M.B. Sharma, J.
1. This application Under Section 482, Cr. PC. has been filed against the order of the learned Magistrate dated 5.2.75, under which he took cognizance of an offence Under Section 417, I P C. It is prayed that the impugned order be quashed.
2. The accused petitioners are the banafide residents of Siligudi town in district Darjeeling (West Bengal), and have been earning on business of sale and purchase of oil and other commodities for a considerable period in the name and style of Jagannath Hansraj and their telegraphic address is 'Jajodia'. The complainant Ram Kripal is a manufacturer of Mustard oil and other oils and carries on his business of manufacturing oil in the name and style of M/s. Jai Hanuman Oil Mills at Purani Station Road, Alwar. The telegraphic address of the said firm is 'Sanjeevani'. A contract for the sale of 576 tins of Mustard Oil (Sarson) at Rs. 980/- per ql. was entered into between Ramkripal comlainant and the accused petitioners through brokers. The complainant's firm despatched 572 tins through wagon No. SR 5033, and further sent two R Rs, along with two Hundis for a sum of Rs. 98, 980, through the State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur The information of the despatch was convened to the firm of the accused-petitioners, but on presentation of the documents, the Hundis were not retired by the accused-petitioners as from the date the contracted mustard oil was loaded in the wagons, the market rates of mustard oil started falling down The complainant deputed its Munim Ramavtar to go to Calcutta and contact the accused-petitioners, but on being approached by said Ramavtar, the accused petitioners refused to honour the documents and to take delivery of 576 tins of mustard oil Thereafter, Ramavtar took delivery of the tins of mustard oil at Siligudi, and in due course of time they were disposed of on behalf of the complainant's firm.
3. A complaint was filed by Ram Kripal complainant in the Court of the learned Judicial-Magistrate, Alwar against the accused-petitioners and two others Under Section 420 and 500, IPC, and the learned Magistrate took cognizance of an offence Under Section 417, I P C against the accused petitioners and two others
4. The submission of the learned Advocate is that even if the facts, as in the complaint, are taken at their face value, it may be a case of breach of contract, and as such a case of purely civil nature, and no offence Under Section 417, IPC even prima facie is made out. Therefore, the order taking cognizance amounts to abuse of the process of the Court. The submission of the learned Advocate for the complainant is that Under Section 482, Cr. P. C. all that is required of the Court is to see the complaint to find out as to whether a prima facie case is made out and, if a prima facie case is made out then the order taking cognizance of an offence should not be quashed.
5. There can be no doubt that though the inherent powers of this Court are unlimited, but they are to be exercised sparingly in exceptional cases and that too either to make such order as may be necessary to give effect to any order under the Code of Criminal Procedure, or to prevent the abuse of the process of the court, or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. If, taking the complaint and the evidence produced in support thereof, the facts do not go to make out the essential ingredients of an offence, then no useful purpose will be (served if the proceedings are allowed to drag on, as in those circumstances it will amount to harassment of a person accused of an offence. In State of Karnataka v. L. Manna Swami and Ors. 1977 Cr. L.R. (S.C.) 188 their Lordships of the Supreme Court have observed that the saving of the inherent powers bath in civil and Criminal matters is designed to achieve the salutary purpose, which is, that a court proceeding ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment of prosecution. While referring to R P. Kaput v. State of Punjab : 1960CriLJ1239 , it was further observed as follows : -
Gajendra Gadekar J., spoke for the Court in Kapur's 1977 Cr. L.R. (S.C.) 188 case observes in his judgment that it was not possible;, desirable or expedient to lay down any inflexible rule, which would govern the exercise of the High Court's inherent jurisdiction. The three instances cited in the judgment as to when the High Court would be justified in exercising its inherent jurisdiction, are only illustrative and can in the very nature of things not be regarded as existed. A consideration justifying the exercise of inherent powers in securing the ends of justice naturally vary from case to case and a jurisdiction as wholesome as the one conferred by Section 482 ought not to be encased within the State jacket of a rigid formula.
