State of Jharkhand through SP, CBI vs Lalu Prasad @ Lalu Prasad Yadav - Supreme Court
State of Jharkhand through SP, CBI vs Lalu Prasad @ Lalu Prasad Yadav - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2017 -
On 8th May, 2017, in the case of State of Jharkhand through SP, CBI v. Lalu Prasad @ Lalu Prasad Yadav [Criminal Appeal No. 394 of 2017], in appeals arising out of three separate judgments and orders of the High Court discharging three accused persons namely; Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sajal Chakraborty and Dr. Jagannath Mishra on ground of their conviction in one of the criminal cases arising out of fodder scam of erstwhile State of Bihar, question arose for consideration as to whether in view of Article 20(2) of Constitution and Section 300 Cr.PC, it was a case of prosecution and punishment for the “same offence” more than once.
While observing that “the modus operandi being the same would not make it a single offence when the offences are separate” and “there may be a conspiracy in general one and a separate one” and “there may be larger conspiracy and smaller conspiracy which may develop in successive stages involving different accused persons”, the Supreme Court held that in the instant case defalcations were “made in various years by combination of different accused persons” and thus, “there can be separate trials.” It was held that in the instant case “there was conspiracy hatched which was continuing one and has resulted into various offences” and” it cannot be said that for the same offence the accused persons are being tried again."
The Court observed that “if conspiracy is furthered into several distinct offences there have to be separate trials. There may be a situation where in furtherance of general conspiracy, offences take place in various parts of India and several persons are killed at different times. Each trial has to be separately held and the accused to be punished separately for the offence committed in furtherance of conspiracy. In case there is only one trial for such conspiracy for separate offences, it would enable the accused person to go scotfree and commit number of offences which is not the
intendment of law.”
Accordingly, while setting aside the impugned judgments and orders passed by the High Court, the trial court concerned was directed to expedite the trial and to conclude the same as far as possible within a period of nine months.