22 Nov 2023 4:07 PM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has refused to quash a cheating case against an advocate who allegedly suppressed information of previous criminal cases registered by and against him, while submitting his application for selection to the post of District Judge to the High Court.A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna dismissed the petition filed by Palaksha S S and observed “prima facie,...
The Karnataka High Court has refused to quash a cheating case against an advocate who allegedly suppressed information of previous criminal cases registered by and against him, while submitting his application for selection to the post of District Judge to the High Court.
A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna dismissed the petition filed by Palaksha S S and observed “prima facie, the petitioner is guilty of suppressing the fact of him involving in nine cases albeit their closure, just prior to the notification issued by the 2nd respondent.”
The High Court of Karnataka had issued a notification inviting applications for the posts of District Judges in 2019.
Petitioner submitted that he had applied for the same and appeared in the preliminary examination. Upon clearing the exam, the petitioner appeared in the final examinations, followed by a viva-voce which he was called for, after clearing the final exams in 2020.
Petitioner submitted that upon emerging as the successful candidate on clearing the viva, a final list of three selected candidates was notified by the High Court on 14-08-2020 in which his name was among thosewho were recommended for appointment as District Judges.
Petitioner argued that after the notification of the list of selected candidates, an anonymous complaint was made to the High Court based on which a show cause notice was issued to the petitioner.
The petitioner submitted two separate explanations on 28-10-2020 and 18-11-2020, after which he was given a personal hearing before the Committee which resolved to terminate his candidature and further to register a criminal case against him for furnishing false information or suppressing relevant information.
Petitioner’s counsel submitted that there was “no doubt criminal cases were pending against him.” However, it was argued that on the date of the notification and appearance before the Selection Committee, no criminal case was pending against him.
Counsel argued that out of the list of criminal cases, four were registered by the petitioner himself, which made him the complainant and not the accused.
Counsel clarified that since no case was pending against him, the petitioner had misread the condition in the application thinking that if there were any cases pending against him he had to answer in the affirmative and plead human error.
The Joint Registrar of the High Court opposed the plea on the grounds that the petitioner had dishonestly induced the Committee to consider his candidature for selection to the post of District Judge.
It was argued that the inducement was on a dishonest intention right from the inception. “Reference to the word ‘property’ in Section 415 of the IPC would not mean property ipso facto. It would be in fact, deception by the accused,” it was submitted.
Upon hearing the parties, the bench noted that the show cause notice narrated nine cases in which the petitioner was involved.
Petitioner in reply submitted that it was due to inadvertence that he had not indicated all the cases. He further explained that all cases against him had ended either in acquittal or been settled and that the only case that was pending was a proceeding instituted by his wife under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.
Court noted that the petitioner had explained that even in the aforesaid pending case, the Court had granted a decree of divorce and hence it too was a closed matter.
While considering the question on the term ‘property’ under Section 415 of the IPC, and whether it may connote only property and nothing else, the Court held:
“The term ‘property’ cannot be rendered an attenuated view, as in the peculiar facts of the case property would mean, the service that the petitioner would have entered into, as it provides security of tenure which is valuable. Therefore, the valuable security is akin to property, in the facts of the case. The petitioner has deliberately suppressed the cases that were pending against him therefore, it amounts to seeking to secure employment on account of misrepresentation.”
In observing that the petitioner was a practising Advocate for almost 13 years prior to submitting his application for District Judge, the Court noted that “he cannot be compared to an applicant who has applied for a Group-D post who can take shelter that by inadvertence he has not answered the query by properly understanding it.”
In dismissing the plea of the petitioner, and refusing to quash the criminal proceedings initiated against him, the Bench concluded that there were admittedly nine cases in which the petitioner was either complaint or accused.
Therefore, it was held that he could not have “feigned ignorance” at the time of filing the application which was clearly worded, and asked for past cases to be disclosed as well.
Accordingly, the plea was dismissed.
Appearance: Senior Advocate K N Phanindra a/w Advocate Akki Manjunath Gowda for Petitioner.
HCGP K.P.Yashodha FOR R1.
Senior Advocate S.S.Nagananda a/w Advocate Krishna S for R2.
Citation No: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 443
Case Title: Palaksha S S AND The State By Vidhana Souda Police Station and Another.
Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION No.1644 OF 2022
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