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Krishna NaraIn Garg and ors. Vs. Mahabir Agencies and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1984CriLJ1682
AppellantKrishna NaraIn Garg and ors.
RespondentMahabir Agencies and anr.
Cases ReferredBhagwat Prasad Misra v. Rajesh Kumar
Excerpt:
- - 18.5.1982 was only a pretext to create evidence to save their firms from any claim of damages which the foreign purchasers might have made for failure to arrange full supplies. filed by the applicants, it is clearly stated that when applicant no. when the complainant sent the bill, along with railway receipt endorsed in the name of the appellants, the latter returned it with the remark that the goods were of inferior quality. 1 says that in this view of the law the courts at delhi might have jurisdiction, but if the courts at barabanki had jurisdiction, the complainant was well within his discretion to invoke that jurisdiction......banshi dhar carried the samples to the office of oriental art industries at e-41 hauz khas, new delhi, where applicants nos. 1 to 8 were present. it is said that all the applicants examined the samples, settled the rates and represented that they would be sending orders from time to time on behalf of their firms for which the opposite party no. 1 was to prepare challans and bills in the name of any of the three firms as might be directed by the applicants from time to time, that on 9.3.1982 the applicant no. 8 arrived in barabanki and placed an order, on the letter pad of oriental art industries, for supply of 50 thousand pieces of a specified fabric and to deliver them at a-83. south extension part ii. new delhi, which was the office of rajendra exports, and that the complainant.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Kamleshwar Nath, J.

1. This is an application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash an order dt. 15.3.1983 passed by C.J.M., Barabanki, whereby the applicants have been summoned to stand trial for an offence under Section 420 read with Section 34 IPC on the basis of a complaint lodged by opposite, party No. 1.

2. Opposite party No. 1 M/s Mahabir Agencies of Barabanki is a proprietorship firm of Banshi Dhar carrying business of supplying handloom fabrics to customers; they have a store house at Delhi for supply of the goods to the customers. Applicant No. 4 Jai Narain Garg's wife is applicant No. 5 Smt. Dayawanti. Applicants Nos. 1 and 3 Krishna Narain Garg and Raj Narain Garg are sons of Jai Narain Garg. Applicant No. 6 Smt. Manju Devi is the wife of a third son of Jai Narain Garg. Applicant No. 7 Smt. Mamta Garg is the wile of applicant No. 1. Applicant No. 2 Kaushal Kishore Pandey and Applicant No. 8 Kapil Deo Sharma are the employees of the other applicants.

3. The relevant facts, stated in the complaint dt. 24.2.1983 (Annexure-2 to the petition), are that in February 1982 Applicants Nos. 1 and 2 approached opposite party No. 1 at Barabanki and represented that Applicant Nos. 1 and 3 to 7 are Partners/Directors of three Firms belonging to them, styled as Oriental Art Industries, Globe Linkers, Pvt. Ltd., and Rajendra Exports all carrying on business at Delhi for export and import of goods. On that visit, the applicants Nos. 1 and 2 placed orders for supply of goods worth Rs. 64,345/- to them through bills in the name of Globe Linkers Private Ltd. which opposite party No. 1 did and received the full payment. There is no dispute in respect of that transaction.

