2012 ALL MR (Cri) 683
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY (AURANGABAD BENCH)
A.V. POTDAR, J.
Bhausaheb Shivaramji @ Francis Ignati Bodhak Vs. State Of Maharashtra & Anr.
Criminal Writ Petition No.294 of 2011
17th October, 2011
Petitioner Counsel: Mr. C.A. JADHAV, Mr. V.D. HON
Respondent Counsel: Mr. S.G. NANDEDKAR, Mr. H.F. PAWAR
(A) Criminal P.C. (1973), S.397(2) - Revisional jurisdiction - Bar as to interlocutory orders - Held, order of issuance of process is not purely interlocutory, hence revision against such order is maintainable.
1999(3) ALL MR 232 (S.C.) : 1999 ALL MR (Cri) 871 (S.C.); 2005 Cri. L. J. 3321 Rel. on. (Para 8)
(B) Penal Code (1860), Ss.463, 464, 465 - Offence of forgery - Complainant stated that he had given advertisement for sale of a plot - Accused had also published advertisement in a newspaper causing financial loss to complainant - Text of complaint however does not show that alleged act of accused amounted to forgery of document which took away certain rights of complainant - Issuance of process for the offence u/s.465 IPC held to be without application of mind. (Paras 9 to 12)
Rajendra Kumar Sitaram Vs. Uttam, 1999(3) ALL MR 232 (S.C.)=1999 3 SCC 134 : AIR 1999 SC 1028 [Para 8]
Rajendra Kumar Sitaram Vs. Uttam, 1999 ALL MR (Cri) 871 (S.C.)=1999 3 SCC 134 : AIR 1999 SC 1028 [Para 8]
Ashok Mehta Vs. State of Maharashtra and others, (2005)(2) Bom.C.R. (Cri) 193 : 2005(9) LJ Soft 978 : 2005 Cri.L.J. 3321 [Para 9]
2. The petitioner is a original complainant and has filed this writ petition under Article 227 of The Constitution of India, questioning the correctness of the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Kopargaon in Criminal Revision Appl.No.54/2010, dated 21/03/2011 allowing the criminal revision and setting aside the order of issuance of process passed by the learned J.M.F.C. Rahata in STC No. 460/2010 vide order dated 03/08/2010.
4. The facts which gave rise to file the criminal writ petition can be summarized as : The complainant herein has filed a report before J.M.F.C. Rahata on 02/08/2010 against the respondent no.2 complaining that the respondent no.2 is the son of his sister Philominabai Joseph. The said Philominabai has one more sister by name Monikabai Shivraj. This Monikabai owned agricultural property in Survey No.320 admeasuring about 83R. It is alleged that the Monikabai had sold the said property to the applicant for consideration of Rs.2,00,000/- Mother of the respondent no.2 is attesting witness to the said document of sale. Said Monikabai expired on 29/09/2009, while Philominabai expired on 28/05/2000. It is alleged that out of the land purchased by the applicant, 64R land was converted for non-agriculture purpose. Thereafter, he had given one advertisement for sale of the N.A. plots created in that property. At that time, respondent no.2 has published one advertisement in the newspaper "Daily Sarvamat" dated 30/07/2010 and also moved one application before the Village Kamgar Talathi dated 29/07/2010. It is alleged that due to acts of respondent no.2, the applicant herein had sustained financial loss and hence he lodged a report complaining that the respondent no.2 has committed an offence punishable u/s. 463, 465 of The IPC. It appears that after recording verification on 03/08/2010, process was issued for the offence punishable u/s. 465 of The IPC. Then the case was numbered as STC No.460/2010.
5. It appears that, after the summons was issued on respondent no.2 herein, he had preferred criminal revision application no. 54/2010 before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Kopargaon. After hearing both the sides, by judgment and order dated 21/03/2011, learned Additional Sessions Judge, Kopargaon had allowed the revision application and quashed and set aside the order of issuance of process dated 03/08/2011, which is impugned in the present criminal writ petition.
7. The first phase of submissions is that the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Kopargaon has committed an error in entertaining the criminal revision application filed by the respondent no.2 herein as the order of issuance of process is an interlocutory order and criminal revision application u/s 397(2) of The Cr.P.C. is not maintainable.
