Section 258 of the Criminal Procedure Code to stop proceedings merely because the accused had absconded or that despite the initiation of coercive proceedings, his presence could not be secured observed by the Kerala High Court.
Section 258 CrPc. says that it gives power to a Magistrate of the First Class or with the previous sanction of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, any other judicial Magistrate, to stop the proceedings at any stage without pronouncing a judgment by recording the reasons for the same. The provision also states that where such stoppage of proceedings is made after the evidence of the principal witnesses has been recorded; the Magistrate shall pronounce a judgment of acquittal. In any other case, the court can release the accused and such release shall have the effect of discharge.
"Section 258 can be invoked only in peculiar and unusual circumstances in cases, wherein no prima facie case is made out against the accused or when the accusation does not actually constitute an offence or for the reason that the prosecution is bound to fail on account of a technical defect. For the reason that the accused had absconded or that despite the initiation of coercive proceedings, his presence could not be secured is no reason to invoke Section 258 of the Cr.P.C." said by the court.
In these cases the magistrates had not made any genuine endeavour to secure presence of the accused by exhausting the provision under the Code.
The court further observed "The order is laconic and is not supported by any reasons. The learned Magistrate has exceeded in its powers in invoking provisions of Section 258 of the Code and hence, cannot be sustained, the same being illegal and irregular."