4. In the first week of March 1982, however, Applicants Nos. 1 and 2 again approached apposite party No. 1 at Barabanki and represented that their Finns had received bulk orders lot supply of Handloom fabrics to foreign countries worth rupees live lacs to be completed by the first fortnight of May 1982 and that they were expecting further orders in due course. They requested opposite party No. 1 to carry certain samples, selected by them to the applicants for approval by the Board of Directors on 6.3.1982. so that the placing of the orders in respect of the same may be decided by the Board of Directors finally. Accordingly, on 6.3.1982, Banshi Dhar carried the samples to the office of Oriental Art Industries at E-41 Hauz Khas, New Delhi, where Applicants Nos. 1 to 8 were present. It is said that all the applicants examined the samples, settled the rates and represented that they would be sending orders from time to time on behalf of their Firms for which the opposite party No. 1 was to prepare Challans and bills in the name of any of the three Firms as might be directed by the applicants from time to time, that on 9.3.1982 the Applicant No. 8 arrived in Barabanki and placed an order, on the Letter Pad of Oriental Art Industries, for supply of 50 thousand pieces of a specified fabric and to deliver them at A-83. South Extension Part II. New Delhi, which was the office of Rajendra Exports, and that the complainant started sending the goods and the challans bills accordingly. The complaint gave particulars of various challans and bills issued in the name of the three Firms of the applicants and pressed the applicants for making payments who were procrastinating on the ground that since goods have been sent to the foreign countries, it would take some time before they received the payments and soon thereof they would be making payments to the complainant. According to the complainant these representations were all false and had been made with an intention to cheat him. It was said that ultimately, the complainant received a letter dt. 18.5.1982 from and signed by Applicant No. I stating that the complainant had not made any supplies, whatsoever, and if the supplies were not made within a week, the order would be cancelled and the complainant would be liable to pay damages. According to the complaint (para 24) the dishonest intention of the applicants got exposed and then the complainant went to Delhi and contacted all the applicants. It was said that the applicant (without mentioning who) promised to pay the dues of the complainant at an early date and explained that the letter dt. 18.5.1982 was only a pretext to create evidence to save their Firms from any claim of damages which the foreign purchasers might have made for failure to arrange full supplies. It was further stated that, nevertheless, the applicants did not make any payments, whereupon the complainant sent a notice dt. 13.6.1982 to the accused who repudiated the allegations in their reply dt. 16.6.1982.

5. It was further stated in the complaint that the complainant came to know later on that Oriental Art Industries had been black-listed in 1979 and its Letter Head was being used to cheat persons arid that in dealing with the banks, some of the applicants had styled themselves as partners of Oriental Art Industries. Repeated efforts of the complainant to obtain payment did not bear fruit. The complainant's version (para 37) is that by dishonest overt acts and dishonest concealment of true facts, the applicants had caused a wrongful loss to the complainant and a wrongful gain to themselves as the complainant delivered goods worth Rs. 2,19,711.25 paise to the applicants of which a payment of only Rs. 8.000 - had been made and the applicants denied having received any of the goods despatched by the complainant. The applicants, therefore, are said to have committed an offence punishable under Section 420 read with Section 34 IPC. II was. therefore, prayed for the applicants prosecution accordingly.

6. The complainant examined himself under Section 200 Cr PC and further examined G.L. Sharma. the person in charge of his storehouse in Delhi, Hari Prakash and Mohd. Umar under Section 202 d PC The learned Magistrate observed that the complainant had corroborated the allegations made in the complaint and that Girdhari Lal Sharma and Hari Prakash, who were residents of New Delhi. have fully supported the ease of the complainant lie also considered the photostat copies of documents filed by the complainant and held that he was of the opnion that there were sufficient grounds for proceeding further against the accused. Accordingly, he directed all the applicants to be summoned to stand trial for offence under Section 420 read with Section 34 IPC.

