Industries Ltd. Vs. State Rep. by Dy.Supdt. of Police, Chennai  INSC 479
(4 March 2009)
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1048 OF 2002 Ballarpur Industries
Ltd. .. Appellant(s) Versus State Rep. By Dy. Superintendent of Police, ..
Respondent(s) Chennai ORDER This appeal by special leave arises out of a
judgment dated 12th February 2002, rendered by the High Court of Judicature at
Madras in CR.R. Case No. 516 of 1999. By the impugned judgment, a Learned
Single Judge of the High Court has set aside the order passed by the trial
Court discharging the appellant for the offence under Section 420 of the Indian
Penal Code on the ground that since the offence under the said Section is
punishable by a minimum mandatory sentence of imprisonment which cannot be
enforced against the Company, it cannot be charged with the offence.
heard learned counsel for the parties.
We are of
the view that the point in issue, viz. whether a Company, being a juristic
person, can be prosecuted for an office for which mandatory punishment
prescribed is ..2/- C.A. No.1048/2002..contd...
and fine, is no more res integra. In Standard Chartered Bank & Ors. Court
has opined that there is no immunity to the Companies from prosecution merely
because the prosecution is in respect of offences for which the punishment
prescribed is mandatory imprisonment and fine. It has been held that though a
Company cannot be sentenced to imprisonment, it can nevertheless, be prosecuted
and the Court can impose punishment of fine instead. In the light of the said
decision, no fault can be found with the view taken by the High Court.
Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.
juncture, Mr. U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the
appellant, submits that when application for discharge was filed before the
Principal Special Judge, CBI, Chennai on 20th May, 1998, the decision of the
Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (CEGAT) dated 9th May,
2000 was not available. He, therefore, prays that since the order passed by the
CEGAT has material bearing on the case against the appellant, the appellant may
be permitted to move a fresh application before the Special Judge for
commenting ..3/- C.A. No. 1048/2002...contd..
:3 on the
merits of the submissions made by the learned counsel, we permit the appellant
to take recourse to any appropriate proceeding as may be available to them in
accordance with law. We may also note that we are not oblivious of the
observations made by this Court in order dated September 11, 2001, passed in
Civil Appeal Nos. 3942-3944 of 2001.
...................J. [ D.K. JAIN ]
...................J. [ R.M. LODHA ]
MARCH 04, 2009.