Showing posts with label process issue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label process issue. Show all posts

22 November 2020

In an inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C., the Magistrate is required to consider whether the civil dispute is tried to be given a colour of criminal dispute or not

Now so far as the reliance placed on the decision of this Court in the case of National Bank of Oman vs. Barakara Abdul Aziz (Supra) relied upon by the Learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the complainant is concerned, we are of the opinion that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the said decision shall not be of any assistance to the complainant.
In an inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C., the Magistrate is required to consider whether the civil dispute is tried to be given a colour of criminal dispute or not
It cannot be disputed that while holding the inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C. the Magistrate is required to take a broad view and a prima facie case. However, even while conducting/holding an inquiry under Section 202 Cr.P.C., the Magistrate is required to consider whether even a prima facie case is made out or not and whether the criminal proceedings initiated are an abuse of process of law or the Court or not and/or whether the dispute is purely of a civil nature or not and/or whether the civil dispute is tried to be given a colour of criminal dispute or not. As observed hereinabove, the dispute between the parties can be said to be purely of a civil nature. Therefore, this is a fit case to quash and set aside the impugned criminal proceedings. [Para No.6.5]

07 November 2020

Order of process issue u/s.204 of Cr.P.C.; passed summarily and without discussing facts, evidence, law and exact overt act, is not proper legal judicial order

As held by the Courts as above, the passing of order of summoning any person as accused is a very important matter, which initiates criminal proceeding against him. Such orders cannot be passed summarily or without applying judicial mind.[Para No.13]

    In light of this legal position I have gone through the impugned order. A perusal of this order indicates that neither any discussion of evidence was made by learned Magistrate, nor was it considered as to which accused had allegedly committed what overt act. The five accused persons of complaint were summoned for offences mentioned in it. Impugned order clearly lacks the reflection of application of judicial discretion or mind.
Order of process issue u/s.204 of Cr.P.C.; passed summarily and without discussing facts, evidence, law and exact overt act, is not proper legal judicial order
Nothing is there which may show that learned Magistrate, before passing of the order under challenge had considered the facts and circumstances of the case and the evidence or the law. Therefore it appears that, in fact, no judicial mind was applied before the passing of impugned order of summoning. Such order cannot be accepted as a proper legal judicial order passed after following due procedure of law.
Therefore it is liable to be quashed.[Para No.14]

07 August 2020

Casual remarks or replies on social media or press note does not amount to defamation if it does not cause serious harm or potential ill effect on reputation of a person

Defamation - Sec. 499 and 500 of IPC -  Whether a particular statement or words are defamatory or not? How it can be decided and what criteria can be applied?



 On the point what constitutes defamation, it is useful to refer to the ratio laid down in S. Khushboo (supra), which is as follows:
In the case of S. Khushboo (supra), the Supreme Court considered whether a particular statement or words are defamatory or not, how it can be decided and what criteria can be applied. In the said case, the appellant made certain statements about the sexual behaviour of people in Tamil Nadu which were published in a magazine, so many organizations filed the complaint against her on Sections 411 and 500 of Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court held that a morally provocative statement does not make out any offence. So also the general statement made about the sexual habits of the people in Tamil Nadu does not make out any offence. The Supreme Court gave guidelines that any remark which could reasonably amount to the offence of defamation, is to be verified. The defamation though is a factual question and the statutory defences are available to the accused, the imperative question is whether the allegations in the complaint supported a prima facie case of defamation in the first place.[Para No.39]


    Defamation is broadly defined as false statement, damaging one's goodwill or reputation or image. Article 19 of the Constitution of India i.e., right to freedom, speech and expression gives no licence to any person to defame others as the fundamental right is enjoyed with reasonable restrictions. Generally, there is not much difference in goodwill and reputation of the company. It means a credibility and trustworthiness. Even something true may be also defamation in certain circumstances. Thus, lowering down one's estimation in the eyes of a public is defamation. A person may be dishonest, but he may be holding a reputation of high values. Thus, the right is jus in rem. However, the statement must be understood as defamatory by right thinking or reasonable minded persons. Therefore, there are certain yardsticks to decide whether the statement is defamatory or not, which are as follows :

(i) The statement to be read and understood with a context. It is to be read in its entirety.

(ii) Natural and ordinary meaning of the words is to be followed. What meaning the words would convey to the ordinary man is a litmus test.

(iii) Whether the statement brings hatred, stress, contempt and ridicule, will decide whether it is defamatory or not.

(iv) Imputation of fraud, dishonesty and corruption by rendering sub quality services, causing damage, sub quality manufacturing goods, use of abusive language are the glaring examples of defamation.

(v) Every incorrect statement or written statement or every statement which is disapproved or not liked is not necessarily defamatory statement. In such a case, defamation is taken very subjectively, but the Court has to use reasoning of the ordinary man and adopt objective approach.


