The respondent filed a civil suit against the appellant for recovery of certain items of jewellery allegedly pledged with him on 2.12.1987 for the purpose of obtaining loan of a sum of Rs. 7000. On the premise that the appellant had violated the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Money Lenders Act, 1934 in relation to the aforementioned grant of loan, a criminal proceeding was initiated against him. In the said criminal case, he admitted his guilt. A fine of Rs. 150/- was imposed on him.
Respondent thereafter, as noticed hereinbefore, filed the aforementioned Civil Suit before the XIVth Civil Judge, Class II, Jabalpur for recovery of the pledged jewellery. The said suit was decreed directing the appellant to return the said jewellery or in the alternative a decree for a sum of Rs. 20,000. Aggrieved by and dissatisfied therewith the appellant preferred an appeal there against. The said appeal was allowed by the learned XVIth Additional District Judge, Jabalpur. A second appeal was also preferred by the respondent. The High Court determined in favour of the respondent holding that admission of guilt in a criminal case would be admissible in evidence being relevant to the fact in issue.
Whether the admission of guilt in criminal case would be admissible in civil suit
The appellant had admitted his guilt and pleaded guilty of the charges framed. The appellant also contended that he was wrongly advised to do so.
The respondent contended that according to the provisions under the section 43 of the evidence act, the judgment of the criminal court was admissible in evidence.
The court held that in terms of the provision under Section 43 of the Evidence Act, the judgment in a criminal case shall be admissible provided it is a relevant fact in issue, and its admissibility otherwise is limited. It was held that a civil proceeding is also a criminal proceeding and may go on simultaneously. No statute in particular puts an embargo in relation thereto, and a decision in a criminal case is not binding on a civil court. However, although the judgment in a criminal case was not relevant in evidence for the purpose of proving his civil liability, his admission in the civil suit was held to be admissible.