whether the High Court was justified in partly allowing the petition and thereby was justified in altering the charge framed against the respondents for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC to Section 304­A IPC. = whether any case under Section 304­A IPC has been made out against the respondents or not and, if so, what punishment can be imposed on them for commission of such offence, and if not, then why. In our opinion, the reasoning and the conclusion arrived at by the High Court for altering the charge for the offence from Section 302 to Section 304­A IPC at this stage cannot be faulted with. = Needless to observe, depending upon the evidence adduced by the prosecution, the Sessions Judge has ample power to alter/amend/add any charge by taking recourse to powers under Section 216 of the Cr.P.C. notwithstanding the High Court altering the charge at this stage.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2218 OF 2011
State of Haryana … Appellant(s)
Versus
Rajesh Aggarwal & Anr. … Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1) This appeal is filed by the State of Haryana
against the final judgment and order dated
27.11.2006 passed by the High Court of Punjab &
Haryana at Chandigarh in Criminal Revision No.413
of 2001 whereby the High Court partly allowed the
petition filed by the respondents herein and altered
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the charge framed against them for the offence
punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal
Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as “IPC”) to that
under Section 304­A IPC.
2) Few facts need to be mentioned infra for the
disposal of the appeal, which involves a short point.
3) There is a private limited company called “M/s
Kee Pharma Private Limited” at Gurgaon (Haryana).
This company is engaged in the business of
manufacture of chemical drugs in their factory at
Gurgaon.
4) The respondents are said to be the
shareholders/Directors of the Company and are
responsible for the day­to­day affairs and working of
the Company and its factory.
5) On 27.06.1996, a blast occurred in the factory
premises and as a result of which smoke spread in
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the entire factory. When the blast occurred, 45
workers were present in the factory. They ran here
and there for their safety. This resulted in stampede
in the factory area causing death of seven workers.
6) This led to registration of FIR No.694 of 1996
on 27.06.1996 against the respondents in PS Sadar,
Gurgaon at the instance of some of the workers. It
was registered against the respondents being the
persons responsible for the affairs and running of
the Company and its factory for commission of
offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.
7) The respondents, questioning the legality of
the FIR registered against them for the offence
punishable under Section 302 IPC, filed a petition
under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as “the
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Cr.P.C.”) in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana
and sought its quashing.
8) By impugned order, the High Court partly
allowed the petition and altered the charge framed
against the respondents for the offence punishable
under Section 302 IPC to Section 304­A IPC.
9) The State felt aggrieved by the impugned order
and filed this appeal by way of special leave in this
Court.
10) Heard Dr. Monika Gusain, learned counsel for
the appellant­State and Mr. Gopal Singh, learned
counsel for the respondents.
11) The short question, which arises for
consideration in this appeal, is whether the High
Court was justified in partly allowing the petition
and thereby was justified in altering the charge
framed against the respondents for the offence
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punishable under Section 302 IPC to Section 304­A
IPC.
12) Having heard the learned counsel for the
parties and on perusal of the record of the case, we
find no merit in the appeal.
13) At the outset, we are constrained to observe
that the trial in the case must set in motion and
conclude in terms of the direction of the High Court
for deciding as to whether any case under Section
304­A IPC has been made out against the
respondents or not and, if so, what punishment can
be imposed on them for commission of such offence,
and if not, then why. In our opinion, the reasoning
and the conclusion arrived at by the High Court for
altering the charge for the offence from Section 302
to Section 304­A IPC at this stage cannot be faulted
with.
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14) It is really unfortunate that due to pendency of
this litigation and the stay operating, the trial in the
case remained stayed for all these years. It
obviously benefited the respondents who, despite
not questioning the altering of the charge by the
High Court, did not face trial even for altered
charge.
15) Without expressing any opinion on the factual
controversy on the said unfortunate incident, which
took the life of seven workers as the same is now
subject matter of trial before the Sessions Judge, we
direct the Sessions Judge, who is seized of the trial
of the respondents’ case in question, to ensure that
the trial is completed on merits within one year
from the date of this order strictly in accordance
with law.
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16) Needless to observe, depending upon the
evidence adduced by the prosecution, the Sessions
Judge has ample power to alter/amend/add any
charge by taking recourse to powers under Section
216 of the Cr.P.C. notwithstanding the High Court
altering the charge at this stage.
17) With these observations/directions, the appeal
fails and is accordingly dismissed. The order
granting interim stay is recalled.
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18) Registry is directed to send a copy of this order
forthwith to the concerned Sessions Judge/Police
Station for ensuring compliance of the directions
contained in this order.
……………………………………..J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]

……………………………………….J.
[SANJAY KISHAN KAUL]
New Delhi;
August 20, 2018
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