    There are certain statements involving shades of irony, innuendo and sarcasm where indirectly or impliedly a person is defamed.[Para No.40]


    At the outset, it is made clear that while assessing the legality of the issuance of process in the offence of defamation, the exceptions laid down in section 499 of the Indian Penal Code are not to be taken into account as that is a defence available to the accused. Therefore, whether the order of issuance of process is correct or not is to be judged only after considering the averments made and the alleged statements made in the complaint.[Para No.41]

Casual remarks or replies on social media or press note does not amount to defamation if it does not cause serious harm or potential ill effect on reputation of a person
    Whether innocuous gossip or trivial accusation will be defamation or whether casual remarks or replies on social media is defamation, etc. are the issues that crop up before the Courts. However, a Judge has to see whether serious harm is caused to the person or it has a potential ill effect on his or her reputation. In the present case, the statements and the words do not manifest ill- will to damage the reputation of the complainant-company but it is a denial of the actions taken by Shapoorji Pallonji Group and Mr.Cyrus Mistry. The Judge has to be cautious while looking at the defamatory statements and has to control personification of his views about public feelings and opinion. It should be strictly a reasonable person's opinion. It is also to be kept in mind that a reasonable person is not a lawyer or a Judge but a common man; a right thinking common man. Thus, the test can be objectively applied.[Para No.44]


06 August 2020

Notice under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act should not be issued unless the Magistrate gets convinced that the presence of the respondents is necessary for further adjudication of the matter

When admittedly, the present petitioners were not residing with the husband of the second respondent, they could not be considered are the persons belonging shared household as is defined under Section 2(s) of the Act. As such, they are not necessary parties for the adjudication of the dispute in question.[Para No.18]

    In this regard, this court gainfully relies on the judgment of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Shyamlal Devda and others V/s. Parimala, reported in (2020) 3 SCC 14, wherein it is held as under :
8. Section 18 of the Domestic Violence Act relates to protection order. In terms of Section 18 of the Act, intention of the legislature is to provide more protection to woman. Section 20 of the Act empowers the court to order for monetary relief to the "aggrieved party". When acts of domestic violence is alleged, before issuing notice, the court has to be prima facie satisfied that there have been instances of domestic violence.
9. In the present case, the respondent has made allegations of domestic violence against fourteen appellants. Appellant No.14 is the husband and appellants No.1 and 2 are the parents-in-law of the respondent. Appellants No.3, 5, 9, 11 and 12 are the brothers of father-in-law of the respondent. Appellants No.4, 6 and 10 are the wives of appellants No.3, 5 and 9 respectively. Appellants No.7 and 8 are the parents of appellant No.1. Appellants No.1 to 6 and 14 are residents of Chennai. Appellants No.7 to 10 are the residents of State of Rajasthan and appellants No.11 to 13 are the residents of State of Gujarat. Admittedly, the matrimonial house of the respondent and appellant No.1 has been at Chennai. Insofar as appellant No.14-husband of the respondent and appellants No.1 and 2-Parents-in-law, there are averments of alleging domestic violence alleging that they have taken away the jewellery of the respondent gifted to her by her father during marriage and the alleged acts of harassment to the respondent. There are no specific allegations as to how other relatives of appellant No.14 have caused the acts of domestic violence. It is also not known as to how other relatives who are residents of Gujarat and Rajasthan can be held responsible for award of monetary relief to the respondent. The High Court was not right in saying that there was prima facie case against the other appellants No.3 to 13. Since there are no specific allegations against appellants No.3 to 13, the criminal case of domestic violence against them cannot be continued and is liable to be quashed."[Para No.19]

    Applying the legal principles enunciated in the above decision to the case on hand, it is seen in the present case also except making bald statements without there being any specific details as to alleged domestic violence, present petitioners who are the relatives of husband of the second respondent and not residing with the husband of the second respondent, have been arraigned as party respondents only with an intention to harass them.[Para No.20]

    The learned Magistrate before issuing the notice, should have applied his mind as to the existence of prima- facie case as against the present petitioners are concerned.[Para No.21]

    In the impugned order, the learned Magistrate has not even noted that there exists a prima facie case against the present petitioners are concerned. The order dated 26.10.2016 whereby he issued notices to the present petitioners reads as under:
"Date: 26-10-2016 Register as Crl.misc. & put up.
Sd/-
Prl. JMFC., GVT.
Issue notices to respondents through CDPO, Gangavati returnable on 14.11 Sd/-
Prl. JMFC., GVT.
"[Para No.22]

Notice under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act should not be issued unless the Magistrate gets convinced that the presence of the respondents is necessary for further adjudication of the matter
    On perusal of the above order, it is crystal clear that the order is passed in a mechanical manner. Order does not indicate as to what prompted the learned Magistrate to proceed against the present petitioners also. It is needless to emphasize that issuance of process to a litigant in a matter of this nature should be only after the Magistrate gets convinced that the presence of the respondents/accused is necessary for further adjudication of the matter. The same must be indicated in the order issuing the process, if not in so many words.[Para No.23]

20 July 2020

Criminal proceedings are not a short cut of other remedies available in law

Growing tendency in business circles and family disputes to convert purely civil disputes into criminal cases and apply pressure though criminal prosecution should be deprecated and discouraged.


