Chief Enforcement Officer Vs. Videocon International Ltd. & Ors.  Insc
94 (25 January 2008)
Thakker & P.P. Naolekar
OUT OF SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL) NO. 5718 OF 2006 C.K. THAKKER, J.
the present appeal, we are called upon to decide the correctness or otherwise
of the proposition of law by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay whether issuance of process in a
criminal case is one and the same thing or can be equated with taking
cognizance by a Criminal Court? And if the period of initiation of criminal
proceedings has elapsed at the time of issue of process by a Court, the
proceedings should be quashed as barred by limitation?
appreciate the controversy raised in the appeal instituted by the Chief
Enforcement Officer, Enforcement Directorate, Government of India (appellant
herein), few relevant facts may be noted.
Respondent No.1M/s. Videocon International Ltd. (Company for short)
is a Public Limited Company incorporated under the Companies Act,
1956 having its business at Mumbai and Aurangabad in the State of Maharashtra. On October 13, 1989, the Company
entered into an agreement with Radio Export (Moscow) for the supply of colour
tubes, electrolytic capacitors, transformers, etc., for Rs.44,04,00,000/-. The
payment was made by respondent No.1 Company to Japanese and Korean suppliers.
But before any payment could be received by respondent No.1 from the USSR
Company, there was political turmoil in the USSR
and payment to foreign suppliers was disrupted. On January 5, 1993, Additional
Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Mumbai addressed a
letter to the appellant alerting him about the activities of the Company in
connection with the agreement to supply television sets to Radio Export,
on the information forwarded by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Bombay, the appellant addressed two
letters to the Chief Manager of Indian Bank, Nariman Point, Bombay requesting the Bank to supply
details of the export outstanding of the Company. Indian Bank supplied
necessary information and indicated that the export outstanding of the Company
was Rs.16,60,00,000/-. The Reserve Bank of India turned down the request of the Company for reimbursement of
differential amount remaining unpaid on the ground that the exports were effected
from Korea and Japan and not from India and the Company was not entitled to reimbursement. In pursuance of the
summons issued under Section 40 of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (hereinafter
referred to as FERA), Raj Kumar Dhoot, Director of the Company
appeared before the Department on April 25, 1999 and made a statement that
there was an agreement between the Company and M/s Radio Export, Moscow for
supply of two lakh television sets and other equipments for Rs.44,04,00,000/-.
The amount was received by the Company through State Bank of India, Overseas Branch, Bombay. He further stated that the
television sets had been procured from Korea and Japan who had been paid equivalent to
Rs.19,00,00,000/- in foreign exchange. Export bills raised from the sale to M/s
Radio Export, Moscow were equivalent to Rs.16,00,00,000/-.
the contract with the suppliers in Korea and Japan stipulated payment in US Dollars,
the contract with the USSR Company required payment in Indian Rupees. Since the
value of Rupee against the US Dollar fell down, the Company had to pay more
Rupees to their foreign suppliers. On June 1, 2000, FERA was replaced by the Foreign
Exchange Management Act, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as FEMA).
May 24, 2002, the appellant- complainant in the capacity as Chief Enforcement
Officer, Government of India, filed Criminal Complaint No. 1149/S/2002 against
the Company alleging that the Company had received an amount of Rs.44,04,00,000/-
through State Bank of India, Bombay but it failed to take steps to realize
export proceeds amounting to Rs.16,60,00,000/- within the stipulated period of
six months. It thereby contravened Section 18(2) and 18(3) read with Section
68(1), punishable under Section 56(1)(ii) of FERA. On the same day, i.e. on May 24, 2002, after hearing the learned counsel
for the Department, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Esplanade, Mumbai took
cognizance of the offence and issued summons to the accused. On February 3, 2003, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate
issued process requiring the respondents to appear before the Court and answer
the charge under FERA.
