CRM(M) No. 78/2020
EAPEN CHAKOO Vs UT Of J&K
Date of Order:
Justice Sanjay Dhar
EAPEN CHAKOO – Petitioner
The Union Territory of J&K – Respondent
It was ruled by the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court that even if a definite period of limitation of a suit is not provided as ascertained under section 482 of the CrPC, it cannot be used as a ground for filing an appeal after an unreasonable amount of time.
- Through this petition the applicant challenges the charges against him in the FIR filed registering offenses falling under the ambit of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act and the 120-B RPC.
- Acting upon reliable information, the Police Station, Vigilance Organization, Kashmir registered the above-challenged FIR against the officers at the mechanical division of Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).
- They were accused of misappropriating funds meant for the refuelling and maintenance of the machinery engaged in weeding by tampering with the records to show high costs for the process and pocketing the rest of the money.
- The charges of tampering with the records of fuel usage and that of misrepresenting the costs of maintenance were filed as different charges before the Special Judge, Anticorruption, Kashmir, Srinagar.
- It was elaborated in the charge sheet that the fuel costs communicated by the petitioner to the state exchequer were 172% more than the standard market price.
Arguments Advanced by the Petitioner
- The petitioner submits that all of the allegations against him listed out in the charge sheet are false and stood by the prices issued by the mechanical department of LAWDA asserting that they were genuine with regards to the high-quality spare parts procured for the machinery.
- It was further contended by the petitioner that the ‘exorbitant’ amount in question was not allotted in his favor and he does not stand to gain from it nor does the state exchequer incurs a loss.
- Arguments Advanced by Respondent
- The Respondent reiterated the charges mentioned in the charge sheet and specified the dates of the last filing of the charge sheet and framing of charges which were done on 07/06/2006 and 16/02/2009 simultaneously.
- Whether to accept the petition under Section 482 of the CrPC filed after such an unexplained and unreasonable delay?
- The fact that the petitioner had filed a petition after 14 years of the charge sheet being filed without any explanation for such an abnormal delay under section 482 of the CrPC, was noted by the bench.
- Reliance was placed upon the judgment of Neeraj Bhargava v. the State of NCTby the Delhi High Court, in which it is mentioned that petitions under section 482 have no grounds to be taken up after an inordinate delay.
- The bench continued its discussion of the powers granted by section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code and noted that whoever seeks to use the High Court's jurisdiction to have the FIR and related proceedings quashed because the essential elements of the crime have not been proven must pass the expeditiousness of their approach to the court.
- The bench emphasized that the timing of a petitioner's application to the Court under Section 482 of the CrPC depended on the facts and circumstances of the case.
The Court dismissed the petition explaining that the time of limitation under section 482 differs from each case and depends on the situation. If the petitioner is able to offer a valid reasoning for such a delay then the suit can be accepted by the court but in this case, there was not any kind of explanation given by the petitioner for the 14-year delay thus resulting in dismissal.
Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE
Click here to download the original copy of the judgement