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J&K HC directs for application of SCrPC instead CCrPC for cases prior to reorganization

High Court in a significant decision today directed that the erstwhile State Criminal Procedure Code shall be applied instead of the Central Criminal Procedure Code to all those criminal cases where the date of occurrence or institution is prior to the coming into force of the J&K Reorganization Act 2019.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjay Dhar while hearing an appeal challenging therein the verdict of trial court without sending the case for reference to High Court under State Criminal Procedure Code was necessary.
The appellant Sanjay Kumar Rai challenged his conviction by the Principal District Judge Kulgam. Appellant Rai was convicted by the trial court on June 2020 and was awarded life imprisonment for the offence of 302 RPC (murder) and rigorous imprisonment of 7 years with fine of Rs 30000 for offence of 307 RPc (attempt murder) without sending the case for reference to High Court as required under CrPC.
Appellant’s counsel argued before the court that the sentence awarded by the court below cannot be executed in view of the fact that no reference order has been made by the court below in view of the mandate of the erstwhile state Criminal Procedure Code.
He informed the court that since the date of occurrence of the proceedings in question happens to be prior to the passing of J&K Reorganization Act 2019 therefore the trial court was obliged under law to deal with the case after taking recourse to the erstwhile State Criminal Procedure Code but has wrongly applied the Central Criminal Procedure Code.
Court after these submissions made by the appellant counsel said, that the submissions made by the counsel has all the substance as the right which has accrued to the prosecution to investigate the crime which took place prior to the coming into force the Central Criminal Procedure Code and which was covered by the erstwhile Act remained unaffected by the provisions of J&K Reorganization Act 2019.
DB has held that the trial court has erred in law by applying the provisions of Central Criminal Procedure Code to the facts and circumstances of the instant case. Court said it was the erstwhile CrPC which was to be made applicable to the case in view of the clauses of 13 and 14 of the J&K Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) order 2019.
DB directed the trial court to send the order of reference to this court by the next date of hearing. Court directed that the sentence awarded to the appellant cannot be executed, unless confirmed by the High Court. “The sentence awarded to the appellant shall not be executed”, DB directed.

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