Can Criminal case to be quashed if complainant has failed to file suit?

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Crl. A. No. 745 of 2016
Decided On: 03.08.2016

Prem Kumar
Vs.
State of Rajasthan and Ors.

Coram:V. Gopala Gowda and A.K. Goel, JJ.
Citation: 2017 CRLJ744

1. Leave granted. This appeal has been preferred against the judgment and order dated 25th February, 2013 of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jodhpur in S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No. 556 of 2012 whereby the High Court declined to quash the proceedings against the Appellant in FIR No. 46/2012 P.S. Hanumangarh Junction for the offence Under Sections 380, 447, 448, 451, 417, 420, 423, 427, 406, 465, 468, 166, 167 and 120-B Indian Penal Code. Case set out in the complaint filed by Respondent No. 2 is that vide agreement dated 16th March, 1989, an agreement to sell was executed by the Appellant for sale of a plot on receiving a sum of ` 10,500/-, but he did not complete the sale. On 27th February, 1999, the said plot was sold to one Ravi Kumar by breaking the room and the compound wall etc. It was again sold by Ravi Kumar to Rajesh Grover on 07th January, 2003. Rajesh Grover and Ravi Kumar took away the bricks and iron rods. On 10th December, 2011 in spite of being called upon, the accused refused to complete the sale. According to the complainant this amounted to offences mentioned above. The trial Magistrate directed that the complaint be sent to S.H.O. of the concerned police station for investigation. Accordingly, FIR was registered.

2. The Appellant filed a petition Under Section 482 Code of Criminal Procedure seeking quashing of the proceedings by stating that the agreement to sell was executed by mother of the Appellant who had died but as the patta was not issued and the sale could not be completed, the complainant took the refund. Thereafter in 1991, the land was recorded in the name of the Appellant. The complainant remained silent for eleven years and even civil proceedings are barred by limitation.

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3. The High Court rejected the petition with the observation that the Appellant being aware of the transaction of the year 1989 could not have sold the same property and thus, it could not be held that no cognizable offence was committed. The observations are as follows:
Undisputedly, the Petitioner Prem Kumar is a party to both the sale transaction. He was well aware of the fact threat the land in question has been sold to the complainant way back in the year 1989 as he himself had signed the documents. Thereafter this land has again been sold by the Petitioner Prem Kumar while concealing the factum of earlier sale. This Court is of the opinion that it would not be possible and just for this Court to hold that the F.I.R. impugned does not disclose any cognizable offence against the accused Prem Kumar.

4. Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, this appeal has been preferred. On 26th April, 2013, while issuing notice, this Court stayed further proceedings. No one appears for the complainant in spite of service of notice. Learned Counsel for the Appellant submitted that even if all the allegations in the complaint are taken as correct, complaint has been filed in the year 2012 while the agreement to sell in question was executed in favour of the complainant on 16th March, 1989. The second sale took place in the year 1999. No suit for specific performance was filed for a period of more than 10 years. In these circumstances, the complaint was an abuse of court’s process to enforce civil rights which had become illegally unenforceable.

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5. From the above undisputed facts, it is apparent that the impugned complaint is clear abuse of court’s process. It is not the case of the complainant that any proceedings were taken for the enforcement of the agreement to sell for a period of more than 10 years. In these circumstances, the criminal proceedings initiated by the complainant are clear abuse of the process of court. Accordingly, this appeal is allowed and proceedings against the Appellant are quashed.

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