Case BriefsForeign Courts

   

Court of Appeal of the Republic of Singapore: In a case of possession of Class A controlled drug for the purpose of trafficking that challenged the Ss. 356, 357 and 409 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 2010 (‘CPC') for being inconsistent with Arts. 9(1) and 12(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, the bench of Sundaresh Menon, CJ.,Tay Yong Kwang JCA and Woo Bih Li JAD declared that the CPC Cost provisions were not violative of Articles 9 and 12 while noting that the provisions cannot rationally deter a lawyer from acting in bona fide.

Factual Matrix

The appellant in the case, Abdul Rahim, and a co-accused person, Ong Seow Ping (“Ong”), were scheduled to be executed on Friday, 05-08-2022 after conviction in a joint trial for possessing a Class A controlled drug for the purpose of trafficking under S. 5(1)(a), read with S. 5(2), of the Misuse of Drugs Act for which their appeal was dismissed and eventually filed OC on 01-08-2022. The appellant also challenged CPC Cost Provisions stating that they are invalid for being inconsistent with the Constitution.

Appellant's Contention

The appellants contented that the Declaration Claim is inconsistent with the principles of natural justice and the Constitution. The appellants claimed that it prevented and/or obstructed from appointing lawyers to review and/or challenge their conviction and/or sentence and/or the clemency process and/or make other legal challenges.” which denied them access to justice and thus, violated Articles 9(1) and 12(1) of the Constitution. The appellants claimed that the exposure to costs by the CPC Cost Provisions made it unlikely for the lawyers to represent them out of fear of costs.

The appellant further mentioned in his OC, 173 as grounds of his stay application, his despondence regarding the assigned counsel, Manoj in joint trial for not calling material witness in the case and not objecting to the facts moulded by the authorities in the trial.

Opinion and Analysis

Relying on Roslan Bin Bakar v. Public Prosecutor, [2022] SGCA 57, the Court opined that the Articles 9 and 12 were not violated by the Declaration Claim. The CPC Cost Provisions were “unlikely to deter” counsel from providing bona fide legal advice and representing clients in good faith. The court also observed that CPC Cost Provisions merely prevents the person or lawyer to appear before a court “improperly” and does not deter them from acting in bona fide appeals of the death-row inmates, moreover, the appellants failed to show a viable legal cause of action supported by facts.

The Court also stated that the OC 173 was devoid of merits and was an abuse of the process of law. The Court dismissed the oral application for the stay on execution presented after five days of notice of execution. The Court exercised its powers under Or. 3 R. 2(2) ROC “to prevent an abuse of the process of the Court” while stating that the OC 173 was “inappropriate”.

[Iskandar bin Rahmat v. Attorney General, [2022] SGCA 58]


*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana*, CJ and AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli, JJ has urged the Courts to be cautious when examining locus standi in Public Interest Litigations in order to ensure that frivolous or private interests are not masqueraded as genuine claims.

The Court observed,

“Although the jurisprudence of Public Interest Litigation has matured, many claims filed in the Courts are sometimes immature. Thousands of frivolous petitions are filed, burdening the docket of both this Court and the High Courts. Noble intentions behind expanding the Court’s jurisdiction to accommodate socially relevant issues, in recent decades, have been critically analyzed. In our view, PIL litigation has had a beneficial effect on the Indian jurisprudence and has alleviated the conditions of the citizens in general. For those at the receiving end of the Court’s directions, we can only advise “C’est la vie”.”

Noticing the nature of PILs, the Court said that generally, PIL, being a summary jurisdiction, has limited powers to examine the bonafides of parties. It is usually on the pleadings that the Court should take a prima facie view on the bonafides of the party. If the Court concludes that the litigation was initiated under the shadow of reasonable suspicion, then the Court may decline to entertain the claims on merits. In these cases, Courts have multiple options – such as dismissing the PIL or appointing an amicus curiae, if the cause espoused in the case requires the immediate attention of the Court.

