‘Petitioners had already suffered the ignominy of standing as accused for 22 years’: Delhi High Court quashes cheating case in light of compromise between parties
Justice Navin Chawla [21-05-2024]


Read Order: ATUL PRAKASH & ORS v. GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI & ANR [DEL HC-  CRL.M.C. 3340/2024]


LE Correspondent


New Delhi, June 10, 2024: In a cheating case where the trial started in the year 2022 and the main accused died during the trial, the Delhi High Court has quashed the FIR as well as the conviction order on the basis of a settlement arrived at between the petitioners and the complainant.


The facts leading up to the filing of the present petition were that the above FIR was registered on the complaint of the respondent no.2, who is the Director of M/s Daffodils Text Craft Pvt. Ltd., which is engaged in the business of manufacturing, trading, and export of various types of fabrics. It was further alleged that the petitioner no.3-Jai Prakash was an employee of the complainant, who introduced the complainant to accused no.1 in the FIR, that is, Surender, and the petitioner no.1 herein, namely Atul Prakash, stating that they are known to him for the last 15 years and took guarantee for them and their firm.


Based on the representations made by Surender and the petitioner, the Complainant agreed to supply fabric to M/s Maya Overseas, on cash and credit facility. The payments were made in time till 29.06.2002, however, later, during the period 29.06.2002 to 21.08.2002, the accused persons placed purchase orders and took delivery of the fabric material worth Rs.11,45,700/-, but deferred the payments.


It was stated that the accused persons misrepresented that the alleged proprietor would be coming with a big purchase order from Germany worth Rs.50 lakhs, and based on the said assurance, the complainant through his company kept on supplying the fabrics to them. It was revealed in the investigation that the accused persons had given a fake name and address of the proprietor of the firm. The prosecution alleged that the accused persons had committed the offence punishable under Sections 420/465/471 read with Section 120B of the IPC.


The petition before the Delhi High Court was filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 seeking quashing of FIR and the judgment of conviction passed by the Trial Court on the basis of a settlement arrived at between the petitioners and the complainant.


The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla noted that in the case at hand, the offence charged against the petitioners was predominantly civil in nature arising out of a commercial transaction between the parties. The main accused, even as per the complainant, that is Surender Kumar, unfortunately died during the trial. The trial started in the year 2002 and the petitioners had already suffered the ignominy of standing as an accused for 22 years. The respondent no.2, appeared in person and expressed his no objection to the conviction and sentence being set aside. It was also noticed that petitioner nos.2 and 3 had already undergone sentence of approximately 11 months and 3 months, respectively.


Placing reliance upon the judgment of the Top Court in Ramgopal & Anr. v. The State of Madhya Pradesh wherein it has been opined that handing out punishment is not the sole form of delivering justice, the Bench said, “...this is a fit case for exercising the powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. for quashing the FIR and the consequential conviction of the petitioners and the Order on Sentence.”


Thus, the Bench directed that the judgment of conviction and Order on Sentence be quashed subject to the petitioners depositing costs of Rs.50,000 each with Delhi Fire Service Benevolent Fund within 8 weeks. 

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