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Jagdish Prasad Awasthi Vs. Smt. Sabitri Devi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Criminal
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Judge
AppellantJagdish Prasad Awasthi
RespondentSmt. Sabitri Devi
Excerpt:
.....of the case on merit and that the magistrate did not exceed the power vested in him under the law when he issued process against the respondents. i have complained against shri j. 'c' contains the statement that the accused-petitioner took signatures of the complainant in some blank papers as well as in some documents and that there was no reason of the signatures in blank papers having been taken. there was no reason of the accused visiting the house of the complainant to obtain signatures in blank papers as well as in documents......the accused-petitioner with the intention of cheating her. the accused also obtained signatures in blank papers of three witnesses, namely, ubam chand verma, govinda pathak and gurdeb singh.3. on this complaint the case was registered and summons was issued against the accused. afterwards, the accused was enlarged on a p.r. bond of rs. 3000/- and 8.11.1982 was fixed for prosecution evidence.4. now it has to be seen whether the orders of the learned magistrate can be interfered with under section 482, cr.p.c. there has been a long chain of decision on the scope of the provisions under section 482, cr.p.c. by the apex court of the country. in municipal corporation of delhi v. ramkishan rohtagi : 1983crilj159 it was held by the supreme court that the provision under section 482, cr.p.c......
Judgment:

S.M. Ali, J.

1. This petition arises from a Complaint Case No. C.R. 559 of 1982 pending in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Tezpur under Section 420, I.P.C.

2. The complainant O.P. lodged a complaint before the learned Magistrate alleging that she obtained a loan from the branch of Allahabad Bank at Tezpur in connection with her purchase of a truck (No. AMD 213) and that taking advantage of this transaction the accused-petitioner who was the Branch Manager of the Bank obtained her signatures in four blank sheets. It is also her allegation that there was a dispute between the accused on the one hand and her firm 'Calutta Roadways' on the other. It is her apprehension that the accused-petitioner could prepare documents in those blank sheets against her interest and might land her in troubles. This, according to the complainant, was done by the accused-petitioner with the intention of cheating her. The accused also obtained signatures in blank papers of three witnesses, namely, Ubam Chand Verma, Govinda Pathak and Gurdeb Singh.

3. On this complaint the case was registered and summons was issued against the accused. Afterwards, the accused was enlarged on a P.R. Bond of Rs. 3000/- and 8.11.1982 was fixed for prosecution evidence.

4. Now it has to be seen whether the orders of the learned Magistrate can be interfered with under Section 482, Cr.P.C. There has been a long chain of decision on the scope of the provisions under Section 482, Cr.P.C. by the apex Court of the country. In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Ramkishan Rohtagi : 1983CriLJ159 it was held by the Supreme Court that the provision under Section 482, Cr.P.C. confers a separate and independent power on the High Court alone to pass orders ex debits justifies in cases where grave and substantial injustice has been done or where the process of the Code has been seriously abused and also that it Is not merely a revisional power meant to be exercised against the orders passed by subordinate Courts. It was further held that the scope, ambit and range of Section 561(a) of the old Code which is equivalent to Section 482, Cr.P.C. is quite different from the powers conferred by the present Code under the provision of Section 397. Further it was held that under Section 482 of the present Code the inherent power of the High Court can be exercised only when no other remedy is available to the litigant and not where a specific remedy is provided by the statute. It was therefore laid down that the power which is an extraordinary one, has to be exercised sparingly. This is perhaps the latest decision of the Supreme Court is this respect which has been in line with the ratio given in Raj Kapoor v. State Delhi Administration : 1980CriLJ202 , Smt. Nagawa v. Veeranna Srivalingappa Konjalgi : 1976CriLJ1533 , Dr. Sharda Prasad Sinha v. State of Bihar : 1977CriLJ1146 , as well as Madhu Limaye v. State of Maharashtra : 1978CriLJ165 .

5. The standard laid down in those decisions is that taking the allegations and complaint as they are without adding or subtracting anything, if no offence is made out then the High Court will be justified in quashing the proceedings under Section 482, Cr. P. C.

