N NATARAJAN Vs. B K SUBBA RAO
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: BOMBAY)
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Rajendra Babu, J. -
(1.)An application under Section 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code was laid by the respondent in the Designated Court at Bombay. The appellant had been conducting the cases as the Chief Public Prosecutor before the Designated Judge in what is popularly known as "Bombay Blast Cases." The respondent urged in his petition that the appellant before us being a public prosecutor had an onerous duty and had to act in a fair manner and at one stage of the proceedings both orally and in writing had submitted to the Court that the material on record was sufficient to frame charges against various offences arising under Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code like waging war against the State, etc. after adverting to the decisions of this Court. However, at a later stage of the proceedings in the same case, the appellant urged the Designated Court to drop the charges under Sections 121 and 121A, IPC against all the 157 accused as there was no material. Thus he made statements which were contradictory to the earlier stand taken by him and left the matter to the discretion of the Court to accept one or the other version to be true in order to secure the ends of justice. Apart from misconduct on the part of the appellant arising under the Advocates Act, it is contended that the same would amount to criminal contempt of Court. The contention advanced on behalf of the respondent was that the charge of waging war against the State without reasonable or sufficient material on record results in grave injustice and injury to some of the accused and if he had carried out his functions with due care and caution, such injustice would not have occasioned. He contended in the course of the application as follows :
"......... Having opened the case under Section 226, Cr. P.C. and having proceeded quite far under Section 227, Cr. P.C. in respect of framing charges, for the prosecutor to come up with a plea not to frame the charges for lack of material on record amounts to making a mockery of the administration of justice. The conduct of the CBI prosecutor Mr. Natarajan has polluted the course of administration of justice, notwithstanding the fact that there is material or not to frame the charge. This kind of conduct on the part of the public prosecutor if not dealt with according to law would have wide scope in our judicial system to injure and cause injustice to ill place citizens. Therefore a judicial examination of the conduct of the CBI prosecutor Mr. Natarajan will be in public interest as it would act as a deterrent against public prosecutors indulging in unfair practices."
(2.)The respondent also submitted that he was not concerned with the outcome of the case but more in the conduct of the public prosecutor in making contradictory submissions. He submitted that this conduct on the part of the appellant would attract the provisions of Section 192 to 196 and 227, Cr.P.C.
(3.)On receipt of the application, the learned Designated Judge directed the Registry to post of the matter for hearing on the question of locus standi of the respondent to file an application under Section 340, Cr. P.C. and whether that Court had jurisdiction to entertain the application. The Designated Judge held that he was satisfied that the Court could entertain an complaint even at the instance of a stranger in order to address his grievances as offences affecting the administration of justice. Though the appellant was not notified of the said application, the learned Designated Judge heard Mr. R.K.H. Sharma, Special Public Prosecutor, in the matter and noted that he had not challenged the locus standi of the respondent in presenting the application but had emphasised that if the Court entertains such petition without ascertaining its merit, it would open flood gates and any person would walk in the court with such petitions. Before the learned Designated Judge, it was contended by Mr. Sharma that there can be only two parties before the Court, that is, the public prosecutor or the complainant, as the case may be, and on the other side the accused represented by his advocate and in those circumstances the respondent could not be heard in the matter. However, the Court by an order made on 21-2-1995, recorded its satisfaction as to the locus standi of the respondent and directed to register the application and to issue notice to the public prosecutor returnable on 10-3-1995. The public prosecutor noted to have taken notice of the matter. Against this order of the Designated Judge, the present appeal has been filed by the appellant.
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