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Whereas clearing the air on the evidentiary worth of sanction order for prosecution, the Punjab and Haryana Excessive Courtroom in a latest, exceptional, rational, refreshing and strong judgment titled State of Haryana v. Asman and one other and linked matter in CRM-M-11894-2018 and one other delivered as lately as on March 16, 2022 has noticed {that a} sanction order (for prosecution) is a public doc inside the which means of Part 74(1)(iii) of the Indian Proof Act and due to this fact, the licensed copy ready of the identical below Part 76/77 of the Proof Act is admissible in proof. It have to be apprised right here that the Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan noticed thus because it put aside an order handed by ACJM, Bhwani (Haryana) summoning the then District Justice of the Peace, Bhiwani to seem as a witness to formally show a sanction order handed by him. Very rightly so!

To begin with, this temporary, sensible and balanced judgment authored by the only Decide Bench comprising of Hon’ble Mr Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan of Punjab and Haryana Excessive Courtroom units the ball rolling by at the beginning placing forth that, “This order will decide the above mentioned two petitions. Prayer in both the petition is for setting aside the orders dated 31.10.2017 and 21.11.2017 passed by the ACJM, Bhiwani in case titled ‘State Vs. Asman and another’ and ‘State Vs. Jasbir, whereby the name of witness No.9, i.e. Reader to the District Magistrate, Bhiwani has been struck off from the list of witnesses and the name of Shri Pankaj, the then District Magistrate, Bhiwani was ordered to be added in the list of witnesses and he was further summoned to appear as a witness.”

To place issues in perspective, the Bench then envisages within the subsequent para that, “Brief facts of the case are that an FIR was registered against the respondent accused under Section 25 of the Arms Act in Police Station Sadar Bhiwani, District Bhiwani for keeping in possession a country made pistol of .315 bore, along with 8 live cartridges without having any permit or license. Since it was a requirement of the Arms Act that before prosecuting the accused sanction for prosecution should be obtained from the concerned District Magistrate, being the competent authority, the sanction for prosecution was allowed by the District Magistrate. The learned State counsel has further submitted that the sanction order was attached along with the report submitted under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. and the Reader to the District Magistrate, Bhiwani was cited as a witness in the list of witnesses attached with the challan as sanction, being a public document, can be formally proved by the Reader of the District Magistrate.”

As we see, the Bench then factors out that, “Discovered State counsel has additional submitted that on 31.10.2017, with out there being any software by the respondent-accused or any request by the State, the ACJM, Bhiwani suo motu handed the next order :-

“Hence, the name of witness No.9-Reader to District Magistrate is ordered to be struck off the list of witnesses. Instead, the name of Sh. Pankaj, District Magistrate is ordered to be added the list of witnesses. PWs including the concerned District Magistrate be summoned for next date of hearing i.e. 18.12.2017.””

Moreover, the Bench then states that, “Learned State counsel has further argued that, thereafter, the said order was challenged before the Court of Sessions. However, the same was dismissed by observing that the order, being an interlocutory order, in terms of Section 397(2) Cr.P.C. and, therefore, the revision is not maintainable. The State counsel further submit that there would be no adjudication on merits by the revisional Court and as the revision petition was dismissed, being not maintainable.”

What’s extra, the Bench then discloses that, “On merits, learned State counsel has submitted that the impugned order is illegal against law and facts and the trial Court without any formal application by the accused or the prosecution has deleted the name of the Reader to District Magistrate, Bhiwani from the list of witnesses and rather has summoned the District Magistrate himself to appear and prove the order.”

Going forward, the Bench then expounds that, “Learned counsel further submit that the sanction order is a public document under Section 74(1)(iii) of the Evidence Act and can be proved by the Reader to District Magistrate, being a public document as per Section 78 of the Evidence Act, which provides that the order passed by the State Government or department of the State Government can be proved from the record of the department. The counsel further submits that a certified copy of the sanctioned order prepared under Sections 76/77 of Evidence Act, can always be proved by production of the original record by the Reader of the District Magistrate and there was no requirement to summon the District Magistrate, and, therefore, the impugned order is liable to be set aside.”

