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The Thodu Tangle: The Karnataka High Court Validates Villagers’ Concerns on Bridge Construction.

Samad A.A. & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors.

Writ Appeal No.: 636 OF 2024

Court: High Court of Karnataka.

Coram: Hon’ble J. B.M. Shyam Prasad, J. T.G. Shivashankare Gowda.

The High Court of Karnataka delivered a judgment on May 2, 2024, on a writ appeal filed against an interim order dated 18.03. 2024. The interim order directed the Deputy Commissioner of Madikeri to remove a concrete road constructed on a thodu within four weeks.

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

The appellants are the residents of Mugatageri village in Kodagu District. A concrete road has been put up on the thodu (a small stream or water channel) in their locality, which might have resulted in the stagnation of water. The initial petition was filed by Sri K.K. Deepak against various state officials and local authorities responsible for the construction and maintenance of the road. After this, there were directions to remove the concrete road, but actions were yet to be taken due to the election.

 

LEGAL ISSUES

  1. Whether the appellant’s rights would be affected by the implementation of the interim order directing the removal of the concrete land?
  2. Whether the appellants should have been impleaded as parties in the writ petition before passing the interim order?

 

LEGAL PROVISIONS

  • Section 4  of the Karnataka High Court Act, 1961, under which the appeal was filed.
  • Rule 27 of the Writ Proceedings Rules, 1977, states that a certiorari writ petition must include certified or authenticated copies of the order to be quashed and, if applicable, copies of orders from all involved authorities.
  • Additionally, the case involves principles under environmental protection laws concerning water bodies.

CONTENTIONS BY THE APPELLANTS

The learned counsel for the appellants contended that the implementation of the interim order directing the removal of the concrete road would affect their rights as they were not made parties to the original writ petition. Thus, their rights and interests were only considered after passing the interim order. The petitioners argued that the construction of concrete roads over thodu may have led to significant water stagnation, affecting the local land properties. They also contended that despite the direction of the Tahsildar, the Panchayat Development Officer, to remove the concrete road, no action was taken.

CONTENTIONS BY THE RESPONDENTS

The learned Additional Government Advocate, representing the respondents, submitted that the interim order could not be implemented due to the elections during the time of order. However, he did not oppose the appellant’s contention that they should have been included and heard before passing the interim order to address their concerns appropriately.

ANALYSIS OF THE JUDGEMENT

The Hon’ble High Court recognized the environmental issues resulting from the construction of the road over the thodu. It observed that the grievances of the appellants regarding the interim order and their concerns were valid as they were not given an opportunity to present their case in the original writ proceedings. The Court acknowledged the delay due to elections and deemed it necessary to provide the appellants an opportunity to file the applications.

CONCLUSION

The case above is an example of the importance given to the principles of natural justice by the courts. The courts allowed the appellants to be heard before the implementation of an order that might affect their rights. This case highlights the necessity of ensuring that all parties are heard in judicial proceedings. It also underscores the importance of maintaining natural environments and addressing the impact of infrastructure projects on the environment.

Judgement reviewed by Maria Therese Syriac.

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Order 24 of Board of Revenue Standing Orders, Revenue Department, could never be invoked for resumption of land on account of non-utilization of the portion of the land in question: High Court of Andra Pradesh.

CASE TITTLE: M/s. Sweekaar Rehabilitation Institute for Handicapped, Secunderabad v The State of Andhra Pradesh, Revenue Department