October, 2004, the respondents filed a petition being Criminal Writ Petition
No. 476 of 2005 in the High Court of Judicature at Bombay by invoking Article
227 of the Constitution as also Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1973 (hereinafter referred to as the Code) seeking quashing of
criminal proceedings initiated vide complaint dated May 24, 2002 on the ground
that cognizance was taken by the Court after the period of limitation and the
proceedings were, therefore, liable to be quashed. The High Court, by the
impugned order dated April 26, 2006, quashed the proceedings initiated against
the respondents on the ground that cognizance could be said to have been taken
when process was issued and since process was issued in February, 2003, the
proceedings were time- barred. The complaint was, therefore, quashed by the
High Court. The said order is challenged by the appellant in the present
Notice was issued by this Court on September 29, 2006. The respondents appeared.
affidavit and rejoinder affidavit were then filed. The Registry was directed to
place the matter for final hearing on a non- miscellaneous day and that is how
the matter is placed before us.
have heard the learned counsel for the parties.
learned counsel for the appellant contended that the High Court was in clear
error in equating taking cognizance of an offence with issuance of process and
in holding that the cognizance was taken after the period of limitation and
hence the proceedings were time-barred and liable to be quashed. It was
submitted that FEMA came into force from June 1, 2000 and under sub-section (3) of
Section 49 of FEMA, cognizance of an offence under FERA could have been taken
within a period of two years from the date of commencement of the new Act. It
was submitted that cognizance was taken by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate,
Mumbai on May 24, 2002, i.e. the day when complaint was filed which was well
within the period of limitation provided by Section 49(3) of FEMA and as such
the Criminal Court was within its power in issuing process and in proceeding
with the matter and the High Court was not justified in quashing the
proceedings on the ground that cognizance was taken by the Court on February 3,
2003 when process was issued by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Mumbai. It
was alternatively submitted by the learned counsel that the relevant date for
counting the period of limitation is not the date of taking cognizance or
issuance of process by the Court but the date of filing complaint. It was
stated that the point has been concluded by various decisions of this Court.
Since the complaint was filed on May 24, 2002, which was within the period of limitation, the High Court
was wrong in treating the criminal complaint as barred by limitation and in
quashing it. The order passed by the High Court, thus, deserves to be set aside
by directing the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Mumbai to proceed with the case
and decide it in accordance with law.
The learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, supported the order
passed by the High Court. It was submitted that the High Court was wholly right
in quashing the proceedings. Admittedly, process was issued in February, 2003
while under Section 49(3) of FEMA, proceedings under the old Act (FERA) could
not have been initiated after the expiry of two years from the commencement of
the new Act (FEMA). FEMA came into force on June 1, 2000 and hence cognizance of an offence
under FERA could have been taken under FEMA latest by June 1, 2002.
of process in February, 2003, therefore, was clearly time-barred and the High
Court was right in quashing the proceedings. It was also submitted that the
appellant was not right in submitting that the relevant date for computing the
period of limitation is date of filing of complaint. The material date is the
date of taking cognizance by a competent Criminal Court. Sub-section (3) of
Section 49 of FEMA is a special provision, which must be given effect to and
even on that ground, the complaint was barred by time. Finally, it was
submitted that though the High Court had not considered the merits of the
matter, the provisions of FERA had no application to the facts of the case as
it cannot be said that the accused had committed any offence under FERA.
the said fact also, this Court may not interfere with the order passed by the
High Court in exercise of discretionary jurisdiction under Article 136 of the
Constitution. It was, therefore, submitted that the appeal may be dismissed.
Having heard learned counsel for the parties and having perused the relevant
provisions of law as also various judicial pronouncements, we are of the view
that the High Court was in error in equating issuance of process with taking
cognizance by a Criminal Court and in quashing the proceedings treating them as
The expression cognizance has not been defined in the Code. But the
word (cognizance) is of indefinite import. It has no esoteric or mystic
significance in criminal law. It merely meansbecome aware of and when
used with reference to a Court or a Judge, it connotes to take notice ofjudicially.
It indicates the point when a Court or a Magistrate takes judicial notice of an
offence with a view to initiating proceedings in respect of such offence said
to have been committed by someone. Taking cognizance does not involve
any formal action of any kind. It occurs as soon as a Magistrate applies his
mind to the suspected commission of an offence.
is taken prior to commencement of criminal proceedings. Taking of cognizance is
thus a sine qua non or condition precedent for holding a valid trial.