Because it turned out, the Bench then states that, “Learned State has referred the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court titled ‘R.S. Singh Vs. U.P. Malaria Nirikshak Sangh and others’ 2011(4) SCC 281, wherein it is held that the Courts ordinarily should not summon the senior officials of the Court and such practice should be adopted in exceptional case. In the instant case, since the document is a public document admissible in evidence, the same can be proved by the Reader to the District Magistrate, who can bring the original record for the perusal of the Court.”

As well as, the Bench then additionally factors out that, “The learned State counsel has further submitted that as per the Section 57 of the Evidence Act, the Court can always take the judicial note with regard to the signature of a government official holding any public office in the State and since the Deputy Commissioner is holding a public office in the State, the Court should have drawn a presumption with regard to the authenticity of the sanction order.”

In fact, the Bench then reveals that, “In reply, the counsel for the respondents has raised only one objection that the presence of District Magistrate is required so as to cross-examine him on the material available before him on the basis of which he has applied his mind before granting the sanction.”

Going forward, the Bench then additionally mentions that, “In reply, the learned State counsel has submitted that the order itself is self speaking that after proper perusal of all the materials available on record, the sanction was granted, as per the detail reasons given in the sanction order itself.”

Most importantly, the Bench then encapsulates what types the cornerstone of this notable judgment whereby it’s held that, “After listening to realized counsel for the events, I discover benefit within the current petition for the next causes:-

(a) Neither there was any software by the accused nor by the State and, due to this fact, the trial Courtroom was not justified in suo motu substituting witness No.9-Reader to the District Justice of the Peace, Bhiwani with District Justice of the Peace, Bhiwani himself.

(b) The witness No.9, i.e. Reader to District Justice of the Peace, Bhiwani was cited as a witnesses solely to show the sanction granted by the District Justice of the Peace, Bhiwani, being public doc. Because the Reader will deliver the unique document for the perusal of the Courtroom in addition to for the defence counsel, who may have a proper to cross-examine this witness for the reasoning given within the order and materials out there on document forming foundation of granting sanction there isn’t a justification in summoning the District Justice of the Peace himself.

(c) Even in any other case the sanction order is a public doc below Part 74(1) (iii) of the Indian Proof Act and the licensed copy ready of below Part 76/77 of the Proof Act, is admissible in proof.

(d) Even in any other case, if the prosecution don’t choose to quote District Justice of the Peace himself as a witness, it would give a advantage of doubt to the accused and defence can at all times increase an objection that no proper to cross-examine the individual, who accorded the sanction after making use of the thoughts was granted.”

Lastly, the Bench then concludes by holding within the remaining para that, “In view of the above, this petition is allowed, the impugned orders dated 31.10.2017 and 21.11.2017 passed by the ACJM, Bhiwani are set aside. The trial Court will proceed further by summoning witness No.9, i.e. Reader to the District Magistrate, Bhiwani for recording the evidence.”

In abstract, the Punjab and Haryana Excessive Courtroom has definitely very commendably, cogently and convincingly been capable of maintain on this realized judgment that sanction order for prosecution is a public doc below Part 74(1)(iii) of the Indian Proof Act.

It due to this fact additionally finds no issue in holding that the licensed copy ready of the identical below Part 76/77 of the Proof Act is admissible in proof. In fact, it undoubtedly deserves no reiteration that each one the courts should undoubtedly with out fail adhere in totality to what the Punjab and Haryana Excessive Courtroom has held on this case so elegantly, eloquently and successfully!

Lastly, the Bench then concludes by holding within the remaining para that, “In view of the above, this petition is allowed, the impugned orders dated 31.10.2017 and 21.11.2017 passed by the ACJM, Bhiwani are set aside. The trial Court will proceed further by summoning witness No.9, i.e. Reader to the District Magistrate, Bhiwani for recording the evidence.”





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