Prosecution was launched against the Appellant, who is an Inspector of Police, for offences under Sections 143, 323, 324 etc. of I.P.C. on a complaint filed by one Madhavan, printer and publisher of evening daily. The allegation against the Appellant and other policemen was that the complainant was assaulted by them while he was taken to police station after he was arrested. The case was ordered to be investigated by the C.B.I. by the Supreme Court. After investigation C.B.I. filed the final report in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The Appellant and other accused filed petitions for questioning the charges in the ground that the report was filed beyond the period prescribed by Section 468 Code of Criminal Procedure. The petitions were dismissed. Against the order appeal was filed before the Court of Sessions. The learned Sessions Judge dismissed the appeal and directed the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate to dispose of the petition afresh. The order was challenged in the High Court. In the meanwhile the complainant had filed a Civil Suit for damages against the accused in the Sub Court and the Sub Court after trial dismissed the suit. In the High Court a ground was taken that since the Civil Court has dismissed by the Civil Court, the decision of the Civil Court will prevail and the criminal cases has to be dismissed. The contentions were overruled by the High Court and held that since the Sessions Court had only directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate to consider the petitions afresh, the power under Section 482 Code of Criminal Procedure need not be invoked and dismissed the petition. Aggrieved by the order of the High Court the appeal was filed in the Supreme Court.
Whether criminal proceedings could be quashed on the ground of pendency of a civil suit on the same action
The Appellants contended that in the view of the well-settled principle, the High Court ought to have dropped the prosecution against the Appellant as civil court has dismissed the suit for damages filed against the Appellant.
The Respondent submitted the observaition made by the court in V.M. Shah v. State of Maharashtra and another where it was stated that the finding recorded by the Criminal court, stands superseded by the findings recorded by the Civil Court and thereby the finding of the Civil Court gets precedence over the finding recorded by the Criminal Court" is against the law laid down by this Court in various decisions. For this, he rightly referred to the provisions of Sections 41, 42 and 43 of the Evidence Act and submitted that under the Evidence Act to what extent Judgments given in the previous proceedings are relevant is provided and therefore it would be against the law if it is held that as soon as the judgment and Decree is passed in a civil suit the criminal proceedings are required to be dropped if the suit is decided against the Plaintiff who is the complainant in the criminal proceedings.
In this case, the Supreme Court held that civil proceedings as well as criminal proceedings are required to be decided on the evidence, which may be brought on record by the parties.