8. At this juncture, it is useful to advert to the observations of the Apex Court in the matter of Rajendra Kumar Sitaram versus Uttam 1999-3 SCC 134 = AIR 1999 SC page 1028 : [1999(3) ALL MR 232 (S.C.) : 1999 ALL MR (Cri) 871 (S.C.)], wherein in para no.4,5 and 6, it is observed by the Apex Court that,
"In view of the rival submissions at the bar, the first question that arises for consideration is whether the order of the Magistrate, directing issuance of process can be said to be such an interlocutory order, which is not amenable to the revisional jurisdiction under section 397 in view of the bar in sub-section (2) thereof. Sub-Section (2) of Section 397 reads thus : The powers of revision conferred by sub-section (1) shall not be exercised in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any appeal, inquiry, trial or other proceeding.
The very object of conferring revisional jurisdiction upon the superior criminal courts is to correct miscarriage of justice arising from misconception of law or irregularity of procedure.
Discretion in the exercise of revisional jurisdiction should, therefore, be exercised within the four corners of Section 397, whenever there has been miscarriage of justice in whatever manner. Under sub-section (2) of Section 397, there is a prohibition to exercise revisional jurisdiction against any interlocutory order so that inquiry or trial may proceed without any delay. But the expression 'interlocutory order' has not been defined in the Code. In Amar Nath versus State of Haryana (1978) 1SCR 222 : (AIR 1977 SC 2185), this Court has held that the expression 'interlocutory order' in section 397(2) has been used in a restricted sense and not in a broad or artistic sense and merely denotes orders of purely interim or temporary nature which do not decide or touch the important rights or liabilities of the parties and any order which substantially affects the right of the parties cannot be said to be an 'interlocutory order', In Madhu Limaye versus State of Maharashtra (1978) 1 SCR 749 : (AIR 1978 SC 47), a three Judge Bench of this Court has held an order rejecting the plea of the accused on a point which when accepted will conclude the particular proceeding cannot be held to be an interlocutory order. In V.C.Shukla V.State (1980) 2 SCR 380 : (AIR 1980 SC 962), this Court has held that the term 'interlocutory order' used in the Code of Criminal Procedure has to be given a very liberal construction in favour of the accused in order to ensure complete fairness of the trial and the revisional power of the High Court or the Sessions Judge could be attracted if the order was not purely interlocutory but intermediate or quasi final. This being the position of law, it would not be appropriate to hold that an order directing issuance of process is purely interlocutory and, therefore, the bar under sub-section (2) of Section 397 would apply. On the other hand, it must be held to be intermediate or quasi final and, therefore, the revisional jurisdiction under section 397 could be exercised against the same. The High Court, therefore, was not justified in coming to the conclusion that the Sessions Judge had no jurisdiction to interfere with the order in view of the bar under sub section (2) of Section 397 of the Code. (Underline is mine)
From the portion underlined in para no.6, it is clear that the order of issuance of process is not purely interlocutory order as held by the Apex Court.
9. It is further useful to give the reference of the observations of The Single Judge of this Court in the matter of Ashok Mehta versus State of Maharashtra and others (2005)(2) Bombay C.R. (Cri.) 193 = 2005(9) LJ Soft 978 = 2005 Cri.L.J. 3321, wherein the Single Judge of this Court has observed in para no.7, which reads as :
"As far as the decision in the case of Subramaniam Sethuraman is concerned, the question which fell for consideration before the Supreme Court was whether the decision in the case of Adalat Prasad would require reconsideration as in the case of Adalat Prasad the court proceeded on the basis that the case was a summons case but in reality it was a warrant case covered by Chapter XIX of the Criminal Procedure Code. That was the question which arose for consideration. Again the issue for consideration before the Supreme Court was whether the 'Magistrate' could recall the order issuing process in a summons case as well as warrant case. The Supreme Court held that it would not make any difference whether a case was a summons case or a warrant case and in both the cases the Magistrate did not have the power to recall process. In the case of Subramanium Sethuraman the observations in the case of Adalat Prasad have been quoted and it was held that the fact that it was a warrant case and K.M.Mathuew pertained to summons case would not make the law laid down in Adalat Prasad's case bad law. Thus in both case the question which arose for consideration was whether the 'Magistrate' could recall process which was issued by him. The sold question which arose for consideration in the case of Adalat Prasad was, whether the view in the case of K.M.Mathew that the Magistrate could recall process issued by him was correct or not. In the said case, the question did not arise for consideration whether a revision could be preferred before the Sessions Court against the order issuing process. In Adalat Prasad's case as is clear from para no.18, the said question is left open. However, in the case of (Rajendra Kumar Sitaram Pande and others Vuttam and another) 5, 1999(5) Bom.C.R (S.C) 511 : 1999(3) S.C.C. 134, the main question before the Supreme Court was whether the order of Magistrate directing the issuance of process is an interlocutory order or not. The Supreme Court held that the order of Magistrate directing issuance of process is not an interlocutory order and the revisional jurisdiction under section 397 could be exercised against the same. In view of the above observations it is clear that the aggrieved person against whom process has been issued can prefer a revision against the order of the Magistrate issuing process. Thus it is clear that the petitioner can prefer a revision against the order issuing process. In view of the fact that the petitioner has an efficacious alternate remedy of preferring revision against the order of issuing process I am not inclined to entertain the present writ petition.
