Second complaint based on discovery of new facts in the same matter is maintainable: SC

Supreme Court: M.M. Shantanagoudar, J speaking for himself and N.V. Ramana, J. allowed an appeal filed against the judgment of the Patna High Court wherein it set aside the order of Chief Judicial Magistrate taking cognizance of various offences under IPC.

The appellant was the husband of one Dr Ira Sinha, who had purchased a fully automatic Biochemistry Analyser model “Miura 200” from Logotech (India) (P) Ltd.,of which the respondents were directors. The said analyser was not working properly; even after repeated complaints, the respondents did not pay attention. An FIR was lodged under Sections 406, 420, 384 and 386 IPC. Magistrate took cognizance of the offences. However, the order was quashed by High Court. Subsequently, again problem arose with the functioning of the analyser. The manufacturer of the machine sent a technical representative who found that the original parts of the machine were replaced with duplicate parts; he also gave a service report for the same. The respondents threatened the appellant and his wife to return the report or face dire consequences. Another FIR was lodged under Sections 420, 406, 374, 448, 307, 427 and 506 IPC, the cognizance of which was taken by the Magistrate. However, the order taking cognizance was set aside by the High Court. This judgment was impugned in the instant appeal.

The Supreme Court held that the High Court was at fault in quashing the order of the Magistrate. High Court was primarily influenced by the fact that the earlier order of taking cognizance was quashed in the same matter. The Court referred to its previous decision in Udai Shankar Awasthy v. State of U.P., (2013) 2 SCC 435,  to observe that law does not prohibit filing the second complaint in the same matter if it is based on the discovery of new facts. In the instant case, new facts of replacing the original parts with duplicate had emerged, and thus the second complaint was maintainable. Also, the Court found that there was a prima facie case against the respondents. Thus, the High Court was not right in quashing the order taking cognizance. The appeal was allowed. [Om Prakash Singh v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine SC 684, decided on 11-07-2018]

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    The heading of this article incorrectly mentions ‘ Second “Appeal”‘ in place of the second complaint.

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