Criminal Appeal No. 1380 Of 2023
Kunti and Anr. V. State Of Uttar Pradesh and Anr.
DATE OF ORDER:
3rd May, 2023;
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Krishna Murari and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Karol
Appellants: Kunti and Anr.
Respondents: State Of Uttar Pradesh and Anr.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court (hereinafter referred to as ‘Supreme Court’ or ‘the Court’), has set aside the impugned order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad held that subject related to the non-execution of sale deed.
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)
- Section 406 – Criminal breach of trust - This section deals with the offence of dishonestly misappropriating or converting any property which was entrusted to a person or which he had control over.
- Section 420 – Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property - This section deals with the offence of cheating someone by inducing them to deliver property or valuable security based on false representation or promises.
- Section 467 – Forgery of valuable security, will, etc. - This section deals with the offence of forgery of a document, such as a valuable security or a will, with the intention to deceive or defraud.
- Section 468 – Forgery for purpose of cheating - This section deals with the offence of making a forged document with the intention to cheat someone.
- Section 417 – Punishment for cheating - This section deals with the punishment for cheating, which can include imprisonment and/or a fine.
- Section 418 – Cheating with knowledge that the act may result in unjust loss to a person whose interests the offender is obligated to protect - This section addresses the crime of cheating with knowledge that the act may result in wrongful loss to a person whose interests the criminal is obligated to safeguard.
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.)
- Section 482 – This Section gives the High Court the inherent authority to issue any orders required to carry out a CrPC order, stop judicial abuse, or further the interests of justice.
Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition & Land Reforms Act, 1950
- Section 157(A) – This section deals with the power of the state government to make rules for the purpose of implementing the provisions of the Act. In short, this section grants the state government the authority to make rules for the effective implementation of the Act.
- The Appellants in this case are Bhumidars of agricultural land in Akbarpur, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh which is the (property in dispute).
- The Appellants signed a sale contract for the property in question on 11.07.2008, and the Respondent No. 2 was the recipient. For an amount of Rs. 10,80,000.
- It appears from the agreement that the amount of Rs, 6,30,000 out of the total sum was transferred in favour of the Appellant by Respondent No. 2.
- At the moment of the execution of the sale deed, it was agreed that the remaining sum of Rs. 4,50,000 would be paid. The execution of the sale deed was afterwards postponed from 11.07.2008 to 31.12.2008 by mutual agreement.
- This agreement to sell was recorded at the office of the Deputy Registrar, First, Office in Bulandshahr. Respondent No. 2 was present on the specified day, along with the balance that needed to be paid, but the appellant was not there and did not provide any notice or information.
- A notice was sent by Respondent No. 2 on 01.01.2009, for execution of the agreement, after which both the parties met and an oral request to the same effect was also made. There were various requests made by the Respondent No. 2 and various promises takes place but there is no execution of sale deed.
- Later, it was revealed that the Appellant had already intended to sell the in-question property to a party other than Respondent No. 2, leading to the filing of the FIR that is the subject of the quashing proceedings.
- Learned Single judge, in rejecting the appellant's claim that the current Respondent No. 2 had a different remedy in the form of a civil lawsuit for the execution of the sale agreement, the single judge rejected the application under Section 482, CrPC. The petition for quashing has thus been rejected.
- QUESTIONS RAISED:
- Whether the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad was justified in its order of refusing to quash the FIR and the case?
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT
- According to the counsel for the appellant, the current Respondent No. 2 has a different remedy available in the form of a civil lawsuit for the performance of the sale agreement.
- It had also been argued that the agreement to sell was null and void from the start under Section 157(A) of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition & Land Reforms Act, 1950, which prohibits a member of a Schedule Caste from transferring property to a member of another Schedule Caste without the prior approval of the concerned Collector or District Magistrate.
- It is also recommended to note that the immediate FIR was filed four years after the scheduled date of the sale deed's execution. Additionally, a report to the Senior Superintendent of the Police has been made alleging that the current purchase agreement is a forgery.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:
- The Counsel appearing on behalf of the Respondent submitted that Respondent no 2 was present along with the remaining amount which was to be paid on the decided extended date of the execution of the sale deed but the appellant was absent in spite of having received information about the same.
- The Counsel also submitted that Respondent no 2 sent a by notice to the appellant of the execution of the sale of deed and thereafter, both the parties met and an oral request was made.
- The Counsel also submitted that on various dates Respondent No 2 has extended the time in favour of the appellant for the execution of the sale of deed but this effort was of no avail.
- The Counsel submitted that when Respondent No 2 discovered the property in question was in dispute to somebody other than the Appellant, the FIR was lodged with the subject of quashing the proceedings.
ANALYSIS BY THE COURT:
- The Court initially ruled that the agreement to sell had been properly registered at the Deputy Registrar, First Office in Bulandshahr, and that the complaint filed by the appellant alleging that it was forged was filed on May 11, 2012, which is also four years after the date of the agreement and coincidentally the date of the reply to the legal notice sent by Respondent No. 2 in this case on May 8, 2012. The court, however, does not feel that it is necessary to address the reasons as requested because a review of the record amply demonstrates that the conflict is of a civil character. The Court also held that, noting that the present dispute is entirely with respect to property and more particularly buying and selling thereof, it cannot be doubted that a An unjustifiably criminalised tone has been used to a civil matter.
- The Court further ruled that it is beyond a reasonable doubt that a criminal overtone has been unjustifiably added to a civil matter given that the current dispute is only related to property and, more specifically, the buying and selling of it.
- Overall, the case under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468, 417, and 418 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is dismissed according to the challenged judgement and decision dated 18.10.2019 issued by the High Court. Appeal is accepted.
It can be concluded that the Court held that the dispute between the parties regarding the agreement to sell the property was of a civil nature, and the criminal charges filed by the appellant against Respondent No. 2 were unjustified. The Court noted that the agreement had been duly registered, and there was no evidence of forgery.
Therefore, the Court set aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court, which refused to quash the FIR and the case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. As a result, the appeal was allowed.
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