Under which circumstances court can permit the consolidation of criminal cases?

Perusal of the above table reveals that the respondent has

preferred these complaints on the very same material, evidence and documents and allegations in all the three complaints are to a large extent quite same. The petitioner is, thus, facing three separate trials in all the three complaints before the same Magistrate for not declaring the fact of having a foreign account to the Income Tax Authorities. {Para 15}

16. The ingredients of Section 220 of Cr.P.C. have been defined in

Chandni Srivastava Vs. CBI & Ors. decided on 9th Feb., 2016 in

W.P.(CRL) 3486/2018 & Crl.M.A. 47373/2018 Page no.15 of 17

WP(Crl.) 743/2013 in which it was held that Sec. 220 of the Cr.P.C. permits of one trial even if many offences are committed, if such offences form part of the same transaction, the rationale for such an exception being that in such circumstances, separate trials may lead to conflicting judgments.

17. In ‘Mohan Baitha vs. State of Bihar, AIR 2001 SC 1490’, the

Supreme Court interpreted Section 220 of the Code and observed as


“It may be noticed that under Section 220 of the

Code of Criminal Procedure, offences more than

one committed by the same persons could be tried

at one trial, if they can be held to be in one series

of acts, so as to form the same transaction. The

expression “same transaction” from its very nature

is incapable of an exact definition. It is not

intended to be interpreted in any artificial or

technical sense. Common sense and the ordinary

use of language must decide whether on the facts

of a particular case, it can be held to be in one

transaction. It is not possible to enunciate any

comprehensive formula of universal application

for the purpose of determining whether two or

more acts constitute the same transaction. But the

circumstances of a given case indicating proximity

of time, unity or proximity of place, continuity of

action and community of purpose or design are the

factors for deciding whether certain acts form parts

of the same transaction or not. Therefore, a series

of acts whether are so connected together as to

form the same transaction is purely a question of

fact to be decided on the aforesaid criteria”.

18. The broad test, therefore, for ascertaining whether offences

charged form part of the same transaction is whether the other set of offences, even though distinct and separate, have been committed for facilitating the commission of the main offence. If the offences alleged involve similar persons and there is a hint of continuity of action, it is then part of the same transaction. Thus, if the substratum of the series of acts is common, then those acts do constitute same transaction.

19. As discussed above, the three complaints in fact are a part of the same transaction. The first complaint has been filed on the assumption that petitioner is holding an undisclosed foreign account and two subsequent complaints are nothing but to arrive at a figure to meet the ingredients of the first offence. The chart given above reveals that the allegations, documents and nature of evidence are same in all the three complaints. In these circumstances, it will be in the interest of justice to have a common trial for all the three complaints.


Pronounced on: November 24th, 2020

W.P.(CRL) 3486/2018 & Crl.M.A. 47373/2018



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