Read Order: Deepak Bhatia v. State of Haryana
Chandigarh, February 10, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that if any act or omission attracts civil as well as a criminal action, then either of the proceedings can be initiated and even both the proceedings can be commenced and continued simultaneously.
In this matter placed before the Bench of Justice Meenakshi I. Mehta, the factual scenario was that the complainant was an acquaintance of the petitioner and he (petitioner) introduced the complainant to his co-accused while disclosing that the co-accused had half share in a plot which the complainant agreed to purchase. The complainant on different occasions paid the agreed amount to the said owner (co-accused) through the petitioner who issued receipts in this regard, including a receipt acknowledging payment of the entire sale consideration.
The petitioner also prepared an agreement in respect of the sale transaction but the execution and registration of the sale deed in pursuance of the agreement was delayed on several occasions by the petitioner and his co-accused. Eventually, when the complainant enquired from the office of HUDA, it came to his knowledge that the above-named co-accused of the petitioner and the other co-owner of the said plot surrendered the plot to HUDA and thus, the petitioner and his co-accused duped the complainant of the sale consideration paid.
An FIR was registered against the petitioner under Sections 406 and 420 IPC, hence the present application for grant of pre-arrest bail was filed.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that the dispute between the parties, at the most, was of civil nature and the complainant did not file any civil suit for seeking specific performance of the above-said agreement to sell. Thus, he advanced a case for the false implication of the petitioner in this case and hence, he prayed for the grant of pre-arrest bail to him.
Per contra, the State counsel argued that the petitioner denied his signatures on the executed receipt to acknowledge the payment of the afore-said amount of sale consideration and that the non-filing of any suit for specific performance did not absolve the petitioner from his culpability in the present case. Thus, keeping in view the gravity of the offence, the counsel vouched for the dismissal of the petition.
After considering rival submissions, the Court observed at the outset, that the complainant levelled specific allegations in the FIR against the petitioner for persuading him (complainant) to purchase the above-said plot. It was also noted that the complainant categorically alleged that he paid the entire amount of sale consideration to the said owner through the petitioner on different occasions and the petitioner also executed the receipt to acknowledge this fact.
It also came to the light that the petitioner was granted interim bail by the Coordinate Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court with the direction to join in the investigation as and when required. However, later on, when the petitioner denied his signatures on the receipts, notices were issued to him under Section 41(1) Cr.P.C. to join the investigation to collect his specimen signatures for the purpose of comparing them with the signatures appearing on the said receipt, the petitioner did not appear.
Thus, in light of the above, the Court was of the opinion that the possibility of the requirement of custodial interrogation of the petitioner to elicit the truth qua the said receipt and the payment of the said amount could not be ruled out.
Also, addressing the argument governing the filing of a civil suit for specific performance of the agreement to sell, Justice Mehta opined that the mere factum of non-filing of the civil suit for seeking specific performance of the agreement to sell in question was not sufficient at all to show the false implication of the petitioner in this case.
Thus, keeping in view the above-discussed facts and circumstances as well as the gravity of the offence, the petition was dismissed.