The Supreme Court has disposed of five appeals filed by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government against the Andhra Pradesh High Court order, stating that if the contention of the state government is accepted, then in no case can the courts examine whether the inherent powers to prevent the abuse of the process of Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice be exercised or not.
The bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari observed that without considering the facts of the case, “the question as to whether the allegations in the FIR or complaint prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused, cannot be decided”.
On January, 19, 2021 the AP High Court had quashed the FIR against private sellers, lodged under Sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 409 (breach of trust by public servant) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
“In our considered view, what the Court is required to see is as to whether on the facts as narrated in the criminal complaint or an FIR, any case for proceeding against the accused is made out or not. The High Court has considered this aspect at great length and we are of the opinion that there is no perversity or illegality in the findings recorded by the High Court while allowing the petition and quashing the FIRs and the proceedings pursuant thereto,” observed the apex court.
On the submissions made by the parties that Section 418 IPC (cheating) would be attracted in these cases, the top court of the country said, “…in our considered view, the same would not be attracted in the facts of the present case. The said question was neither argued before the High Court, nor any ground with regard to the same has been taken in the Special Leave Petition.
“The said submission was noted, only to be rejected. There was also no question of loss being caused to the sellers or any cheating by the buyers because neither by law nor by a legal contract, the buyers were obliged to disclose the likelihood of the location of the capital city, which facts were already in public domain…,” it added.
Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave and C Nageswara Rao appeared for the Andhra Pradesh government. Senior Advocates Shyam Divan, Sidharth Luthra, Paras Kuhad and S Sirajudeen represented the buyers against whom cases were registered.
The Andhra Pradesh government had argued that former Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas and other accused were beneficiaries of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government’s decision to locate the new capital of the state at Amaravati.
The state had submitted that the beneficiaries of purchasing land at the proposed capital site had inside information about the future value of the land. This information was not disclosed to the farmers or sellers, from whom the land was purchased at rock bottom rates.
According to the FIR, the land transactions took place between June and December, 2014. A preliminary probe by the state’s anti-corruption bureau alleged that former Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas was privy to information about the exact location of future capital and his brother-in-law acquired close to 16 plots near Amaravati.