Cognizance is taken of an offence and not of an offender. Whether or not a
Magistrate has taken cognizance of an offence depends on the facts and
circumstances of each case and no rule of universal application can be laid
down as to when a Magistrate can be said to have taken cognizance. Chapter XIV
(Sections 190-199) of the Code deals with Conditions requisite for
initiation of proceedings. Section 190 empowers a Magistrate to take
cognizance of an offence in certain circumstances. Sub-section (1) thereof is
material and may be quoted in extenso.
Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, any Magistrate of the first class,
and any Magistrate of the second class specially empowered in this behalf under
sub-section (2), may take cognizance of any offence
receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such offence;
a police report of such facts;
information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his
own knowledge, that such offence has been committed.
Chapter XV (Sections 200-203) relates to Complaints to Magistrates
and covers cases before actual commencement of proceedings in a Court or before
a Magistrate. Section 200 of the Code requires a Magistrate taking cognizance
of an offence to examine the complainant and his witnesses on oath. Section
202, however, enacts that a Magistrate is not bound to issue process against
the accused as a matter of course. It enables him before the issue of process
either to inquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made
by a Police Officer or by such other person as he thinks fit for the purpose of
deciding whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding further. The
underlying object of the inquiry under Section 202 is to ascertain whether
there is prima facie case against the accused. It thus allows a Magistrate to
form an opinion whether the process should or should not be issued. The scope
of inquiry under Section 202 is, no doubt, extremely limited. At that stage,
what a Magistrate is called upon to see is whether there is sufficient ground
for proceeding with the matter and not whether there is sufficient ground for
conviction of the accused.
Then comes Chapter XVI (Commencement of proceedings before Magistrates). This
Chapter will apply only after cognizance of an offence has been taken by a
Magistrate under Chapter XIV. Section 204, whereunder process can be issued, is
another material provision which reads as under:
in the opinion of a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence there is
sufficient ground for proceeding, and the case appears to be
summons-case, he shall issue his summons for the attendance of the accused, or
warrant-case, he may issue a warrant, or, if he thinks fit, a summons, for
causing the accused to be brought or to appear at a certain time before such
Magistrate or (if he has no jurisdiction himself) some other Magistrate having
summons or warrant shall be issued against the accused under sub- section (1)
until a list of the prosecution witnesses has been filed.
a proceeding instituted upon a complaint made in writing, every summons or
warrant issued under sub- section (1) shall be accompanied by a copy of such
When by any law for the time being in force any process-fees or other fees are
payable, no process shall be issued until the fees are paid and, if such fees
are not paid within a reasonable time, the Magistrate may dismiss the
Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect the provisions of section 87.
From the above scheme of the Code, in our judgment, it is clear that
Initiation of Proceedings, dealt with in Chapter XIV, is different
from Commencement of Proceedings covered by Chapter XVI. For
commencement of proceedings, there must be initiation of proceedings. In other
words, initiation of proceedings must precede commencement of proceedings.
Without initiation of proceedings under Chapter XIV, there cannot be
commencement of proceedings before a Magistrate under Chapter XVI. The High
Court, in our considered view, was not right in equating initiation of
proceedings under Chapter XIV with commencement of proceedings under Chapter
Let us now consider the question in the light of judicial pronouncements on the
Superintendent & Remembrancer of 1950 Calcutta 437, the High Court of Calcutta had an occasion to consider the ambit
and scope of the phrase taking cognizance under Section 190 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 which was in pari materia to Section 190 of
the present Code of 1973. Referring to various decisions, Das Gupta, J. (as His
Lordship then was) stated:
is taking cognizance has not been defined in the Criminal Procedure
Code, and I have no desire now to attempt to define it. It seems to me clear,
however, that before it can be said that any Magistrate has taken cognizance of
any offence under Section 190(1)(a), Criminal P. C., he must not only have
applied his mind to the contents of the petition, but he must have done so for
the purpose of proceeding in a particular way as indicated in the subsequent
provisions of this Chapter,-proceeding under Section 200, and thereafter
sending it for enquiry and report under Section 202. When the Magistrate
applies his mind not for the purpose of proceeding under the subsequent
sections of this Chapter, but for taking action of some other kind, e.g.,
ordering investigation under Section 156(3), or issuing a search warrant for
the purpose of the investigation, he cannot be said to have taken cognizance of
R.R. Chari v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1951 SCR 312 was probably the first
leading decision of this Court on the point. There, the police, having
suspected the appellant-accused to be guilty of offences punishable under
Sections 161 and 165 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as also under the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, applied to the District Magistrate, Kanpur
to issue warrant of arrest on October 22, 1947. Warrant was issued on the next
day and the accused was arrested on October 27, 1947. On March 25, 1949, the
accused was produced before the Magistrate to answer the charge-sheet submitted
by the prosecution. According to the accused, on October 22, 1947, when warrant
for his arrest was issued by the Magistrate, the Magistrate was said to have
taken cognizance of offence and since no sanction of the Government had been
obtained before that date, initiation of proceedings against him was unlawful.
