Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Rajbir Sehrawat, J. quashed the FIR after the parties entered into the compromise as same was held to be done with the free consent and without any pressure.

A petition was filed under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing the FIR and all consequential proceedings as parties have entered into compromise against the offence committed under Section 420 of the Penal Code, 1860.

A report was received from the Judicial Magistrate in which it had been noticed that the matter has been compromised with the intervention of respectable and friends of both the parties, compromise has been affected with their free consent and without any pressure or undue influence from any quarter.

High Court while allowing the petition discussed resolving the civil and criminal dispute by giving absolute freedom to the parties to settle their dispute by compromise with certain legal consequences. The court with regard to the compromised in criminal cases said that In criminal cases as tend to cast their effect and consequences even upon the society at large. Therefore, the law prescribes punishment, severe punishments and extreme punishments, including the death penalty for criminal acts. The criminal law provides for the compromise between the parties under Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which permits compounding even at the appellate and revisional stage but this section relates only to the offences prescribed under the Indian Penal Code. For other offences the power lies with the High Court in order to maintain the sanctity of the procedure prescribed for a criminal trial.

Further, the Court also put forth the case of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 in which the Supreme Court had amply clarified the legal position in recognizing the position of compromise. The court in the above mentioned case held that the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.”

Thus the Court held that no useful purpose would be served by keeping the proceedings alive. It will be in the interest of justice, if the settlement reached between the parties is accepted.[Harmesh Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1322, decided on 29-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: S.S. Shinde, J. denied to quash the charges under Sections 376 and 420 IPC as prayed by the petitioner and further the Court ordered for a trial to take place on the basis of evidence recorded.

The present petition was filed to quash the charges against the petitioner in a case pending before the Sessions Court for Borivali Division at Dindoshi-Goregaon, Mumbai. The charges were framed under Sections 376 and 420 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Contentions by the Counsels:

Counsel for the petitioner, Samarth S. Karmarkar submitted that in the FIR that was lodged by Respondent 1 alleging offence under Section 420 IPC, there was no whisper about an allegation in respect to sexual assault. Further, it was stated that, the supplementary statement of Respondent 1 was the only thing in which allegations against the petitioner are made out that under the pretext and promise, he would marry Respondent 1, extracted huge amount from Respondent 1 and sexually exploited her.

Per contra, N.B. Patil, APP, submitted that overwhelming evidence had been collected by the Investigating Officer during the investigation and evidence of prosecutrix assumes importance which has to be treated on a high pedestal, therefore the petition may be rejected.

The High Court on perusal of grounds and submission of the parties opined that only way to resolve the controversy arising is by way of appreciating the material collected during the course of investigation by way of trial.

Therefore, the Court held that, material collected during the investigation has to be tested during the trial and also the allegations made in the FIR along with the ones in the supplementary statement. Relying on the Supreme Court Judgment in Anurag Soni v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 509, it was observed that no case is made out to invoke extraordinary writ jurisdiction and the prayer of the petitioner has to accede. Trial Court shall not get influenced by observations made during the course of the trial. [Vishal Ramnayan Singh v. XYZ, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 1141, decided on 26-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The instant petition was entertained by Ravindra Maithani, J. where the petitioner under Section 482 CrPC applied for quashing of the chargesheet and impugned cognizance order for offence under Section 420 IPC, which was pending before Civil Judge. 

Petitioner had stated that an FIR was lodged in 2016 against him, where the petitioner was accused of cheating 52 students. In the FIR it was stated that, the petitioner took the educational documents, photos, identity card as well as income certificate of all those students and got them admitted in more than one colleges and thereby received the scholarship. In the FIR name of 41 such students have been mentioned. After investigation charge sheet was submitted against the petitioner. The Investigating Officer found the allegations levelled in the FIR as true.

Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that the allegations were not believable; It was categorically averred that one person cannot do such an act on his own; what was requested was that direction may be issued that bail application of the petitioner may be considered on the same day when it was presented before the court. 

