WRIT PETITION (L) NO. 26651 OF 2022
M/s. Design Tech Systems Pvt.Ltd. Vs. The State of Andhra Pradesh
DATE OF ORDER:
12th August 2022
Justice D. Ramesh
Petitioner : M/s. Design Tech Systems Pvt.Ltd.
Respondent : The State of Andhra Pradesh
The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently ruled in a case that a petition under Section 482 CrPC is maintainable because the Court below erred in issuing orders under Section 451 CrPC to freeze amounts (property) in the petitioner's account that had no discernible connection to the commission of any crime.
Section 397 CrPC- Call Records for Revision
- The High Court and Court of Session have the authority to request and review any proceeding's records in order to ascertain the following:
- Correctness, legality or appropriateness (correctness) of any finding, sentence, or order recorded or passed.
- The consistency of any lower court proceeding.
- During the duration of the revision process or the record review, they have the authority to order the execution of any sentence, suspend or delay the lower court's ruling, or both. The court may also direct the release of the accused on bail by executing the bonds if the accused is in jail.
- Revision cannot be maintained against:
- appealable orders.
- An interlocutory order is one that is only temporary in nature and does not specify the parties' important rights and obligations.
- The criminal petition was submitted in an effort to overturn the decision freezing the petitioner's State Bank of India bank account made by Special Judge for SPE & ACB cases-cum-Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge.
- The respondent had frozen the petitioner company's current account by using the authority provided by Section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Power of police officer to seize property having any suspicion of the commission of any offence) for the offences of criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust with the intent to fraudulently divert government funds by raising false, forged, or bogus invoices and diversion of the public funds through associated shell companies of the accused in collusion with one another.
The main issue here was to understand the scope of Section 397 of the CrPC and to also understand if there was any bar to maintain a petition under Section 482 CrPC in exceptional circumstances.
ARGUMENTS OF THE PETITIONER
- The petitioner filed a petition u/s 482 CrPC to argue that only Rs. 2 crores were present in the account at the time it was frozen, but the court below had incorrectly ordered to keep the amount of Rs. 23 crores that the petitioner had received from various customers after the account was frozen.
- Due to the aforementioned order of freezing, the petitioner was unable to manage the business that employs more than 100 people.
- The Supreme Court's ruling in Prabhu Chawla v. State of Rajasthan [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 842 OF 2016], which held that a provision under Section 397 CrPC was not a bar to maintaining the petition under Section 482 CrPC in exceptional circumstances, was cited by Senior Counsel Sri. B. Adi Narayana Rao, who was appearing on behalf of the petitioner.
ARGUMENTS OF THE RESPONDENT
- The petition under Section 482 CrPC was challenged by the respondent as not being maintainable.
- It cited the Andhra Pradesh High Court's ruling in a related case, Criminal Petition No. 185 of 2021, which determined that the petition was not maintainable under Section 482 of the CrPC because the petitioners had the option of filing a revision petition under Section 397(1) of the CrPC as an alternative remedy.
- By submitting a petition to the trial court, the investigating officer may request possession of the accused's property in accordance with Sections 451 or 457 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
- According to Section 397(1) of the CrPC, the accused is entitled to file a revision to contest the aforementioned order.
ANALYSIS BY THE COURT
- Justice D. Ramesh noted in the current instance that the petitioner had just Rs. 2 crores at the time the account was frozen and that he afterwards got money from other clients to operate the business.
- Because there was no valid grounds to suspect that the subsequent sums had anything to do with committing crimes, they could not be frozen.
As a result, the Court sent the case to the Division Bench for new consideration in order to uphold the goals of justice.
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