CASE NO: WRIT APPEAL No.1179 of 2023

ORDER ON: 17.05.2024

QUORUM:  JUSTICE DHIRAJ SINGH THAKUR, JUSTICE R. RAGHUNANDAN RAO

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The present writ appeal challenges the judgment and order dated 15.09.2023 passed in W.P.No.5175 of 2020. The facts leading to the present petition in question, is that the petitioner started an Academy of Rehabilitation Sciences at Secunderabad called Sweekaar which was a non-profit and non-commercial voluntary organisation which was aimed at rendering services to the mentally challenged, physically disabled and was thus a Multi-speciality Rehabilitation Centre. It is stated that the institute run by the petitioner is the first of its kind in India and runs various training programmes viz. Diploma, Degree, PG and Ph.D. courses, all of which are recognised by the State and the Central Government as also the Universities and the Rehabilitation Council of India, It is also stated that considering the contributions made in the field, the then Chief Minister Dr.Y.S.R. Reddy, requested  sSweekar to start a campus in Kadapa District to serve the mentally challenged and disabled in the Rayalaseema area. It is stated that pursuant to the aforementioned request, a parcel of land measuring ten acres was granted at a nominal cost, subject to the terms and conditions as laid down under Order 24 of Board of Revenue Standing Orders, Revenue Department,The land was allotted in the name of the petitioner society i.e., Founder and Chairman, It is further stated that an area of approximately ten thousand square feet has been constructed over the land in question while the boundary has been well marked with cement poles and barbed wires, further it is stated that the institute being run by the petitioner is stated to have been functioning for the past fourteen years and while being so came to be received by the petitioner from the District Collector, YSR District, Kadapa stating that the land alienated to the institute had not fully been utilized except to a small extent and thus, conditions of alienation under B.S.O.24 had been violated. The petitioner was accordingly asked to show cause as to why the land measuring nine acres sixty five cents, which remain unutilized by the grantee/petitioner be not resumed and called for an explanation within fifteen days. Response, was submitted by the petitioner that the dream of the organisation could not be accomplished by keeping thirty five cents out of the ten acres and therefore, it was suggested that the entire ten acres with buildings and furniture be surrendered. Financial support to the extent of seven crore was also sought by the petitioner. It is further stated that the petitioner institute was a charitable organisation which had not received any help from the Government or the corporate sector and that there was a financial crisis. Finally, an order came to be passed by the District Collector, to the extent that land measuring nine acres which remained unutilized by the petitioner be resumed. The Tahsildar, Kadapa was instructed to take over the possession of the aforementioned land from the Chairman of the Sweekaar Rehabilitation Institute.The order of resumption came to be challenged before the learned single Judge, who by virtue of judgment, dismissed the same by holding that the purpose for which the land had been allotted had not been achieved and that the petitioner was not imparting education in the said institute and returned a finding that the petitioner institute has discontinued admission from the academic year 2016-17 due to financial problems. Hence, the present letters patent appeal.

LEGAL ISSUES:

  • whether the resumption order could legally and justifiably be issued, only because the entire extent of land granted in terms of B.S.O.24 had not been fully utilized by the petitioner, for the purposes for which it was granted ?
  • whether such a non-utilization of the rest of the land would said to be in violation of the B.S.O.24. 17?

LEGAL PROVISIONS:

Order 24 of Board of Revenue Standing Orders talks about Placing State land at the disposal of a person, an institution or a local body and exemption for land revenue and clause(6) talks about Condition for the grant of State Lands at the disposal of Government

CONTENTIONS OF APPELLEANT:

Learned counsel for the appellant urged that the view expressed by the learned single Judge that the institute was not imparting any education from the said premises was without any basis. With reference to the additional affidavit filed by the appellant, the counsel further draws the attention to documents which include the consolidated statement of attendance of various candidates, who had attended the academy and undergone courses between 2022 and 2024.the counsel further placed documents on record reflecting appointment of external examiners for practical examination scheduled to be held on 07.08.2023 and 08.08.2023 for the examination centre which was identified as „Sweekar Academy of Rehabilitation Sciences at Kadapa‟.the counsel, thus urged that on facts, the learned single Judge was not justified in law, in upholding the order impugned passed by the Collector.