7. In this application for quashing the summoning order, learned Counsel for the applicants urged that the Court at Barabanki did not have jurisdiction because no part of the cause of action could he said to have arisen at Barabanki. The supply order in question is the order dt. 9.3.1982. According to the complainant, Applicant No. 8 Kapil Deo Sharma had gone to Barabanki and had placed the order with the complainant at Barabanki. According to the applicants, the said supply order was signed at Delhi and dealing therewith was done at Delhi, the supply was to be made through the complainants Delhi office under the charge of Girdhari Lal Sharma and, therefore, the jurisdiction vested in the Delhi Courts. Reliance has been placed upon an endorsement 'accepted' under the signatures of Girdhari Lal Sharma on the order whose photostat copy is Annexure-3 to the petition. On the contrary, the complainant has filed a photostat copy of the same order dt. 8.3.1982, annexed to the counter affidavit dt. 18-7-1983, which does not bear any such endorsement. The contention of the complainant is that Applicant No. 8. Kapil Deo Sharma, had personally brought the order to the complainant al Barabanki which the complainant accepted at Barabanki and in accordance with it the complainant dispatched goods from time to lime to one or the other Firms named by the applicants. The statement in Para 6 of the counter-affidavit is that when Applicant No. 1 Krishna Narain Garg talked to Girdhari Lal Sharma on 8.3.1982 in respect of the order and said that the goods were to be supplied quickly Girdhari Lal Sharma told Krishna Narain Garg that in that event the latter should send someone of Barabanki and settle things and it was in that context that Applicant No. 8 Kapil Deo Sharma went to Barabanki and placed the order. It is urged that the circumstances in which Girdhari Lal Sharma made the endorsement on the supply order would be explained during evidence. The contention of learned Counsel for the applicants that Girdhari Lal Sharma must explain it at this stage, cannot be accepted because the document, bearing the endorsement of Girdhari Lal Sharma, had not figured before the trial Court during proceedings under Sections 200 and 202 Cr PC and therefore, there was no opportunity for Girdhari Lal Sharma to give any explanation about it at that stage.

8. It may be mentioned that in the copy of the statement of Girdhari Lal Sharma. filed by the applicants, it is clearly stated that when Applicant No. 1 talked to him on 8.3.1982 to place an order, on behalf of Oriental Art Industries, and said that the goods were needed quickly, the witness said that if the goods were needed quickly then somebody should be sent to Barabanki lo complete the talks. It was then that Kapil Deo Sharma went to Barabanki and alter talking with the proprietor of the. complainant Firm, placed the order.

9. Further, it will have to be found, on the evidence, whether or not Girdhari Lal Sharma had an authority lo accept any supply order on behalf of the complainant so as to constitute a contract through agency.

10. As the material stands on the record, the position then is that in the first week of March 1982. Applicant No. 1. along with applicant No. 2, approached the complainant al Barabanki for purchase of fabrics through orders running from time to time for which supplies were lo be made from lime to time; selected curtain samples for approval; on 6.3.1982 the complainant look those samples to the applicants at Delhi for their approval who say them and slated that orders would be placed subsequently and accordingly on 8.3.1982 Applicant No. 1 placed the order for supply on behalf of Oriental Art Industries which was carried by applicant No. 8 Kapil Deo Sharma to Barabanki where the transaction was finally settled with the complainant. It was in consequence of that contract for supply that the complainant despatched the goods from time to lime. It is, therefore, established prima facie that the relevant representation was made and supply contract was materialised at Barabanki and not at Delhi.

11. Learned Counsel for the applicants refers to Section 182 Cr PC the relevant portion of which is as follows:

Offences committed by letters, etc.

(1) Any offence which includes cheating may. if the deception is practised by means of letters or telecommunication messages, be inquired into or tried by any Court within whose local jurisdiction such letters or messages were sent or were received; and any offence of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the property was delivered by the person deceived or was received by the accused person.

Learned Counsel for the applicants says that having regard to the second part of this provision, the jurisdiction would vest in the Courts at Delhi because the delivery was made at Delhi. Learned Counsel for the complainant says that as indicated by the heading, the section deals only with those offences where deception is practised by means of letters or telecommunication messages and not with other cases. It is urged that in this case it has been practised by the applicants in person at Barabanki and not by letters. The order Dt. 8.3.1982 was not an order received by post, but was delivered personally by Applicant No. 8 Kapil Deo Sharma, to the complainant and it cannot, therefore, be said that the deception in question was practised by means of that order only. The contention of learned Counsel for the opposite party No. 1 is not without force.

