The Karnataka High Court has ruled that as per Section 13 of the Notaries Act, there is a bar for taking cognizance by the Court for offences committed by an advocate and notary while adding that under the Act, the police have to obtain the permission of the Central Government or State Government for filing the charge sheet and taking cognizance.
A single judge bench of Justice K Natarajan allowed the petition filed by Pravin Kumar Adyapady and Ishwar Poojary, notary of Central government and quashed the proceedings pending against them under sections 366, 420, 465, 468, 472, 376, 120A, 114, 120B read with Section 34 of IPC and Sections 4, 6, 17, 12 of the Pocso Act and Sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Child Marriage Restraint Act.
On the complaint of respondent 2 (father of the victim) the Hassan Women Police Station registered a case. Subsequently the police investigated the matter and filed a charge sheet. It is alleged that accused No.1 in collusion with accused Nos.2 to 7 approached petitioner/accused No.8 who is advocate/notary declaring the date of birth of the victim as 25.9.1999 by correcting from 25.9.2000.
Based upon the affidavit, the accused No.10 also made a declaration in the affidavit stating that the age of the victim was 18 years, even though she had not completed 18 years and showed her date of birth as 25.09.1999. The accused No.1 got married to the victim girl in Arya Samaj and after registering the case, it was found these petitioners being advocate/notary helped by giving declaration in the affidavit, therefore the charge sheet came to be filed, which is under challenge.
It was said the charge sheet filed against the accused after taking cognizance by the trial court is not sustainable. The petitioners being an Advocate and Notary where there is bar for taking cognizance under Section 13 of the Notaries Act, 1952.
The accused No.1 and others came and produced documents showing the date of birth which were signed by the petitioners - advocate/notary by giving the declaration that if anything is corrected or manipulated by other accused they are not aware about the same.
On perusal of the same, they have signed the same and discharged duty without their knowledge, therefore there is no offence committed by any of them in any of the provisions of law and also contended that the co-accused persons already got the criminal proceedings quashed.
The prosecution opposed the plea
The bench said,
"Admittedly these two petitioners were advocate/notary and they have given declaration in affidavit filed by the parties. After looking to the documents produced by the parties, of course while discharging the duty they have signed and given declarations in the document produced by the parties but it cannot be said, these petitioners had intentionally colluded with the other accused persons and signed agreement of declaration for helping the accused No.1 by manipulating the age of the victim."
Referring to section 13 of the Notaries Act the court said ,
"Admittedly, the petitioners are said to be Notary of the Central Government. Such being the case, as per Section 13 of Notaries Act, sanction is necessary or permission is necessary before filing charge sheet and taking cognizance against this petitioner but no such permissions were obtained or produced by the Investigation Officer along with the charge sheet and also not mentioned anything about obtaining of the sanction in the charge sheet. Such being the case conducting criminal proceedings against these petitioners/accused Nos.8 and 10 requires it to be quashed."
Accordingly the bench allowed the petition and quashed the pending proceedings against the petitioners.
Case Title: Praveen Kumar Adyapady and ANR v State of Karnataka
Case No: Criminal Petition 888/2018
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 157
Date of Order: April 11, 2022
Appearance: Senior Advocate P P Hegde a/w Advocate Venkatesh Somareddi for petitioners
Advocate Vinayaka V S for R1