6. In Rattanlul v. State of Rajasthan : (1981)4SCC430 , the Supreme Court held that the High Court could not go into the question of initial dishonest intention at the pre-trial stage and that it was for the Magistrate to go into the question whether there was a prima facie case to frame charge. In Hareram Satpathi v. Tikaram Agarwalla : 1978CriLJ1687 in which Sub divisional Magistrate took cognizance of the offence on the police Report and after taking cognizance of the offence and perusal of the records satisfied himself that there were prima facie grounds for issuing process against the respondents, the Supreme Court as the reversal order of the High Court was challenged held that at the stage when the Magistrate could not go into detailed discussion of the merits or demerits of the case and when the scope of the re-visional jurisdiction was very limited, the High Court could not launch on a detailed and meticulous examination of the case on merit and that the Magistrate did not exceed the power vested in him under the law when he issued process against the respondents.

7. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the initial examination of the complainant which is the basis of cognizance and issue of process against the accused-petitioner does not disclose facts constituting the offence under Section 420, IPC or any other offence of cheating. He relied on Nirmaljcet Singh Hoon v. State of West Bengal : [1973]2SCR66 , in which the Supreme Court held that the complaint as revealed by the initial deposition of the Complainant under Section 200, Cr. P. C. should form the basis of the case. He, therefore, referred to an-nexure 'C' which is the statement made on oath by the complainant and which reads.

I have complained against Shri J.P. Awasthi, M/s. Calcutta Corporation is my firm, AMD 213 is my vehicle. I purchased this vehicle by obtaining, loan from Allahabad Bank, Shri J.P. Awasthi is the Manager of that Bank. On 9.4.82 the accused went to my place and on the plea of granting loan obtained signatures in blank papers and in documents. On my behalf Shri Govinda Pathak, Gurdev Singh, Narnyan Paul, and Suresh Deb will depose who know the facts. Accused is a man from Uttar Pradesh and he can at any moment leave Tezpur.

Referring to this statement learned Counsel for the petitioner argued that there has been no allegation that any loss has been perpetrated on her by taking those signatures by the accused. He further submitted that the complainant received the loan for which necessary papers had to be signed by her and in that process the accused might take her signatures which was an innocuous act and which could not make the basis of a criminal case. Learned Counsel elaborated his argument saying that by the aforesaid act of the accused no wrongful gain was acquired by him nor was any wrongful loss caused to the complainant. In the case of cheating either of the two elements must be there. It was however controverter by the learned Counsel of the other side that Annexure 'C itself discloses the requisite facts constituting the offence of cheating. He submitted that there were printed forms of the Bank for extending loan which were to be filled in and signed by the parties concerned. The complaint at Annexure. 'C' contains the statement that the accused-petitioner took signatures of the complainant in some blank papers as well as in some documents and that there was no reason of the signatures in blank papers having been taken. He pointed out that on search in pursuance of the order of the learned Magistrate, three blank papers prima facie containing signatures of the complainant were recovered from the possession of the accused in his residential house, it was his submission that there was no reason to keep those papers in the drawing room of the accused instead of in the proper place in the Bank. However, on taking the facts as disclosed in Annexure 'C as they are, it has to be said that there are materials, which can form the basis of an offence of cheating. As pointed out by the learned Counsel for the 0.P. there was no reason of the accused visiting the house of the complainant to obtain signatures in blank papers as well as in documents. Although the complaint has not been made in an artistic language, the substance of the complaint can easily be gathered from Annexure 'C' itself. It may be said that taking advantage of her need and demand for a loan from the Bank, the accused took such signatures in the blank papers. There is a smell of inducement no doubt.

8. The stage has not been reached at which the accused can justify his having taken such signatures in blank papers and documents but the complaint as it is at the present stage could form the basis of cognizance by the Magistrate. There is no gainsaying that the Magistrate has a discretion in this respect and when he has exercised his discretion and taken cognizance of the offence and also has issued process against the accused, this Court should not go into meticulous discussion of the justification or otherwise of such exercise of the jurisdiction of the Magistrate. As said before, in course of enquiry or trial, things may emerge which may not justify further proceeding in the case against the accused. The Inquiring or the Trial Court will then be at liberty to dispose of the matter in view of the circumstances and materials on record. I therefore find no reason to interfere.

9. In the result, the petition is rejected. No order as to costs. The accused petitioner may be allowed to appear by lawyer if he so likes subject to requirement by the trial Court to appear personally when so ordered.


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