Special Courts constituted under Section 14 of the SC/ST Act, has power and jurisdiction to invoke provisions provided under SECTION 156(3) of the CrPC: Chhattisgarh High Court

The Chhattisgarh High Court has pronounced that the Special Courts constituted under Section 14 of the SC/ST Act (Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act), has power and jurisdiction to invoke provisions provided under Section 156(3) of the CrPC and direct for registration of FIR and investigation.

Brief Facts of the Case

  • A petition was filed challenging an order passed by Special Court directing the Police to register FIR against the petitionerSection
  • The issue raised was that the whether the Special Court constituted under Section 14 of the SC/ST Act (Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989)  has power and jurisdiction to invoke the provisions contained in Section 156(3) of the Code referring the complaint?

Observation made by the Court

  • The court referred to Section 156 and 193 of the CrPC together with various provisions of the SC-ST Act.
  • The Court ruled that Special Court having established under Section 14 of the  SC/ST Act, 1989 by notification has power and jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offence under the provisions of the Act of 1989 directly without committal proceeding and the Magistrate is not a Special Court notified by the State Government within the meaning of Section 14 of the  SC/ST Act, 1989 read with Section 193 of the Code and therefore, the Magistrate is not empowered to entertain a complaint under the Act of 1989.
  • The Court referred to a verdict of the Constitution Bench judgment in A.R. Antulay v. Ramdas Sriniwas Nayak,  wherein it was held that a private complaint can be entertained by the Special Judge in respect of the offences committed by public servants under the PC Act.
  • The Court also referred to the case Anand Swaroop Tiwari v. Ram Ratan Jatav, a Full Bench judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and thus noted that:

It is quite vivid that the Special Court constituted under Section 14 of the Act of 1989 is the criminal court of original jurisdiction and is not governed by Section 193 of the Code, and the Special Court can take cognizance in any of the circumstances referred to in Section 190 of the Code and is governed by Chapters XV & XVI of the Code and such other provisions of the Code which are not inconsistent with the status and functions as Courts of original jurisdiction. Therefore, the Special Courts constituted under the Act of 1989 will also have power and jurisdiction to invoke Section 156(3) of the Code to direct investigation in the exercise of the power conferred, to the Station House Officer subject to fulfilment of making two prior applications under 122000(1) MPLJ 459 25 Section 154(1) and thereafter under Section 154(3) of the Code by the complainant. As such, I do not find any merit in the submission of learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners that the Special Judge under SC & ST Act has no power and jurisdiction to invoke Section 156(3) of the Code and to direct registration of FIR and investigation. Such a submission being merit­less and substance­less deserves to be and is accordingly rejected

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  • Though, the Court ruled that, in the instant case, there is total non­-compliance of Sections 154(1) and 154(3) of the Code.
  • The  court while quashing the order passed by Special Judge, observed that in order to file a duly competent application under Section 156(3) of the Code there has to be the existence of prior applications under Sections 154(1) and 154(3) of the Code, both these aspects should be clearly spelt out in the 36 application under Section 156(3) of the Code and necessary documents to that effect has to be filed in order to make the application under Section 156(3) of the Code to be duly constituted,

Case: Jaisingh Agrawal vSection State of Chhattisgarh

Case No: Criminal Misc Petition No.173 of 2018

Coram: Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal

Also Read: Preferences and Inclinations of the Child are of Vital Importance for Determining the Issue of Custody of the Minor Child: Supreme Court

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