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Is Prosecution For IPC Offences Barred After Case Under Section 138 NI Act?Supreme Court Refers To Larger Bench

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
11 Aug 2022 11:41 AM GMT
Is Prosecution For IPC Offences Barred After Case Under Section 138 NI Act?Supreme Court Refers To Larger Bench
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Whether on similar set of allegations of fact, the accused can be tried for an offence under Negotiable Instruments Act which is special enactment and also for offences under Indian Penal Code unaffected by the prior conviction or acquittal? The Supreme Court has referred this question to a larger bench.The bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and JK Maheshwari was considering a...

Whether on similar set of allegations of fact, the accused can be tried for an offence under Negotiable Instruments Act which is special enactment and also for offences under Indian Penal Code unaffected by the prior conviction or acquittal? The Supreme Court has referred this question to a larger bench.

The bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and JK Maheshwari was considering a special leave petition filed against the Madras High Court judgment which quashed the proceedings under Sections 120B, 406, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the ground that proceedings under Section 138 of the N.I. Act pertaining to the same cause of action and on the same facts and grounds are pending, prior to the registration of the proceedings under Section 420 IPC.

Senior Advocate S. Nagamuthu, who appeared for the petitioner (in SLP filed against the High Court judgment) contended that the plea of double jeopardy or bar of Section 300(1) of Cr.P.C. would attract only when the earlier offence and the later offence is same or have same ingredients. He relied on Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel v. State of Gujarat and Anr, (2012) 7 SCC 621 and M/s V.S. Reddy and Sons v. Muthyala Ramalinga Reddy and Anr. On the other hand, the respondent contended, relying on Kolla Veera Raghav Rao v. Gorantla Venkateswara Rao and Anr, (2011) 2 SCC 703 and G. Sagar Suri and Anr. v. State of UP and Others, (2000) 2 SCC 636, that if the offences are different and the facts are the same, the prosecution under Section 420 of the IPC is barred by virtue of Section 300(1) of the Cr.P.C.  Further reliance has been placed on a judgment of this Court in the case of , wherein also the offences under Section 138 of NI Act as well as the offence under Sections 406 and 420 of IPC were allegedly committed by the accused of that case.

Referring to these decisions, the bench noted:

"In the judgment of Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel (supra) it was held that the requirement to prove an offence under the NI Act and an offence under the IPC is different, and it was observed that there may be some overlapping of facts but the ingredients of the offences are entirely different, therefore, the subsequent cases are not barred by any statutory provisions. While in the case of G. Sagar Suri (supra) and Kolla Veera Raghav Rao (supra), the Court concluded that as per Section 300(1) Cr.P.C. no one can be tried and convicted for the same offence or even for a different offence on the same facts, therefore, the prosecution under Section 420 of the IPC is barred by Section 300(1) of Cr.P.C and accordingly liable to be quashed"

The court thus observed that the judicial decorum demands that if judgments passed by two judges' bench of equal strength are conflicting, the issue of law involved must be referred to a larger bench as the same is desirable to avoid confusion and maintain consistency of law. The court therefore referred the issue to larger bench.

1) Whether the ratio of the judgment, in the case of G. Sagar Suri (supra) and Kolla Veera Raghav Rao (supra) lay down the correct law?

or

The view taken in the case of Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel (supra) as followed in M/s V.S. Reddy and Sons (supra) which is subsequent and conflicting, lay down the correct proposition of law?

(2) Whether on similar set of allegations of fact the accused can be tried for an offence under NI Act which is special enactment and also for offences under IPC unaffected by the prior conviction or acquittal and, the bar of Section 300(1) Cr.P.C. would attract for such trial?

Case details

J. Vedhasingh vs R.M. Govindan | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 669 | SLP (Crl) 2864 OF 2019 | 11 August 2022 | Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and JK Maheshwari

Headnotes

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 300 (1) - Indian Penal Code, 1860 ; Section 420 - Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 ; Section 138 - Whether on similar set of allegations of fact the accused can be tried for an offence under NI Act which is special enactment and also for offences under IPC unaffected by the prior conviction or acquittal and, the bar of Section 300(1) Cr.P.C. would attract for such trial? - Referred to larger bench.

Precedents - Judicial decorum demands that if judgments passed by two judges' bench of equal strength are conflicting, the issue of law involved must be referred to a larger bench as the same is desirable to avoid confusion and maintain consistency of law. (Para 12)

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