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Dismissal Of Complaint For Non Payment Of Process Fees Revisable : Kerala High Court

Hannah M Varghese
14 Aug 2021 5:45 AM GMT
Dismissal Of Complaint For Non Payment Of Process Fees Revisable : Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court has observed that if a criminal complaint is dismissed for non payment of process fees or other fees dealt under Section 204(4) Code of Criminal Procedure, the same is not an appealable order, but revisable.The court said that if the dismissal of a complaint is for non appearance or death of the complainant, the same amounts to acquittal of the accused under Section...

The Kerala High Court has observed that if a criminal complaint is dismissed for non payment of process fees or other fees dealt under Section 204(4) Code of Criminal Procedure, the same is not an appealable order, but revisable.

The court said that if the dismissal of a complaint is for non appearance or death of the complainant, the same amounts to acquittal of the accused under Section 256 CrPC. Therefore, the remedy of the complainant is to file an appeal as provided under Section 378(4) of Cr.P.C, Justice A. Badharudeen observed.   

In this case, the complainant, whose cheque bounce complaint was dismissed for his non-appearance, approached the High Court by filing an appeal. The court examined the legal position regarding the issue whether such order of Magistrate is appealable or revisable.

Referring to relevant provisions of the Code, the court noticed that dismissal of a complaint under Section 204(4) Cr.P.C is distinct and different from dismissal of a complaint for non appearance or death of a complainant. "If a complaint is dismissed for non appearance or death of a complainant, the Magistrate would get statutory sanction to do so only under Section 256 of Cr.P.C. This provision mandates acquittal of the accused.", the judge observed.

Referring to the Supreme Court judgment in V.K Bhat v. G.Ravi Kishore  [(2016) 13 SCC 243 : 2016 KHC 6254], the court observed that when a complaint is dismissed, instead of acquitting the accused as provided under Section 256 on the ground of non appearance of the complainant, the said order amounts to acquittal of the accused as provided under Section 256 of Cr.P.C.

"21. Thus the law emerges from the above discussion is as under: (i) If the dismissal of a complaint is for non appearance or death of the complainant, after appearance of the accused on service of summons or otherwise, the same amounts to acquittal of the accused under Section 256 of Cr.P.C and therefore the remedy of the complainant is to file an appeal as provided under Section 378(4) of Cr.P.C. (ii) If a complaint is dismissed for non payment of process fees or other fees dealt under Section 204(4) Cr.P.C, the same is not an appealable order and therefore, the said order is revisable.", the Court said.

On merits of the case, the court noted that the Magistrate dismissed the excuse petition filed by the complainant along with medical certificate showing his treatment for dysentery and vomiting. In such a case, the Magistrate ought to have granted an adjournment instead of dismissing the complaint, the court observed while allowing the appeal.

Case: Krishnankutty vs. Ramani ; CrA 2417 OF 2007
Coram: Justice A. Badharudeen
Counsel: Adv Pauly Mathew Muricken for appellant, Adv Tom Jose for respondent, PP Maya M.N.  for state

Click here to Read/Download Judgment





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