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Friday, September 9, 2016

availability of alternative remedy of criminal revision under Section 397 Cr.P.C. by itself cannot be a good ground to dismiss an application under Section 482 of Cr.P.C.=In our considered opinion the learned Single Judge of the High Court should have followed the law laid down by this Court in the case of Dhariwal Tobacco Products Ltd. (supra) and other earlier cases which were cited but wrongly ignored them in preference to a judgment of that Court in the case of Sanjay Bhandari (supra) passed by another learned Single Judge on 05.02.2009 in S.B. Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 289 of 2006 which is impugned in the connected Criminal Appeal arising out of Special Leave Petition No. 4744 of 2009. As a result, both the appeals, one preferred by Prabhu Chawla and the other by Jagdish Upasane & Ors. are allowed. The impugned common order dated 02.04.2009 passed by the High Court of Rajasthan is set aside and the matters are remitted back to the High Court for fresh hearing of the petitions under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. in the light of law explained above and for disposal in accordance with law. Since the matters have remained pending for long, the High Court is requested to hear and decide the matters expeditiously, preferably within six months. Since that order has been set aside while allowing those appeals hence the order impugned in this appeal also has to be set aside for the same very reasons and for the view taken by us in respect of scope and ambit of Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. Accordingly this appeal is also allowed and impugned order is set aside with the same directions as in the other two appeals.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  842  OF 2016
               [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.) No. 3314 of 2009]

Prabhu Chawla                                           …..Appellant

      Versus

State of Rajasthan & Anr.                           …..Respondents


                                   W I T H


                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  844  OF 2016
               [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.) No. 4744 of 2009]


                                     AND


                   CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.  845-846  OF 2016
            [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.) Nos. 1554-1555 of 2011]




                               J U D G M E N T




SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.


