Madhusudan Rao, J.
1. This revision is directed against the order passed by the learned Xth Metropolitan Magistrate, Secunderabad, in Crl. M. P. No. 970 of 1977 on the file of his court. The petitioner is Misrilal Mangilal Maternity and Child Welfare Centre Construction Committee, represented by its Chairman Thakur V, Hariprasad. The petitioner filed a comalaint before the Xth Metropolitan Magistrate under Sections 420 and 403 read with 120-B I.P.C. against the three respondents. The Magistrate dismissed the complaint observing as follows:
It is seen from the petition that the complainant Thakur V. Hari Prasad has filed this petition in his representative capacity as Chairman of the Mangilal Maternity and Child Welfare Centre Construction Committee. It is admitted by the Counsel for the complainant that it is not a registered body. I am of the opinion that in the eye of law and being an unregistered body, it has no legal existence and is not capable of holding or disposing of any property. The Committee therefore cannot sue or be sued.
2. An examination of the contents of the petition filed by the petitioner before the Magistrate against the three respondents shows that it is a complaint within the meaning of Section 2(d) of the Cr. P.C. It contains clear allegations against the three respondents and a request to the Magistrate that action may be taken against the respondents under the Cr. P.C. Of the two offences, Sections 420, I.P.C. and 403 read with Section 120-B, I.P.C. alleged in the complaint petition, the former is a cognizable offence. When a complaint is received by a Magistrate with allegations constituting a cognizable offence it is open to him to forward the petition for investigation by the police under Section 156(3) Cr. P.C. before taking cognizance of the offences complained. If the Magistrate, however, takes cognizance of the offences complained in the petition he should proceed under Section 200, Cr. P.C. The action of the Magistrate in straightway dismissing the complaint even without examining the complainant upon both and the witnesses of the complainant that were present is hasty and illegal, being in clear violation of Section 200, Cr. P.C.
3. Further the view of the Magistrate that the petitioner has no locus standi to file the complaint is wholly erroneous. As a general rule any person having knowledge of the commission of an offence may set the criminal law in motion by a complaint even though he is not directly interested in or affected by the offence complained. Of course, there are certain offences in respect of which special provision is made in the Code for a complaint in writing being made either by a court or by a public servant or by a particular aggrieved person or with the previous sanction of a specified authority. Such exceptional special offences are mentioned in Sections 195 - 199, Cr. P.C. The complaint in the instant case is in respect of offences punishable under Sections 420 and 403 read with Section 120-B, I.P.C. and these offences are not any of the special offences referred to in Sections 195 - 199, Cr. P.C. Complaint in regard to offences under Sections 420 and 403 read with Section 120-B, I.P.C. can be filed by any person. In so far as the complainant Misrilal Mangilal Meternity and Child Welfare Centre Construction Committee is not registered body, the Magistrate was of the view that it is not a person in the eye of law. The word 'person' is not defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 11 of the Indian Penal Code defines a 'person' as including any Company or Association or body of persons whether incorporated or not. Section 3(42) of the General Clauses Act (Central) reads:
3. In this Act and, in all Central Acts and Regulations made after the commencement of this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject matter or context
XX XX(42) 'person' shall include any company or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not.' For the purpose of filing a complaint in a criminal court, the Misrilal Mangilal Maternity and Child Welfare Centre Construction Committee which is an association or body of individuals is a 'person' and it is immaterial whether it is a registered body or an unregistered body and whether it can sue or be sued in its name in a civil court. The provisions of the Civil P. C. in regard to suits by or against companies, corporations and firms, have no relevance to the prosecution under the criminal law. The allegations in the complaint referred to the affairs of the Committee and the petitioner is the Chairman of the Committee. By filing the complaint in his capacity as the Chairman of the Committee, the petitioner only seeks to satisfy the court that he is aware of the alleged facts constituting the offences and the non-registration of the Committee as a public body cannot be a ground to hold that the petitioner has no locus standi to file the complaint.
4. Sri G. Sri Rama Rao, the learned Counsel for the respondent urges that the petitioner had already instituted a suit in the civil Court against the respondents and that therefore the criminal prosecution is not maintainable. The law is well-settled that the mere pendency of a civil proceeding concerning the matter involved is no bar to the initiation of criminal proceedings, provided, the action complained amounts to a criminal offence. Of course, if the disputes between the parties is purely of a civil nature, the courts cannot allow the parties to get the disputes settled in a criminal court by a camouflage of the civil dispute as a criminal matter. The allegations in the complaint, however, disclose criminal offences and if they are true, the respondents cannot escape their liability under the criminal law merely because a civil suit also has been filed against them in respect of the same matter. When by his action an accused person incurs both civil and criminal liabilities, the mere fact that his civil liability is being enforced is no ground for an exemption of his criminal liability.
5. In the light of the reasons stated supra, it is clear that the impugned order of the Magistrate is illegal and improper and the same is therefore set aside.
6. In the result, this revision is allowed and the Magistrate is directed to entertain the petitioner's complaint and dispose of the case according to law.