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Cites 7 docs - [View All]
Section 326 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
The Essential Commodities Act, 1955
Section 262 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Section 265 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Section 16 in The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
Citedby 3 docs
Mangat Ram vs State Of Rajasthan And Ors on 11 August, 2009
Patel Chunibhai Ranchhoddbhai vs Joitaram Rambhai Patel And Anr. on 15 February, 2007
Shivaji Sampat Jagtap vs Rajan Hiralal Arora And The State ... on 11 August, 2006

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Rajasthan High Court
State Of Rajasthan vs Rajesh Agrawal And Ors. Etc. on 25 May, 1994
Equivalent citations: 1996 CriLJ 1057, 1994 (1) WLN 642
Author: B Arora
Bench: B Arora

ORDER B.R. Arora, J.

1. These sixteen revision petitions arise out of the order passed by the learned Special Judge, Essential Commodities Cases Court, Jodhpur. In all these revision petitions, the accused are facing trial for the offence under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act (hereinafter referred as 'the Act'). The learned Special Judge of the Essential Commodities Cases Court, Jodhpur, who recorded the statements of the witnesses, was transferred. The Special Judge, who succeeded, ordered for de novo trial in view of Sub-section (3) of Section 326 Cr.P.C, which makes Section 326 Cr.P.C. inapplicable in the cases of summary trial.

2. The controversy involved in the present case is whether the de novo trial is obligatory with the change of the Special Judge who recorded the evidence or part of it but has not pronounced the judgment? Looking to the gravity of the offence and the punishment prescribed, the cases under the Essential Commodities Act are warrant cases but the warrant trial in these cases is dispensed with. Section 12-AA(1)(f) of the Act makes a provision for the trial of the cases under the Act by the Special Court in a summary manner. This Section further makes applicable the Sections 262 to 265 Cr. P.C. By virtue of Section 262 Cr.P.C. the procedure for trial of summons cases, contained in Chapter XX of the Code will apply for the trial of the cases under the Act. The Special Court under the Act has been left with no alternative but to proceed with the summary trial as Clause (1) of Sub-section (1) of Section 12-AA of the Act declares it as an imperative intent. In a summary trial when the accused does not plead guilty, the Court has to record the substance of the evidence and the judgment containing the brief statements of these facts. The general rule of trial is that the person who hears the entire case must give judgment. But a departure has been made by Section 326 Cr.P.C. This provision has been made in order to expedite the trial but this Section has not been made applicable in the cases of summary trials the record in such cases is scanty. The Succeeding Judge, therefore, cannot act on the evidence so recorded by his predecessor or partly recorded by his predecessor and partly recorded by himself and he has to hold a de novo trial.

3. Speedy trial for determination of the guilt is the essence of criminal justice. In order to fulfil this object and to see that the trial should be concluded soon, the procedure of summary trial has been adopted for the trial of the cases under the Act but the frequent transfers of the presiding officers and the time taken in completion of the trial, the object, for which the summary trial was introduced has not been achieved and each time when there is a transfer of the presiding officer, there have to be a de novo trial. If while providing a trial of the offence as 'summary trial' in addition to it, a provision like proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act would have been made in the Act authorising the Special Judge to decide at the commencement of the trial or during the course of it that a warrant trial should be conducted looking to the gravity of the offence then this problem of de novo trial on each transfer would not have arisen and Section 326 Cr. P.C. would have taken care of the situation. But the legislation is not the sphere of the Courts, and it is for the Legislature to decide what procedure is to be prescribed for the trial of the offences.

4. The law, as it stands today, gives no power to the succeeding Judge to proceed with the trial from the stage at which his predecessor had left it, as in view of Sub-section (3) of Section 326 Cr.P.C, the provisions of Section 326 Cr.P.C. are not applicable to summary trials. The succeeding Judge has, therefore, no option except to order for de novo trial. The learned Special Judge of the Essential Commodities Court, Jodhpur has, therefore, committed no illegality in ordering for de novo trial.

5. In the result, I do not find any merit in this revision petition and the same is hereby dismissed.