COURTS ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The court on hearing both the sides, observed that, The learned single Judge, could not have gone into the question as to whether the petitioner was at all conducting its activities from the premises in question as that was never the scope of examination before the learned single Judge. further the court observed that the conditions for grant have not been specifically placed before us. However, the purpose of the grant can be deduced in view of the Government Order bearing number G.O.Ms.No.1405 dated 03.11.2007, for the purpose of setting up Rehabilitation Institute. Admittedly, the institute has been established, although its functioning may not be up to the desired level as is sought to be suggested by the Government. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that this was an institute which was one of its kind in the entire Andhra Pradesh, which caters to the needs of that category of mentally and physically challenged citizens which appear to have not received the priority which it ought to have received either from the Government or from the public or the private sector. the court opined that , the resumption order is unsustainable, inasmuch as, firstly it was never the condition of the grant that the entire land would be utilized for construction nor did the Government at the time of giving grant approved a vision document, on paper containing the layout plans, etc., which were required to be achieved, commensurate with the milestones fixed by the Government in that regard. The Government would have been justified in resuming the land in question by invoking B.S.O.24 (6) (2), only if the petitioner instead of running a service oriented institute had opened a hotel or a bar for serving drinks or for any other matter unconnected with the purpose of the grant. This, however, is not the case before us.the court further observed that, it may be true that land is a natural resource, which is becoming scarce by every passing day on account of the increase in human activity in diverse fields, unless the world discovers another planet which is fit for human habitation, yet the grant made in accordance with law cannot be permitted to be resumed on grounds which are unsustainable.the court further opined, B.S.O.24 (6)(2) could never have been invoked for resumption of nine acres on account of non-utilization of that portion of the land in question.further the court observed that If the institute like the petitioner is the only kind of the institute in the entire State of Andhra Pradesh, then steps ought to have been taken by the Government in ensuring that the institute is nurtured in a way that its services, which are sought to be provided through the institute, actually are fortified for the benefit of the mentally challenged as also the physically handicapped. The court also observed that entire process of resumption of nine acres of land appears to have been initiated after a report had been submitted by the Tahsildar, Kadapa, pursuant to the issuance of Government Order which authorises the District Collectors to cancel the alienation and resume the land by following due procedure, in cases where the allotee had not utilized the land „for the purpose for which it is allotted or had changed the purpose‟.the court further observed that the institute was set up and continues to operate as can be seen from the documents placed on record, which shows not only that the students were undergoing the courses but were also taking the examination from the said institute.Hence, the court quashed the judgment and order impugned,and set aside the same. Accordingly, the court allowed the present writ appeal.

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Judgement reviewed by: Sowmya.R

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Supreme Court Quashes Criminal Proceedings in Benami Land Transactions and Establishes Legal Precedents for Government Employees Engaging in Similar Transactions

Case Name: C Subbiah @ Kadambur jayaraj & Ors v. The Superintendent of Police & Ors 

Case No.: SLP (Criminal) No(s). 8990 of 2019 

Dated: May 15, 2024 

Quorum: Justice B R Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta 

 

FACTS OF THE CASE: 

The complainant filed a complaint at the Court of Learned Judicial Magistrate No. II, Kovilpatti, claiming among other things that he was a graduate of the MD programme with an M.Sc. On October 8, 2007, he was hired as a government instructor. The claimant had been making his living from the real estate sector for the previous sixteen years prior to being assigned as a Government teacher.  

The complainant making the complaint was acquainted with Kannabiran, also known as “A-3,” who held a managerial position at the Kovilpatti branch of the State Bank of India (SBI). The complainant met A. Vijaya (hence referred to as “A-2”) and Subbiah @ Kadambur Jeyaraj (hereinafter referred to as “A1”) while working in the real estate industry. 

The complaint was introduced to Chandrasekar (henceforth referred to as “A-4”), his son Pandiyaraj (henceforth referred to as “A-6”), his wife S. Pandiyammal (henceforth referred to as “A-5”), and his brother—all of whom were involved in the real estate industry—through A-1 and A-2.  

Additionally, the plaintiff was duped into thinking that smaller plots would be acquired from the larger pieces of land so be cut up and sold to various people, which would regularly demand the seller’s personal presence, and given that the complainant was a teacher, hence he would experience difficulties if the land lots were to be put on file under his name. 

As the appellants in this case, A 1–12 filed CRL.O.P.(MD) No. 3846 of 2013 to challenge the FIR and the charge sheet before the Madras High Court, Madurai Bench. The appeal by special leave is being challenged in this appeal, and the learned single judge of the Madras High Court dismissed the petition that the appellants had filed in their ruling of April 23, 2018. 

 

LEGAL PROVISIONS:  

  • Section 420 IPC- Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.— If someone deceives someone by cheating and then dishonestly persuades them to give up property to someone else, create, alter, or destroy a valuable security in whole or in part, or create something signed or sealed that has the potential to be turned into a valuable security, they will be subject to a fine and up to seven years of imprisonment of a similar kind. 
  • Section 120(B) of IPC- Any individual involved in a criminal conspiracy that is not related to a criminal conspiracy to commit an act listed above faces a maximum sentence of six months in either type of jail, a fine, or both. 

