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The State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. T. Rajagopalachari and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1972CriLJ1267
AppellantThe State of Andhra Pradesh
RespondentT. Rajagopalachari and ors.
Excerpt:
.....depositing rent and delivering challan in the office of controller, tenant shall be deemed to have committed wilful default. - the object of the conspiracy was clearly to commit an illegal art which was an offence i......the case against the accused as stated in each of the charge sheets was that they entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the corporation and the concerned bank by getting false entries made in the account books of the corporation both as regards the quality and the quantity of the grain stored in the godowns of the corporation, by getting false receipts from the corporation and by inducing the bank to advance loans on the basis of the false entries and false receipts.2. the accused appeared before the learned magistrate and raised a preliminary objection that the prosecutions were incompetent as they were launched in contravention of section 196-a (1) and (2) criminal p.c. the learned magistrate was of the view trial the consent of the state government under section 196-a (2) was.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Chinnappa Reddy, J.

1. These Criminal Revision Cases raise a common question. Seventeen charge-sheets were filed before the 8th City Magistrate. Hyderabad. The offences alleged in each charge sheet were those under Sections 120B 420 and 477A. I. P.C. The first accused in all the cases was common while the other accused were different. The first accused was, during the relevant period, the warehouseman in charge of the godowns of the Central Warehousing Corporation at Hyderabad. The other accused were persons who had either stored or purported to store their grain in the godowns of the Corporation. The case against the accused as stated in each of the charge sheets was that they entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the Corporation and the concerned Bank by getting false entries made in the account books of the Corporation both as regards the quality and the quantity of the grain stored in the godowns of the Corporation, by getting false receipts from the Corporation and by inducing the Bank to advance loans on the basis of the false entries and false receipts.

2. The accused appeared before the learned Magistrate and raised a preliminary objection that the prosecutions were incompetent as they were launched in contravention of Section 196-A (1) and (2) Criminal P.C. The learned Magistrate was of the view trial the consent of the State Government under Section 196-A (2) was unnecessary as the principal object of the conspiracy was to cheat and dishonestly induce to deliver property. He, however, held that Section. 196-A (1) was applicable to the facts of the case and that the charge sheets were not filed by an authorised person as contemplated by that section. The charge sheets were therefore directed to be returned. The principal Sessions Judge at Hyderabad referred these cases to this court under Section 438, Criminal P.C. as he was of the view that Section 196-A (1) had no application and the learned Magistrate was wrong in returning the charge sheets. Section 196-A. Criminal P.C. is as follows:

196-A: No court shall take cognizance of the offence of criminal conspiracy punishable under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

(1) In a case where the object of the conspiracy is to commit either an illegal act other than an offence, or a legal act by illegal means, or an offence to which the provisions of Section 196 apply, unless upon complaint made by order or under authority from the State Government or some officer empowered by the State Government in this behalf, or

(2) In a case where the object of the conspiracy is to commit any non-cognizable offence or, a cognizable offence not punishable with death. imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards unless the State Government or a Chief Presidency Magistrate or District Magistrate empowered in this behalf by the State Government has, by order in writing. consented to the initiation of the proceedings:

Provided that where the criminal conspiracy is one to which the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 195 apply no such consent shall be necessary,' Section 120A. I. P.C. which defines criminal conspiracy is as follows:

120-A. Definition of criminal conspiracy. When two or more persons agree to do. or cause to be done:

(1) an illegal act, or

(2) an act which is not illegal by illegal means such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy:

Provided that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offence shall amount to a criminal conspiracy unless some act besides the agreement is done by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof.

EXPLANATION: It is immaterial whether the illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement, or is merely incidental to that object.

3. Sri T. V. Sarma learned Counsel who appeared for some of the accused and whose arguments were adopted by other learned counsel, submitted with considerable ingenuity that the object of the conspiracy was to obtain a loan from the Bank, a legal act; only the means adopted, that is the making of false entries and receipts was illegal. Therefore. he urged, the conspiracy was to commit a legal act by illegal means: Section 196-A (1) was therefore attracted. I do not agree with Sri Sarma. The object of the conspiracy was not to simply obtain from the Bank a loan to which the person concerned was eligible but it was to deceive and thereby dishonestly induce the Bank to advance a loan to which he was not eligible. The object of the conspiracy was clearly to commit an illegal art which was an offence i. e. cheating end dishonestly inducing delivery of property (Section 420 I. P.C.) Section 196-A (1) has no application,

4. Sri Sarma then urged that since Section 477-A was a non-cognizable offence, the prosecution. without the consent of the State Government was incompetent. Sri Sarma urged that in Kandimalla Subbayya's case : 1961CriLJ302 their Lordships of the Supreme Court practically accepted the proposition though they purported to leave the question open and remanded the matter to the lower court to enable the State Government to grant the necessary consent. Sri Sarma relied on the following passage:

Offences under Sections 466 and 467 are admittedly non-cognizable and, therefore. it would seem from the plain language of Sub-section (2) that for the offences under Section 120A read with Sections 466 and 467, Indian Penal Code, the sanction of the Government will be necessary. Mr. Umrigar referred us to the decision in Durgadas Tulsiram Sood v. State. ILR (1954) Bom 554 - AIR 1955 Bom 821 and said that since the object of the conspiracy was to cheat the Government, that is. to commit an offence under Section 420, I. P.C. and the offences under Sections 466 and 467 were only means to that end, the trial was not vitiated simply because no sanction was obtained for prosecuting the accused for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit non-cognizable offences under Sections 466 and 467, I. P.C. We do not think it necessary to say anything on the point because in any case the case has to go back to the Special Judge for reframing the charges and there is time enough for the Govt. to consider whether it should accord sanction to the prosecution of the various accused for the non-cognizable offences alleged to have been committed by them in pursuance of conspiracy, assuming of course, that sanction is necessary.

