then moved the lower court which then directed that an FIR be filed against Bains.
In his defence, Bains in his plea before the High Court argued that the order dated July 7, 2021, passed by the ACJM, Ludhiana, directing registration of a a criminal case against Bains in the case is “illegal”. The plea said the allegations are false, frivolous and baseless.
The accused contended that in case the proceedings pursuant to the order July 7, 2021, passed by the ACJM, Ludhiana and operation of the same is not stayed, the petitioner will suffer an irreparable loss and substantial injury.
Deciding the matter, the High Court stated that “It can not be over emphasized that registration of a criminal case would not be seen as an act prejudicial to the accused and the investigating agency cannot be stalled/stopped from conducting investigation into the allegations which prima facie reflect commission of a cognizable offence.
“The petitioner is in fact seeking quashing of the FIR without raising any challenge to the same. The case set up by the petitioner is not in accordance with the parameters and guidelines prescribed by the Supreme Court for quashing of an FIR. The allegations levelled by the complainant cannot be disbelieved outrightly at this juncture.”
The impugned orders of the lower court in the opinion of the high court are neither without jurisdiction nor can be termed as an abuse of the process of law. They do not suffer from any infirmity much less illegality since they have not been passed without jurisdiction or in violation of any prohibition contained in any act/rules or regulations or even instructions issued by the High Court or any other superior court, the Bench observed.
“In the absence of the existence of any such infirmity it cannot be said that the orders suffer from an act of judicial impropriety. Moreover, the power under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. is a statutory power conferred upon the Magistrate giving rise to a statutory remedy in favour of a person aggrieved. It would rather be an act of abdication of his powers by a Magistrate in case he does not take an appropriate decision and fails to exercise his jurisdiction in the event of an aggrieved person approaching him,” the HC said.
“A great deal of stress was laid by the learned senior counsel of the petitioner on the fact that the Magistrate while passing the impugned order had made certain observations regarding the custodial interrogation of the petitioner and thus it amounted to pre judging the case. This argument is noticed only to be rejected,” the bench stated.