Thus from the observations of the Apex Court, so also from the observations of the Single Judge of this Court, the legal issue is clear that the order impugned in the criminal revision before the learned Additional Sessions Judge is not purely interlocutory order. Hence there is no bar to entertain the criminal revision filed u/s. 397(2) of The Cr.P.C. On this point, I have to hold that the learned Additional Sessions Judge, has not committed any error to try and entertain the criminal revision application as preferred by the respondent no.2.
The second point which is urged that the act alleged in the complaint amounts to an offence of forgery. The Revisional Court has made observations that prima-facie commission of offence is not disclosed from the perusal of the complaint. At this juncture, it is necessary to reproduce the observations of the Revisional Court made in para no.6 of the judgment impugned. In this light, I have also examined the text of the complaint. It appears that the allegations against the respondent no.2 are two fold, those are, respondent no.2 has moved an application to Village Kamgar Talathi on 29/07/2010. Avernments in the complaint that on 30/07/2010, an advertisement was published in "Daily Sarvamat", which according to the learned counsel for applicant amounts to an offence of forgery u/s. 463, punishable u/s. 465 of The IPC.
Section 29 of The IPC : "Document" - The word "document" denotes any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures, or marks, or by more than one of those means, intended to be used, or which may be used, as evidence of that matter.
Explanation 1 : It is immaterial by what means or upon what substance the letters, figures or marks are formed, or whether the evidence is intended for, or may be used in, a Court of Justice, or not.
Explanation 2 : Whatever is expressed by means of letters, fugures or marks as explained by mercantile or other usage, shall be deemed to be expressed by such letters, figures, or marks within the meaning of this section, although the same may not be actually expressed.
Section 463 of The Cr.P.C. : Forgery : [Whoever makes any false documents or false electronic record or part of a document or electronic record, with intent to cause damage or injury], to the public or to any person, or to support any claim or title, or to cause any person to part with property, or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with intent to commit fraud or that fraud may be committed, commits forgery.
Section 464 of The Cr.P.C : Making a false document : [A person is said to make a false document of false electronic record-
First - Who dishonestly or fraudulently-
(a) makes, signs, seals or executes a document or part of a document ;
(b) makes or transmits any electronic record or part of any electronic record ;
(c) affixes any [electronic signature] on any electronic record;
(d) makes any marks denoting the execution of a document or the authenticity of the [electronic signature], with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document or part of document, electronic record or [electronic signature] was made, signed, sealed, executed, transmitted or affixed by or by the authority of a person by whom or by whose authority he knows that it was not made, signed, sealed, executed or affixed; or,
Secondly - Who, without lawful authority, dishonestly or fraudulently, by cancellation or otherwise, alters a document or an electronic record in any material part thereof, after it has been made, executed or affixed with [electronic signature] wither by himself or by any other person, whether such person be living or dead at the time of such alteration' or
Thirdly - Who dishonestly or fraudulently causes any person to sign, seal, execute or alter a document or an electronic record or to affix his [electronic signature] on any electronic record knowing that such person by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication cannot, or that by reason of deception practiced upon him, he does not know the contents of the document or electronic record or the nature of the alteration.]
Explanation 1 - A man's signature of his own name may amount to forgery.
Explanation 2 - The making of a false document in the name of a fictitious person, intending it to be believed that the document was made by a real person, or in the name of a deceased person, intending it to be believed that the document was made by the person in his lifetime, may amount to forgery.
Section 465 deals with the penal provisions.
12. In the light of the definition of 'document' with the definition of 'forgery', 'making a false document', if the text of the complaint is tested, first the complaint does not show that the act allegedly committed by the respondent no.2, amounts to a forgery, which document took away certain rights vested with the applicant/ complainant. If this is the factual position, then, the text/avernments in the complaint do not disclose prima facie an offence, as required under the ingredients of Section 463 and 464 of The IPC, and if it is so, order of issuance of process u/s. 465 of The IPC is certainly without application of mind as observed by the learned Revisional Court in para no.6 of the order and judgment impugned.