12. Learned Counsel for the applicants then says that the second part of Section 182 Cr PC has nothing to do with a case where deception is practised by means of letters or telecommunication messages, but deals with 'any' offence of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property without a pre-condition of the deception being practised by letters or other communication messages. If that is what the intention of the Legislature was, then it might be a redundant provision according to learned Counsel for the complainant, because a Court's jurisdiction on the basis of place of delivery of goods, is already provided by the provisions of Section 179 Cr PC which runs as follows:

When an act is an offence by reason of anything which has been done and of a consequence which has ensued, the offence may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction such thing has been done or such consequence has ensued.

Where representation was made at Barabanki and the goods were supplied in consequence of that representation, at Delhi, the Court's both at Barabanki and Delhi, would have jurisdiction under Section 179 Cr PC and it is the option of the complainant to choose his forum. In my opinion, the applicability of the latter part of Section 182 Cr PC must be confined to that class of cases where deception is practised by means of letters and telecommunication messages and the delivery of property is made in consequence thereof at a particular place; and then it is set forth that the Court of that place would have jurisdiction.

13. At the first sight, the semicolon between the earlier and later parts of Sub-section (1) of Section 182 might suggest that the later part is independent of the earlier part, and if that be so, the opening clause of the first part, viz., 'Any offence which includes cheating may. if the deception is practised by means of letters or telecommunication messages...'would not govern the later portion. But in order to arrive at a true interpretation of the provision, the scheme as a whole, the object, and the context, must be considered. It will be noticed immediately that in the opening words of the subsection 'Any offence which includes cheating' the portion which includes cheating' is redundant because the expression 'any offence' would undoubtedly include 'cheating'. And yet, no portion of a statute is to be presumed to be redundant or without a purpose. The upshot is that Section 182(i) is not such a provision of law as may be fairly interpreted in its own terms, i.e., on the letter of the law. it has to be interpreted in the light of the intention of the law.

14. Section 182 Cr PC of the present Code did not have a corresponding provision in the earlier Codes; the earlier Codes had provisions which governed the jurisdiction of Courts in offences of cheating, for example. Section 179 Cr.P.C. of 1898, corresponding to the present Section 179. Why it became necessary then to introduce Section 182 in the Code, would appear from the Objects & Reasons therefor. From the AIR Commentaries, 8th Ed. Vol 2 of the Cr.P.C. at page 285, the Statement of Objects and Reasons as set forth by the Law Commission in its 41st. Report seems to be as follows:

15.30 controversial questions have frequently arisen in regard to the venue for the offence of cheating where the fraudulent or dishonest misrepresentation is made by post, telegram or long distance telephone and where the property of which the person deceived or cheated is delivered to a common carrier or other agent at one place and received by the cheat at another place. In the absence of special provisions similar to those contained in Section 181, such questions have necessarily to be decided with reference to the general principles laid down in Sections 177, 179, and 182 (now Sections 177, 178, 179). Different views have been expressed by the High Courts in applying these principles to the facts of the particular cases before them.

15.36. on the strength of this analysis it might be argued in comparable cases that no part of the offence of cheating and t dishonestly inducing delivery of property takes place at the accused persons' end. The application of Section 179 (now Section 178) or Section 182 (now Section 179) might be regarded as of doubtful validity. There should, however, be no objection in principle to the person accused of cheating from a distance being triable for the offence, not only at the place where his victim was deceived and/or made to part with property, but also at the place where the accused has been carrying on his dishonest practices and reaping the benefits.

