Sunday, December 3, 2023

Allahabad High Court expresses displeasure over lack of improvement in issuing proforma cognizance

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The Allahabad High Court has expressed deep displeasure over the lack of improvement in the practice of issuing proforma cognizance orders by the Judicial magistrates.

The Court said that it is clear from the view that the clerk wrote the order and the magistrate signed it. As per the judgment of the Ankit vs State of U.P and another case mentioned, such orders are illegal and there is no use of judicial discretion in this.

A Single Bench of Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV heard the petition filed by Vinay Kumar Gupta.

By means of this application under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, order dated 21.03.2022 passed by the Civil Judge (JD)/Judicial Magistrate, Kausambi in Criminal Case has been sought to be quashed.

By the impugned order, cognizance has been taken on the charge sheet in case at the Police Station Karari, District Kaushambi.

It is, inter-alia, submitted by the counsel for the applicant that the Magistrate did not apply his judicial mind at the time of taking cognizance on the charge-sheet and impugned order of taking cognizance has been passed on proforma, which is not permissible in law. For the submission attention of the Court has been drawn to the judgement in Ankit vs State of UP and another, 2009 (3) UP Crl Rulings 427.

It is further submitted that no State case under the Mines and Minerals Act can be carried out.

The Court observed that the Certified copy of the order of taking cognizance is paper, which shows that the said order has been passed mechanically. Order says that a charge sheet has been filed. Perused the case diary, cognizance taken, order does not contain any details, it reflects non judicial mind. The order appears to have been written by a court employee with handwriting and the Magistrate thereafter put his initial, which shows non application of judicial mind in passing the said order.

It is very unfortunate that a judicial order of taking cognizance has been passed by the Magistrate mechanically written by a Court employee. This type of order has been held illegal by the Court in Ankit case (supra). Hence the impugned order is liable to be quashed on this ground alone.

The AGA has opposed the contentions but conceded factual submissions and submitted that in view of the law laid down in Ankit case (supra), after setting aside the impugned order, direction be issued to the Magistrate concerned to pass fresh order on the charge sheet. I find force in this submission.

“Recently the Court in Application U/S 482 CrPC, Manoj Tiwari and 2 others versus State of UP and another, decided on 11.02.2018, recorded its anguish, directed the Court taking cognizance to pass fresh speaking and reasoned cognizance order after applying his judicial mind, in a number of cases the Court set aside the cognizance order being cryptic and proforma order or the order without application of mind.

Judicial Officers passing such type of order not only compell the accused persons to approach before this Court but also send message of his incompetence in the society. Passing cognizance order in such a manner erodes the public faith in the judicial system. Passing of order in such a manner must be deprecated but daily it is being seen that Officer, despite having noticed the order of the Court, is not ready to improve in passing detailed or reasoned cognizance order”, the Court further observed while allowing the application.

“The cognizance order dated 21.03.2022 passed by Civil Judge (JD) / Judicial Magistrate, Kausambi in Criminal Case at Police Station Karari, District Kaushambi is hereby quashed.

The Magistrate is directed to pass a fresh cognizance order within a period of two months from the date, when order is brought to his notice, after applying its judicial mind”, the Court ordered.

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