'J&K CrPC still to apply to criminal cases registered prior to Reorganisation Act'

J&K High Court has held that all criminal cases registered prior to coming into force of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, shall be dealt with erstwhile J&K State’s Criminal Procedure Code.

A division bench of Justices Ali Muhammad Magrey and Sanjay Dhar while clarifying the  position regarding all cases or proceedings where the date of occurrence is prior to the coming into force of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, held that  it is the repealed Act, Code that shall be applied to all such cases.

The Court said no Act or Code provided by the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 shall apply to such cases.

The Court said this while hearing a criminal appeal against the life imprisonment awarded by a trail court to a man who was accused of murder and rape.

The DB observed that the trial court has erred in law by applying the provisions of the Central Criminal Procedure Code to the facts and circumstances of the case.

The Court held that the life imprisonment awarded by the  trial court should not be executed unless confirmed by it (HC)  as the trial court has erred by applying the central law to the case.

The directions came after senior advocate Sunil Sethi on behalf of the appellant, submitted that date of occurrence of the proceedings in question happened prior to the passing of the Jammu & Kashmir 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” he said.

Agreeing with the submissions by Sethi, the Court said “Right which has accrued to the Prosecution to investigate the crime which took place prior to the coming into force of the Central Criminal Procedure Code and which was covered by the erstwhile Act remained unaffected by reason of Clause (C) of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 and the application of Clauses 13 and 14 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) Order, 2019”.

The Court directed its Registrar  Judicial  to communicate this order to all the Principal District & Sessions Judges of the UTs of J&K and Ladakh, who, it said,  shall inform the trial Judges and  Magistrates of the same expeditiously.

The Court however issued notice in the appeal filed by  Sanjay Kumar Rai against the judgment of Principal Sessions Judge Kulgam.

The Sessions court has held Raj guilty for the commission of offences punishable under Sections 302 and 307 of the RPC and has sentenced him to life imprisonment for the offence under Section 302 of RPC and rigorous imprisonment of 07 years for offence under Section 307 of the Code.