Referring to the earlier judgments of the Supreme Court, in which the scope of Section 203, Cr. PC 1898 was considered, their Lordships also observed:
These decisions show that for the purpose of determination whether there is sufficient ground for proceedings against the accused, the Court possesses a comparatively wider discretion in the exercise of which it can determine the question whether the material on the record, if unrebutted, is such on the basis of which a conviction can be said reasonably to be possible.
6. It can, therefore, be said that there are no limits on the inherent powers of this Court, and the consideration justifying the exercise for seeming the ends of justice or to prevent the abuse of the process of court will vary from case to case. Taking into consideration the material available on record, no such case, which, if unrebutted, on its basis conviction can be said to be reasonably possible, made must, then an order of taking cognizance of an offence and issuing a process against an accused should be quashed by this Court.
7. Now, let us turn to the facts of the instant case. On a perusal of the complaint as well as the statement recorded Under Section 200 and 202, Cr. PC in support thereof, it will be clear that the case of the complainant himself is that a contract for the purchase of 576 tins of mustard oil at the rate of Rs. 980/- per quintal came in existence in the month of August 1974 572 tins of mustard oil had been despatched from Alwar in the month of September 74, and the documents, i e., the Bills and R Rs. and the Hundis for the amount of Rs. 98,980/- were also sent through the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur. lathe month of September, 74 itself, when the tins of mustard oil were loaded an me wagon, the rates of mustard oil per quintal started falling. There was such a sharp fall in the prices that they came down to Rs. 750/-per. quintal by the time the consignment reached Siligudi. As a result of falling prices, the accused petitioners refused to honour the documents and to take delivery. Efforts of the representative of the complainant to send the consignment through oath agencies succeeded with great difficulty, and the price fetched was less by Rs. 30,000/-. It is also mentioned in the complaint as well as in the evidence that if the prices had not fallen, the accused petitioners would have retired the documents and would have taken delivery Though, it is also mentioned that the intention of the accused-petitioners from the very beginning was that they will only honour the documents if the prices go on rising, and if the prices fell down, they would not honour the documents, but there is absolutely no legal evidence in support thereof which, even prima facie can go to show about such intention on behalf of the accused petitioners. On behalf of the complainant himself, a telegram has been filed which is Ex P.2, under which the accused-petitioners refused to advance any money for the bargain and informed the complainant that there was no question of advance agreeing bargain despatch immediately This telegram is dated 30-3-74, and from this telegram, which even as per the case of the complainant was sent after the contract had coma into existence, no such intention as alleged by the complainant can be inferred To me, it clearly shows that it is a case of breach of contract and a case of purely civil nature, but as it is the tendency these days, efforts are made to so twist the facts as to make out a criminal case. But, on scrutiny, the evidence and the complaint, they absolutely do not make out a case Under Section 417 IPC prima facie.
8. Under Section 203, Cr.P C, if after considering the statements on oath, if any, of the complainant and of the witnesses, and the result of enquiry Under Section 202, Cr. P.C the Magistrate is of opinion that there is no sufficient ground far proceeding, he is to dismiss the complaint. If, after considering the name, he is of the opinion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding only then the question of taking cognizance & issuing process against the accused arises. I have already quoted the relevant portion in the judgment of the Supreme Court in L. Munna Swami's case (supra), and it can be said that to form an opinion at to whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding against an accused or not, one of the considerations before the Magistrate should be as to whether there is material on record, which, if unrebutted, is such on the basis of which a conviction can be said to be reasonably possible In my opinion, it is a case, in which on the material on record, there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against she accused persons and, therefore the learned Magistrate should not have taken cognizance and should have dismissed the complaint.
9. Though, the other accused persons have not preferred any application in this Court, but I have held above that the case is purely of a civil nature, being a case of breach of contract. The other accused persons are only brokers and the result of my finding is that no case worth taking cognizance against them is also made out.
10. In the result, the application is accepted and the order of the learned Magistrate dated 5-2-75 is set aside under which the learned Magistrate took cognizance of an offence Under Section 417 IPC against the accused-petitioner and others. In consequence of this order the entire proceedings pending in the court of Addl. Munsif & Judicial Magistrate : 1960CriLJ1239 , Alwar are hereby quashed.