5. I do not think that the passage quoted by Sri Sarma is susceptible of the interpretation put upon it by Sri Sarma. The matter was clarified later by the Supreme Court in Bhanwar Singh v. State of Rajasthan : 1968CriLJ867 . Their Lordships said:

In State of Andhra Pradesh v. Kandimalla Subbaiah : 1961CriLJ302 the question arose, before this court, whether sanction under Section 196-A of the Code was necessary when there was a trial for offences under Section 120A read with Sections 466, 467 and 420 L P.C.... But. in that decision. this Court did not express any opinion on this point, as the matter was sent back to the trial court for framing fresh charges and proceeding with trial after observing that it was for the Government to consider whether it should accord sanction for prosecution of non-cognizable offences, assuming that such sanction was necessary. The question that was thus left open. in that decision, arises for consideration now, in the instant case before us ....The view of the various High Courts, to which we will refer presently, and with which views we agree, is that no sanction is necessary. under Section 196-A (2) Criminal P.C. when the object of the conspiracy is to commit the offence of cheating (Section 420 I. P.C.) but. forgery of documents (Section 467.I. P.C.) and similar non-cognizable offences are also committed as merely steps taken, by one or other of the accused, for the purpose of effecting the main object of the conspiracy. A trial, under such circumstances. for offences under Section 120A. read with Sections 467, 471 and 420, I. P.C. without obtaining sanction is neither illegal, nor void.

It is necessary to keep in mind the difference between the object of a conspiracy and the means adopted for realising that object. Even if the object of the conspiracy, viz., cheating, is sought to be attained by resort to non-cognizable offences, as in the case before us, sanction under Section 196-A of the Code is not necessary. This principle emerges from the following decisions: Ramachandra Rango v. Emperor AIR 1939 Bom 129: Durgadas Tulsiram v. State. : AIR1955Bom82 : Abdul Kadar v. State : AIR1964Bom133 : Paresh Nath v. Emperor AIR 1947 Cal 32: Gulam Rahman, v. The King : AIR1950Cal66 , In re Kannam, 1949-2 Mad LJ (Section N.) 52 : Crl MP No. 2686 of 1949 and Vadla-mudi Kutumba Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh : AIR1961AP448 .

6. Sri Sarma finally urged that neither their Lordships of the Supreme Court. nor the Judges of the various High Courts in the decisions referred by their Lordships, considered the effect of the word 'any' occurring in Section 196-A (2) Cr. P.C. in the light of the explanation to Section 120A. I. P, C. According to Sri Sarma it was immaterial whether the illegal act was the principal object or the incidental object of the conspiracy, if any, that is. if any one of the objects of the conspiracy was to commit, a non-cognizable offence Section 196-A (2) was attracted even if the principal object of the conspiracy was to commit a cognizable offence. Sri Sarma referred me to the meaning of the words 'any' and 'incidental' as given in the Concise Oxford Dictionary and Stroud's Judicial Dictionary. The argument was. of course, in the teeth of the decision in Bhanwar Singh's case.

7. But, Mr. Sarma urged, the word 'any' in Section 196-A (2) Criminal P.C. and the explanation to Section 120A were not considered in that case. In my opinion, it would not make any difference. All that the explanation to Section 120A says is that there can be a conspiracy to do an illegal act which is not itself the ultimate object of the agreement but is merely incidental to that object. There can be a conspiracy to do an illegal act which is itself the ultimate object of the agreement and there can also be several conspiracies to carry out incidental illegal acts. I do not see how the recognition of several conspiracies to do an illegal act which is the ultimate object and other illegal acts incidental to such object has any effect on the interpretation of Section 196-A (1). The use of the word 'any' in Section 196-A (2) does not lead to the interpretation suggested by Mr. Sarma. What the learned Counsel wants me to do is to interpret the. Clause 'where the object of conspiracy is to commit any non-cognizable offence' to mean 'where any of the objects of the conspiracy is to commit a non-cognizable offence.' I do not think I can do that. The word 'any' in Section 196-A (2) appears simply to mean 'a' and neither more nor less. The 'object' of the conspiracy referred to in Section 196-A (2) is the ultimate object of the conspiracy and not the several illegal acts which are merely incidental to that object. That was decided in Bhanwar Singh's case. The references are. therefore. accepted and the Eighth City Magistrate is directed to entertain the cases on his file and dispose them of in accordance with law.


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