 

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANTS: 

The learned counsel for the appellants fiercely and strongly argued that the charges listed in the charge sheet and the formal complaint are not sufficient to establish the offences claimed, even if they are accepted as genuine on the face of the record. A continuation of the proceedings in accordance with the charge sheet filed against the accused appellants would amount to a flagrant abuse of the legal process, he argued, given the acknowledged facts as stated in the complaint, which indicates that any disagreement between the parties is solely civil in nature. 

The charge sheet makes it very evident that although the complainant received some of the selling proceeds from the land deals, he did not receive the full amount that was due to him. He further argued that since the complainant was a teacher employed by the government and was not permitted to engage in real estate transactions, he made the investments through the accused appellants in this case at his own risk.  

He further said that when the profit-sharing component of the land deals failed to satisfy the complainant, he felt that the criminal legal system had been abused in order to bring a baseless case against the accused appellants. 

The argument put forth by the knowledgeable senior attorney was that there is absolutely nothing in the case file that indicates the accused appellants intended to deceive the complainant at the outset of the transactions.  

Furthermore, the accused appellants would not be found guilty of a criminal breach of trust because the complainant’s accusation concerns a disproportionate sharing of profits from land dealings that he entered into with their knowledge. 

 

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS: 

The arguments put forward by the learned counsel for the appellants were sharply and passionately rejected by the learned counsel for the respondent complaint as well as the learned Standing Counsel representing the State.  

It was argued that the accused appellants deceitfully persuaded the complainant to make large investments in real estate transactions by gaining his trust through the use of phrases like “honey quoted.” The accused repeatedly assured the complainant that he would receive his rightful portion of the profits or the plots from the lands, as the case may be, which would be bought in the accused’s name because the complainant was not permitted to engage in such transactions as a government teacher.  

The complainant committed large sums of money in land agreements, putting total faith in the accused appellants’ guarantees, after falling for their enticements. Nevertheless, the accused appellants broke their word and conned the complainant by not providing him with the necessary number of plots that would have been in line with his investment. 

According to their argument, the fact that the complainant has already used a civil remedy for the same complaints does not automatically bar him from using the criminal court’s jurisdiction to hold the accused appellants accountable for their fraudulent acts. This is because the allegations made in the complaint are equivalent to both criminal and civil offences, allowing for the continuation of parallel legal proceedings. 

 

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT: 

The court said that it was evident from the complaint that none of the allegations therein could support a finding that the accused appellants’ goal was to deceive the complainant right from the beginning of the transactions. Without a doubt, the accused appellants gave the complainant some plots and a portion of the profits from the land deals, but there is a disagreement over how much profit was made and whether the complainant’s share of the profits was fully satisfied in relation to his investments. 

The court held that, at most, the complainant may use these accusations as justification to file a civil lawsuit against the accused appellants. However, Section 4 of the Benami Act prohibits such a remedy, as was previously mentioned.  

With regard to the accused appellants, the court was firmly of the opinion that the accepted allegations included in the complaint and charge sheet did not establish the requisite elements of the offences punishable under Section 406 and Section 420 IPC. There is no denying that by abusing the criminal justice system, a civil issue has been given a criminal prosecution colour by means of accusations of fraud and criminal breach of confidence. 

At the risk of repetition, it should be emphasised once more that the complainant was not permitted to sue the accused appellants for the identical set of facts and claims that form the basis of the criminal proceedings due to the explicit bar stated in Section 4 of the Benami Act. 

 

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.” 

Judgment reviewed by Riddhi S Bhora. 

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Supreme Court Quashes Criminal Proceedings in Benami Land Transactions and Establishes Legal Precedents for Government Employees Engaging in Similar Transactions

Supreme Court Quashes Criminal Proceedings in Benami Land Transactions and Establishes Legal Precedents for Government Employees Engaging in Similar Transactions 

Case Name: C Subbiah @ Kadambur jayaraj & Ors v. The Superintendent of Police & Ors 

Case No.: SLP (Criminal) No(s). 8990 of 2019 

Dated: May 15, 2024 

Quorum: Justice B R Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta 

 

FACTS OF THE CASE: 

The complainant filed a complaint at the Court of Learned Judicial Magistrate No. II, Kovilpatti, claiming among other things that he was a graduate of the MD programme with an M.Sc. On October 8, 2007, he was hired as a government instructor. The claimant had been making his living from the real estate sector for the previous sixteen years prior to being assigned as a Government teacher.  

