If the earlier disposal of the complaint had been on merits and in a manner known to law, the second complaint on "almost identical facts" which were raised in the first complaint would not be maintainable.
A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices UU Lalit & Vineet Saran held that a second complaint on same facts as the first complaint shall not be maintainable.
The bench pointed out that if the core of both complaints was same, the second complaint ought not to be maintained.
The appellant's father-in-law owned a Maruti 800 vehicle and passed away on December 12, 2001, leaving behind his widow, three sons and a daughter.
The appellants brother-in law (complainant), filed a complaint against the appellant and her husband in terms of sections 409, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC, alleging that forged signatures of his father were used on affidavit and the Maruti 800 was sold.
Vide order dated 05.07.2013, when the complaint came up before the Judicial Magistrate, First Class,
Jabalpur, it was dismissed on the ground that no prima facie case was made out against the appellant and her husband.
The complainant filed Revision before the VIII
Additional Sessions Judge, Jabalpur. However, later submitted that he wished to withdraw the Revision with liberty to file a fresh complaint on the basis of certain new facts.
The Revisional court observed that there was no permission required to do so as a new complaint can be filed at any time on the basis of new facts.
Thereafter, the complainant filed a complaint on same allegations but relied on additional materials to substantiate his complaint and submitted that cognizance be taken under Sections 201, 409, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short, "IPC").
The Judicial Magistrate First Class Jabalpur took cognizance in respect of offence punishable under Section 420 IPC but rejected the Complaint with respect to other offences, which order was challenged by the Complainant by preferring Criminal Revision, which was allowed and the it was directed to the Magistrate to reconsider documents available on record and pass appropriate order for taking cognizance in regard to appropriate offences. The appellants challenged this before the High Court.
In light of this, the Judicial Magistrate of the First class took cognizance of all offences alleged in the complaint and charges were framed against the appellant.
Subsequently, the appellants challenged the order for framing charged before the High Court as well.
What the High Court Held:
The High Court took up both criminal revisions and on the question of maintainability of second complaint refused to interfere in the same and dismissed the revision petitions, directing the Appellants to deposit a sum of Rs. 45,000/- (Rupees Forty Five Thousand Only) in the Registry of the Court within two weeks.
But such suggestions were not acceptable to the Complainant and so the matter was heard by the High Court at length.
The High Court dismissed the Revision Petitions holding that the second complaint to be maintainable.
Aggrieved, the Appellants approached the Supreme Court in Appeal.
What Supreme Court held:
While allowing the appeals and setting aside the decision of the high court, the Supreme Court held that a second complaint filed on same facts as the first one shall not be maintainable. Relying on Pramatha
Nath Taluqdar vs. Saroj Ranjan Sarkar, the Court pointed out that,
"There was no legal infirmity in the first complaint filed in the present matter. The complaint was filed more than a year after the sale of the vehicle which meant the complainant had reasonable time at his disposal. The earlier complaint was dismissed after the Judicial Magistrate found that no prima facie case was made out; the earlier complaint was not disposed of on any technical ground; the material adverted to in the second complaint was only in the nature of supporting material; and the material relied upon in the second complaint was not such which could not have been procured earlier. Pertinently, the core allegations in both the complaints were identical."
In light of this, the Court also directed that the amount deposited by the appellants be returned to them along with any interest accrued thereon.
Devdatt Kamat, Senior Advocate, assisted by Amit Pai and Rajesh Inamdar, Advocates appeared for the Appellants. Meenakshi Arora Sr. Adv. appeared for the Respondents
Devdatt Kamat, Senior Advocate, assisted by Amit Pai and Rajesh Inamdar, Advocates appeared for the Appellants.
Meenakshi Arora Sr. Adv. appeared for the Respondents
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