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3rd Party not connected with proceedings of the case ;no locus to file application under S.482 CrPC

Third Party not connected with proceedings of the case has no locus to file application under Section 482 Cr.P.C - SC



SANJAI TIWARI Vs THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH & ANR

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.869 Of 2020

DECEMBER 16, 2020.


The Hon’ble Supreme Court Justices ASHOK BHUSHAN, R. SUBHASH REDDY and M.R. SHAH, by setting aside the impugned judgment of the High Court, has allowed the appeal by observing that the proceedings being initiated by respondent No.2 who is not concerned with the proceedings in any manner and having no locus to file the application is not clearly maintainable.


The facts of the case states that the appellant is an accused who was charged for the offences under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 477A & 120B IPC and Section 13(1) C/D read with 13(2) 2 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. An inquiry was commenced by the Vigilance Department of State of Uttar Pradesh on a complaint filed by one R.K. Choudhary against the appellant. A Writ Petition was filed by the appellant in the High Court challenging the Inquiry. The High Court directed that no inquiry can be proceeded with against the appellant unless the complainant was first examined. The Secretary, Vigilance, directed lodging of an FIR against the appellant and five others. On the basis of which FIR No.02/2006 was registered against the appellant. Writ Petition was filed by the appellant in which the High Court stayed the order passed by the Secretary. In PIL No.35628/2013 the High Court directed conducting of a preliminary investigation by CBI. Later, a Writ Petition filed by the appellant was dismissed due to non-appearance of counsel after which charge-sheet was filed by the Vigilance Department against the appellant.

Respondent No.2 filed an application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking direction to Special Judge to expedite and conclude Special Trial. Respondent No.2 in his application has stated that he is a social activist and an Advocate by profession and only as person having an urge to positively contribute to the society in all possible ways he has filed this application and it is not for any personal interest. The High Court disposed the application, directing the Court concerned to expedite the proceedings of the case and conclude the same, at the earliest possible, on day to day basis without granting any unnecessary adjournment to either of the parties, in accordance with law, provided there is no impediment. This appeal was filed by the appellant questioning the order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. filed by respondent No.2.


The Learned counsel for the appellant has contended that the High Court has committed error in entertaining the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C filed by the respondent No.2 who had no locus standi to file a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. It was also stated that it was not a case where it can be said that any delay is caused by the accused.


The Learned counsel for the State, on the other hand, submits that all criminal trials where offences involved are covered by Prevention of Corruption Act have to be held on day to day basis and there can be no exception to the order passed by the High Court.


The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed the decision made with regard to locus standi of a third party to challenge the criminal proceedings or to seek relief in respect of criminal proceedings of accused in Janata Dal vs. H.S. Chowdhary and others, (1993) 1 SCC 756 which held that it is for the parties in the criminal case to raise all the questions and challenge the proceedings initiated against them at appropriate time before the proper forum and not for third parties under the garb of Public Interest Litigants. Thus, the Court has made the following observations,

"It is well settled that criminal trial where offences involved are under the Prevention of Corruption Act have to be conducted and concluded at the earliest since the offences under Prevention of Corruption Act are offences which affect not only the accused but the entire society and administration. It is also well settled that the High Court in appropriate cases can very well under Section 482 Cr.P.C. or in any other proceeding can always direct trial court to expedite the criminal trial and issue such order as may be necessary. But the present is a case where proceeding initiated by respondent No.2 does not appear to be a bona fide proceeding. Respondent No.2 is in no way connected with initiation of criminal proceeding against the appellant. Respondent No.2 in his application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. in paragraph 6 has described him as a social activist and an Advocate. An application by a person who is in no way connected with the criminal proceeding or criminal trial under Section 482 Cr.P.C. cannot ordinarily be entertained by the High Court. A criminal trial of an accused is conducted in accordance with procedure as prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Code. It is the obligation of the State and the prosecution to ensure that all criminal trials are conducted expeditiously so that justice can be delivered to the accused if found guilty. The present is not a case where prosecution or even the employer of the accused have filed an application either before the trial court or in any other court seeking direction as prayed by respondent No.2 in his application under Section 482 Cr.P.C" (Para.11).


Applying the above legality in the facts of the present case, the Court observed the following:

We are fully satisfied that respondent No.2 has no locus in the present case to file application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. asking the Court to expedite the hearing in criminal trial. We have already observed that all criminal trials where offences involved under the Prevention of Corruption Act have to be concluded at an early date and normally no exception can be taken to the order of the High Court directing the trial court to expedite the criminal trial but in the present case the fact is that proceedings have been initiated by respondent No.2 who was not concerned with the proceedings in any manner and the respondent No.2 has no locus to file the application which was not clearly maintainable, we are of the view that the impugned judgment of the High Court dated 09.09.2020 cannot be sustained(Para.15).


Based on the observations, the appeal was allowed, the judgment of the High Court was set aside and the application filed by respondent No.2 under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was dismissed. It was also held that the observations made in this order shall not affect the criminal trial and it would be open for the trial court to expedite the criminal trial, subject to any order passed by the High Court in pending proceedings.


M.Nandhitha


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