18 Jun 2121

Power conferred under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash the Criminal Proceedings can be done to prevent the Abuse of Process of any Court or to secure the Ends of Justice - Bombay High Court

Case : Thirumalai Prabhu R and Anr. v. The State of Maharashtra and Anr. Criminal Application No. 1172 of 2020

Court : Bombay High Court

Bench : Justice V. K. Jadhav and Justice Shrikant D. Kulkarni

Decided on : 18 Jun 2121

Relevant Statues

Sections 420, 323, 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881

Brief Facts & Procedure History

1. The relevant seminal facts are that Respondent No. 2, Sachin Vasant Shete deals with the business of sale and purchase of onion where he used to sell onion collected from small farmers in the wholesale market on commission. The Applicants are allegedly the proprietors/partners of the firm M/s. Shreejith Traders at Tamilnadu where they allegedly purchased onion worth Rs.2,20,55,975/- during the period of 16.06.2015 to 11.09.2015 and paid him the price of Rs.1,89,78,444/-.

2. The cause of action arises when the amount of Rs. 30,77,431/- towards the price of purchased onion remained unpaid and Respondent No. 2 repeatedly demanded the said amount. On 31.01.2019, Respondent No. 2 visited the office of the Applicants situated at Tamilnadu and demanded the amount. However, the Applicants allegedly abused, threatened and driven Respondent No. 2 out of their office. Based on these allegations, the First Information Report was registered against the Applicants.

3. The present application is about quashing of the First Information Report bearing Crime No. 257 of 2019 for the offence punishable under Sections 420, 323, 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the basis of the complaint lodged by Respondent No. 2.

The Issue of the Case

Whether the First Information Report lodged by Respondent No. 2 can be quashed by the Honourable High Court using its inherent powers conferred under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973?

The Observations of the Court

1. The Honourable Bombay High Court contemplated its inherent powers under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in quashing of the criminal proceedings as it had to be exercised only in rare cases and such powers do not confer an arbitrary jurisdiction on the court. 

2. The Honourable Bombay High Court observed that in the present case Respondent No. 2 did not dispute the filing of the complaints against the deceased one Selvakumar for having committed the offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and noted that the allegations made against deceased is with the specific contention that he is the proprietor of M/s. Shreejith Traders

3. The Honourable Bombay High Court took cognizance of the fact that there is no reference to the names of these Applicants in the said complaints either as Partners or also as the Proprietors of the said firm. It further observed that only after the death of said Selvakumar, Respondent No. 2 has changed his stand and instituted the suit bearing Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 2018 before the Civil Judge Senior Division.

4. The Honourable Bombay High Court critically analyzed the facts of the case and found out that there were no ingredients of Cheating as the intention to cheat must be right from its inception.

5. The Honourable Bombay High Court further observed that the Applicants had placed reliance on extraneous or defence material. Therefore, by referring to the case of Rajiv Thaper and Others v. Madan Lal Kapoor, (2013) 3 SCC 330 in which the Honourable Supreme Court ruled out four steps to determine the veracity of a prayer for quashing of criminal proceedings raised by an accused, the Honourable High Court opined that they stand fulfilled in the present case. 

6. The Honourable Bombay High Court further opined that Respondent No. 2 has filed the complaint with an ulterior motive and mala fide intention to convert the civil dispute into a criminal dispute by referring to the cases of State of Haryana and Others v. Bhajan Lal and Others, 1992 Supp. (1) SCC 335 and Anand Kumar Mohatta and another v. State (NCT of Delhi), Department of Home and another, (2019) 11 SCC 706, in which the Honourable Supreme Court explained the exercise of power to quash the criminal proceedings under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to prevent the abuse of process of any court or to secure the ends of justice.

The Decision held by the Court

1. The Honourable High Court allowed the Criminal Application only in terms of Clause “C” of the prayer and disposed of it accordingly.

Click here to view/download the judgement >