It is clear from the comments of the Law Commission in para 15.30 that it visualised the provision of Section 182 as dealing with those cases where deception is practiced by letters or telecommunication messages, Such cases are classified into two: (i) the earlier part covered all cases of deception by letters or telecommunication messages and (ii) the later part was confined to such deception by letters or telecommunication messages where, in addition to deception, property is also delivered to the offender. It must be remembered that Section 415 IPC has been recognised to deal with two distinct classes of offences of cheating: (i) where property is delivered and (ii) where property is not delivered, but an act or omission is done in addition to the practice of deception in both cases. (See the case of Kanumukkala Krishnamurthy v. State of Andhra Pradesh : [1964]7SCR410 . The object of the later part of Section 182 was to get over a doubt whether or not the Courts of the place, where delivery of goods is made, would have jurisdiction in the matter of an offence of cheating by letters and telecommunication messages; and then it was set forth in Para 15.36 of the Law Commission Report that there should be 'no objection in principle to the person accused of cheating from a distance being triable for the offence not only at the place where his victim was deceived and/or made to part with property, but also at the place where the accused has been carrying on his dishonest practises and reaping the benefits.' In either case, the deception is conceived to have been exercised through letters or telecommunication messages. It is in this light that the heading of Section 182 'Offences committed by letters etc.' is of special significance and gives a clue to the legislative intent.

15. Dealing with the cases of cheating generally by letters or telecommunication messages, the earlier part of Section 182 Cr PC leaves option with the complainant to choose his forum out of any of the two places, viz., the Court within whose local jurisdiction the letters or messages were either sent, or received, but in those particular cases of cheating where delivery of goods is also made in consequence of deception by letters or telecommunication messages, the jurisdiction is confined to the Courts within whose local jurisdiction the goods are delivered. But in either case, the deception must be practised by letters or telecommunication messages. In the present case, the supply order was placed and deception was practised in person by Applicants Nos. 1 and 8 at Barabanki and not merely by letter dt. 8.3.1982, hence Section 182 Cr PC does not apply. In view of Section 179 Cr PC the complaint was cognizable by Court at Barabanki.

16. Learned Counsel for the applicants referred to the case of Muni Lal v. Chhagan 1982 All Cri R 90 : 11982 All LJ NOC 41 where the complainant dealer of Jhansi had booked a wagon of Gram-dal to Bangalore for sale in Bangalore Market and then the appellants, who were dealers in Bangalore, made a representation that they were ready to purchase the goods. When the complainant sent the bill, along with Railway Receipt endorsed in the name of the appellants, the latter returned it with the remark that the goods were of inferior quality. When the complainant resold the goods in Bangalore Market, he suffered a loss. On prosecuting the appellants at Jhansi. it was held that no representation whatsoever had been made by the appellants at Jhansi and since the goods had already been despatched from Jhansi to Bangalore for sale in the open market and not at the request of the appellants no part of the cause of action arose at Jhansi. It was. in these circumstances, that the jurisdiction of the Court at Jhansi was negatived. The facts of the present case are different. The order was ultimately placed in person, supported by a letter, at Barabanki where the deception is said to have been practised.

17. Reliance upon the case of Mobarik Ali Ahmad v. Stale of Bombay 0043/1957 : 1957CriLJ1346 by the learned Counsel for the applicants is also misplaced. There contract for sale was concluded by a telephonic talk between the accused-applicant at Karachi and the complainant at Bombay, in consequence of which the goods were agreed to be transferred at Bombay and payment made. It was held that the jurisdiction for the trial of the offence of cheating was at the Court of Bombay because the telephonic representation from Karachi became a representation to the complainant only when it reached cognition of the complainant at the Bombay-end. The test, therefore, is as to where the contract was completed. In the present case, the contract was completed at Barabanki.

18. Learned Counsel for the opposite party No. 1 has referred to the case of Emperor v. Atmaram : AIR1934All846 where a partner of Firm Uggar Sen Parshotam Das. carrying on business of commission agents at Muzaffarnagar, entered into an agreement with a Firm of Dehradun at Dehradun to purchase 'bijaks' for Dehradun Firm, which issued a cheque but the cheque was dishonoured. When a complaint was lodged at Muzaffaranagar and the question raised was whether the proper jurisdiction was of the Court at Dehradun, it was held that the cheating by Dehradun Firm was not of the partner of Muzaffarnagar Firm, but of the latter Firm itself and hence the deception practised at Dehradun ensued at Muzaffarnagar and, therefore, the Courts at Muzaffarnagar also had jurisdiction, in view of Section 179 Cr PC. Learned Counsel for opposite party No. 1 says that in this view of the law the Courts at Delhi might have jurisdiction, but if the Courts at Barabanki had jurisdiction, the complainant was well within his discretion to invoke that jurisdiction. In my opinion the contention of the learned Counsel for the opposite party No. 1 is correct.

