Kar HC | Freezing of Bank accounts by investigating authorities would adversely affect right to life under Art. 21 of the Constitution of India

Karnataka High Court: Mohammad Nawaz J. allowed the petition and defreezes the bank accounts subject to a bank guarantee.

The facts of the case are such that the complainant filed a complaint against the petitioner that the money she has been cheated of was deposited is petitioner’s account which is amply clear from the account statement. Pursuant to this, Axis Bank froze the account of the petitioner on account of further investigation. Being aggrieved by the freezing order, instant petition was filed under Article 226 and 227 of Constitution of India read with Section 482 of Criminal procedure Code praying to quash the notice dated 22-06 2020 passed by respondent 1 to Axis bank directing to unfreeze the petitioners bank account and other linked or connected accounts and direct the petitioner bank to unfreeze the petitioner all Bank accounts and to pass any other appropriate orders.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioner is carrying out a legitimate business and thus will be able to justify each credit transaction that has taken place and therefore the freezing of the petitioners account without following due procedure is wholly arbitrary. It was further submitted that Section 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which is mandatory, has not been followed while freezing the bank account

Counsel for respondent submitted that the account statement belonging to the petitioner clearly discloses the alleged transaction and thus there is a nexus between the accused, petitioner and the fraud committed against the complainant and therefore petition must be dismissed.

The Court relied on judgment Prakash Padukone v. State of Karnataka in WP No. 13516/ 2018 dated 04-04-2018 and wherein it was observed that

“This court is of the firm opinion that unless and until there is a strong suspicion against the petitioners, the police would not be justified in freezing the account belonging to the petitioners. For, such freezing of account adversely affects the right to life under Article 21 of Constitution of India. But, in order to balance the conflicting interest of the petitioners, with the interest of the Investigating Agency, and the interest of the complainant, in the interest of justice, respondent Nos.1 and 2 are directed to de- freeze the account belonging to the petitioners, provided, the petitioner No.1 submits a bond of 20,00,000/-   (Rupees   Twenty   Lakh   only) before the learned Sessions Judge, before whom the present case is pending.”

The Court observed that all the four bank accounts of the petitioner have been freezed by virtue of the notice issued by the Investigating officer. Certainly, such freezing of account would adversely affect his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. According to the complaint, she was duped of Rs. 3,73,899/- and it is alleged that a sum of Rs. 99,999/- was deposited in the Axis bank Account No.278010100061117 of the petitioner. The petitioner has undertaken to offer sufficient bank guarantee and also to abide by conditions.

The Court thus held Respondent No.1 is directed to intimate the concerned banks to defreeze the accounts, provided the petitioner offering a bank guarantee for a sum of 3,73,899/-. Petitioner shall make himself available for the purpose of investigation whenever required.”

[Narayan Yadav v. State of Karnataka, Writ Petition No. 226989 of 2020, decided on 30-08-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearances

For petitioner- Mr. S. Manoj Kumar and Anil Kumar

For respondent- Mr. Mallikarjun Sahukar

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