The question before the Court was as to when cognizance of the offence could be
said to have been taken by the Magistrate under Section 190 of the Code.
Considering the circumstances under which cognizance of offence under
sub- section (1) of Section 190 of the Code can be taken by a Magistrate and
referring to Abani Kumar Banerjee, the Court, speaking through Kania, C.J.
is clear from the wording of the section that the initiation of the proceedings
against a person commences on the cognizance of the offence by the Magistrate
under one of the three contingencies mentioned in the section. The first
contingency evidently is in respect of non- cognizable offences as defined in
the Criminal Procedure Code on the complaint of an aggrieved person. The second
is on a police report, which evidently is the case of a cognizable offence when
the police have completed their investigation and come to the Magistrate for
the issue of a process.
third is when the Magistrate himself takes notice of an offence and issues the
process. It is important to remember that in respect of any cognizable offence,
the police, at the initial stage when they are investigating the matter, can
arrest a person without obtaining an order from the Magistrate. Under section
167(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code the police have of course to put up the
person so arrested before a Magistrate within 24 hours and obtain an order of
remand to police custody for the purpose of further investigation, if they so
desire. But they have the power to arrest a person for the purpose of
investigation without approaching the Magistrate first.
in cases of cognizable offence before proceedings are initiated and while the
matter is under investigation by the police the suspected person is liable to
be arrested by the police without an order by the Magistrate.
Approving the observations of Das Gupta, J. in Abani Kumar Banerjee, this Court
held that it was on March 25, 1949 when the Magistrate issued a notice under
Section 190 of the Code against the accused that he took cognizance
of the offence. Since before that day, sanction had been granted by the
Government, the proceedings could not be said to have been initiated without
authority of law.
Again in Narayandas Bhagwandas Madhavdas v. State of West Bengal, (1960) 1 SCR
93, this Court observed that when cognizance is taken of an offence depends
upon the facts and circumstances of each case and it is impossible to attempt
to define what is meant by taking cognizance. Issuance of a search warrant for
the purpose of an investigation or a warrant of arrest of accused cannot by
itself be regarded as an act of taking cognizance of an offence.
only when a Magistrate applies his mind for proceeding under Section 200 and
subsequent sections of Chapter XV or under Section 204 of Chapter XVI of the
Code that it can be positively stated that he had applied his mind and thereby
had taken cognizance of an offence [see also Ajit Kumar Palit v. State of W.B.
& Anr., (1963) Supp (1) SCR 953; Hareram Satpathy v. Tikaram Agarwala &
Anr., (1978) 4 SCC 58].
Gopal Das Sindhi & Ors. v. State of Assam & Anr., AIR 1961 SC 986,
referring to earlier judgments, this Court said:
cannot read the provisions of Section 190 to mean that once a complaint is
filed, a Magistrate is bound to take cognizance if the facts stated in the
complaint disclose the commission of any offence. We are unable to construe the
word may in Section 190 to mean must. The reason is obvious.
A complaint disclosing cognizable offences may well justify a Magistrate in
sending the complaint under Section 156(3) to the police for investigation.
