Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • The Karnataka HC in a recent case, Rashmi Tandon & ors v. The State Of Karnataka, held that petition under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code would be maintainable, during the pendency of a case under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. 
  • The petitioner in the instant case challenged the proceeding registered on 22-07-2021 for an offense punishable under Section 420 of the IPC based on a private complaint.
  • The 2nd respondent is the complainant. The petitioners were the Directors of the Company by the name of Headwin Exim Private Limited. It appeared that the Directors of the Company approached the 2nd respondent/complainant to seek financial assistance to meet immediate financial needs that arose in its business. A transaction between the two took place and the complainant claimed to have assisted the Company with the finance of Rs.30,00,000/- initially and Rs.5,00,000/- later. The Company then had issued five cheques totalling the aforesaid amount. The checks were dishonoured.
  • The complainant-initiated proceedings under the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881. The matter was still pending before the competent Court. 
  • On the same instrument of issuance of cheques for which proceedings had initiated under Section 138 of the Act, the complainant registered a private complaint invoking Section 200 of the Cr.P.C. and alleged cheating under Section 420 of the IPC on the part of the Company and its Directors.
  • The Magistrate directed an investigation under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. The Police registered an FIR in response to the direction under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. 
  • The main issue that fall before the Court was, whether the complaint invoked Section 200 of the Cr.P.C. for an offense punishable under Section 420 of the IPC would become maintainable after initiation of proceedings invoked Section 138 of the Act.
  • The bench referred to the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel V. State Of Gujarat &Anr, in which the court considered whether a petition under Section 420 of the IPC would be maintainable during the pendency or even after conviction under Section 138 of the Act. 
  • The Supreme Court held that there was no violation of Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution or Section 300(1) of the Cr.P.C. because it did not amount to double jeopardy and was hence maintainable. 
  • Therefore, Karnataka HC declared the contention advanced by the learned Counsel for the petitioners was thus untenable and subsequently the petition stand dismissed.
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