Supreme Court Guidelines

Withdrawal of prosecution (Section 321 Cr. P.C)

Rajendra Kumar Jain v. State through
Special Police Establishment,
AIR 1980 SC 1510: (1980) 3 SCC 435

1. Under the scheme of the Code prosecution of an offender for a serious offence is primarily the responsibility of the Executive.
2. The withdrawal from the prosecution is an executive function of the Public Prosecutor.
3. The discretion to withdraw from the prosecution is that of the Public Prosecutor and none else, and so, he cannot surrender that discretion to someone else.
4. The Government may suggest to the Public Prosecutor that he may withdraw from the prosecution but none can compel him to do so.
5. The Public Prosecutor may withdraw from the prosecution not merely on the ground of paucity of evidence but on other relevant grounds as well in order to further the broad ends of public justice, public order and peace. The broad ends of public justice will certainly include appropriate social, economic and, we add, political purposes sans Tammany Hall enterprises.
6. The Public Prosecutor is an officer of the Court and responsible to the Court.
7. The Court performs a supervisory function in granting its consent to the withdrawal.
8. The Court’s duty is not to reappreciate the grounds which led the Public Prosecutor to request withdrawal from the prosecution but to consider whether the Public Prosecutor applied his mind as a free agent, uninfluenced by irrelevant and extraneous consideration. The Court has a special duty in this regard as it is the ultimate repository of legislative confidence in granting or withholding its consent to withdrawal from the prosecution.

We may add, it shall be the duty of the Public Prosecutor to inform the Court and it shall be the duty of the Court to appraise itself of the reasons which prompt the Public Prosecutor to withdraw from the prosecution. The Court has a responsibility and a stake in the administration of criminal justice and so has the Public Prosecutor, its ‘Minister of Justice’. Both have a duty to protect the administration of criminal justice against possible abuse or misuse by the Executive by resort to the provisions of section 321, Criminal Procedure Code. The independence of the judiciary requires that once the case has travelled to the Court, the Court and its officers alone must have control over the case and decide what is to be done in each case.

Source: M A Rashid, Supreme Court Guidelines and Precedents, Universal

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