Friday, March 22, 2024

Cognizance order of Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Patna quashed: Patna High Court

Relying on the decision of the Supreme Court in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab (2012), Patna High Court's Justice Prabhat Kumar Singh concluded that "the continuance of criminal proceeding after compromise between the parties would amount to an abuse of the process of the court, hence the impugned cognizance order dated 19.12.2022, passed in Complaint Case No. 3309C/2018 stands quashed with respect to these petitioners" in Modi-Mundipharma Beauty Products Pvt. Ltd v. State of Bihar and Om Raj Enterprises (2024). The petitioners were Modi-Mundipharma Beauty Products Pvt. Ltd, Umesh Kumar Modi, Chairman, Modi Mundipharma Beauty Products Pvt. Ltd and Sanjay Kumar Garg.

The petitioners' counsel submitted that Umesh Kumar Modi, petitioner no.2 and Sanjay Kumar Garg, petitioner 3 are respectively Chairman and Director of the Company. They were not directly involved with the day to day affairs of the Company. The allegations made by the complainant are related with settlement of accounts and are out and out a civil dispute and no criminal case is made out in the transaction in question.

It was jointly prayed by the parties that though the offences for which cognizance has been taken are not compoundable, however, good sense has prevailed and dispute has amicably been settled between the parties. The parties have voluntarily and willingly settled the dispute and a joint compromise agreement dated March 15, 2024 has been executed between them. They submit that considering the private and trivial nature of dispute and compromise between the parties, continuation of the criminal proceeding would amount to an abuse of the process of the court. 

They drew on Supreme Court's decision in Naresh Kumar v. State of Karnataka (2024) to state that even in that case was of non- compoundable offences. In view of the compromise arrived at between the parties, they prayed for the quashing of the proceeding by the High Court in exercise of power under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Section 482 reads: "Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice." Section 482 does not grant new powers to the High Court but rather preserves its inherent powers to prevent abuse of court processes and ensure justice. Section 482 can be used to quash even non-compoundable offences.

The application was filed for quashing order dated December 19, 2022, passed by the Judicial Magistrate 1st class, Patna in Complaint Case No. 3309C/2018 by which cognizance has been taken for the offence punishable under sections 418, 468, 471 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against these petitioners as well as for setting aside the entire criminal proceedings.

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