   While on this issue, it is necessary to take notice of a growing tendency in business circles to convert purely civil disputes into criminal cases. This is obviously on account of a prevalent impression that civil law remedies are time consuming and do not adequately protect the interests of lenders/creditors. Such a tendency is seen in several family disputes also, leading to irretrievable break down of marriages/families. There is also an impression that if a person could somehow be entangled in a criminal prosecution, there is a likelihood of imminent settlement. Any effort to settle civil disputes and claims, which do not involve any criminal offence, by applying pressure though criminal prosecution should be deprecated and discouraged. In G. Sagar Suri vs. State of UP  [2000 (2) SCC 636], this Court observed :
"It is to be seen if a matter, which is essentially of civil nature, has been given a cloak of criminal offence. Criminal proceedings are not a short cut of other remedies available in law. Before issuing process a criminal court has to exercise a great deal of caution. For the accused it is a serious matter. This Court has laid certain principles on the basis of which High Court is to exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code. Jurisdiction under this Section has to be exercised to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice."

Criminal proceedings are not a short cut of other remedies available in law
 While no one with a legitimate cause or grievance should be prevented from seeking remedies available in criminal law, a complainant who initiates or persists with a prosecution, being fully aware that the criminal proceedings are unwarranted and his remedy lies only in civil law, should himself be made accountable, at the end of such misconceived criminal proceedings, in accordance with law. One positive step that can be taken by the courts, to curb unnecessary prosecutions and harassment of innocent parties, is to exercise their power under section 250 Cr.P.C. more frequently, where they discern malice or frivolousness or ulterior motives on the part of the complainant. Be that as it may.[Para No.10]

10 July 2020

Order of process issue u/s.204 of Cr.P.C. can not be passed summarily and without applying judicial mind

A  perusal of this impugned summoning order indicates that learned Magistrate had noted in the impugned order the contents of complaint and evidences u/s 200 and 202 Cr.P.C. but had neither any discussion of evidence was made, nor was it considered as to what overt act had allegedly been committed by accused. This contention of learned counsel for the applicants cannot be ruled out that leaned counsel have noted the contents of complaint and statements without considering its probability or prima facie case, and whether he had actually considered statements u/s 200, 202 Cr.P.C. or the documents of the original. At stage of summoning, the Magistrate is not required to meticulously examine or evaluate the evidence. He is not required to record detailed reasons. A brief order which indicate the application of mind is all that is expected of him at the stage. [Para No.7]

Order of process issue u/s.204 of Cr.P.C. can not be passed summarily and without applying judicial mind

8. But in impugned order there is nothing which may indicate that learned Magistrate had even considered facts of the case in hand before passing the summoning order. Impugned order clearly lacks the reflection of application of judicial discretion or mind. Nothing is there which may show that learned Magistrate, before passing of the order under challenge had considered facts of the case and evidence or law. Therefore it appears that, in fact, no judicial mind was applied before the passing of impugned order of summoning. Such order cannot be accepted as a proper legal judicial order passed after following due procedure of law. [Para no.8]

9. In ruling "M/s. Pepsi Food Ltd. & another vs. Special Judicial Magistrate & others, 1998 UPCrR 118" Hon'ble Supreme Court held :-

"Summoning of an accused in a criminal case is a serious matter. Criminal law cannot be set into motion as a matter of course. It is not that the complainant has to bring only two witnesses to support his allegations in the complaint to have the criminal law set into motion. The order of the Magistrate summoning the accused must reflect that he has applied his mind to the facts of the case and the law applicable thereto. He has to examine the nature of allegations made in the complaint and the evidence both oral and documentary in support thereof and would that be sufficient for the complainant to succeed in bringing charge home to the accused. It is not that the Magistrate is a silent spectator at the time of recording of preliminary evidence before summoning the accused. Magistrate had to carefully scrutinize the evidence brought on record and may even himself put questions to the complainant and his witnesses to elicit answers to find out the truthfulness of the allegations or otherwise and then examine if any offence is prima facie committed by all or any of the accused."

22 May 2020

Order of process issue is not interlocutory order still can not be challenge u/s.482 of CrPC

So far as the order dated 04.02.2016 is concerned, cognizance of the offence was taken and the accused were directed to face trial by way of issuing summons. 

   It is settled law that such orders are revisable orders as they adversely affect the right of the accused. Revision would lie against such order.[Para No.5 and 6]


16 May 2020

Only allegations disclosing ingredients of offence and not the correctness of allegations is to be considered while issuing process u/s.204 of Cr.P.C.


What has to be considered at the time of issuing process u/s.204 of Cr.P.C.


  • Allegations disclosing ingredients of offence? or
  • the correctness of allegations? or
  • sufficiency of material for conviction?
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