Thursday, September 28, 2023

Allahabad High Court quashes trial court order against MD of chemical firm

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The Allahabad High Court quashed the trial court’s order against the Managing Director of K&T Chemicals Pvt Ltd along with two others for forcibly getting signatures on plain papers in Kasaya area of Kushinagar.

A single-judge bench of Justice Ashutosh Srivastava passed this order while hearing an application under Section 482 CrPC filed by Bhupinder Singh And Others.

The application under Section 482 CrPC has been filed seeking quashing of the proceedings of Criminal Complaint Case (Deepchand Vs. Bhupendra and others) under Sections 506, 386 IPC, P.S Turkpatti, District Kushinagar, instituted by the Opposite Party No 2 (Deepchand) against the applicants and pending before the court of the 2nd Additional Civil Judge (Jr. Division)/Judicial Magistrate, Kasaya, Kushinagar.

The facts of the case are that the Opposite Party No 2/ Deep Chand Singh, who was employed as a Workman / Assistant Operator in the establishment of the applicants namely K & T Chemicals Pvt Ltd, Rampur, Doraha, District Ludhiana, lodged a Criminal Complaint on January 7, 2002 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kasaya, District Kushinagar, against the applicants and two armed unknown persons alleging inter-alia that on December 16, 2001 at about 12:00 noon the applicants who are the Manager, Director and Managing Director of K & T Chemicals Pvt Ltd, Rampur Doraha Ludhiana along with two gunmen came in a car and asked the complainant to sign certain blank papers.

On asking the complainant to sign certain blank papers, the applicants informed him that the papers would be used for the purpose of filing a compromise in the case lodged by him against the company in the Tribunal and for withdrawing the same. On the refusal of the complainant, the applicants got annoyed and pulled the gun on the wife of the complainant and threatened to abduct her and his child and kill them.

The Opposite Party No 2 further stated in the complaint that he had worked in the Company in the capacity of Assistant Operator and on July, 2000 night about 2:30 am he lost both his eyes during the course of working and he has lodged a case for compensation in the Labour Tribunal Ludhiana which is pending. The complainant out of fear put his signatures on all five pages. The incident was witnessed by the wife of the complainant, Madan Singh, son of late Sitaram Singh and Ram Niwas son of Vijay Bahadur. The applicants left after threatening the family of the complainant. The FIR was not registered despite all efforts and finally the complaint has been lodged with the prayer that the applicants be summoned and punished.

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The Judicial Magistrate, Kasaya, Kushinagar after considering the statements of the Complainant/Opposite Party No 2 and witnesses recorded under Sections 200 and 202 CrPC and other materials on record dismissed the complaint order dated February 22, 2002 being of the view that no ground to prosecute the applicants under Sections 386 and 506 IPC was made out as admittedly both eyesight of the complainant was lost and from the witnesses statement the identity of the accused applicants, who were alleged to have visited the complainant, could not be established.

The order dated October 22, 2002 of the Judicial Magistrate, Kasaya Kushinagar was carried in Revision before the District and Sessions Judge (FTC) Ist, Kushinagar.

The Revisional Court set aside the order dated October 22, 2002 of the Judicial Magistrate rejecting the complaint being of the view that the Magistrate failed in his legal duty to test the statement of the complainant as also the witnesses asking questions. The Revisional Court observed that an offense under Sections 386, 506 IPC was made out against the applicants. The Judicial Magistrate was directed to rehear the complainant and pass appropriate orders. The Magistrate his order dated February 13, 2007 in compliance with the order of the Revisional Court holding that offense under Sections 386 and 506 IPC was made out against the applicants and summoned the applicants to face the trial.

The applicants in the aforesaid circumstances have approached the Court for quashing the entire proceedings of the complaint case.

The application under Section 482 CrPC is opposed on the ground that the Opposite Party No2/Complainant lost both of his eyes in an accident in the factory premises during the course of employment on 16/17.08.2000 at 2:30 A.M and the reconciliation before the DLC failed and the dispute was referred to the Labour Tribunal and since the complainant had lost both his eyes and became helpless and by forcible taking the signatures of the complainant on blank papers the applicants misused the same and got the case before the Labour Tribunal dismissed as withdrawn.

