Bombay High Court
Smt. Premalata Subhash Nabaria vs Shri Paras Shantilal Kankaria on 21 February, 2011
Bench: S. S. Shinde
1 cri appeal 44.11
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
BENCH AT AURANGABAD
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 44 OF 2011
Smt. Premalata Subhash Nabaria,
Age : 54 Years, Occu. : Consultancy
R/o 337, M. G. Road, Bhingar,
Ahmednagar, Dist. Ahmednagar. .. APPELLANT
Shri Paras Shantilal Kankaria,
Age : 30 Years, Occu. : Business,
C/o Malu Brothers, Ganj Bazar,
Ahmednagar. .. RESPONDENT
Shri Pradeep K. Palve, Advocate for the Appellant - absent.
Shri S. S. Shete, Advocate for the Respondent.
CORAM : S. S. SHINDE, J.
DATE : 21ST FEBRUARY, 2011.
ORAL JUDGMENT :
. This appeal is filed challenging judgment and order dated 16th November, 2009 passed by the 6th Judicial Magistrate First Class, Ahmednagar discharging the accused i. e. respondent herein in summons case.
2 cri appeal 44.11
2. Brief facts of the case as disclosed in the appeal are as under :
The appellant herein filed private complaint alleging offence punishable U/Sec. 403, 423 and 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code before the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Ahmednagar. The complainant in her complaint stated that she is conducting the business of depositors and consultancy. On 30th May 2000 the husband of the complainant lost his bag containing some forms and blank cheques with signs thereon bearing Nos. 79036, 89741, 123506, 138398, 138399, 1383400, 62388, 62397 on S.T. stand to Urban Bank Road at Ahmednagar.
Immediately a complaint to that effect was lodged at Kotwali police station and the matter was registered as Missing Register No. 200/2000.
3. Nagar Urban Bank was intimated to stop the payment of cheques bearing above numbers. On 07th May, 2002 a notice was received by the complainant from the accused alleging offence U/Sec. 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. It was contended in that notice that cheque bearing No. 138399 was issued to the accused No. 1 and that cheque on its deposit was bounced. It was contended in the notice that the complainant had purchased colour from accused No. 1. In consideration of that colour supply 3 cri appeal 44.11 by accused No. 1 cheque was issued on 23.04.2002. The complaint states that, as the cheque was lost in the year 2002, a complaint to that effect was lodged accordingly. The certificate issued by the police station receiving missing complaint of cheque is submitted by the complainant along with list Exhibit 3. The complainant alleges that the complainant went to the police station on 09th May, 2002 informing about the alleged offence committed by the accused as the police did not take cognizance of this information, the private complaint has been filed. The complainant alleged that the accused have committed offence punishable U/Sec. 403 and 423 of the Indian Penal Code.
Therefore, it was prayed that the process should be issued to the respondent/accused.
4. The 7th Judicial Magistrate F. C., Ahmednagar issued process against the accused No. 1 for the offence punishable U/Sec. 403 of the Indian Penal Code and the complaint against the accused No. 2 came to be dismissed.
It appears that, the Trial Court tried the private complaint and by impugned judgment and order dated 16.11.2009 discharged the respondent/original accused as per Section 245(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
4 cri appeal 44.11 Though the counsel for the appellant was fully aware about the date of the final hearing of this matter, since same was fixed on 27th January, 2011, itself in presence of Advocate for the appellant, however the counsel for the appellant is absent when the matter is called out. A request was made by another advocate on behalf of advocate on record for adjournment.
However, since the matter was fixed for final hearing specifically for today, the request of the advocate for adjournment stands rejected. It is also informed to this Court that the counsel for the appellant has even not filed any leave note. Therefore, with the assistance of learned counsel for the respondent, I have perused the impugned judgment and order and also original record made available for perusal.
5. The case in hand raises important question of law that, whether the 6th Judicial Magistrate First Class, Ahmednagar could have discharged the respondent/accused taking recourse to Section 245(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, since the case which is tried by the Magistrate was summons case. It is admitted position that, the only Section 403 of I. P. Code was invoked against the respondent i. e. original accused and for which maximum sentence provided is two years. The provision of 5 cri appeal 44.11 Section 2(w) and 2(x) of the Criminal Procedure Code reads as follows :
2. Definitions.– In this Code, unless the context otherwise requires, —
(w) “summons-case” means a case relating to an offence, and not being warrant-case.