The Court was hearing a matter relating to the rights and ownership over a land, wherein the dispute regarding title was originally between one Gonsalves family and the State of Maharashtra. The land was vested into the State by an ex parte order. This order was recalled by the Revenue Minister after a Revision Application was moved by the Esteem Properties, the successors of the disputed property.

The Respondent nos. 1 and 2, however, moved the writ petition as public property belonging to the State Government was being transferred to private individuals and would lead to loss of public revenue.

The Court, however, observed that the PIL petitioners had no reason to file a public interest litigation when the subject matter was evidently a title claim between a private party and the State. It was noticed that the bonafides of the respondent nos. 1 and 2 were not considered in a proper perspective by the Bombay High Court while allowing the PIL.

The Court, also held that the PIL petitioners had no reason to file a public interest litigation when the subject matter was evidently a title claim between a private party and the State. Interestingly, the State Government itself concedes the title to the appellants herein and has filed affidavits to such effect, both before the Supreme Court and the High Court. Further, the State has clearly indicated that they do not have any interest in pursuing the ownership of the land in question and have admitted to the title of the appellants. Hence, the Court was not dealing with an ignorant or illiterate respondent; the State Government has accepted the title vesting in the Gonsalves family and subsequently in Esteem Properties.

In this light, it was held that institution of the public interest litigation was nothing more than an abuse of the process which cannot be allowed in the facts and circumstance so narrated.

[Esteem Properties Pvt. Ltd. v. Chetan Kamble, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 246, 28.02.2022]


*Judgment by: CJI NV Ramana


Counsels

For appellants: Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi

For State: Advocate Rahul Chitnis

For respondents (PIL Petitioners): Advocate Tapesh Kumar Singh

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale, JJ., quashed proceedings initiated against the petitioner (daughter) by her mother under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

In the present matter, a daughter sought the quashing of proceedings initiated by her mother under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) claiming that she was facing the ire of her mother due to matrimonial discord between her mother and father.

Further, she added that she has been unnecessarily dragged into the said proceedings pending before the Magistrate Court which is resulting in a detrimental effect on her career as also her prospects of studying abroad.

Respondent 1, Mother of the petitioner had filed an application against the husband under Sections 12,18, 19, 20 and 22 of the DV Act before the Metropolitan Magistrate. Respondent 1 had raised various grievances seeking protection order, monetary relief, residence order and order for grant of compensation.

Petitioner has plans to go abroad for further studies and for that in the application forms while seeking Visa a declaration was to be given regarding pendency of criminal cases against the applicant. But due to the pendency of said proceeding initiated under the DV Act by her mother are creating hurdles for the petitioner to successfully seek Visa.

In view of the above circumstances, present petition was filed to seek quashing of the said proceedings by her mother, insofar as she was concerned.

Analysis, Law and Decision

The intent of the DV Act is to ensure that a woman who faces abuse at the hands of her husband or a male partner has an avenue to raise her grievance against such person and also any relative of such person. Ordinarily, this would include the relatives on the side of the husband or male partner.

In the present matter, only at place of the application filed by respondent 1 under the DV Act before the Magistrate, allegation was made against the petitioner.

It is only at one place in paragraph (m) of the application that an allegation is made against the Petitioner that on the husband of Respondent No.1 (father of the Petitioner) instigating the Petitioner, she allegedly assaulted the Respondent No.1.

As per the material on record, petitioner continued to live with her father, and this was perhaps a reason why she added the petitioner as a party to the proceedings initiated under the DV Act.

Bench stated that it appeared that a single allegation made against the petitioner was an exaggeration and it had arisen out of anger of respondent 1 against the petitioner, as she continued to reside with her father, i.e. the husband of respondent 1.

“…bitterness in the matrimonial relationship between Respondent No.1 and her husband has spilled over to the children, particularly against the Petitioner”

Respondent 1 developed bitterness and anger, not only against her husband but her daughter.

