Whether the error committed by the Magistrate has occasioned a gross failure of Justice?
At the stage of Sections 203 & 204 of the Code in a case exclusively triable by the Court of Session, all that the Magistrate has to do is to see whether on a cursory perusal of the complaint and the evidence recorded during the preliminary inquiry under Sections 200 & 202 there is prima facie evidence in support of the charge levelled against the accused.
All that he has to see is whether or not there is “sufficient ground for proceeding” against the accused. If there is prima facie evidence, that will be a sufficient ground for issuing process to the accused and committing them for trial to the Court of Session. The standard to be adopted by the Magistrate in scrutinizing the evidence is not the same as the one which is to be kept in view at the stage of framing charges. At this stage of Sections 203 & 204, the Magistrate is not to weigh the evidence meticulously as if he were the trial court.
However, where the Magistrate does not lack inherent jurisdiction to pass the order, he, in meticulously appreciating the evidence, only oversteps the limits of his direction and commits only an irregularity, if not illegality, in the exercise of his jurisdiction.
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