The Court observed that the petitioner had filed the present application under Section 482, material that was also available at this stage before the Court was an FIR, which definitely discloses the commission of cognizable offence and a charge sheet, which stated that in fact, the offence as alleged in the FIR has been proved. In the absence of any other material, the Court didn’t presume that the story was not believable. Investigating Officer had found that the offence was committed. Therefore, there was no reason to make any interference and the petition deserved to be dismissed.[Chandra Kiran v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 506, decided on 29-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K. Agarwal, J. allowed a petition filed by an advocate against the order of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) whereby cognizance was taken against him, along with other accused persons, for the offences punishable under Section 420 read with Section 120-B IPC.

The petitioner was working as a Notary, and while discharging his duties under the provisions of the Notaries Act, 1952 and the Rules made thereunder, he authenticated an Agreement in presence of two witnesses. Thereafter, the complainant filed a complaint against accused persons including the petitioner, alleging the commission of the abovesaid offences. Subsequently, the Judicial Magistrate passed the impugned order.

Abhishek Sinha, Advocate for the petitioner contended that such a cognizance taken was expressly barred by the provisions contained in Section 13(1) of the Notaries Act which are mandatory in nature.

The High Court was of the view that the use of negative form provides a mandatory character to the provisions of Section 13(1). Section 13(1) clearly bars the act of taking cognizance of any offence against the Notary in exercise or purported exercise of his function under the Act except upon a complaint in writing made by an officer authorised by Central Government or State Government by general or special order. In the present case, the petitioner, while authenticating the said Agreement was performing his statutory duty within the provisions of Section 8(1)(a). Therefore the Court was of the view that the bar under Section 13(1) would squarely be attracted. In the absence of a complaint as provided for under Section 13(1), it was held that order of the Judicial Magistrate was unsustainable and was thereby set aside to the extent applicable on the petitioner. The petition was thus allowed. [Rajkumar Mishra v. Gurjeet Kaur Bajwa, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 48, decided on 13-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A writ petition was entertained by a Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, JJ. and subsequently dismissed in limine. 

The petitioner filed a writ seeking protection against a rival businessman; the protection was requested from the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of the said area. The learned counsel for petitioner Mr Sandeep Kothari, submitted that the accused businessman is a well known and powerful personality in the area and has instigated the local police officers and therefore they are putting a hindrance on the petitioner to carry on his business in a peaceful manner.  

The Court was concerned about the rights and safety of the petitioner but before granting any relief and for balancing of interest, the Court demanded a preliminary inquiry report from the learned Deputy Advocate General of State. The report stated that no FIR or complaint is lodged against the petitioner in the State of Uttarakhand but it was found that a criminal case was filed under Section 420 IPC and Section 5 of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Scheme Act, 1978, in Assam and Madhya Pradesh. 

The petitioner contended that although the said cases are lodged against him, there is no veracity in it and the allegations are denied specifically by him. The learned counsel of petitioner further submitted that at the time of filing of the said petition he was not informed by the petitioner about the pending criminal proceedings against him, so he was unable to answer the questions of the Court with respect to the alleged report. 

The Court observed, petitioner has not approached this Court with clean hands, “He should have disclosed all these facts to this Court before seeking any relief from the Court.” The Court dismissed the aforementioned relief by the petitioner and refused to interfere in this regard due to the questionable character of the petitioner. [A. Tajuthin v. State of Uttrakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 345, decided on 01-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Vibhu Bhakru, J., set aside an order whereby the petitioner’s passport was impounded and gave him liberty to travel abroad subject to compliance with the conditions imposed.

