K. Jagadish v Udaya Kumar G.S. & Anr.
Criminal Appeal no.56 of 2020
Arising Out of Special Leave Petition (Crl) No.3304 of 2017, decided on 10th January 2020
Bench: U.U. Lalit, Vineet Saran, JJ.
Relevant Provisions of Law: Section 482 – Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
In the present case, the appellant was coerced into making a deal and signing a Sale Deed regarding sale of property. He was abducted and was coerced into making this deal and paying the necessary consideration to the other party. Since the payment for this sale of property was to be made by means of three cheques, the appellant was coerced into accepting and encashing the first cheque, after which, the appellant initiated criminal proceedings against the other party and did not encash the other two remaining cheques. Furthermore, no consideration was paid to the appellant apart from these three post-dated cheques.
The criminal proceedings so launched by the appellant were, however, quashed by the Karnataka High Court (HC) while entertaining a petition filed by the respondent under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The reasoning behind this was that there existed a registered Sale Deed and if the appellants were to claim any sort of relief, they should have filed a Civil Suit. The present appeal was made before the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of Karnataka HC. Subsequently, a civil proceeding was also initiated to set aside the Sale Deed.
Whether the allegation of existence of such a Civil Dispute can be considered as a ground to quash Criminal Proceedings?
The court held that it was thus well settled that in certain cases the very same set of facts may give rise to remedies in civil as well as in criminal proceedings and even if a civil remedy is availed by a party, he is not precluded from setting in motion the proceedings in criminal law.
First of all, the bench considered certain facts of the present case which were: –
(i) No amount of money was received by the appellants in form of consideration for the transaction,
(ii) Out of the three post-dated cheques given to the appellants, out of which only one was encashed and the appellants were not willing to encash the rest.
(iii) Lastly, no conveyance deed or agreement of sale/advertisement was issued by the appellant showing his inclination to dispose of the property in question.
In order to clarify this concept, the court relied upon the case of Pratibha Rani v. Suraj Kumar and another, wherein a distinction was laid down between remedies available under a criminal and a civil proceeding. The court, in this case had held that “The two remedies are not mutually exclusive but clearly coextensive and essentially differ in their content and consequence”. Additionally, under Kamladevi Agarwal v. State of West Bengal and others it was held that criminal prosecution cannot be thwarted at the initial stage merely because civil proceedings are also pending.
Therefore, after considering all this, the court, in the present case held that, the High Court erred in quashing the criminal proceedings. Consequently, the following appeal was allowed and the impugned order of the HC was set aside.