Food Corporation Of India vs Hira Lal And Ors on 7 December, 2017

CRR-186-2012
1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
AT CHANDIGARH

CRR-186-2012
Date of decision:-7.12.2017

Food Corporation of India
…Petitioner

Versus

Shri Hira Lal and others
…Respondents

CORAM : HON’ BLE MR. JUSTICE H.S. MADAAN

Present : Mr.Sumeet Goel, Advocate and
Ms.Varsha Gupta, Advocate
for the petitioner.

Mr.Mikhil Kad, Advocate for
Mr.Ashok Arora, Advocate
for the respondents.

****
H.S. MADAAN, J.

Accused Hira Lal, Kasturi Lal, Vinod Kumar, Ashok

Kumar and Smt.Indu faced the trial by Sub Divisional Judicial

Magistrate, Ajnala, who vide his judgment dated 22.10.2008 acquitted

the accused of the charge framed against them giving them benefit of

doubt. The appeal preferred against that judgment was dismissed by

Learned Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar vide judgment dated

2.9.2011. As such, complainant Food Corporation of India has brought

the present revision petition.

Briefly stated facts of the case as per prosecution story are

that District Manager, F.C.I. Amritsar had addressed a written

complaint dated 29.1.1998 to SHO, Police Station Ajnala for the

purpose of registration of case against Hira Lal, Kasturi Lal, Vinod

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Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Smt.Indu, partners of the firm M/s Ajnala

Rice Mills, Ajnala on the allegations that a storage-cum-milling contract

was entered into between Food Corporation of India, Amritsar and M/s

Ajnala Rice Mills and in pursuance thereof a quantity of 14328-60-000

quintal of all varieties of paddy were stored and entrusted to the accused

in their mill premises; that as per the agreement, the accused were

responsible for the quality; that the miller was to deliver the resultant

rice as per terms and conditions agreed in the agreement and as per rate

of yield specified by Food Corporation of India. But the accused failed

to deliver the quantity of rice against the balance quantity, in that way

rice to the extent of 96-14-800 quintals had been misappropriated by the

accused, therefore legal action be taken against them.

On the basis of said written complaint, formal FIR No.40

dated 13.3.1998 for the offence under Section 406 IPC was registered

with Police Station Ajnala. The matter was investigated.

After completion of the investigation and other formalities,

challan against the accused was prepared and filed in the Court.

On presentation of challan in the Court of Area Magistrate,

Ajnala copies of documents relied upon in the challan were supplied to

the accused free of costs as provided under Section 207 Cr.P.C.

Learned Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Ajnala finding

that charge for offences under Section 406 IPC was disclosed against the

accused, charge-sheeted the accused for the said offence, to which, they

pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. The case was then fixed for

evidence of prosecution.

To bring home guilt to the accused, the prosecution

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examined as many as ten witnesses as under:

PW1 – Budh Ram, TAI, Food Storage Depot, Rayya

PW2 – Swatantar Kumar, District Food Supplies Officer

PW3 – Darshan Kumar, AG-1, Depot, FCI Jandiala

PW4 – Manmohan Bhutt, AG-II, FCI Depot Ajnala

PW5 – P.S. Lugani, Asstt. Administrator Audits, Patiala

PW6 – Ramesh Chander Gupta, Asstt. Manager, FCI Rani Ka

Bagh, Amritsar

PW7 – Tilak Raj AG-III, Rani Ka Bagh, Amritsar

PW8 – Manjit Singh, AG-I FCI, Amritsar

PW9 – Amar Singh, Dealing Assistant, Rani Ka Bagh, Amritsar

PW10 – Lachhman Singh, Retired Police Officer

Thereafter, the prosecution evidence was closed by Court

order.

Statements of accused were recorded under Section 313

Cr.P.C., in which all the incriminating circumstances appearing against

them were put to them but they denied the allegations contending that

they are innocent and had been falsely involved in this case.

In defence evidence the accused examined Manmohan

Bhatt, Assistant Grade-I as DW1 and Sh.R.P. Loomba, Advocate,

District Courts, Amritsar as DW2.

