On 13th October 2020, a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Justice Lok Pal Singh heard the case of Dr B.S. Bisht & Others v. State of Uttarakhand & Another.
The applicants, in this case, were seeking to quash the criminal complaint, as well as summoning order passed in the case of Gopal Dutt Paladiya v. Dr B.S. Bisht and others, under Sections 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (Using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record]), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) IPC, passed by II Addl. Judicial Magistrate, Nainital, and judgment and order passed by II Addl. Sessions Judge, Nainital in the case of Dr B.S. Bisht & others Vs State and another.
Facts of the Case
Birla Institute of Applied Sciences, Bhimtal (BIAS) was a registered society duly registered under the Societies Registration Act. The said Institute was engaged in imparting higher technical education to the youth and was ranked high in academic circles and industry. The applicants were directors as well as Member Secretary of the Society.
A complaint was lodged by the respondent against the applicants stating that he worked with BISR, Bhimtal (a holding trust of BIAS) till May 2012 on the post of Administrative Officer. In the year 2010-12, the accused persons committed forgery by misrepresentation in the documents of the Society and also misbehaved with the complainant and complainant was ousted from the Society, though he was not posted as a subordinate employee of the accused persons.
It was alleged that some officers of the BIAS, including the applicants, by cheating, fraud and misrepresentation had obtained the renewal certificate of the Society from the office of the Deputy Registrar, Firm, Societies and Chits. The accused persons procured the forged signatures of Dr H.C. Pandey and one Shri K.P. Singhi, who passed away in 1999. Fake meetings were shown by the false signatures of Dr H.C. Pandey. It was stated that the renewal certificate had been obtained by playing fraud and misrepresentation. A prayer had been made that a complaint is lodged against accused persons and they may be summoned for the offences punishable under Sections 120B, 420, 468, 471 and 506 IPC.
Contentions of the Applicants
Learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the applicants argued that the complainant had not averred anywhere in the complaint that any forged signature of Dr Pandey had been obtained or used anywhere. Thus, the complainant had no locus standi to file the criminal complaint. It was further argued that no element of inducement was made out in the complaint. None of the ingredients of Sections 120B, 420, 468, 471 and 506 of IPC was made out against the applicants.
Learned Senior Counsel referred to the provisions contained in Section 12 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 which talks about how Societies are enabled to alter, extend or abridge their purposes.
Learned Senior Counsel placed reliance on the following judgments:
- Lalloo Prasad Vs Kedarnath Shukla & another (1963) 2 Cri LJ 543
- Mehmood Ul Rehman v. Khazir Mohammad Tunda (2016) 1 SCC (Cri) 124
Contentions of the Respondent
Learned counsel for the respondent submitted that Dr H.C. Pandey was an old aged person, thus he was unable to file the complaint. He submitted that in so far locus standi of the complainant was concerned, a complaint can be filed by any person and the same cannot be dismissed on the ground of locus standi.
In support of his contention, learned counsel for the complainant placed reliance on the following judgments:
- Ratanlal Vs Prahlad Jat and others AIR 2017 SUPREME COURT 5006
- A.R. Antulay Vs Ramdas Sriniwas Nayak & another AIR 1984 SUPREME COURT 718
The Court opined that the complainant had not levelled any allegations against the applicants suggesting that they had cheated and committed fraud with the complainant in any manner.
The Court referred to Amit Kapoor’s case which laid down a principle that the Court should apply the test as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as made from the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith prima facie establish the offence or not.
The Court opined that allegations made in the complaint, even if taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the applicants. It was a perfect case where the criminal proceedings were maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the applicants and to implicate them due to private and personal grudge.
The summoning order as well as entire proceedings in the case of Gopal Dutt Paladiya v. Dr B.S. Bisht & others, under Sections 120B, 420, 468, 471, 506 IPC, pending in the Court of II Additional Judicial Magistrate, Nainital, as well as the judgment passed by II Additional Sessions Judge, Nainital, in the case of Dr B.S. Bisht & others v. State and Anr. were quashed.
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