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Section 420 IPC- Complaint Cannot Be Quashed On The Sole Ground Of Undue Delay: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 Oct 2019 4:04 PM GMT
Section 420 IPC- Complaint Cannot Be Quashed On The Sole Ground Of Undue Delay: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]
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"Prosecution should not be quashed on the ground that there was delay in instituting the complaint."

When no period of limitation is prescribed for filing the complaint, it cannot be quashed on the sole ground of delay, the Kerala High Court has held.In this case [Sindhu S.Panicker vs. A.Balakrishnan], the transaction alleged by the complainant was on 10.04.2007. The cheque allegedly given by the accused to the complainant is dated 16.05.2007. The complaint under Section 420 of the Indian...

When no period of limitation is prescribed for filing the complaint, it cannot be quashed on the sole ground of delay, the Kerala High Court has held.

In this case [Sindhu S.Panicker vs. A.Balakrishnan], the transaction alleged by the complainant was on 10.04.2007. The cheque allegedly given by the accused to the complainant is dated 16.05.2007. The complaint under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code against the accused was filed only on 29.03.2011.

In a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC by the accused, Justice R. Narayana Pisharadi considered the issue whether the complaint be quashed on the ground of undue delay, even though it is not barred by limitation as prescribed under the Code? The judge observed:

The general rule of criminal justice is that "a crime never dies". Mere delay in approaching a court of law would not by itself afford a ground for dismissing the case though it may be a relevant circumstance in reaching a final verdict (See Japani Sahoo v. Chandra Sekhar Mohanty : AIR 2007 SC 2762). When no period of limitation is prescribed for filing the complaint, it cannot be thrown out on the sole ground of delay. The question of delay in filing a complaint may be a circumstance to be taken into consideration in arriving at the final decision. But, by itself, it affords no ground for dismissing the complaint. Prosecution should not be quashed on the ground that there was delay in instituting the complaint.

Inordinate and unexplained delay in filing a complaint regarding commission of an offence would certainly a factor to be taken into account by the court in taking the final decision in the case. But, when the complaint is not barred by limitation, it cannot be thrown out at the threshold, merely on the ground of undue delay

The court referred to a recent judgment of the Apex Court in Lakshman v. State of Karnataka in which it was held that mere filing of the suits for recovery of the money and complaint filed under Section 138 of the N.I.Act by itself is no ground to quash the proceeding.

Cheating Case Can Be Filed After Cheque Bounce Case

While dismissing the petition, the court further said:

It is true that the complainant did not institute any complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act inspite of sending notice to the first accused/first petitioner. But, the first petitioner had sent reply notice stating that she had no account in the bank on which the cheque was allegedly drawn. Even if a person has been tried and dealt with for the offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, on similar facts, he can be subsequently tried for an offence punishable under Section 420 IPC. The reason is that the ingredients of the two offences are different 


Click here to Read/Download Judgment


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