High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Satish Thapar & another v. State of Punjab & another - CRM-12230-M-2003  RD-P&H 3113 (12 May 2006)
Crl.Misc.No.12230-M of 2003
Date of decision : 17.5.2006
Satish Thapar & another
State of Punjab & another
CORAM : HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE MAHESH GROVER
Present : Mr. Puneet Bali, Advocate
for the petitioners.
Dr. U.S.Dhaliwal, Deputy Advocate General, Punjab for the State.
The petitioners have invoked the provisions of Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure with a prayer to quash the FIR No.132 dated 29.7.1996 under Sections 406 IPC registered with Police Station Focal Point, Ludhiana.
The petitioners were the Directors of M/s Thapar Foods Limited having resigned from such directorship on 3.4.1996. It has been averred that the respondent No.2 filed a complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana on 18.7.1996 in which it was alleged that Thapar Foods Limited had embezzled 3034 MT of paddy stocks worth Rs.1,13,77,500/-. Accordingly, FIR No.132 was registered under the provisions of Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code at Police Station, Focal Point, Ludhiana on 29.7.1996. The respondent No.2 is alleged to have initiated arbitration proceedings as per the agreement dated 11.10.1994 existing between the parties. The respondent No.2 thereafter filed another FIR bearing No.86 dated 12.7.1995 at Police Station, Sahnewal. The said FIR was quashed by this Court vide order dated 21.1.2000. An amount of Rs.1,61,82,728/- was deposited by the petitioners. Subsequently another FIR was lodged by the respondent No.2 bearing No.132 dated 29.7.1996 with Police Station Focal Point, Ludhiana. After the investigation was completed the challan was filed on 25.11.1999 and the Chief Judicial Magistrate framed the charges on 1.2.2002. The petitioners filed a revision against the said orders which was dismissed on 4.10.2002.
This has necessitated the present petition.
It has been contended by Mr. Bali, learned counsel for the petitioners that the present FIR is totally an abuse of the process of law. The ingredients of Section 406 IPC were not attracted at all. It was purely a case of civil liability and the present FIR was lodged because the petitioners in the previous FIR bearing No.86 dated 12.7.1995 had made a payment of more than Rs.1,61,00,000/- to respondent No.2. The respondent No.2 having tasted blood was now trying to force the petitioners into making more payment by lodging the present FIR. In any case there is nothing due to respondent No.2.
He also submitted that once the parties have submitted themselves to the arbitration proceedings, the matter was conclusively a civil dispute and could not be made a subject-matter of the FIR.
Dr. U.S.Dhaliwal, learned counsel for the State of Pubjab submitted that the offence is very serious and the petitioners are economic offenders and should not be let off.
I have heard the learned counsel at some length.
Concededly, the petitioners and respondent No.2 had submitted themselves to the arbitration proceedings. The dispute pertains to the recovery of money and once the parties submit themselves to the agreement which also stipulates a clause to resolve the conflict by way of arbitration, it conclusively goes to show that the dispute is entirely of a civil nature.
Nobody can be permitted to use the State machinery to effect recovery of money by filing of FIR. The litigating parties cannot be permitted to use the prosecution agency as a weapon to achieve their personal ends. The existence of commercial agreement and the violation thereof gives rise to a civil action only. No doubt, the criminal prosecution and the civil action may co-exist but the FIR has to necessarily disclose substantial ingredients of the criminal offence which is alleged to have been committed. In the instant case the FIR is vague and does not disclose the commission of any such offence. The FIR in the instant case is an abuse of the process of law as the matter is purely of a civil nature.
Resultantly, the petition is allowed and the FIR No.132 dated 29.7.1996 under Sections 406 IPC registered with Police Station, Focal Point, Ludhiana and consequent proceedings are hereby quashed.
May 17,2006 (MAHESH GROVER)
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