Leave granted.
First we take up appeals of Prabhu Chawla and Jagdish Upasane  and  ors.  as
these two criminal appeals seek to assail a common  order  dated  02.04.2009
whereby the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jodhpur dismissed  the
petitions preferred by the appellants under  Section  482  of  the  Code  of
Criminal Procedure (for brevity ‘Cr.P.C.’). High Court  held  the  petitions
to be not maintainable in view of judgment of Rajasthan High  Court  in  the
case of Sanjay Bhandari v. State of  Rajasthan[1]  (impugned  in  the  other
connected appeal) holding that availability  of  remedy  under  Section  397
Cr.P.C. would make a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. not maintainable.
While considering all these matters at  the  SLP  stage,  on  05.07.2013,  a
Division Bench found the impugned order of the High Court to be against  the
law  stated  in  Dhariwal  Tobacco  Products  Ltd.  and  Ors.  v.  State  of
Maharashtra and another[2]. In that case the Division Bench  concurred  with
the proposition of law that availability of alternative remedy  of  criminal
revision under Section 397 Cr.P.C. by itself cannot  be  a  good  ground  to
dismiss an application under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. But it  noticed  that  a
later Division Bench judgment of this Court in the case of Mohit alias  Sonu
and another v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another[3] apparently held to  the
contrary that when an order under assail is not interlocutory in nature  and
is amenable to the revisional jurisdiction of  the  High  Court  then  there
should be a bar in invoking the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.  In
view of such conflict, these cases were directed to  be  placed  before  the
Hon’ble Chief Justice for reference to a larger Bench and that  is  how  the
matters are before this Bench for resolving the conflict.
The facts of these appeals need not detain  us  because  in  our  considered
opinion the view taken by the Rajasthan High Court in the impugned order  is
contrary to law and therefore matters will have to be remanded back  to  the
High Court for fresh consideration on merits within the  scope  of  inherent
powers available to the High  Court  under  Section  482  Cr.P.C.  It  would
suffice to note that in both  these  appeals,  the  miscellaneous  petitions
before the High Court arose out of  an  order  dated  30.11.2006  passed  by
learned Judicial Magistrate No. 3, Jodhpur in  the  complaint  no.  1669  of
2006, whereby it took cognizance against the appellants under  Section  228A
of the Indian Penal Code and summoned  them  through  bailable  warrants  to
face further proceedings in the case.
Mr. P.K. Goswami learned senior advocate for the  appellants  supported  the
view taken by  this  Court  in  the  case  Dhariwal  Tobacco  Products  Ltd.
(supra). He pointed out that in paragraph 6 of this judgment Justice  S.  B.
Sinha took note of several earlier judgments of this  Court  including  that
in R.P. Kapur v. State of Punjab[4] and Som Mittal v. Govt. of  Karnataka[5]
for coming to the conclusion that  “only  because  a  revision  petition  is
maintainable, the same by itself,  ………,  would  not  constitute  a  bar  for
entertaining an application under Section 482  of  the  Code.”  Mr.  Goswami
also placed strong reliance upon judgment of Krishna Iyer, J. in a  Division
Bench in the case of Raj Kapoor and Ors v. State and Ors[6].   Relying  upon
judgment of a Bench of three Judges in the  case  of  Madhu  Limaye  v.  The
State of Maharashtra[7] and quoting  therefrom,  Krishna  Iyer,  J.  in  his
inimitable style made the law crystal clear in paragraph 10  which  runs  as
follows:
“10.    The first question is as to whether the inherent power of  the  High
Court under Section 482 stands repelled  when  the  revisional  power  under
Section 397 overlaps. The opening  words  of  Section  482  contradict  this
contention because nothing of the Code, not even  Section  397,  can  affect
the amplitude of the inherent power  preserved  in  so  many  terms  by  the
language of Section 482. Even so, a general principle pervades  this  branch
of law when a specific provision is made: easy resort to inherent  power  is
not right except under compelling circumstances. Not that there  is  absence
of jurisdiction but that inherent power should not invade  areas  set  apart
for specific power under the same Code. In Madhu  Limaye  v.  The  State  of
Maharashtra  this Court has exhaustively and, if I may  say  so  with  great
respect, correctly discussed and delineated the law  beyond  mistake.  While
it is true that Section  482  is  pervasive  it  should  not  subvert  legal
interdicts written into the  same  Code,  such,  for  instance,  in  Section
397(2). Apparent conflict may arise  in  some  situations  between  the  two
provisions and a happy solution
“would be to say that the bar provided in sub-section  (2)  of  Section  397
operates only in exercise  of  the  revisional  power  of  the  High  Court,
meaning thereby that the High Court  will  have  no  power  of  revision  in
relation to any interlocutory order. Then in  accordance  with  one  or  the
other principles enunciated above, the inherent power will come  into  play,
there being no other provision in the Code for the redress of the  grievance
of the aggrieved party. But then, if the order  assailed  is  purely  of  an
interlocutory  character  which  could  be  corrected  in  exercise  of  the
revisional power of the High Court under the 1898 Code, the High Court  will
refuse to exercise its inherent  power.  But  in  case  the  impugned  order
clearly brings about a situation which is an abuse of  the  process  of  the
Court or for the purpose of securing the ends  of  justice  interference  by
the High Court is absolutely necessary, then nothing  contained  in  Section
397(2) can limit or affect the exercise of the inherent power  by  the  High
Court. But such cases would be few and far  between.  The  High  Court  must
exercise the inherent power very sparingly.  One  such  case  would  be  the
desirability of the quashing of a criminal proceeding  initiated  illegally,
vexatiously or as being without jurisdiction”.
In short, there is no total ban on the  exercise  of  inherent  power  where
abuse of the process of the court or other extraordinary  situation  excites
the court’s jurisdiction. The limitation is  self-restraint,  nothing  more.
The policy of the law is clear that interlocutory orders, pure  and  simple,
should  not  be  taken  up  to  the  High  Court  resulting  in  unnecessary
litigation and delay.  At  the  other  extreme,  final  orders  are  clearly
capable of being considered  in  exercise  of  inherent  power,  if  glaring
injustice stares the court in the face. In between is  a  tertium  quid,  as
Untwalia, J. has pointed out as for example, where it is more than a  purely
interlocutory order and less than a final disposal. The present  case  falls
under that category where the accused complain  of  harassment  through  the
court’s process. Can we state that  in  this  third  category  the  inherent
power can be exercised? In the words of Untwalia, J.: (SCC p. 556, para 10)
“The answer is obvious that the bar will not operate to  prevent  the  abuse
of the process of the Court and/or to secure the ends of justice. The  label
of the petition filed by an aggrieved party is immaterial.  The  High  Court
can examine the matter in an appropriate case  under  its  inherent  powers.
The present case undoubtedly falls for exercise of the  power  of  the  High
Court in accordance with Section  482  of  the  1973  Code,  even  assuming,
although not accepting, that invoking  the  revisional  power  of  the  High
Court is impermissible.”
I am, therefore clear in my mind that the inherent power is not rebuffed  in
the case situation before us. Counsel on both sides, sensitively  responding
to  our  allergy  for  legalistics,  rightly  agreed  that   the   fanatical
insistence on the formal filing of a copy of the order under cessation  need
not take up this court’s time. Our conclusion concurs  with  the  concession
of counsel on both sides that merely because a copy of  the  order  has  not
been produced, despite its presence in the records in the court, it  is  not
possible for me to hold that the entire  revisory  power  stands  frustrated
and the inherent power stultified.”

