1. The petitioner in each of these petitions is a public limited company registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956. The company owns a sugar factory at Sakharwadi in Taluka Phaltan in Satara District.
2. Respondent No. 1 in each of these petitions is the original accused. They are in fact real brothers.
3. It appears that these accused had entered into a contract with the said sugar factory for supplying sugarcane which they grew on their own fields. According to the allegations made by the petitioner-company, they have advanced some loans to the accused which were to be adjusted or repaid out of the price for sugarcane supplied by the accused.
4. It appears that the accused also obtained 'some' loan from the United Commercial Bank, Poona and under the tripartite agreement this amount of loan was credited by the Bank in the current account of the petitioner-company at Poona for disbursement to the accused as and when required by the accused for their agricultural operations.
5. By a letter written on or about August 19, 1969 to the Genera] Manager of the petitioner's factory at Sakharwadi, the accused informed that out of the loan sanctioned by the Bank, the petitioner-company should deduct the amount of loans due to it by the accused towards company's dues and pay the balance to them. Accordingly the dues appear to have been adjusted.
6. Thereafter it appears that the United Commercial Bank issued notice to the accused calling upon them to repay the loan advanced by the Bank and a copy of this notice was also served on the petitioner-company in their capacity as the guarantor for the loan.
7. The accused sent replies to this notice. In these replies they were alleged to have made certain defamatory statements against the company. A copy of this reply was sent by the Bank to the company and the Bank demanded payment from the company as guarantors.
8. A complaint against each of these two accused was, therefore, filed by the company alleging an offence of defamation. The complaint was filed on behalf of the company by one Mr. P.M. Gokhale acting in his capacity as the holder of a General Power of Attorney from the directors of the company.
9. It appears that the accused in each of these cases, made an application before the trial Court contending that the complaint not having been filed by the aggrieved person, it was not maintainable in view of the provisions of Section 199(1) of the Cr. P. C. 1973.
10. The Judicial Magistrate rejected this contention and held that since Mr. Gokhale who actually filed the complaint was authorized by the Board of Directors by a General Power of Attorney to take such proceedings on behalf of the company in a Court of law, the complaint was maintainable. Consequently he overruled the objection.
11. In revision, however, the learned Additional Sessions Judge set aside the order passed by the Judicial Magistrate and held that the complaint was not tenable and ordered that the complaints be dismissed as they were not filed by the person who was actually aggrieved.
12. The company on whose behalf the complaints were filed has, therefore, preferred these revision petitions.
13. Although respondent No. 1, original accused, in each of these two cases was duly served, he has not chosen to appear before this Court.
14. Mr. Chitnis for the petitioner- company contended that the view taken by the Additional Sessions Judge is obviously erroneous. It was submitted by him that the company such as the present one not being a natural person cannot act personally, but must act through its officers, such as the Board of Directors or the Manager or the Secretary and since on behalf of the Board of Directors, presumably on the basis of a resolution passed by the Board of Directors, a General Power of Attorney was executed by one of the directors authorising Mr. Gokhale to take all legal proceedings, both civil and criminal, and to sign plaint, written statement, complaint, petitions, etc. the complaint filed by Mr. Gokhale was a complaint really filed by the aggrieved party. In this connection he pointed out that the complaint was in fact filed by the company but through the holder of power of Attorney. It appears to me that this argument must prevail.
15. Mr. Gokhale was duly authorised to file such a complaint by one of the Directors acting on the strength of a resolution passed by the Board of Directors who were obviously entitled to act on behalf of the company. The view taken by the Additional Sessions Judge, therefore, is obviously erroneous.
16. Besides, there is one other ground on which this application deserves to be allowed. The order passed by the Judicial Magistrate under objection taken by the accused was obviously an interlocutory order. It was not a final order. Under Sub-section (2) of Section 397 of the Cr. P. C. 1973, powers of revision conferred by Sub-section (1) of that section either on the High Court or the Sessions Judge cannot be exercised in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any appeal, inquiry, trial or other proceeding. The revision application before the Additional Sessions Judge was, therefore, not even maintainable. The order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge in each of these cases cannot, therefore, be sustained.
17. Rule in each of these petitions is made absolute. The order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge is set aside and the cases are remitted back to the trial Court to proceed with them according to law.