The Magistrate did not properly appreciate the averments made in the complaint and statements under Sections 200 & 202 CrPC and the order rejecting the complaint was rightly set aside by the Revisional Court. After remand, the Magistrate is well within his powers to summon the applicants to face the trial. There is no illegality in the order of the Magistrate and no interference is called for and the application under Section 482 CrPC being devoid of merits warrants dismissal.

It is submitted by the counsel for the applicants that the unfortunate incident which resulted in the loss of both eyesight of the Opposite Party No2, took place on account of the negligent attitude of the Opposite Party No2. While working in the chemical factory the workmen are required to put on safety glasses along with safety spectacles which the Opposite Party No 2 did not do. The applicants being sympathetic to the Opposite Party No 2 looked him to various eye specialists but efforts to restore his eyesight were in vain.

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The complaint is stated to have been lodged on January 07, 2002. The proceedings before the Labour Court, Ludhiana is stated to have been lodged on 27.08.2002 after about seven months and decided on June 01, 2005, as is evident to the affidavit filed in support of the Application under Section 482 CrPC.

If the statements under Sections 200 and 202 CrPC along with allegations in the complaint are presumed to be true, the alleged obtaining of blank signatures by the applicants for the purpose of compromising the proceedings before the Labour Court, Ludhiana falls flat inasmuch as on the date of the incident, no proceedings before the Labour Court were pending.

He also submitted that the filing of the complaint by the Opposite Party No 2 is nothing, but an abuse of the process of the Court and hence, the entire proceedings are liable to be quashed.

He further submitted that no offense under Sections 386, 506 IPC is made out against the applicants and Magistrate has committed grave error in summoning the applicants to face the trial under the aforesaid sections.

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Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court opined that no case under Section 386 IPC can be said to be made out against the applicants from the allegations set out in the criminal complaint lodged against them. The reasons for the same are as under:-

(1)  The blank papers allegedly got signed by the applicants from the complainant were never converted into valuable security. The said blank papers were never used before the Presiding Officer, Labor Court, Ludhiana. There is no allegation in this regard in the complaint or in the statements recorded under Sections 200 and 202 CrPC.

(2)  The records reveal that the case before the Labor Court, Ludhiana is Reference was instituted on August 27, 2002 much after the lodging of the complaint on January 07, 2002. On the date of institution of the complainant i.e on January 07, 2002 there was no proceedings pending before the Labour Court, Ludhiana, where the signed papers could be utilized. Moreover, the proceedings before the Labour Court, Ludhiana were not pressed on the statement of the authorized representative of the workman/ Opposite Party No 2 to the effect that he does not press the reference for the time being on account of technical error i.e wrong name of the opposite party and he reserved the right to file fresh dispute after rectifying the error. The reference was answered accordingly with observation that the workman will be at liberty to file fresh dispute after rectifying the error if he so desired order dated June 02, 2005 which has been filed on record by the applicants.

(3)  The Opposite Party No 2/Complainant has miserably failed to demonstrate that ingredients of Section 383 IPC are available in the complaint so as to warrant criminal prosecution of the applicants under Section 386 IPC.

(4)  The fact that after withdrawal of the case before the Labour Court, Ludhiana no fresh claim was instituted despite liberty having been granted to the Opposite Party No 2 goes a long way in establishing the falsity of the case against the applicants. The criminal complaint against the applicants can safely be said to have been instituted maliciously with ulterior motive and as such is frivolous, vexatious or oppressive and is an abuse of the process of the Court.

(5)  The allegations in the complaint regarding criminal intimidation at the instance of the applicants have been made only to add color to the complaint. The alleged occurrence of the incident appears to be improbable in the wake of the allegations set out in the complaint. No offense under Section 506 IPC can be said to be made out against the applicants.

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“In view of the above, and for the reasons stated above, the Court is of the considered opinion that the continuation of the criminal proceedings against the applicants is an abuse of process of the Court and ends of justice requires that the said proceedings be quashed.

Consequently, invoking the inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC, the entire criminal proceedings of Complaint Case No 4859 of 2002 (Deep Chand Vs. Bhupendra & others) (Renumbered as 91 of 2007) under Sections 506, 386 IPC, Police Station Turkpatti, District Kushinagar pending before the 2nd Additional Civil Judge (Jr. Division)/ Judicial magistrate, Kasaya, Kushinagar is hereby quashed,”

-the order reads.

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