There is no reason why the time of the Magistrate should be wasted when
primarily the duty to investigate in cases involving cognizable offences is
with the police. On the other hand, there may be occasions when the Magistrate
may exercise his discretion and take cognizance of a cognizable offence. If he
does so then he would have to proceed in the manner provided by Chapter XVI of
Nirmaljit Singh Hoon v. State of West Bengal & Anr., (1973) 3 SCC 753, the
Court stated that it is well settled that before a Magistrate can be said to
have taken cognizance of an offence under Section 190(1) (a) of the Code, he
must have not only applied his mind to the contents of the complaint presented
before him, but must have done so for the purpose of proceeding under Section
200 and the provisions following that section. Where, however, he applies his
mind only for ordering an investigation under Section 156(3) or issues a
warrant for arrest of accused, he cannot be said to have taken cognizance of
Darshan Singh Ram Kishan v. State of Maharashtra, (1972) 1 SCR 571, speaking for the Court, Shelat, J.
stated that under Section 190 of the Code, a Magistrate may take cognizance of
an offence either
receiving a complaint, or
a police report, or
information received from a person other than a police officer or even upon his
own information or suspicion that such an offence has been committed. As has
often been said, taking cognizance does not involve any formal action or indeed
action of any kind. It occurs as soon as a Magistrate applies his mind to the
suspected commission of an offence.
thus, takes place at a point when a Magistrate first takes judicial notice of
Devarapalli Lakshminarayana Reddy & Ors. v. V. Narayana Reddy & Ors.,
(1976) 3 SCC 252, this Court said:
is well settled that when a Magistrate receives a complaint, he is not bound to
take cognizance if the facts alleged in the complaint, disclose the commission
of an offence.
is clear from the use of the words "may take cognizance" which in the
context in which they occur cannot be equated with must take cognizance".
word "may" gives a discretion to the Magistrate in the matter. If on
a reading of the complaint he finds that the allegations therein disclose a
cognizable offence and the forwarding of the complaint to the police for
investigation under Section 156(3) will be conducive to justice and save the
valuable time of the Magistrate from, being wasted in enquiring into a matter
which was primarily the duty of the police to investigate, he will be justified
in adopting that course as an alternative to taking cognizance of the offence,
raises the incidental question :
is meant by "taking cognizance of an offence" by a Magistrate within
the contemplation of Section 190?. This expression has not been defined in the
Code. But from the scheme of the Code, the content and marginal heading of
Section 190 and the caption of Chapter XIV under which Sections 190 to 199
occur, it is clear that a case can be said to be instituted in a Court only
when the Court takes cognizance of the offence alleged therein. The ways in
which such cognizance can be taken are set out in Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of
Section 190(1). Whether the Magistrate has or has not taken cognizance of the
offence will depend on the circumstances of the particular case including the
mode in which the case is sought to be instituted and the nature of the
preliminary action, if any, taken by the Magistrate. Broadly speaking, when on
receiving a complaint, the Magistrate applies his mind for the purposes of
proceeding under Section 200 and the succeeding sections in Chapter XV of the
Code of 1973, he is said to have taken cognizance of the offence within the
meaning of Section 190(1)(a). If, instead of proceeding under Chapter XV, he
has in the judicial exercise of his discretion, taken action of some other
kind, such as issuing a search warrant for the purpose of investigation, or
ordering investigation by the police under Section 156(3), he cannot be said to
have taken cognizance of any offence.
also M.L. Sethi v. R.P. Kapur & Anr., (1967) 1 SCR 520].
the case on hand, it is amply clear that cognizance of the offence was taken by
the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Mumbai on May 24, 2002, i.e., the day on
which the complaint was filed, the Magistrate, after hearing the counsel for
the department, took cognizance of the offence and passed the following order:
S.A.A. Naqvi, counsel for the department is present. Complainant is public
servant. Cognizance is taken.
summons to accused under Section 18(2)(3) of FERA, 73 read with Central
Notification and r/w Section 68(1) of the said Act and r/w 56 (1)(i) and r/w
Section 49(3) (4) of FEMA, 1999.
returnable on 7.2.2003 at 3 p.m. (emphasis supplied)
Undoubtedly, the process was issued on February 3, 2003. In our judgment,
however, it was in pursuance of the cognizance taken by the Court on May 24,
2002 that a subsequent action was taken under Section 204 under Chapter XVI.
cognizance of offence was entirely different from initiating proceedings;
rather it was the condition precedent to the initiation of the proceedings.
