The order-issuing process has serious consequences. Such orders necessitate the application of thought and cannot be issued casually: Supreme court

Section 202(1) of the Cr.PC states that if an accused resides outside the area over which the learned Magistrate has jurisdiction, the issue of process shall be postponed by directing that a police officer or any other person conduct an investigation. The learned Magistrate has the option of inquiring into the case himself.

In the case of Shiv Jatia vs Gian Chand Malick (Criminal Appeal No.776 Of 2024), A distributorship agreement for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was at issue in this dispute. The company was served with a demand draft for Rs. 74,900/-by the complainant. In response, the company sent a letter claiming that there had been serious customer service errors that had seriously harmed the company’s reputation.

The complainant filed a complaint on the accused under Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 alleging the commission of offences under Sections 420, 406, 467, 468 and 472 read with Section 120­B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 13 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

The accused had petitioned in the High Court under Section 482 of the CrPC to have the complaint and summons order dismissed against them. However, the High Court dismissed the petition. Hence this appeal.

The court held that, The Magistrate could not have issued the summons based on the same material that was before him when he issued the order requesting the report under Section 202 of the Cr.PC. The order-issuing process has serious consequences. Such orders necessitate the application of thought. Such orders cannot be issued casually.

The court also determined that the entire dispute is of a civil nature stemming from a commercial transaction. As a result, neither the complaint nor the respondent’s evidence established a case for proceeding against the appellants. There is no allegation that the accused company had any involvement in the transaction between the second accused and the complainant. Continuing the complaint against the appellants would thus constitute an abuse of the legal process. As a result, there is a case for quashing the complaint against the appellants.


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Written by – Surya Venkata Sujith

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