IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
Date of Reserve: 20th August, 2007
SUBJECT : INDIAN PENAL CODE
Date of judgment: 28th September 2007
W.P.(Crl.) No.106/2007 & Crl.M.A. No.998/2007
Mahender Kumar Aggarwal … Petitioner
Through: Mr. Jayant Tripathi & Mr. P.R. Agarwal, Advocates
State & ors. … Respondents
Through: Ms. Rajdipa Behura, Mr. Vijay Aggarwal, Mr. Rajnish Chopra and Mr. Rakesh Mukhija, Advocates
1. This writ petition under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India read with Section 482 of Cr.P.C has been preferred by the petitioner for setting aside the order dated 8th November, 2006, directing registration of an FIR against the petitioner and for quashing the FIR No. 612 of 2006 at Police Station Connaught Place.
2. A perusal of the instant FIR would show that the complainant alleged that the he was a well-known builder namely M/s Ansal Buildwell Limited. Some dispute was going on with the petitioner in respect of the deposits made by him regarding booking in future projects. The petitioner started pressurising the officials of the respondent company that they should give him Rs.50 lac over and above the amount deposited by him in respect of future project at Panipat failing which he would implicate the complainant/respondent officials in false cases and if the company wants to save it from the cases, it should give Rs.50 lac extra. The petitioner had also filed a complaint at Panipat in respect of the cheating committed by the complainant.
The complainant contended that it had also filed a suit for declaration, injunction and defamation against the petitioner before this Court. In that suit the company expressed its willingness to deposit the amount payable to the petitioner and notice of suit was issued to the petitioner. The petitioner, on coming to know of the suit, got a phone call made at the office number of the complainant from one Mr. Dahia who told that a case was registered against the complainant officials in Delhi and soon they would be arrested. To avoid the same, the company should pay Rs. 50 lac and withdraw the other cases.
3. On the basis of above complaint, the learned Metropolitan Magistrate ordered for registration of an FIR against the petitioner and the others who were named in the complaint under Section 384/506 read with Section 120B of IPC. Section 384 provides for punishment of offence of extortion. The extortion is defined in Section
383 of Indian Penal Code which reads as under:
“ 383. Extortion.- Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits “extortion”.
4. It is apparent from the bare reading of this Section that in order to bring a case under Section 383 IPC, it is necessary that a person be put in fear of any injury so as to dishonestly induce the person to deliver some property or valuable security. In the instant case, the complainant in the year 2004, through its employees and agents publicized that it was in the process of developing a new townships in cities like Jaipur, Mohali, Panipat etc and invited persons to invest in these projects. Allured by publicity of agents of the complainant, the petitioner and 1800 more people invested money with the respondent and the complainant collected around Rs. 40 crore. The petitioner and others were told that plots, after development would be sold to the general public at Rs.3500/- per square yards. But the petitioner and others, who participated in pre-launch booking, would be given a discount of Rs.250/- per sq.yard. It was also promised that the allotment would be made within six months of registration of the application and if no allotment is made within six months, interest @ 10 per cent would be paid on the amount. The petitioner and other investors were addressed a letter by the complainant on 21st June, 2006 that the complainant company had received no objection from Jaipur Development Authority. However, a demand of 25% of the total consideration calculated @ 4750 per sq. yard was made.
The petitioner and others protested against this enhancement of rate and sought certain information about the total area of land held by the complainant company at the time of pre launch registration utilization of money received by the complainant against such pre-launch registration from the different persons. The company did not supply this information. The petitioner and the others plot seekers formed an association and asked the complainant to be fair and allot the plot of land at the rates as promised earlier. Meanwhile, the petitioner lodged a complaint against the respondent company with the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police on 24th July,2007. Petitioner and association of such other plot seekers also received certified copies of the returns of the respondent company filed with Registrar of Companies and learnt about several more facts and thereafter the petitioner association approached Police Station Connaught Place with a complaint under Section 415,403,420,120B, 148 of IPC against the directors and officers of the complainant company. Upon refusal of registration of an FIR, the petitioner made a complaint with learned Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on 30th October, 2006. The complaint was filed by the respondent after the complainant filed by the petitioner.
5. Keeping in view this background in mind, I consider that the the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, who was ceased with both the complainants, should have disclosed his mind as to how a cognizable offence was made out in this case before asking for registration of an FIR. The victims of a builder formed an association to fight against the builder. The Builder had crores of rupees at its disposal collected from the victims and on the basis of this money, he could fight legal battle against the victims. If the victims give a threat to the builder that if their money is not returned with compensation for wrongful retention, they would approach the machinery of law and lodge an FIR or complaint, can it be called an ‘extortion’ under Section 383 of IPC. Under no stretch of imagination a magistrate could get a case registered against a person for such a threat. Every person has a legal right to approach court of law or police for registration of a case. Whether a case is false or truthful can be decided only after investigation and thereafter after trial. Merely because the victims had given a threat of registration of a case and demanded a compensatory amount from the complainant, does not amount to an offence under Section 383 or 384 of IPC. As far as offence under Section 506 is concerned, the alleged telephone was received from one Mr. Dahia and even in that telephone call, it is alleged that he threatened either the amount be paid or a case shall be got registered.
6. I consider that no FIR could have been ordered to be registered by the learned
Metropolitan Magistrate on the basis of such threats either under Section 384 or 506
of the IPC. It is a clear misuse of the judicial process by the complainant who wanted
to preempt the move of the victims to initiate legal proceedings against the
7. In view of my foregoing discussion, the petition is allowed. The order passed
by learned Metropolitan Magistrate dated 8th November, 2006, directing registration
of an FIR against the petitioner, and FIR No.612 of 2006 registered against the
petitioner at Police Station Connaught Place is hereby quashed.
8. This petition stands disposed of in above terms.
SHIV NARAYAN DHINGRA J.