In our considered view any attempt to explain the  law  further  as  regards
the issue relating to  inherent  power  of  High  Court  under  Section  482
Cr.P.C. is unwarranted. We would simply reiterate that  Section  482  begins
with a non-obstante clause to state: “Nothing in this Code shall  be  deemed
to limit or affect the inherent powers  of  the  High  Court  to  make  such
orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this  Code,  or
to prevent abuse of the process of any Court  or  otherwise  to  secure  the
ends of justice.” A fortiori, there can be no total ban on the  exercise  of
such wholesome jurisdiction where, in the words of Krishna Iyer,  J.  “abuse
of the process of the Court or other  extraordinary  situation  excites  the
court’s jurisdiction. The limitation is self-restraint,  nothing  more.”  We
venture to add a further reason in support.  Since Section  397  Cr.P.C.  is
attracted against all orders  other  than  interlocutory,  a  contrary  view
would limit the availability of inherent powers under  Section  482  Cr.P.C.
only to petty interlocutory  orders!  A  situation  wholly  unwarranted  and
undesirable.
As  a  sequel,  we  are  constrained  to  hold  that  the  Division   Bench,
particularly in paragraph 28, in the case of Mohit alias  Sonu  and  another
(supra) in respect of inherent power of the High Court  in  Section  482  of
the Cr.P.C. does not state the  law  correctly.  We  record  our  respectful
disagreement.


In our considered opinion the learned Single Judge of the High Court  should
have followed the law laid down by  this  Court  in  the  case  of  Dhariwal
Tobacco Products Ltd. (supra) and other earlier cases which were  cited  but
wrongly ignored them in preference to a judgment of that Court in  the  case
of Sanjay Bhandari  (supra)  passed  by  another  learned  Single  Judge  on
05.02.2009 in S.B. Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 289 of 2006 which  is
impugned in the connected Criminal  Appeal  arising  out  of  Special  Leave
Petition No. 4744 of 2009. As a result, both the appeals, one  preferred  by
Prabhu Chawla and the other by Jagdish  Upasane  &  Ors.  are  allowed.  The
impugned  common  order  dated  02.04.2009  passed  by  the  High  Court  of
Rajasthan is set aside and the matters are remitted back to the  High  Court
for fresh hearing of the petitions under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.  in  the
light of law explained above and for disposal in accordance with law.  Since
the matters have remained pending for long, the High Court is  requested  to
hear and decide the matters expeditiously, preferably within six months.


The impugned order in the third appeal, dated 05.02.2009 passed by the  High
Court of Judicature for Rajasthan  at  Jodhpur  has  been  relied  upon  and
followed while passing the order dated 02.04.2009 impugned in the other  two
appeals. Since that order has been set aside while  allowing  those  appeals
hence the order impugned in this appeal also has to be  set  aside  for  the
same very reasons and for the view taken by  us  in  respect  of  scope  and
ambit of Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. Accordingly this appeal is also  allowed
and impugned order is set aside with the same directions  as  in  the  other
two appeals.

                       …………………………………….J.
                       [J. CHELAMESWAR]


                       ……………………………………..J.
                            [SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]


                       ……………………………………..J.
                            [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]

New Delhi.
September 05, 2016.

-----------------------
[1]
      [2] 2009 (1) CrLR (Raj.) 282
[3]
      [4] (2009) 2 SCC 370
[5]
      [6] (2013) 7 SCC 789
[7]
      [8] AIR 1960 SC 866
[9]
      [10] (2008) 3 SCC 574
[11]
      [12]  (1980) 1 SCC 43
[13]
      [14]  (1977) 4 SCC 551

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