The petitioner was facing criminal charges under Section 120-B read with Section 420 IPC along with Section 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. A charge-sheet was filed by the CBI and cognizance was taken by the Special Judge, after which the petitioner applied for regular bail. The bail was granted and the petitioner was called upon to surrender his passport to the Court concerned. Complying with the same, the petitioner deposited his passport with the Special Judge. Subsequently, he filed an application to travel abroad which was allowed subject to conditions imposed. Meanwhile, the Regional Passport Officer, vide the impugned order, impounded his passport under Section 10(3)(e) of the Passports Act, 1967. The petitioner preferred an appeal under Section 11 against the said order, however, it was dismissed by Chief Passport Officer. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the present petition.

After discussing its earlier decision in Manish Kumar Mittal v. Chief Passport Officer, 2013 SCC OnLine Del 3007, the High Court was of the view that: in the given facts of the present case, impounding the passport is not warranted considering that the petitioner had already been called upon to deposit the same with the concerned Court. Further, the permission has already been granted  to the petitioner to travel overseas.” In such a view, the Court set aside the order whereby the petitioner’s passport was impounded. He was given liberty to travel abroad, subject to compliance with the conditions imposed.[Vinod Kumar Asthana v. Chief Passport Officer, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8138, dated 16-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Bench of R. Narayana Pisharadi, J. quashed criminal proceedings against a person accused of cheating a bank holding that the case against him would be an abuse of process of the Court.

Petitioner herein was a customer of Bank of Baroda for many years. He introduced accused’s 1 to 3 to the said bank to enable them to open an account therein. Subsequently, the accused used credit/purchase facility given to them by the bank and obtained approximately Rs 1 crore from it. It was alleged that the accused had hatched a conspiracy to cheat the bank and cause loss to it. A case was registered against the accused and the petitioner under Section 120B, and Sections 420 and 406 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code, 1860. The instant petition was filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 requesting quashing of proceedings against petitioner.

The Court noted that the only allegation against the petitioner was that he introduced accused to the bank to enable them to open an account. He did not falsely misrepresent the bank; there was no material indicating any transaction between the petitioner and other accused. No material was produced by the prosecution to prove that the introduction of accused to the bank, by the petitioner, was part of a conspiracy to cheat the bank. Therefore, no question of dishonest misappropriation of any amount by him arose.

It was held that it is a normal banking practice that a person who wants to open an account in a bank will have to get himself introduced by another account holder in the same bank. The mere act of introducing a person to a bank to enable such person to open an account in the bank, without anything more, does not attract the offence of cheating punishable under Section 420 IPC against the person who makes the introduction, even when the person introduced by him subsequently commits an act of cheating against the bank. Reliance in this regard was placed on Manoranjan Das v. State of Jharkhand, (2004) 12 SCC 90.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed. [K.J. Hubert v. Sub Inspector of Police, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1122, Order dated 04-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Bench of T.V. Anil Kumar, J., while pronouncing an order quashed the criminal proceedings stating them to be of a civil dispute.

The facts of the case as presented in the present case are that, the prosecution case as against the petitioner is that, he after having obtained a mobile post-paid connection in his name, failed to discharge his liability for user charges for a period of 5 months. Allegation was that petitioner incurred a monetary liability of Rs 97,678 and after making a part payment of Rs 10, 580 he kept the balance in arrears. According to the prosecution, the default amounts to an offence of cheating punishable under Section 420 IPC.

Petitioner’s case is made out in the following manner, that the transaction in question is based on an agreement between the parties which turns the alleged liability to be purely of civil nature, due to which the petitioner sought consequential criminal proceedings to be quashed.

High Court on marshalling the materials on record, concluded by stating that, the transaction involved between the parties is of a civil dispute as a purported liability of the petitioner seems to have been arisen from breach of promise or agreement.

“Mere breach of trust or agreement will not by itself amount to a criminal offence under Section 420 IPC.”

Therefore, as the legal proposition does not match the materials on record as well as the allegations, the criminal proceedings require to be quashed in view of the above stated. [Abdul Hakkem v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 974, Order dated 08-03-2019] 

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]