Bench was surprised to note that petitioner’s own mother was hell-bent upon creating obstructions in her progress. This was evident from the affidavit filed by respondent 1, wherein it was stated that it is not necessary for the petitioner to go abroad for higher education and that the said ground was being raised only as an excuse to avoid legal proceedings initiated by respondent 1.

High Court opined that the said allegation raised against the petitioner was exaggerated and her anger and bitterness arose from the matrimonial discord with her husband leading to serious impediment in the progress of her own daughter.

“…allegations seem to be made in a fit of anger and they could be said to be improbable in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.”

Bench referred to the Supreme Court decision in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, with regard to exercising jurisdiction to quash the proceedings.

Following categories of cases by way of illustrations wherein such power could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise are:

“(1)Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

 (2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.

(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

(4) Where, the allegations in FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code. 

(5)Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with malafide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”

Observing the above-stated, and in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, Bench held that the allegations levelled by respondent 1 against the petitioner, borne out of the matrimonial discord with her husband, can be said to be inherently improbable and therefore, they fall in Category-5 laid down in the above-quoted portion of the Supreme Court decision.

High Court held that the present case was fit to exercise jurisdiction to quash the proceedings initiated by respondent 1 under the DV Act, insofar as they pertain to the petitioner. [Vanisha Vincent Rodrigues v. Jyoti Vincent Rodrigues, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 613, decided on 20-04-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Rajiv Sahai EndLaw and Asha Menon, JJ., while addressing a petition observed that,

“…an attempt to take a second chance, that too belatedly, after nearly six months, constitutes an abuse of the process of the Court.”

Petitioner a candidate for recruitment in the Army Dental Corps having been medically disqualified on account of being found to be suffering from scoliosis by the Medical Board has filed the present petition seeking examination of the petitioner by an impartial third party to determine whether the degree of scoliosis from which the petitioner suffers is beyond the permissible level of 10 degrees.

The petitioner is represented by Advocate Vinay Mathew and Respondents by Sumit Nagpal and Sahaj Garg with Major Arjun Katoch.

Petitioner’s contention is that the Medical Board, the Appeal Medical Board and the Review Medical Board have found the petitioner to be suffering from varying degrees of scoliosis and thus a case for examination by an impartial third party is made out.

Bench observes that the petitioner clearly as an afterthought, is wanting a second chance at the Courts for the same relief as was granted in WP (C) No. 1415 of 2020 on 11-03-2020 and which is not permissible in law.

Further, the Court added that such an attempt to take a second chance, that too belatedly, after nearly six months, constitutes an abuse of the process of the Court.

In the present matter, no mala fides are attributed and the petitioner has had sufficient opportunities and is not entitled to yet another opportunity.

All the three Medical Boards have consistently found the petitioner to be suffering from scoliosis and the respondent’s Indian Army cannot be forced to recruit a candidate who, over the period of service, would be not physically fit to do the duties required to be done, thereby unnecessarily burdening and depriving the Army of the presence of a competent dental surgeon/dentist who can be posted wheresoever the service exigencies require.

In the present petition, no merit has been found and Court added that On request of the counsel for the petitioner and for ensuring that this order does not affect chances of employment elsewhere of the petitioner, we clarify that the observations herein are confined to the subject recruitment process.”

[Dr Vani Viswanathan v. Union of India, WP (C) No. 5969 of 2020 & CM No. 21577 of 2020, decided on 04-09-2020]

Himachal Pradesh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J. quashed the FIR to meet ends of justice and prevent the abuse of the process of the Court.

The brief facts of the case are that on 27-01-2019, respondent 2 boarded a private bus at village Dharla, District Mandi, which was coming from Karsog to Shimla. On alighting the bus at 11:30 a.m at Talland, Shimla another bus also stopped at the same stop, which was coming from Karsog. When he was standing near traffic police post all of sudden, driver of latter mentioned bus turned the bus and drove over his left foot, consequent to which he received simple as well as grievous injuries. Consequently, FIR was lodged under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the Penal Code, 1860 dated 27-01-2019, against the petitioner. Later, respondent 2 entered into a compromise stating not intending to pursue the case further. Hence, the present petition was filed under Section 482 CrPC to quash the FIR.