The complainant making the complaint was acquainted with Kannabiran, also known as “A-3,” who held a managerial position at the Kovilpatti branch of the State Bank of India (SBI). The complainant met A. Vijaya (hence referred to as “A-2”) and Subbiah @ Kadambur Jeyaraj (hereinafter referred to as “A1”) while working in the real estate industry. 

The complaint was introduced to Chandrasekar (henceforth referred to as “A-4”), his son Pandiyaraj (henceforth referred to as “A-6”), his wife S. Pandiyammal (henceforth referred to as “A-5”), and his brother—all of whom were involved in the real estate industry—through A-1 and A-2.  

Additionally, the plaintiff was duped into thinking that smaller plots would be acquired from the larger pieces of land so be cut up and sold to various people, which would regularly demand the seller’s personal presence, and given that the complainant was a teacher, hence he would experience difficulties if the land lots were to be put on file under his name. 

As the appellants in this case, A 1–12 filed CRL.O.P.(MD) No. 3846 of 2013 to challenge the FIR and the charge sheet before the Madras High Court, Madurai Bench. The appeal by special leave is being challenged in this appeal, and the learned single judge of the Madras High Court dismissed the petition that the appellants had filed in their ruling of April 23, 2018. 

 

LEGAL PROVISIONS:  

  • Section 420 IPC- Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.— If someone deceives someone by cheating and then dishonestly persuades them to give up property to someone else, create, alter, or destroy a valuable security in whole or in part, or create something signed or sealed that has the potential to be turned into a valuable security, they will be subject to a fine and up to seven years of imprisonment of a similar kind. 
  • Section 120(B) of IPC- Any individual involved in a criminal conspiracy that is not related to a criminal conspiracy to commit an act listed above faces a maximum sentence of six months in either type of jail, a fine, or both. 

 

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANTS: 

The learned counsel for the appellants fiercely and strongly argued that the charges listed in the charge sheet and the formal complaint are not sufficient to establish the offences claimed, even if they are accepted as genuine on the face of the record. A continuation of the proceedings in accordance with the charge sheet filed against the accused appellants would amount to a flagrant abuse of the legal process, he argued, given the acknowledged facts as stated in the complaint, which indicates that any disagreement between the parties is solely civil in nature. 

The charge sheet makes it very evident that although the complainant received some of the selling proceeds from the land deals, he did not receive the full amount that was due to him. He further argued that since the complainant was a teacher employed by the government and was not permitted to engage in real estate transactions, he made the investments through the accused appellants in this case at his own risk.  

He further said that when the profit-sharing component of the land deals failed to satisfy the complainant, he felt that the criminal legal system had been abused in order to bring a baseless case against the accused appellants. 

The argument put forth by the knowledgeable senior attorney was that there is absolutely nothing in the case file that indicates the accused appellants intended to deceive the complainant at the outset of the transactions.  

Furthermore, the accused appellants would not be found guilty of a criminal breach of trust because the complainant’s accusation concerns a disproportionate sharing of profits from land dealings that he entered into with their knowledge. 

 

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS: 

The arguments put forward by the learned counsel for the appellants were sharply and passionately rejected by the learned counsel for the respondent complaint as well as the learned Standing Counsel representing the State.  

It was argued that the accused appellants deceitfully persuaded the complainant to make large investments in real estate transactions by gaining his trust through the use of phrases like “honey quoted.” The accused repeatedly assured the complainant that he would receive his rightful portion of the profits or the plots from the lands, as the case may be, which would be bought in the accused’s name because the complainant was not permitted to engage in such transactions as a government teacher.  

The complainant committed large sums of money in land agreements, putting total faith in the accused appellants’ guarantees, after falling for their enticements. Nevertheless, the accused appellants broke their word and conned the complainant by not providing him with the necessary number of plots that would have been in line with his investment. 

