IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
Criminal Revisional Jurisdiction
The Hon’ble Justice Jay Sengupta
CRR 1693 of 2017
The State of West Bengal Ors.
For the petitioner: Mr. Aniruddha Bhattacharya
Mr. P. Biswas
For the State : Mr. Swapan Banerjee
Mr. Suman De
Heard on : 17.01.2020
Judgment on : 17.01.2020
Jay Sengupta, J:
This is an application challenging the order dated 13th February, 2017,
passed by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Barasat, North 24
Parganas, arising out of GR Case No.3049 of 2016.
Affidavit of service filed on behalf of the petitioner is taken on record.
Despite service, no one appears on behalf of the private opposite parties.
Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner submits as follows.
The petitioner is the de facto complainant of the case and is the brother of the
victim/deceased. In 2016, the petitioner lodged a First Information Report
against the private opposite parties alleging that they had set her sister on fire
and she was fighting with death in a hospital. The FIR was registered under
sections 307, 326, 498A of Penal Code and 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and
later on, section 302 of the Penal Code was added after the victim passed away.
Investigation done in this case was motivated as would be evident from the fact
that even though the death took place after about fifteen years of marriage, the
Investigating Officer submitted charge sheet under section 304B instead of under
section 302 of the Penal Code. Several relevant witnesses were not examined
including the victim’s parents. The victim’s father, Rabindra Nath Panigrahi, was
the one to whom the victim had made an important phone call about torture
inflicted by the accused sometime before the incident. Even the mother of the
victim, Sachirani Panigrahi and her two cousin sisters, Tapashi Choudhuri and
Tanushree Misra (nee Panigrahi), to whom the victim had narrated about her
sufferings in the matrimonial home were not cited as witnesses. Although the
charge sheet was submitted under lesser sections, during the pendency of the
revision, the learned trial court was pleased to frame charges under sections 302,
304B, 307,326, 498A read with section 34 of the Penal Code and Sections 3 and
4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. It is true that the learned trial court was kind
enough to properly assess the materials on record and frame a charge under
section 302 of the Penal Code. However, the trial of the case would not be
complete without the examination of relevant witnesses like the parents and the
two cousin sisters of the victim/deceased. To that effect further investigation is
required to be done. As the stay granted in this revision had lapsed, the learned
trial court proceeded with the matter and the charges were framed. A schedule
has been fixed for examination of the witnesses.
Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State submits as follows. It will
indeed be in the interest of justice that the parents and other relevant witnesses
be examined to find out the real truth. However, this can also be done by calling
them as witnesses during trial. Several other materials have been collected,
which make out a prima facie case against the accused for which charges have
already been framed against them.
I have heard the submissions of the learned counsels appearing on behalf
of the parties and have perused the revision petition.
The charge sheet and the accompanying documents clearly make out a
case against the accused for which the charges have already been framed by the
learned trial court.
Deleting the charge under section 302 and instead putting section 304B of
the Penal Code as the only charge in this respect is a serious irregularity
committed by the Investigating Officer during investigation.
But, a direction for further investigation at this stage would only further
delay the proceeding.
The purpose of justice will be served if such relevant witnesses like the
parents of the victim and her two cousin sisters are permitted to be examined as
witnesses during trial.
In the interest of justice, I dispose of this revisional application by directing
that the learned trial court shall summon and examine the relevant witnesses
like the parents and the two cousin sisters of the victim during trial. A learned
Advocate engaged by the de facto complainant may be permitted to assist the
learned Public Prosecutor during trial. The learned trial court is also requested to
conclude the proceeding as expeditiously as possible.
Urgent photostat certified copy of this order, if applied for, is to be given to
the parties upon usual undertakings.
(Jay Sengupta, J.)