calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: In a case related to allegation of terror activities and illegal mining within the Eastern Coalfield area under Salanpur Police Station, District Burdwan, a single-judge bench comprising of Bibhas Ranjan De,* J., held that raids conducted by the officials of Eastern Coalfield Ltd. was by virtue of repeated directions of the High Court, therefore the same cannot be held as illegal.

Brief Facts

In the instant matter, the officials of Eastern Coalfield Ltd., along with CISF personnel and police authorities, raided Dabar Colliery based on a source tip-off about illegal mining. During the raid, they found a large amount of illegal coal stocked in an abandoned unsafe building owned by Radheshyam Singh and his wife-opposite party 2. The coal was seized, but the raid party was attacked by the opposite party 2, her husband, and others using knives and other weapons. The petitioners were also threatened with false rape and molestation charges. In response, the petitioners lodged a complaint at Salanpur Police Station against the opposite party 2, her husband, and others. Subsequently, opposite party 2 filed a counter-complaint alleging assault, abuse, theft, and ransacking of her house by the petitioners.

The petitioners filed a revision application seeking the quashing of case filed under Sections 448, 323, 354, 379, 427 & 34 of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and the proceedings pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Asansole.

Parties’ Contentions

The petitioners contended that the delay in filing complaint by the opposite party 2 raises suspicions and that the raid was lawful, being conducted as per the orders of the Court to curb illegal mining and unauthorized selling of coal.

The State contended that the delay in filing the complaint by the opposite party 2 does not make it a counter blast against the petitioners’ complaint, and the charges should be considered separately.

Court’s Observation

The Court referred to D.P. Gulati v. State of U.P., (2015) 11 SCC 730 and Vineet Kumar v. State of U.P.,(2017) 13 SCC 369, which laid down principles for quashing criminal proceedings under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC).

The Court observed that all the steps suggested by the Supreme Court in Rajiv Thapar v. Madanlal Kapoor, (2013) 3 SCC 330, were complied with during the raid. The Court observed that the raid conducted by the officials of Eastern Coalfield Ltd. was lawful, based on repeated directions from the Court, and cannot be deemed illegal. The allegations in the opposite party 2’s complaint were considered absurd and unbelievable.

After examining both the FIRs and the supporting documents, including previous court orders, considering the steps outlined in Rajiv Thapar (Supra) and the precedents of Vineet Kumar (Supra) and D.P. Gulati (Supra), the Court held that the proceeding with the trial in connection with the impugned proceeding would result in an abuse of process of the court and would not serve the ends of justice.

Court’s Verdict

The Court allowed the present revision application and quashed the impugned proceedings under Sections 448, 323, 354, 379, 427 & 34 of the IPC.

[Raja Paul v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 2216, order dated 01-08-2023]

*Judgment by Justice Bibhas Ranjan De

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Mr. Somopriyo Chowdhury, Mr. Dipayan Da, Counsel for the Petitioners;

Mr. Pravash Bhattacharya, Mr. Mirza Firoj Ahmed Begg, Counsel for the Respondent/State.

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