Legal Correspondent

There has to be at least some material implicating the accused

New Delhi: Courts cannot take cognisance of a criminal case on the basis of a complaint merely on the basis of suspicion, the Supreme Court has held.

"It is true that at the stage of taking cognisance adequacy of evidence will not be seen by the court, but there has to be at least some material implicating the accused and cognisance cannot be taken merely on the basis of suspicion. To take a contrary view would only lead to harassment of people," said a Bench of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice Markandey Katju.

In the instant case, the father of a deceased person lodged a complaint with the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hazaribagh, that his son was murdered due to poisoning by the accused, Harischandra Prasad Mani, and two others. The CJM asked the police to register a First Information Report (FIR) and after investigation a chargesheet was filed. The CJM took cognisance of the chargesheet and issued summons to the accused. The Jharkhand High Court rejected a petition for quashing the chargesheet. The present appeal by the accused is directed against this order.

Writing the judgment for the Bench, Mr. Justice Katju said: "We have carefully perused the entire record and we find that there is not even an iota of evidence or any material on record against the appellants. It is true that at this stage it is not necessary that the complainant or prosecution must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, but at least there must be some material on the basis of which cognisance is taken and summons is issued."