19 March 2022 10:23 AM GMT
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that in case an FIR with respect to an incident has already been registered, then a second FIR with respect to the same incident cannot be registered and in case, the same is registered then the High Court is well within its power to quash the second FIRThe bench of Justice Vikas Bahl observed thus as it quashed an FIR registered against the...
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that in case an FIR with respect to an incident has already been registered, then a second FIR with respect to the same incident cannot be registered and in case, the same is registered then the High Court is well within its power to quash the second FIR
The bench of Justice Vikas Bahl observed thus as it quashed an FIR registered against the Optum Global Solutions (India) Private Limited and its officials over cheating and forgery charges.
The Court also observed that if an FIR does not disclose the essential requirements of the penal provision or does not disclose the commission of a cognizable offence, the same can be quashed at the initial stage.
The case in brief
Essentially, the case against the company's officials was registered under Sections 120-B, 406, 409, 420, 465, 467, 468, and 471 of the Indian Penal Code in connection with a matter related to the allotment of an around Rs 100 crore tender for the implementation of a hospital information system by Haryana State Health Resource Centre (HSHRC).
The petitioners had moved the HC challenging the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Panchkula of December 2021, wherein the application filed by the complainant u/s 156 (3) CrPC was allowed the SHO concerned was directed to register an FIR against the petitioners.
The complainant in the case was Sharad Kothari, who is a former employee of the company who alleged that the state government had floated a tender of Rs 106 crore for the purpose of implementation of Hospital Information System, and the company of the petitioners was the 4th lowest bidder, but, it still managed to procure the tender by fabricating documents.
In the complaint, it was further alleged that the tender was procured by all the accused persons in connivance with each other and in collusion with some officials from HSHRC and accused no.1 had submitted its bid very cleverly, without the extracts of the audited balance sheet and profit and loss statement, as was required by HSHRC and without furnishing any certificate from its statutory auditor certifying that the company had a turnover of INR 100 crore from system integration services, etc., and for reasons best known to the HSHRC, it still accepted the said tender.
At the outset, the Court noted that the complainant, before filing the instant complaint under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C., there was no reference to the earlier application filed under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. before the Rohini Courts, New Delhi. Pursuant to the previous 156 (3) CrPC Application, an FIR under Sections 66, 66-C of the I.T. Act. was registered.
In view of this, the Court noted that the act of filing successive complaints/FIRs by the same party, even with material improvements, has been held to be impermissible by the Apex Court as it violates the right to life and liberty of an individual as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The Court further observed thus:
"...on account of the malicious conduct and active concealment, respondent no.2/complainant has managed to get two FIRs registered against the petitioners on the same cause of action. The due course in law available to respondent no.2 was to challenge the orders passed in the proceedings under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. in the Delhi Court in case, he was dissatisfied with the non-registration of the FIR under certain offences or respondent no.2 should have filed objections/protest petition in the cancellation proceeding with respect to the first FIR registered in Delhi but the same having not been done, respondent no.2 now cannot be permitted to institute a subsequent application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. with respect to the same incident and on a similar set of allegations."
The Court also noted that the complaint had also moved a complaint before the Lokayukta, Haryana containing similar allegations, wherein, a prayer had also been made for registration of an FIR, and the same was filed prior to the present application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. and the same is currently pending before the Lokayukta Haryana.
In view of this, the Court noted that complainant/respondent no.2 has been filing one complaint after another, in every forum available with an ulterior motive to wreak vengeance upon the petitioners.
Further, taking into account the Supreme Court's judgment in the case of TT Anthony, the Court observed thus:
"In case, with respect to one incident an FIR already stands registered, then a second FIR with respect to the same incident cannot be registered and in case the same is registered then, the High Court while exercising its powers under Section 482 Cr.PC, would be well within its rights to quash the second FIR."
Against this backdrop, the petitions were allowed and the impugned order dated December 15, 2021, was set aside and FIR registered under Sections 120B, 406, 409, 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and all the subsequent proceedings arising therefrom, are quashed.
It was, however, clarified that the setting aside of the impugned order and quashing of the FIR and the subsequent proceedings as well as the observations made in the present case would not affect the proceedings/complaint which is pending before the Lokayukta, Haryana.
Case title - Mr.Monishankar Hazra and another v. State of Haryana and others and a connected petition
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 41
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