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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

If on the basis of false and fraudulent documents a claim is made which leads to award of compensation in land acquisition matter, the interest of the State is certainly compromised or adversely affected. The matter cannot then be termed as a civil dispute simplicitor. The crime was therefore rightly registered.= Onkargiri Gosavi, predecessor of the plaintiffs of RCS No.81/1993 was not title holder and so there was no question of passing of the tile to the plaintiff, Gunwani and others. No sale-deed was executed by Gunwani and other plaintiffs in favour of the three persons like Karbhari, Prakhash Nannaware and Dilip Bhalerao. On the basis of some mention in the settlement document filed in the aforesaid suit, the title could not have been passed in favour of these three persons. Thus no weight could have been given to the so called lease document executed by these three persons in favour of Salunke. Further in the lease document also it was not mentioned that rent of 99 years was given by Salunke to these three persons. All these circumstances can be used to draw inference against Salunke. The old CTS record shows that initially Nawab of Hyderabad was shown as owner and thereafter name of Onkargiri Gosavi was entered. There is no document of title with Onkargiri Gosavi and there is nothing to hold that, title was passed to Onkargiri Gosavi. These circumstances cannot be ignored but the Land Acquisition Officer has ignored these circumstances. The revenue record or the CTS record can never confer title and there was no document of title with Salunke. In spite of these circumstances, the final award was made in his favour.

                                                              Non-Reportable

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.985 OF 2016




Jairam S/o Nathu Salunke                                        ….Appellant



                                   Versus



 State of Maharashtra & Anr.                          …. Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T

Uday U. Lalit, J.

This appeal arising from  S.L.P  (Crl.)  No.8553  of  2015   challenges  the
Judgment and Order dated 30.03.2015 passed by the High Court  of  Bombay  at
Aurangabad   in  Criminal  Application  No.1358  of  2012.   Said   Criminal
Application was filed for quashing of FIR of Crime No.264 of  2011  and  the
consequential charge-sheet leading to the registration  of  RCC  No.1100  of
2012  in  the  Court  of  Judicial  Magistrate,  First  Class,   Aurangabad.




Crime No.264  of  2011  was  registered  with  City  Chowk  Police  Station,
Aurangabad pursuant to FIR registered  on  20.09.2011  at  the  instance  of
Purushottam  Kulkarni,  Assistant   Director,   Town   Planning,   Municipal
Corporation, Aurangabad. It was alleged that  four   accused  namely  Jairam
Salunke- the appellant, Sitaram Shankar Gaikwad, Suresh C. Kapale, the  then
Special Land Acquisition Officer,  Aurangabad  and  A.F.  Ansari,  the  then
Director Planning, Office of Land Acquisition, Aurangabad had  entered  into
a conspiracy, pursuant to which fabricated documents  were  created  and  in
land acquisition proceedings concerning land bearing City Survey No.  20722,
situated within the limits of Aurangabad Corporation,  compensation  to  the
tune of Rs.23.48 lacs was received by the appellant without there being  any
entitlement. After due investigation, charge-sheet was filed  on  29.06.2012
against aforementioned  four  accused  for  the  offences  punishable  under
Sections 406, 409 read with Section 120(B) of IPC. The basic allegations  in
the charge sheet were:-

“ It was found in investigation that the accused  did  not  properly  verify
the documents  pertaining  to  land  bearing  No.  20722,  during  the  land
acquisition proceedings and without calling for search  report  and  relying
upon the fabricated documents submitted by accused No. 1 and  in  conspiracy
with each other caused loss to the Corporation to the tune of Rs.  2348993/-
by  taking  compensation  of  the  said  amount  and  thereby  cheated   the
corporation.”



Soon thereafter Criminal Application Nos.1358 of 2012 and 1361 of 2012  were
filed by the appellant and said Suresh C.  Kapale,  the  then  Special  Land
Acquisition Officer respectively.  It  was  principally  submitted  that  :-



 Regular Civil Suit No.81 of 1993  was  filed  by  Shanti  Gunwani  and  six
others against  Vishwanath  Nikalje  for  injunction,  contending  that  the
plaintiffs had purchased eight residential plots from one Onkargiri  Gosavi,
admeasuring  about  6249  sq.m  which  land  was  part  of   CTS   No.20722,
Aurangabad.