After hearing arguments, learned Sub-Divisional Judicial

Magistrate, Ajnala vide judgment dated 22.10.2008 acquitted the

accused of the charge framed against them. The appeal preferred against

the judgment dated 22.10.2008 was also dismissed by learned

Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar vide judgment dated 2.9.2011,

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which left the petitioner – complainant aggrieved and it has filed the

present revision petition.

I have heard learned counsel for the parties besides going

through the record.

A perusal of the judgment passed by the trial Magistrate

goes to show that the reasons given in arriving at the conclusion that the

prosecution had failed to prove its charge against the accused beyond

shadow of reasonable doubt are as follows:

(i) The witnesses examined by the prosecution were not

definite as to how much shortage in supplying rice by

the accused firm was there and that there were

variations in their statements with regard to the

shortage.

(ii)There is a huge gap between notice Ex.D1 served upon

the complainant firm and application moved to Station

House Officer for registration of criminal case against

the accused.

(iii)The payments were released to the accused firm in the

year 1996 and if there was some dispute regarding

shortage of rice to be supplied by the accused firm, the

payment would not have been released, thus giving rise

to a presumption that by that time the entire rice was

supplied.

(iv)It being established on record that in fact Sh.S.S. Gill

was Incharge of Ajnala area at that time and he was in

knowledge of entire facts of the case but he was not

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examined as a prosecution witness.

(v) Sh.Budh Singh, TA-I, Food Storage Depot, Rayya

appearing as PW1 had been declared as a hostile witness

since he had stated that he did not have any concern

with the dispute and remaining witnesses examined by

the prosecution were not having any personal

knowledge regarding the case.

(vi)The defence evidence was found to be plausible.

Whereas learned Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar while

dismissing the appeal against the judgment passed by the trial Magistrate

had noticed that:

None for the witnesses examined by the prosecution could

produce any type of authenticated evidence in the shape of

documentary evidence showing as to how much paddy was

stored/entrusted to Ajnala Rice Mills and how much resultant

rice was delivered by them and that prosecution was trying to

establish that on the basis of photocopies of

acknowledgements Ex.P1 to Ex.P16 and that signatures of

accused could not be proved on those documents. The original

of alleged balance sheet Ex.P18 had not been produced. The

record on the basis of balance sheet had been prepared was not

produced/proved.

The lower Appellate Court has referred to judgment Punjab

State Civil Supplies Corporation Versus Deepak Kumar and others,

2007(2) RCR (Criminal) 550(DB) wherein it was observed that where

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Government has entrusted paddy to the accused for dehusking and

accused had failed to return rice after shelling as per agreement, the

agreement provided an arbitration clause, then no offence under Section

406 IPC was made out.

Learned counsel for the petitioner referred to Johar and

Ors. Versus Mangal Prasad and Anr., AIR 2008 Supreme Court 1165,

wherein it was observed as under:

Revisional jurisdiction of the High Court in terms of Section

397 read with Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

is limited. The High Court did not point out any error of law

on the part of the learned Trial Judge. It was not opined that

any relevant evidence has been left out of its consideration by

the Court below or irrelevant material has been taken into

consideration. The High Court entered into the merit of the

matter. It commented upon the credentiality of the Autopsy

Surgeon. It sought to re-appreciate the whole evidence. One

possible view was sought to be substituted by another possible

view.

As per the ratio of this authority, a revision against

judgment of acquittal is though not barred but jurisdiction is severely

restricted.

After hearing the rival contentions, I find that law is well

settled that the revisional jurisdiction of this Court is quite limited. This

Court is to interfere only if there is an illegality or infirmity apparent on

the face of the judgment/order passed by a Court below or the same is

perverse. Merely because another view in the matter is possible, no

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inference with such judgment is to be done.

There is no illegality or infirmity in the judgments passed

by the Courts below. Such judgments cannot be termed as perverse since

it come out to have been passed in the light of settled principles of

criminal jurisprudence.

Finding no merit in the revision petition, the same stands

dismissed.

Necessary intimation be sent to the quarter concerned.

7.12.2017 (H.S.MADAAN)
Brij JUDGE

Whether reasoned/speaking : Yes/No

Whether reportable : Yes/No

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