The counsel for the petitioner, Inder Sharma submitted that as parties have compromised the matter, the proceedings will serve no purpose and the FIR can be quashed and set aside.

Shvi Pal Manhans with P.K. Bhatti for respondents argued that the offence is not compoundable, so the petition may be dismissed. The counsel for respondent 2, Nitish Negi agreed on the same.

The Court relied on various judgments, prominent being Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641 and observed Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers and only recognizes and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court. In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power.

In view of the above, FIR was quashed and the petition was disposed of. [Shivesh Dutt v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 423, decided on 13-03-2020]

Patna High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: Birendra Kumar, J. allowed the application to quash the proceedings against the petitioner as it was an abuse of the process of the Court since no material evidence was found against him.

The petitioner was put to trial, for an offence under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 when an FIR was registered when a  tractor carrying fertilizer was seized.  The tractor was carrying 30 bags of Urea and 6 bags of DAP fertilizer. The driver of the tractor disclosed that for the last two years, they were purchasing fertilizer from the PDS shop of the petitioner.

The counsel for the petitioner, Vikash Sharma submitted that, no other form of evidence was produced to substantiate the involvement of the petitioner in the alleged occurrence. He further contended that neither the premise of the petitioner was searched nor stock register was checked in order to ascertain any lapses in the records and the actuals.

The Court held that the confession of a co-accused while in police custody could not be proven under Sections 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act, 1872. Hence, it could not be treated as evidence at any stage of the proceedings and such criminal prosecution would be an abuse of the process of the court.

In view of the above noted facts, the instant petition was allowed and the impugned order and subsequent proceedings against the petitioner stood quashed.[Jai Prakash Yadav v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1188, decided on 19-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Surya Prakash Kesarwani, J. dismissed the present “PIL” while imposing an exemplary cost on the petitioner for abusing the process of the court.

The petitioner filed this PIL for removal of encroachment and illegal possession of respondents from particular plots in the District Ballia which according to him were recorded in the revenue records as ‘khel ka maidan’, ‘khalihan’ and ‘khad ka gaddha’ respectively.

By the order of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, some plots were recorded as banjar and some as ‘khalihan’, ‘khad ka gaddha’ and ‘khel ka maidan’ after they were exchanged. These newly recorded banjar lands were allotted for residential purposes to nineteen persons. After allotment of land for residential purposes, the respondents constructed their houses (huts and tin shed) and they still reside. These people have no other place of shelter except these houses.

Counsel for the petitioner, Jitendra Shanker Pandey submitted that no bhoomidhari rights shall be created on the land allotted and it is also set apart for public purposes. The aforesaid land falls under Section 132 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950.

The Standing Counsel stated that present PIL is not only wholly devoid of substance but it is also abuse of process of Court. The petitioner has completely failed to disclose his credential to invoke the PIL.

The Court after considering the submissions of both the parties framed some questions for determination:-

  1. Whether removal of shelter of respondents would amount to infringement of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(e) read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India?
  2. Whether as a consequence of cancellation of lease should the State-respondents provide alternate accommodation/shelter?
  3. Whether any relief is granted in the present PIL?

The Court observed that the landless agricultural labourers were residing before 1994. Therefore, the disputed lands which were part of some public utility land were exchanged by order of the Sub-Divisional Officer which was passed after due inquiry and spot inspection by the revenue authorities. The lease was also granted by a competent authority.

For the purpose of strengthening the arguments, some cases were relied upon – U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad v. Friends Cooperative Housing Society Ltd., 1995 Supp (3) SCC 456, para 8; State of Karnataka v. Narasimhamurthy, (1995) 5 SCC 524, Chameli Singh v. State of U.P., (1996) 2 SCC 549, and Ahmedabad Municipal Corpn. v. Nawab Khan Gulab Khan, (1997) 11 SCC 121. In all these cases, the Supreme Court held that right to shelter is a fundamental right, guaranteed under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

After observing the facts and circumstances of the case and the submissions of the parties, the Court held that – “Shelter for a human being, is not mere protection of his life and limb. It is home where he has opportunities to grow physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually. Right to shelter includes adequate living space, safe and decent structure, clean and decent surroundings, sufficient light, pure air and water, electricity, sanitation and other civic amenities. Right to life guaranteed in any civilized society implies the right to food, water, decent environment, education, medical care and shelter. Right to shelter is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(e) read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.

