Read Judgment: Smitha vs. State of Kerala & Ors. 

Pankaj Bajpai

Ernakulam, February 18, 2022: While stating that principle of locus standi is alien to criminal jurisprudence, the Ernakulam Bench of the Kerala High Court has held that the action of the Magistrate in returning the criminal complaint simply because it was filed by the wife of the injured, is illegal and hence liable to be quashed. 

The Single Judge K. Haripal therefore directed the Magistrate to entertain the complaint and pass orders, in accordance with law, within a period of seven days.

The background of the case was that, Smitha (Petitioner – Wife of the injured) alleged that her husband, a carpenter by avocation, sustained injuries while proceeding to the place of work. He was travelling on the pillion seat of the motor cycle ridden by the accused and he was injured due to the rash and negligent driving by the accused. It was submitted that since the accused had abruptly twisted, the vehicle capsized and her husband fell down and sustained grievous injuries. 

The grievance of the petitioner is that despite intimation given by the CMO, MAJ Hospital to the Sub Inspector, Elamakkara Police Station, crime was not registered. It is also alleged that petitioner lodged a complaint before the City Police Commissioner, Ernakulam which also was not acted upon and thus, she approached the Judicial First Class Magistrate-II, Aluva, alleging offences u/s 279, 337 and 338 IPC. But astonishingly enough, the complaint was returned stating that the petition was filed by the wife of the complainant. Hence, the present petition was filed. 

After considering the submissions, Justice Haripal observed that the order passed by the Magistrate is illegal and unsustainable, as, it is the settled proposition of law that criminal law can be set in motion by any person. 

Here, on the ground that after sustaining grievous hurt, petitioner’s husband was unable to move out and hence, petitioner had taken initiative to prefer the complaint, added the Single Judge.  Accordingly, the High Court quoted the decision in case of A. R. Antulay vs Ramdas Sriniwas Nayak And Another , AIR 1984 SC 718, wherein it was observed that anyone can set or put the criminal law into motion except where the statute enacting or creating an offence indicates to the contrary, and therefore, allowed the petition.

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