19. The last point urged by the learned Counsel for the applicants is that on the face of it, the complaint does not make out any case against the applicants, other than Applicants Nos. 1, 2 and 8. It is urged that for the mere fact that Applicants Nos. 3 to 7 were present in the meeting of Board of Directors on 6.3.1982 when they approved the samples, carried by complainant, would not prove that they were involved in the alleged offence of cheating. There seems to be substance in this contention.

20. The case stated in the complaint was that Applicants Nos. 1 & 2 had represented that Applicants Nos. 1 and 3 to 7 were carrying on business of Export & Import through their three Firms, of which they were Partners/Directors, that all the Applicants Nos. 1 to 8 examined and approved the complainant's sample in a meeting at Delhi on 6.3.1982 and had said that they would be sending orders from time to time on behalf of their Firms for which the complainant would have to prepare challans/bills in the name of any of the three Firms as directed by them from time to time, that on 9.3.1982 Applicant No. 8 approached the complainant at Barabanki and placed a written order, under the signatures of Applicant No. 1 for supply of goods on the Letterhead of Oriental Art Industries to supply goods at A-83, South Extension Part II. New Delhi, which was the office of Rajendra Exports, that goods were delivered to the accused, that various challans and corresponding bills had been prepared on the various dates or amended according to the instructions of Applicant No. 1, by means of which the goods had been delivered, that all the accused made false promises to pay which they never did as they had a common intention to cheat, and that finally Opposite party No. 1 was informed by letter dt. 18.5.1982 that the complainant Opposite Party No. 1 had not made any supply. The complaint went on to say that in bank transactions Applicants Nos. 1, 5 and 6 alone described themselves as Partners of Oriental Art Industries.

21. It will be seen that the only act attributed to applicants, other than Applicants Nos. 1, 2 and 8. (Applicants Nos. 3 to 7) was that they had approved the samples in a meeting on 6.3.1982 and had represented that they would be sending orders from time to time on behalf of their Firms for which the complainant was to prepare challans/bills etc. according to instructions. Now, the only order involved in this transaction is order dt. 8.3.1982 sent by Applicant No. 1 and carried by Applicant No. 8 to the complainant at Barabanki, on the basis of which the complainant made supplies in the name of various Firms of the applicants. It is noticeable that according to the complaint the instructions for preparing challans/bills in respect of these items, in the name of different Firms, were given by Applicant No. 1.

22. The evidence, consisting of the statements of Banshi Dhar, the proprietor, Girdhari Lal Sharma, the depot-keeper at Delhi, and Hari Prakash, the transporter of some of the goods to the premises of Rajendra Exports in April 1982, does not go beyond what is stated in the complaint itself. The complicity of Applicant No. 2 may be indicated because of the initial representation made by Applicant No. 1 along with him when the dealings with the complainant commenced. The statement of mere approval of samples by Applicants Nos. 3 to 7 does not make out the elements of offence of cheating as set out in Section 415 IPC. They are. therefore, entitled to be exempted from contemplated proceedings as would appear from the case of Bhagwat Prasad Misra v. Rajesh Kumar 1983 Luck LJ 27.

23. The application is partly allowed and the proceedings for the prosecution of Applicants Nos. 3 to 7, on the basis of the complaint contained in Annexure-2 to the application, are quashed, the proceedings shall, however, continue against Applicants Nos. 1, 2 and 8 in the concerned Court at Barabanki.

24. Applicants Nos. 1, 2 and 8 and the complainant shall appear before the said Court at Barabanki on 18.5.1984 for further orders and proceedings in the said Court.

25. The office will return the record to the concerned Court at Barabanki immediately.


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