(x) “warrant-case” means a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.
Therefore, on perusal of Section 2(x), it is abundantly clear that any warrant case means a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years. As stated earlier Section 403 of the I. P.
Code is invoked in the instant case. The provisions of Section 403 of the I. P. Code reads thus :
"403. Dishonest misappropriation of
property.-- Whoever dishonestly misappropriates
or converts to his own use any movable property, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extent to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
Mere perusal of language of Section 403 would make it 6 cri appeal 44.11 clear that offence U/Sec. 403 of I. P. Code is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extent to two years, or with fine, or with both. As stated earlier, it is admitted position that the case in hand is a summons case. If the case is a summons case and in which maximum sentence can be given is of two years, in that case the Criminal Procedure Code provides scheme of trial under the provisions of Section 251 to 259 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Since the case in hand is a summons case, it was not open for the Trial Court to take recourse to Section 244 or Section 245 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Section 244 and 245 of the Criminal Procedure Code reads as follows :
244. Evidence for prosecution.–(1) When, in any warrant-case instituted otherwise than on a police report, the accused appears or is brought before a Magistrate, the Magistrate shall proceed to hear the prosecution and take all such evidence as may be produced in support of the prosecution. (2) The Magistrate may, on the application of the prosecution, issue a summons to any of its witnesses directing him to attend or to produce any document or other things.
245. When accused shall be discharged.–(1) If, upon taking all the evidence referred to in section 244, the Magistrae considers, for reasons to be 7 cri appeal 44.11 recorded, that no case against the accused has been made out which, if unrebutted, would warrant his conviction, the Magistrate shall discharge him. (2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent a Magistrate from discharging the accused at any previous stage of the case if, for reasons to be recorded by such Magistrate, he considers the charge to be groundless.
6. Perusal of Section 244 unequivocally indicates that, what is contemplated under the said section is warrant case instituted otherwise than on a police report. The procedure is stated U/Sec.
245 when the accused shall be discharged. The order can be passed U/Sec. 245 if upon taking all the evidence referred to in Section 244, if the Magistrate considers, for reasons to be recorded, that no case against the accused has been made out, which if unrebutted, would warrant his conviction, the Magistrate shall discharge him.
At the cost of repetition, it is to be stated that, in the instant case only relevant Section is 403 of the I. P. Code, where the maximum sentence provided is for two years. Therefore, the Magistrate has rightly tried the case as summons case. It was not open for the Magistrate to take recourse to the Section 244 or Section 245 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
8 cri appeal 44.11
7. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has occasion to deal with some of the similar situation as arose in this case, in case of Subramanium vs. State of Maharashtra
reported in 2005(1) Mh. L. J. 626. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in para 16 held that, once the plea of the accused in summons case is recorded the procedure contemplated under Chapter XX has to be followed and Trial has to be taken to its logical conclusion. Chapter XX of the Code does not contemplates stage of discharge like section 239 which provides for a discharge in a warrant case.
8. In the instant case also the Magistrate has tried the case in hand as a summons case. It is clear from the operative part of the order dated 16.09.2005 passed by the 7th J. M. F. C.
Ahmednagar below Exhibit 01 in STC No. 242/2002 which reads thus :
O R D E R
1. Issue process (summons) against accused no. 1 for offence punishable under Section 403 of the Indian Penal Code.
2. The complaint against accused no. 2 is dismissed.
9. Therefore, viewed from any angle, it was not open for the Trial Court to discharge the respondent taking recourse to 9 cri appeal 44.11 Section 245(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. For all these reasons the impugned judgment and order is set aside. The appeal is allowed to above extent. The S.T.C. 242/2002 is restored to its original file before the 6th Judicial Magistrate First Class, Ahmednagar. The concerned Court to hear the S.T.C. No. 242/2002 on its own merits in accordance with law and taking into consideration the evidence brought on record by the parties and after appreciating the rival submissions. Therefore, the appeal is allowed to above extent. The original Record and Proceedings be sent back immediately to the Court of 6th J. M. F.
C. Ahmednagar forthwith. The appeal stands disposed of in above terms.
10. The observations made hereinabove are only for the purposes of deciding the present appeal. It would be open for the Magistrate to decide the case afresh on its own merits, without being influenced by the observations made hereinabove.
[ S. S. SHINDE, J.] bsb/Feb. 11