Order of issuance of process on February 3, 2003 by the Court was in pursuance
of and consequent to taking cognizance of an offence on May 24, 2002. The High
Court, in our view, therefore, was not right in equating taking cognizance with
issuance of process and in holding that the complaint was barred by law and
criminal proceedings were liable to be quashed. The order passed by the High
Court, thus, deserves to be quashed and set aside.
was also contended by the learned counsel for the appellant that the relevant
date for considering the question of limitation is the date of filing of
complaint and not taking cognizance or issuance of process by a Court of law.
In this connection, our attention was invited by the counsel to Bharat Damodar
Kale & Anr. v. State of A.P., (2003) 8 SCC 559 and a recent decision of
this Court in Japani Sahoo v. Chandra Sekhar Mohanty, (2007) 7 SCC 394. In Japani
Sahoo, one of us (C.K. Thakker, J.), after considering decisions of various
High Courts as also Bharat Damodar Kale, stated:
The matter can be looked at from different angle also. Once it is accepted (and
there is no dispute about it) that it is not within the domain of the
complainant or prosecuting agency to take cognizance of an offence or to issue
process and the only thing the former can do is to file a complaint or initiate
proceedings in accordance with law.
that action of initiation of proceedings has been taken within the period of
limitation, the complainant is not responsible for any delay on the part of the
Court or Magistrate in issuing process or taking cognizance of an offence. Now,
if he is sought to be penalized because of the omission, default or inaction on
the part of the Court or Magistrate, the provision of law may have to be tested
on the touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution. It can possibly be urged
that such a provision is totally arbitrary, irrational and unreasonable. It is
settled law that a Court of Law would interpret a provision which would help
sustaining the validity of law by applying the doctrine of reasonable
construction rather than making it vulnerable and unconstitutional by adopting
rule of litera legis. Connecting the provision of limitation in
Section 468 of the Code with issuing of process or taking of cognizance by the
Court may make it unsustainable and ultra vires Article 14 of the
The learned counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, tried to distinguish
Bharat Damodar Kale and Japani Sahoo submitting that in both the decisions,
this Court was called upon to consider, inter alia, Section 468 of the Code
providing for limitation for taking cognizance of certain offences. According
to the counsel, Section 468 of the Code starts with the expression Except
as provided elsewhere in this Code. Section 49(3) of FEMA, on the other
hand, starts with a non-obstante clause (Notwithstanding anything
contained in any other law for the time being in force). It was,
therefore, submitted that the ratio laid down in the above two cases would not
be applicable to the instant case.
our opinion, it would not be necessary for us to express any opinion one way or
the other on the larger question. We have already held in the earlier part of
the judgment that in the case on hand, cognizance of an offence had already
been taken by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Mumbai on May 24, 2002, well
within the period prescribed by sub-section (3) of Section 49 of FEMA within
two years of coming into force of the Act from June 1, 2000. We, therefore,
express no opinion on the question raised by the learned counsel for the
regards quashing of proceedings on merits, the learned counsel for the
appellant is right in submitting that the High Court has not at all touched the
merits of the case and proceedings were not quashed on the ground that the
provisions of FERA do not apply to the case before the Court. The High Court dealt
with only one point as to whether the proceedings were liable to be quashed on
the ground that they were time-barred and upholding the contention of the
accused, passed the impugned order. As we are of the view that the High Court
was not right in quashing the proceedings on the ground of limitation, the
order deserves to be set aside by remitting the matter to the Chief
Metropolitan Magistrate, Mumbai to be decided in accordance with law. We may,
however, clarify that it is open to the respondents to take all contentions
including the contention as to applicability or otherwise of FERA to the facts
of the case. As and when such question will be raised, the Court will pass an
appropriate order in accordance with law.
For the foregoing reasons, the appeal is allowed. The order passed by the High
Court is set aside and it is held that cognizance of the offence had already
been taken by the competent Criminal Court i.e. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate,
Mumbai on May 24, 2002 and it could not be said that the proceedings were
barred by Section 49(3) of FEMA. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate will now
proceed to consider the matter in accordance with law. All contentions of all
parties are kept open except the one decided by us in this appeal. Since the
matter is very old, the Court will give priority and will decide it as
expeditiously as possible, preferably before June 30, 2008.