The court observed that the weaker section of the society like the poor and landless agricultural labourers have the right to basic human and constitutional rights to residence. Thus, it becomes the duty of the State to fulfill those. But gives no person the right to encroach and erect structures or otherwise on footpaths, pavement or public space or at any place reserved or earmarked for a public utility.

The Court after contemplating on the point that the petitioner had not shown his credential and is clearly visible that is his interest and his son’s alone in the filing of this petition. This indicates abuse of process of Court by the petitioner in filing the present PIL and suppression of material facts. Therefore, the exemplary cost is necessary to be imposed upon the petitioner as the view taken in the case of Punjab State Power Corpn. Ltd. v. Atma Singh Grewal, (2014) 13 SCC 666 and Dnyandeo Sabaji Naik v. Pradnya Prakash Khadekar, (2017) 5 SCC 496.

As the questions for determination were interlinked, the conclusion which comes out is that Right to Shelter is a fundamental right and the relief sought by the petitioner in this PIL is an attempt to infringe fundamental rights of the respondents. If the State authorities find it indispensable to remove the respondents they shall provide suitable accommodation to them.[Rajesh Yadav v. State of UP, 2019 SCC OnLine All 2555, decided on 01-07-2019]

Chhattisgarh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K. Agrawal, J. held that the continuation of criminal proceedings for the offence of defamation against an advocate who acted professionally as per the instructions of his client was nothing but abuse of process of Court.

The petitioner was an Advocate having standing of more than 45 years at the Bar in District Court, Jagdalpur (Bastar). He drafted a plaint on behalf of one Madhuri Pandey, daughter of late Ghanshyam Pandey, for declaration of title, confirmation of possession and permanent injunction against one Pratibha Pandey (hereinafter, the complainant). In the plaint, she was referred to as “concubine” of Ghanshyam Pandey. She filed a complaint against the petitioner and other alleging that she was the widow of Ghanshyam Pandey and not her concubine. She prayed for appropriate action or damage to her reputation.

The precise question for consideration of the Court was: Whether an Advocate, while acting under the instructions of his client and proceeding professionally, can be prosecuted/punished for the offence of defamation punishable under Section 500 IPC?

Rahul Tamaskar, Advocate for the petitioner contended that the petitioner was acting strictly in performance of his professional duty and he enjoyed privilege while acting as such. Chandresh Shrivastav, Deputy Advocate General, submitted that the present petition deserved to be dismissed. Punit Ruparel, Advocate submitted that the petitioner ignored the Duty to Opponent prescribed under Bar Council of India Rules.

The High Court was of the view that the petitioner was liable to be given the benefit of the ninth exception (imputation made in good faith by person for protection of his or others interests) to Section 499 (defamation) IPC. It was noted that the petitioner drafted the plaint on the basis of instructions provided by his client, the plaintiff. Referring to a plethora of Judicial Precedents, the High Court held: “an advocate, who acted professionally as per instructions of his/her client, cannot be made criminally liable for the offence of defamation under Section 500 IPC unless the contrary is alleged and established.” Finding the petitioner’s act to be bona fide, it was said: “As such, imputation was made in good faith and on the basis of instructions of his client in order to protect her right to property which she is claiming, as right to property is a constitutional right under Article 300A of the Constitution of India and therefore does not constitute the offence of defamation under Section 499 punishable under Section 500 and falls within the Ninth Exception to Section 499.”

