Order quashing FIR against Siva Shankar Baba recalled

Justice R N Manjula recalled her order passed on October 17 after being satisfied with the submissions of State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammed Jinnah, today
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday recalled its earlier order, which set aside the First Information Report (FIR) registered against controversial Godman Siva Shankar Baba in a sexual harassment case.

Justice R N Manjula recalled her order passed on October 17 after being satisfied with the submissions of State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammed Jinnah, today.

Originally, while allowing a petition from Baba, Justice Manjula had set aside the FIR registered against him after holding that the case was barred by limitation. The allegation of sexual harassment by Baba, made by the complainant, mother of a boy studying in the school run by the Godman, was serious in nature.

However, in the absence of any petition under section 473 CrPC to condone the delay filed along with the complaint, the case becomes barred by limitation. Hence, the investigation could not serve any fruitful purpose and for the reasons of technical flaw, the FIR is liable to be quashed, the judge had held.

Aggrieved, the State police preferred the present petition to recall this order.

Jinnah submitted the stage of FIR was already over when the order was passed on October 17. The court had inadvertently proceeded to hear the matter and quash the FIR without noticing the subsequent development. No notice was issued to the complainant/victim and as such, no opportunity was provided to her to explain her case. The Supreme Court and the High Courts had held in several cases that the informant/complainant has to be heard/given an opportunity to make submissions before allowing a quash petition. The order passed without any notice being issued to the complainant/victim, especially in a case alleging sexual offence of this nature, is against the principles of natural justice. The victim/complainant in a case of this nature, cannot be expected to be aware of the time limit to file the complaint, and that is why section 473 of the Cr.PC acts as an overriding provision in section 468 of Cr.PC. Six more such cases are pending against Baba, the PP pointed out.

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