Persons Not Affected By Order Challenged In Revision Petition Not Necessary Parties, Cannot Seek Recourse To Section 401(2) CrPC: Delhi HC
While dealing with a plea filed by M/s Bennett Coleman, Justice Amit Sharma of the Delhi High Court recently observed that the words “other persons” under Section 401(2) CrPC cannot be construed as wide enough to include persons not affected by the order challenged in the revision petition. The factual matrix of the case was such that a criminal complaint...
While dealing with a plea filed by M/s Bennett Coleman, Justice Amit Sharma of the Delhi High Court recently observed that the words “other persons” under Section 401(2) CrPC cannot be construed as wide enough to include persons not affected by the order challenged in the revision petition.
The factual matrix of the case was such that a criminal complaint under Sections 499/500/501/502 IPC was filed against the petitioners and others by respondent No.2/FIITJEE Ltd. before the Metropolitan Magistrate. The petitioners had been summoned and the complaint was pending against them.
However, the complaint was dismissed for non-prosecution qua other accused. The dismissal order was challenged in revision by FIITJEE. In these revision proceedings, FIITJEE did not implead the petitioners.
The petitioners' case was that they were necessary parties in the revision proceedings. As such, the orders passed therein did not follow Section 401(2) CrPC, causing them prejudice.
The petitioners' counsel argued that the words 'accused' or 'other person' in Section 401(2) CrPC included the petitioners, and thus, they ought to have been made party to the revision proceedings.
Senior Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey appearing for FIITJEE contended that the dismissal orders were passed under Section 204(4) CrPC, i.e. on a procedural aspect, as opposed to Section 203 CrPC where dismissal of a complaint is on substantive grounds.
After hearing rival submissions, the court held that the petitioners had no locus standi to challenge the impugned order passed in respect of co-accused persons as the order could not be stated to have been on merits under Section 203 CrPC, which is at a pre-summoning stage.
It was highlighted that the complaint was dismissed qua other accused persons for “non-prosecution”, not on merits. Thus, the dismissal order did not affect the case pending against the petitioners.
“The complaint was dismissed for non-prosecution on the ground of non-filing of process fee and non-furnishing of address of the said accused persons, which had no bearing on the merits of the complaint.”
Justice Sharma referred to the decision in Hindustan Domestic Oil & Gas Co. & Ors. v. State & Anr, where a Division Bench of the court dealt with the issue and distinguished between procedural and substantive orders thus:
“An order dismissing the complaint for non-prosecution or in default, which is made the subject matter of the revision, cannot be equated with “revision petitions” that are filed on substantive grounds or touch on the merits… The order dismissing the complaint for default or non-prosecution does not touch upon the factual or legal merits of the complaint.”
On the aspect of prejudice, the Division Bench in Hindustan Domestic Oil (Supra) had added,
“When a revision petition is filed against an order dismissing a complaint for nonprosecution or in default, and the same is allowed, it is not an order that causes prejudice to the opposite side, if there is no application of mind or reflection on merits whatsoever. This distinction and aspect has to be kept in mind.”
In the present case, Justice Sharma also clarified that by way of the dismissal order, right, if any, accrued in favor of the accused persons in respect of whom the complaint was dismissed.
Advocates RK Handoo and Aditya Chaudhary appeared for petitioners
APP Hitesh Vali appeared for State
Senior Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey with Advocates Raaj Malhotra, Rahul Goyal, Pallavi Garg, Akshat Sharma and Praful Rawat appeared for respondent No.2
Case Title: M/s Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd & Ors v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 1240