In such view of the matter, the criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jabalpur was quashed.[Arun Thakur v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 51, decided on 10-05-2019]

Patna High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. quashed criminal proceedings against relatives of a man accused of torturing his wife and demanding dowry from her, holding that allegations against them were of general nature and as such, allowing proceedings against them to continue would amount to abusing the process of the Court.

The instant proceedings arose under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 seeking quashing of a complaint case whereunder cognizance was taken against petitioner/husband under Section 498-A of the Penal Code, 1860 for demanding dowry and torture. Primary argument advanced on behalf of the opposite party 2/ wife was that her husband had remarried and was staying with two other wives at Mumbai and that he was refusing to accept her and her two sons without payment of Rs. 5 lakhs for purchase of a kholi.

Learned counsel for the petitioners Mr Uday Kumar submitted that they were the husband’s brothers and his sisters-in-law, who had nothing to do with the matrimonial discord between the parties. It was submitted that they had no objection if opposite party no. 2 and her two sons reside in the matrimonial/ancestral home of the husband.

The Court took note of judgment in Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand, (2010) 7 SCC 667, where it was held that allegations against husband’s relatives must be scrutinized with great care and circumspection. It was observed that allegations against petitioners were general and omnibus in nature. Admittedly, the main grievance of the wife was against the husband.

It was opined that since the petitioners had taken a categorical stand to give sufficient place/space to the opposite party  2, as per share of her husband, in the ancestral/ matrimonial home, therefore letting the criminal proceeding against them to continue would be an abuse of the process of the Court. Accordingly, the application was allowed.[Bablu Khan v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 386, decided on 27-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: The Bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J. dismissed a petition being devoid of merit and also finding a gross abuse of process of the Court.

In the pertinent case the petitioner after his retirement from the service, filed for correction of his date of birth in the official order. The petitioner originally worked under the administrative control of Beas Control Board (BCB) where at the time of joining he got recorded his date of birth as 15-04-1950. The cases referred to by the Court were Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. v. Chhota Birsa Uranw, (2014) 12 SCC 570 and Union of India v. Harnam Singh, (1993) 2 SCC 162 wherein the issue was expressly dealt with. The petitioner in return produced his school leaving certificate, where the date of birth according to him was 15-4-1954 and not 15-4-1950.

The Court noted certain material facts:

– if the date of birth was 15-04-1954 and not 15-4-1950, as is being vehemently claimed by the petitioner, then it is impossible to fathom as to how his services could have been engaged by BCB at the age of about 15 years and he being minor at that time, under no circumstances, he could have been legally appointed.

-the petitioner, while in service of BCB, did not take any steps  whatsoever to get his date of birth corrected and the reason for the same is obvious because in case his service record would have been corrected on the basis of date of birth, then obviously his services were bound to be terminated being a minor.

-after attaining the age of superannuation on completion of 55 years, was granted three successive continuations and even during this period, he did not object to the date of birth.

The Court found this to be normally a fit case where the criminal prosecution should have been ordered against the petitioner for tampering with the official record, however, it refrained from passing any order to this effect taking into consideration that the petitioner has not only retired from service of the respondents, but is currently a senior citizen of about 65 years of age. Thus the petition was dismissed.[Dhani Ram v. Bhakra Beas Management Board, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 251, decided on 05-03-2019]

Patna High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. quashed a criminal complaint as its jurisdiction purely fell within the ambit of a Civil Court.

The petitioners have approached this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash a complaint filed for cheating under Section 420 IPC.

The complainant has alleged that despite having received the money consideration for the supply of 390 bags of Masoor the same was not delivered to the complainant. The petitioners through their counsel Sandeep Kumar and Rohit Raj have submitted that the above dispute relates to a financial transaction arising out of a commercial agreement between the parties and subsequent institution of a criminal case was an abuse of the process of the Court when a remedy has been given under the common civil law.

The Court was of the view that this does not call for any interference as an offence under Section 420 IPC cannot be instituted when the case was purely of a civil nature. Also, failure of payment or non-performance falls under the competent jurisdiction of the civil Court. Thus the application stood allowed. [Raj Kumar Gupta v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 10, decided on 03-01-2019]