Patna High Court: Birendra Kumar, J. allowed the application to quash criminal proceedings against the petitioner as the whole criminal prosecution against the petitioners stood to be vitiated in law.

The petitioners challenged the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gopalganj whereby they were asked to face trial for offences under Sections 53 and 52 of the Bihar Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1981. The Petitioners had purchased cane to the quantum of 50.36 lakhs quintal from the cane growers and the cost of the same was not paid in full. As such, the complaint petition was filed by the Cane Officer with prior approval of the Cane Commissioner.

The petitioners contended that the complainant was not a competent person to file a complaint petition. The Cane Commissioner is an officer authorized in this behalf by the State Government to file a complaint; however, he may by speaking order grant sanction for prosecution. In this case, the sanction for prosecution has been granted in a mechanical manner which is against the mandate of law. They also contended that the Magistrate did not apply his mind before summoning the petitioners.

The counsel for the respondents contended that the Magistrate had issued the summon order after considering the plight of the cane growers.

The Court held that cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate in a mechanical manner and that the Magistrate failed to examine the requirement of constitution of the offences for which cognizance has been taken. Therefore, impugned order suffered from non-application of judicial mind. The Court also opined that the Cane Commissioner had not gone into the allegation and material brought before him to substantiate the allegation. The sanction granted to the Cane Officer to act on behalf of the Cane Commissioner was carried out in a mechanical manner

In view of the above-noted facts, the instant application was allowed and the impugned order and subsequent proceedings against the petitioner stood quashed.[Vishnu Sugar Mills Ltd. v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1187, decided on 19-07-2019]

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