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Accused Cannot Produce Material During Framing Of Charge, SC Holds

The Court clarified that the primary focus during the framing of charges is to establish the existence of a prima facie case, and a detailed examination of the evidence is not required at this stage

The Supreme Court of India recently ruled that when charges are being framed, the accused cannot present any evidence or documents to contest the case. The Court emphasised that, at this stage, the trial Court should make its decision solely based on the prosecution's chargesheet material, presuming it to be true in order to establish the existence of a prima facie case.

The bench, consisting of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar, heard an appeal against the Gujarat High Court's decision to quash the trial court's rejection of the respondent's application for discharge under Article 227 of the Constitution of India read with Section 482 of the Indian Penal Code. The respondent faced charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, related to allegations of disproportionate assets acquired during their time as a Sub Inspector of police.

The High Court disagreed with the Trial Court and emphasised the need for a prima facie case and allowing the revision petition based on the lack of recorded statements from certain individuals.

The Supreme Court clarified that the primary focus during the framing of charges is to establish the existence of a prima facie case, and a detailed examination of the evidence is not required at this stage. It also stressed the High Court's authority to examine the records of lower courts to ensure the legality and regularity of proceedings.

As a result, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court's decision and instructed the trial court to proceed with the trial, emphasising that it should conclude within one year.


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