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A Delhi HC bench comprising Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva on Tuesday (May 21) in the case of Jagdish Kapila v Raj Kumar and Anr. held that since there is no material to show that possession was parted with by the petitioner or handed over to the complainant, petitioner could not have been charged with the offence under Section 447 of the Indian Penal Code which defines punishment for criminal trespass.

The petitioner, Jagdish was the allottee of the shop from NDMC and had a decree in favour and against the complainant, Raj Kumar restraining him from forcibly dispossessing the petitioner from the said premises. The complainant had earlier filed a complaint against the petitioner under Section 200 of the IPC contending that the petitioner had agreed to rent out the shop and had demanded a sum of Rs 50,000 to be paid in advance. The same was paid and possession of the shop was given to the complainant.

The issue arose when the petitioner allegedly broke the locks and trespassed into the shop. There was no documentary evidence that any amount was paid by the complainant to the petitioner, or the possession was handed over by the petitioner to the complainant.

The alleged eyewitnesses cited by the complainants were all made defendants in the civil suit filed by the petitioner and even they did not come forward to show to be false the case of the petitioner and decree has been passed against them also.

The trial court had framed the charge on the presumption that the complainant was in possession of the shop at that time. The Delhi HC held that since there is no material to show that the possession was parted with the petitioner or handed over to the complainant, the petitioner could not be charged for criminal trespass.

The petitioner was thus discharged by the HC on these grounds.

—India Legal Bureau

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