Rajamanickam  INSC 557 (18 March 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.486-487 OF 2009
(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 2688-89 of 2005) Sethuraman .... Appellant
Versus Rajamanickam .... Respondent
V.S. SIRPURKAR, J.
these appeals, the common order passed by the Learned Single Judge of the
Madras High Court in three Criminal Revisions, is in challenge. By the instant
order, the Learned Single Judge set aside the three orders passed by the Trial
Court dated 26.7.2004 in Crl.M.P. No. 3057 of 2004 in C.C. No. 216 of 2003 and
dated 1.4.2004 in Crl.M.P. Nos. 4184 and 4185 of 2004 in C.C. No. 215 of 2003,
and allowed those Crl.M.Ps. Shortly stated, the appellant herein had filed a
criminal complaint 2 under Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
(hereinafter referred to as `Cr.P.C.' for short), complaining therein that a
cheque signed by the respondent and given for returning the amount of Rs.2
lakhs, which was a loan, was bounced and inspite of the notice given thereafter,
the accused (respondent herein) had failed to return the money. A Trial ensued
on the basis of this complaint and the complainant (appellant herein) was
examined as a first witness for the prosecution on 24.8.2004. He was
cross-examined also. On 20.9.2004, the respondent herein filed applications
under Section 91 Cr.P.C. and Section 311 Cr.P.C., seeking directions to produce
the Bank Pass Books, Income Tax Accounts and the L.D.S. deposit receipts of the
appellant, as also for recalling him for cross- examination. This was objected
to by a Reply dated 24.9.2004. The Court passed an order on 1.10.2004,
rejecting the applications made by the respondent/accused. The
respondent/accused filed Criminal Revisions before the High Court under Section
397 Cr.P.C. and the High Court, by the impugned common order, proceeded to
allow the same. It is this order, which has fallen for consideration before us
in these appeals.
strangely, the High Court did not even issue notice to the
appellant/complainant, on the spacious ground that the production of the
documents, which was sought for by the accused, would cause no prejudice to the
appellant/complainant. We fail to understand this logic.
After all, if the
documents in possession of the appellant/complainant, which were his personal
documents, sought for by the accused and the production of which was rejected
by the Trial Court, and which were ordered to be produced by the High Court, at
least a hearing should have been given to the appellant/complainant. He could
have shown, firstly, that no such documents existed or that there was no basis
for the production of those documents, particularly, in view of the fact that
he was not even cross-examined in respect of those documents. On this ground,
the order of the High Court would have to be set aside.
what was not realized was that the order passed by the Trial Court refusing to
call the documents and rejecting the application under Section 311 Cr.P.C.,
were interlocutory orders and as such, the revision against those orders was
clearly barred under Section 397(2) Cr.P.C. The Trial Court, in its common
order, had clearly mentioned that the cheque was admittedly signed by the
respondent/accused and the only defence that was raised, was that his signed
cheques were lost and that the appellant/complainant had falsely used one such
cheque. The Trial Court also recorded a finding that the documents were not
necessary. This order did not, in any manner, decide anything finally.
Therefore, both the orders, i.e., one on the application under Section 91
Cr.P.C. for production of documents and other on the application under Section
311 Cr.P.C. for recalling the witness, were the orders of interlocutory nature,
in which case, under Section 397(2), revision was clearly not maintainable.
Under such circumstances, the learned Judge could not have interfered in his
revisional 4 jurisdiction. The impugned judgment is clearly incorrect in law
and would have to be set aside. It is accordingly set aside. The appeals are allowed.