According to their argument, the fact that the complainant has already used a civil remedy for the same complaints does not automatically bar him from using the criminal court’s jurisdiction to hold the accused appellants accountable for their fraudulent acts. This is because the allegations made in the complaint are equivalent to both criminal and civil offences, allowing for the continuation of parallel legal proceedings. 

 

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT: 

The court said that it was evident from the complaint that none of the allegations therein could support a finding that the accused appellants’ goal was to deceive the complainant right from the beginning of the transactions. Without a doubt, the accused appellants gave the complainant some plots and a portion of the profits from the land deals, but there is a disagreement over how much profit was made and whether the complainant’s share of the profits was fully satisfied in relation to his investments. 

The court held that, at most, the complainant may use these accusations as justification to file a civil lawsuit against the accused appellants. However, Section 4 of the Benami Act prohibits such a remedy, as was previously mentioned.  

With regard to the accused appellants, the court was firmly of the opinion that the accepted allegations included in the complaint and charge sheet did not establish the requisite elements of the offences punishable under Section 406 and Section 420 IPC. There is no denying that by abusing the criminal justice system, a civil issue has been given a criminal prosecution colour by means of accusations of fraud and criminal breach of confidence. 

At the risk of repetition, it should be emphasised once more that the complainant was not permitted to sue the accused appellants for the identical set of facts and claims that form the basis of the criminal proceedings due to the explicit bar stated in Section 4 of the Benami Act. 

 

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“In a case involving trade and commerce, the Supreme Court dismissed the State’s appeal and held that the State of Arunachal Pradesh has been relieved to have escaped an unnecessary criminal prosecution.”

Case Name: The State of Arunachal Pradesh v. Kamal Agarwal 

Case No.: SLP(Crl.) Nos.8663-8665 of 2023 

Dated On: April 18, 2024  

Quorum: Justice Vikram Nath and Justice K. V. Viswanathan 

 

FACTS OF THE CASE: 

The First Information Report is the source of the two appeals listed above. The above case was dealt along with another case, Chandra Mohan Baday v. The State of Arunachal Pradesh (SLP(Crl.) No. 7301 OF 2022). Three petitions for special leave have been filed by the state of Arunachal Pradesh. 

A plea for the quashing of the FIR was filed with the Gauhati High Court by three of the accused, Chandra Mohan Badaya and Respondent Nos. 3 and 4, Shashi and Rajesh Natani. One crore rupees was transferred in 2016 by M/s Shiv Bhandar, the proprietorship in question, to the accounts of Chandra Mohan Badaya, two of his proprietorships, and Rajesh Natani in four equal transactions of twenty-five lakhs apiece.  

In contrast to the complainant, who claims that the payments were made for the acquisition of a building located between plots Nos. A-47 to A-55, Sikar House, near Chandpole, Jaipur, Rajasthan, the appellant Chandra Mohan Badaya claims that the amount was transmitted as a loan. 

It is crucial to note that there is no formal contract pertaining to the reason for the money transfer, be it a loan or a down payment for the previously mentioned building or piece of land. It is important to remember that there is no official contract regarding the purpose of the money transfer—whether it is a loan or a down payment for the building or property that was previously indicated. The said amount was later repaid in 2016/17. 

 According to Chandra Badaya, he executed two sale deeds for two properties located in Chaksu, Jaipur, in the names of the complainant proprietor’s wife, Smt. Shalini Agarwal, and sister-in-law, Smt. Jaya Agarwal, as well as Shri Anil Agarwal, the holder of the power of attorney. Even though both sale deeds had a total sale consideration of Rs. 1.08 crores, the petitioner only received a total of Rs. 54 lakhs, or Rs. 27 lakhs each. 

The Chief Judicial Magistrate took cognizance and filed a case based on the aforementioned chargesheet. Following that, two sets of petitions were submitted to the Rajasthan High Court and the Gauhati High Court, two separate high courts.  

 

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT: 

The appellants contended that Rajesh Natani and Chandra Mohan Badaya contacted the complainant company and asked to be considered for an exchange of land or building in Rajasthan for a sum of Rs. one crore. 

As full payment for the sale of the aforementioned land/building, the aforementioned sum was deposited in four instalments on July 19, 2016, July 20, 2016, July 22, 2016, and July 25 in the accounts of Shri Ram Enterprises, A.R. Properties and Colonisers, Shashi Natani w/o Rajesh Natani, and Chandra Mohan Badaya.  

