The Magistrate cannot refuse to issue the process unless the evidence led before him is self contradictory or intrinsically untrustworthy and is insufficient to make out a prima facie case. He is not supposed to weigh the evidence meticulously as if he were the trial Court. The standard to be adopted in scrutinising the evidence for the purpose of this section is not the same as one which is adopted at the stage of framing of charges.
While exercising his discretion under Section 203 the Magistrate should not take into consideration the motive which might have actuated the complainant to move the complaint nor should he be influenced by considerations outside the facts which the complainant has adduced in support of the complaint moved by him.
It is mandatory for the Magistrate to record reasons for dismissing the complaint under Section 203 so that the higher Courts may not find it difficult to determine whether the Magistrate while dismissing the complaint has applied his mind to the facts or not. Such recording of reasons also serves as an effective safeguard against arbitrary dismissal of a complaint. Any order of dismissal of a complaint under Section 203 without recording reasons would be illegal, and this illegality cannot be cured by Section 465 of the Code.
It has been decided by the Patna High Court in Ram Narayan v. Panchand Jain, that an order of dismissal under Section 203 is neither an order of discharge nor an order of acquittal and therefore the principle contained in the maxim autrefois convict or autre fois acquit as embodied in Section 300, Cr. P. C. has no application in a case under Section 203, Cr. P. C.
As such, a complaint after the dismissal of the first one is not barred under this section. However, such a second complaint may be entertained only in exceptional circumstances such as the first complaint having been dismissed because of incomplete record of facts or misunderstanding about the nature of the complaint or the new facts adduced in the second complaint could not be placed before the Magistrate in the first complaint despite due diligence.
Where the Magistrate entertains a second complaint on the same facts after the dismissal of the first one, it would not necessarily be an abuse of his power unless there are no sufficient grounds for proceeding.
In other words, where the Magistrate finds that there is absence of essential ingredients of the offence alleged in the complaint or that the dispute is of a purely civil nature or there are patent absurdities in the evidence, he should dismiss the complaint under Section 203 there being no sufficient ground for the proceeding.
The Supreme Court in Rajender Prasad v. Bashir, has held that where no inquiry could be held under Section 203 (2) by the committal Magistrate in deciding the inclusion of offence or impleadment of accused, the trial Magistrate could take recourse to provisions of Sections 190 to 199, Cr.P.C. for addition of offence and impleadment of accused.
The High Court of Madras in Mukesh Jain v. Balachandan, held that order of Magistrate dismissing the complaint by merely looking into statement and not the complaint itself was not proper. In the instant case, a revision against complaint filed against the respondent under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The Court observed that the revision must be read along-with sworn statement of the complainant recorded under Section 200, Cr. P.C. and not be read disjunctively. The allegations in the complaint and sworn statement, if read together, made out a case to take cognizance of an offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
Therefore, the order of the Magistrate dismissing the complaint by merely looking into sworn in statement and not the complaint itself was not proper and hence liable to be set aside.