Framing of Charge in a Criminal Trial

At the stage of framing of charge guilt of accused is not relevant.

Section 227 itself contains enough guidelines as to the scope of enquiry for the purpose of discharging an accused. It provides that “the Judge shall discharge when he considers that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused”.

The “ground” in the context is not a ground for conviction, but a ground for putting the accused on trial. It is in the trial, the guilt or the innocence of the accused will be determined and not at the time of framing of charge. The court, therefore, need not undertake an elaborate enquiry in sifting and weighing the material. Nor is it necessary to delve deep into various aspects. All that the court has to consider is whether the evidentiary material on record if generally accepted, would reasonably connect the accused with the crime. No more need be enquired into.”

Held:

Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions and considering the scope of enquiry at the stage of framing of the charge under Section 227/228 if the CrPC, we are of the opinion that the submissions made by the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant on merits, at this stage, are not required to be considered. Whatever submissions are made by the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant are on merits are required to be dealt with and considered at an appropriate stage during the course of the trial. Some of the submissions may be considered to be the defence of the accused. Some of the submissions made by the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant on the conduct of the victim/prosecutrix are required to be dealt with and considered at an appropriate stage during the trial. The same are not required to be considered at this stage of framing of the charge. On considering the material on record, we are of the opinion that there is more than a prima facie case against the accused for which he is required to be tried. There is sufficient ample material against the accused and therefore the learned Trial Court has rightly framed the charge against the accused and the same is rightly confirmed by the High Court. No interference of this Court is called for.

[Source: Tarun Jit Tejpal vs The State Of Goa decided by SC on 19 August, 2019]

Evidence in trial under Official Secrets Act.

Right of defendant in trial under Official Secrets Act of India:

In camera trial:

Section 14 Official Secrets Act does not take away the right of the accused to get copies of either the statements recorded by the police or the documents gathered by it during investigation.

As long as the prosecution is relying upon the documents forwarded by it to the trial Court along with the chargesheet it will not be open to the prosecution to deprive the accused the copies of those documents.

1. That Section 14 apart from providing that proceedings of the Court may be held’ in camera under the circumstances mentioned in the section, does not in any way affect or override the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code relating to enquiries or trials held there under.
2. That Section 14 does not in any way deprive the valuable rights of the accused to get copies of the statement recorded by the Magistrate or statements of witnesses recorded by the police or the documents obtained by the Police during the investigation as envisaged by Criminal Rules 308 and 310 framed under the CrPC by various High Courts nor does Section 14 in any way affect the right of the accused to get copies under Section 548 of the CrPC
3. That the opening words of Section 14 do not amount to a non obstante clause but are merely in the nature of an enabling provision reserving the inherent powers of the Court to exclude the public from the proceedings if the Court is of the opinion that it is just and expedient to do so.

[Source: Superintendent & Remembrancer v. Satyen Bhowmick, 1981 AIR 917, 1981 SCR (2) 661.
followed in Ujjal Dasgupta vs State (Del.)]