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JASWANT SINGH & ANR versus STATE OF PUNJAB & ORS

High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh

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JASWANT SINGH & Anr v. STATE OF PUNJAB & Ors - CRM-24943-M-2002 [2006] RD-P&H 991 (20 February 2006)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH.

CRL. MISC. NO. 24943-M OF 2002

DATE OF DECISION: 01.03.2006

JASWANT SINGH AND ANOTHER

...PETITIONERS

VERSUS

STATE OF PUNJAB AND OTHERS

...RESPONDENTS

CORAM:- HON'BLE MR JUSTICE ADARSH KUMAR GOEL
PRESENT: Mr H.R. Nohria, Advocate,

for the petitioners.

Mr G.S. Bhandari, DAG, Punjab.

Mr G.S. Punia, Advocate

ORDER:

The petitioners were posted as patwaris. Respondent no.3 Karnail Singh gave a complaint against them that they had demanded bribe for sanctioning mutation in his favour. An enquiry was ordered to be held by the Deputy Commissioner. An enquiry was held by Naranjan Singh, District Revenue Officer, who held that allegation of Karnail Singh respondent No.3 that the petitioners had demanded bribe was false. Naranjan Singh filed a complaint under section 182 IPC against Karnail Singh. That complaint was dismissed and Karnail Singh was discharged vide judgment dated 27.3.1995.

It was held that since compromise was reached between Karnail Singh and the petitioners, Karnail Singh did not consider it necessary to prove the demand of bribe and therefore, it could not be held that complaint of Karnail Singh was false.

In view of the above, Karnail Singh filed a petition under section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking prosecution of the petitioners for perjury by submitting that filing of complaint under section 182 IPC against Karnail Singh was uncalled for and Naranjan Singh, District Revenue Officer, wrongly proceeded against Karnail Singh.

The trial court accepted this application mainly with the following findings:-

"It is not only the judgment dated 27.3.1995 with which this Court stands influenced but after appraising the case independently also, I have arrived at the irresistible conclusion that Criminal Complaint was filed by respondent No.1 only and only with a view of discourage further complaints against his subordinates and respondents 2 and 3 unequivocally joined his chorus. In his report dated 26.10.1990 respondent No.1 repeatedly described respondent No.2 and 3 as "Our Patwaris" indicating the fact that instead of acting like Enquiry Officer, he was acting like protector of his beloved subordinates. A Court of competent jurisdiction having already returned its findings against the complaint filed by respondent No.1 which judgment has attained finality, fresh appraisal of the evidence already recorded is not required and even if one was to venture there into he would find that there was absolutely no material with respondent No.1 to describe the complaint of Karnail Singh as false to make him undergo ordeals of Criminal litigation and dance to the tunes of Criminal litigation." On appeals filed by the petitioners and Naranjan Singh, the appellate court set aside the order of the trial court qua Naranjan Singh holding as under:-

"It may be something different that the complainant (Karnail Singh) has been discharged in the case by the Trial Court, but at the same time the launching of the prosecution against the complainant was not due to appellant's/ own volition, ill will or any personal enmity. He has acted in due course of his duties and he had appeared in the court under the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot in order to support the complaint. He did not make any false statement in the court intentionally. The ingredients of mens rea is missing in his case.

The opinion made by a public servant during the course of his duty and its presentment later on, are hardly sufficient to hold that the said officer intentionally made a false statement to his superior and before the Court/because the defying of the commands of the superior would have told upon him and amounted to mis-conduct for dis-obedience of the orders." The appeal of the petitioners was, however, dismissed on the ground that the opinion of the trial court was subjective satisfaction of the court.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the finding of the appellate court was contradictory and once it was held that prosecution of Naranjan Singh was not called for, as he had acted in discharge of his official duties, the appeal of the petitioners could not be dismissed on the ground that they were being proceeded against on the subjective satisfaction of the court. It is submitted that the petitioners appeared as witnesses in the complaint filed by Naranjan Singh and merely because defence of Karnail Singh was accepted, that his complaint was bona fide and he was not liable to be proceeded against under section 182 IPC, did not mean that the demand of bribe stood proved against the petitioners and they could be prosecuted on the allegation that they had wrongly denied having demanded bribe.

As noticed from the observation of the trial court, the prosecution was ordered to be launched on account of filing of complaint by Naranjan Singh only and on account of petitioners having joined in supporting the complaint. Once it was held that Naranjan Singh could not be prosecuted, case of the petitioners could not be separated.

Accordingly, this petition is allowed and impugned order directing filing of complaint against the petitioners is set aside and proceedings against the petitioners stand dropped.

March 01, 2006 ( ADARSH KUMAR GOEL )

sanjeev JUDGE


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Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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