In June 1995, there was a compromise  between  the  parties  whereunder  the
defendant accepted the ownership of the  plaintiffs.   The  compromise  deed
also made reference to the fact that from and out of land purchased by  said
Shanti Gunwani  and six others, a portion admeasuring  50000  sq.  feet  was
made over by them in favour of Karbhari  Gaikwad,  Prakash   Nannaware   and
Dilip       Bhalerao       (‘three       persons’,        for        short).


The appellant had taken on lease for a period of 99 years that plot of  land
from                  said                  three                   persons.


In the circumstances, the appellant was entitled to and was rightly  granted
compensation in respect of  the land by  accused Suresh C. Kapale, the  then
Special Land Acquisition Officer.

With these assertions, it was contended that  the  transaction  in  question
was purely of civil nature; that the appellant was entitled to  and  rightly
granted compensation and as such case for quashing  under  Section  482  Cr.
P.C. was  made out.

Both these applications were heard together by the High Court and  dismissed
by its judgment and Order dated 30.03.2015. The contentions were  considered
in the light of the record by the High Court as under:-

“The aforesaid record  shows  that  Onkargiri  Gosavi,  predecessor  of  the
plaintiffs of RCS No.81/1993 was not  title  holder  and  so  there  was  no
question of passing of the tile to the plaintiff,  Gunwani  and  others.  No
sale-deed was executed by Gunwani and other  plaintiffs  in  favour  of  the
three persons like Karbhari, Prakhash Nannaware and Dilip Bhalerao.  On  the
basis of some mention in the settlement  document  filed  in  the  aforesaid
suit, the title could  not  have  been  passed  in  favour  of  these  three
persons. Thus no weight could  have  been  given  to  the  so  called  lease
document executed by these three persons in favour of  Salunke.  Further  in
the lease document also it was not mentioned  that  rent  of  99  years  was
given by Salunke to these three persons.  All  these  circumstances  can  be
used to draw inference against  Salunke.  The  old  CTS  record  shows  that
initially Nawab of Hyderabad was shown  as  owner  and  thereafter  name  of
Onkargiri Gosavi was entered. There is no document of title  with  Onkargiri
Gosavi and there is nothing to hold that,  title  was  passed  to  Onkargiri
Gosavi. These circumstances cannot  be  ignored  but  the  Land  Acquisition
Officer has ignored these circumstances.  The  revenue  record  or  the  CTS
record can never confer title and  there  was  no  document  of  title  with
Salunke. In spite of these circumstances, the final award was  made  in  his
favour.

     The appellant as well as said Suresh C. Kapale filed a  joint  petition
namely  S.L.P.  (Crl.)  Nos.8553-8554  of  2015  challenging  the  aforesaid
judgment and order of the High Court, in which notice  was  issued  by  this
Court on 01.10.2015. During the pendency  of  the  matter,  said  Suresh  C.
Kapale died, as a result of which the petition qua him namely S.L.P.  (Crl.)
No.8554 of 2015 was dismissed as abated vide Order dated 09.09.2016.



Mr. Manish Pitale, learned Advocate appearing for  the  appellant  submitted
that at the initial stage the  matter  was  looked  into  by  the  Assistant
Commissioner of Police who had opined that the dispute was purely  of  civil
nature and yet the crime was registered. It was further submitted  that  the
allegations that the land in the question did not belong  to  the  appellant
could only be resolved by the Civil Court and as such the case was  fit  for
exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr. P.C.



We have gone through the record and considered rival submissions.  The  High
Court found three infirmities namely  that  Onkargiri,  predecessor  of  the
plaintiffs in Regular Civil Suit No.81 of 1993 did not have any title;  that
no sale deed was  executed  by  the  plaintiffs  in  favour  of  said  three
persons; and that the document of lease  stated  to  be  in  favour  of  the
appellant  did  not  mention  any  rent  at  all.  In  the  face  of   these
observations it cannot be said that the dispute in question  was  purely  of
civil nature. If on the basis of false and fraudulent documents a  claim  is
made which leads to award of compensation in land  acquisition  matter,  the
interest of the State is certainly compromised or adversely  affected.   The
matter cannot then be termed as a civil dispute simplicitor. The  crime  was
therefore rightly registered.

   Affirming the view taken by the High Court, we do not find any reason  to
quash the criminal proceedings.  The  appellant  is  certainly  entitled  to
present his view on merits which will be gone into  and  considered  by  the
concerned Court at the appropriate stage. We  thus  find  no  merit  in  the
matter and dismiss the present appeal.




                                                             ..………………………..J.
(Dipak Misra)




                                                             …………..……………..J.
(Uday Umesh Lalit)
New Delhi
January 3, 2017


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