When the accusers saw the structure or plot of land, they refused to give it to the complaint. Since the accused had caused pain, mental anguish, and financial loss, it was evident that they had cheated. Further, the accused refused to turn over the land/building when the complaint was inspected. Because of this, it was evident that the accused had cheated, causing pain, suffering, and financial loss.  

 

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS: 

The State of Arunachal Pradesh appealed the Rajasthan High Court’s ruling in Special Leave Petition Nos. 8663–8665 of 2023, which it filed with the Supreme Court. Interestingly, the complainant did not challenge the Rajasthan High Court’s decision to quash the proceedings. 

The accused individuals have amassed substantial wealth through illicit means; but rather than keeping their word, they have threatened the complainant with dire repercussions. Upon identifying no other course of action, the formal complaint was filed in order to take suitable measures against the individuals involved.  

The address provided in the First Information Report (FIR) for the complainant, Mr. Anil Agrawal, is the address of the company M/s Shiv Bhandar in Pasighat, East Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh. However, the residential address of Anil Agarwal was not mentioned. 

It was also contended that Jaipur, Rajasthan is also home to the property for which it is said that a payment of Rs. 1 crore was made. The FIR makes no mention of the transaction involving the bank data.  

Arunachal Pradesh is the state in where the complainant is allegedly located, however other than that, no additional information related to the alleged offence is stated to be in or within the state; still, a FIR was filed there. It is obvious that the accused parties’ refusal to carry out the sale deed for which they had accepted the Rs. 1 crore sale consideration was the primary motivation behind filing the FIR.  

 

LEGAL PROVISIONS: 

  • Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code: Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention. When multiple people commit a crime together to accomplish their shared goal, each of them bears the same liability as if they had committed the crime alone. 
  • Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code: Punishment of criminal conspiracy. In the absence of a specific provision in this Code regarding the punishment of criminal conspiracies, any individual involved in a criminal conspiracy that involves the commission of an offence punishable by death, life imprisonment, or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or more will face the same punishments as if they had assisted in the commission of the offence.  
  • Section 420 of the Indian Peanl Code: Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property. Anyone who deceives someone by cheating and then dishonestly persuades that person to give up property to someone else, create, alter, or destroy all or a portion of a valuable security, or sign or seal anything that could be turned into a valuable security, faces up to seven years in prison of any kind in addition to a fine.  

 

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT:  

The court was of the view that the issue was exclusively of a civil nature. It was a situation where money was advanced without a formal document being signed to specify its purpose or significance. It is unclear from records whether this money was advanced for a loan or as an advance payment for the transfer of property, which was land or a building located in Jaipur.  

Based on the complainant’s assertion that it was for the transfer of property for the land/building specified above would be the subject of evidence presented and proven in a court of law, not by the police conducting an investigation and making a determination. The complainant’s claim in the FIR is not that the land or plot they claimed was going to be transferred to them either didn’t exist or had been sold to another party; rather, it is that the accused parties engaged in some form of deception.  

The court held that a capable Civil Court could hear arguments on all these points. It is not possible to call it cheating. Even though Chandra Mohan Badaya, the appellant, has attempted to clarify that he has already transferred Rs. 37 lakhs to the complainant via bank transfer and has also completed two transfer deeds in favour of Anil Agrawal’s wife and sister-in-law, the holder of the power of attorney, valued at a total of more than Rs. 1.45 crores.  

The court observed that the Rajasthan High Court correctly concluded, after taking into account all relevant circumstances, that any offense—though none is shown to exist—would fall under the territorial jurisdiction of Rajasthan and not Arunachal Pradesh. 

The court pronounced that after eliminating a needless criminal case that was filed and tried in Arunachal Pradesh, the State of Arunachal Pradesh should have been pleased.  

When the complainant in a case involving a civil or business dispute does not come forward to defend its FIR, which has been quashed by the said State, it is equally incumbent upon the said State to explain why it has contacted this Court.  

As a result, the court reversed the Gauhati High Court’s ruling, granted Chandra Mohan Badaya’s appeal, and halted all legal actions related to FIR No. 227 of 2017. The court also rejected the three appeals that the State of Arunachal Pradesh had submitted.  

 

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Judgment reviewed by Riddhi S Bhora. 

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