Singh Vs. State of Haryana & ANR.  INSC 1521 (1 September 2009)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMIN L APPELLATE JURISDICTION SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION
(CRL.) NOS.670-671 OF 2008 Ranvir Singh ... Petitioner State of Haryana &
Anr. ... Respondents
These Special Leave Petitions arise out of the judgment and order
passed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court on 31st May, 2007, dismissing two
criminal revision cases, viz., Crl. Misc. No.6703-M of 2000 and Crl. Misc.
No.598-M of 2005 filed by the petitioner herein, who is appearing in-person.
Crl. Misc. No.6703-M of 2000 was filed by the petitioner herein to quash a
complaint filed by Smt. Ved Wati, Respondent No.2 herein, on 1st July, 1999,
under 2 Section 420/34 I.P.C. on allegations of payment having been received by
the petitioner to perform certain favours for the complainant's son-in-law by
making use of his official position. Process was issued by the Chief Judicial
Magistrate, Rohtak, Haryana, on the said complaint on 19th August, 1999. The
said matter is still pending before the learned Magistrate.
The Crl. Misc. No.598-M of 2005 was filed by the petitioner for
quashing another complaint filed by the said Smt. Ved Wati on 29th September,
2003, under Sections 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,
1988, wherein the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Rohtak, issued process on
8th January, 2004. Both the Criminal Revision Petitions were taken up for
hearing and disposal together by the High Court on 31st May, 2007, and were
dismissed by a common judgment and order, which has been assailed in these
Special Leave Petitions.
The petitioner, who appeared in-person, submitted that the High
Court had erred in rejecting the revisional applications filed by him since in
the first complaint filed on 1st July, 1999, the complainant had stated that
sanction was being sought 3 for prosecuting the petitioner, but such sanction
had never been obtained.
The petitioner also submitted that thereafter the complainant
applied for sanction to prosecute the petitioner under the provisions of the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, on four different occasions, but such
sanction was not granted while the petitioner remained in service. The petitioner
ultimately retired from service on 31st January, 2002.
thereafter, on 8th April, 2002, the complainant filed the complaint mentioned
hereinabove under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, on
8th April, 2002, which was entertained by the learned Additional Sessions
Judge, Rohtak, and process was issued on 16th April, 2003. The petitioner
further submitted that the complaint filed on 8th April, 2002, on which process
had been issued on 16th April, 2003, came to be dismissed on 24th July, 2003,
for non-filing of process fee. The petitioner submitted that an application
filed by the complainant on 18th September, 2003, for recall of the order dated
24th July, 2003, was dismissed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Rohtak.
Thereafter, yet another complaint was filed by Smt. Ved Wati on 29th 4
September, 2003, on the same grounds under the provisions of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, 1988, on which process was issued on 8th January, 2004. The
petitioner submitted that having taken cognizance on the complaint filed by
Smt. Ved Wati and the same having been dismissed for non-filing of process fee,
the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Rohtak, was no longer competent to take
cognizance and issue process on a separate complaint on the same cause of
to the petitioner, the complaint filed on 29th September, 2003, was nothing but
an abuse of the process of the Court having regard to the fact that the earlier
complaint on which cognizance had been taken was dismissed on account of
non-filing of process fee.
In support of his aforesaid submission, the petitioner firstly
referred to the decision of this Court in Pramatha Nath Talukdar vs. Saroj
Ranjan Sarkar [AIR 1962 SC 876], wherein the majority view of the Three-Judge
Bench was that an order of dismissal on a complaint under Section 203 Cr.P.C.
does not constitute bar to the entertainment of a second complaint on the same
facts, but it would be 5 entertained only in exceptional circumstances such as
(i) where the previous order was passed on an incomplete record; or (ii) on a
misunderstanding of the nature of the complaint; or (iii) it was manifestly
absurd, unjust or fallacious or false where new facts which could not with a
reasonable diligence have been brought on record in a previous proceeding, have
been adduced. It was observed further that it could not be said in the interest
of justice that after a decision had been given against the complainant upon a
full consideration of his case, he or any other person should be given another
opportunity to have his complaint inquired into.
The petitioner also referred to the decision of this Court in
Poonam Chand Jain vs. Fazru [2005 SCC (Cri) 190], wherein a similar view was
expressed relying on, among other cases, the decision in Pramatha Nath
Talukdar's case (supra).
The petitioner then contended that the complaint under the
provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, is a special Statute and
would have an overriding effect over the general provisions contained in the
Code of Criminal Procedure.
to the petitioner, the maxim generalia specialibus non derogent would have
application and that since a special provision had been made with regard to
matters relating to prevention of corruption and for other matters connected
therewith, the same would stand excluded from the general provisions and
accordingly the provisions of Section 19 of the Act would have an overriding
effect over the general provisions contained in Section 190 or 319 Cr.P.C. In
support of his said submission, the petitioner relied on the decision of this
Court in Dilawar Singh vs. Parvinder Singh [2005 (12) SCC 709].
The petitioner lastly submitted that in any event, the complainant
after serving notice under Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code had issued a
notice on 12th June, 1999, indicating that if sanction was not given, the
complainant would be compelled to file a suit for damages against the
Government. The petitioner submitted that it was obviously an attempt to
pressurize the Government into granting sanction for prosecution of the
petitioner under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The
petitioner submitted that both the complaints filed on 1st July, 1999 and 29th
September, 2003, without the 7 sanction under Section 19 of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, 1988, were not maintainable, particularly when the earlier
complaint on the same cause of action had been dismissed.
The petitioner also urged that since under Section 362 of the Code
of Criminal Procedure the learned Additional Sessions Judge was not competent
to recall and/or review his earlier order, he was not competent to entertain
the second complaint on the same set of facts and between the same parties. In
support of his submissions, the petitioner relied on the decision of this Court
in Sankatha Singh vs. State of U.P. [1962 Supp. (2) SCR 817], which dealt with
the provisions of Sections 369 and 424 of the 1898 Code which is pari materia
with the provisions of Section 362 of the present Code. The petitioner
submitted that this Court had specifically observed that inherent powers of the
Court could not be exercised to do something which the Code specifically
prohibited the Court from doing.
Appearing for the complainant, Smt. Ved Wati, Mr. S.S. Sangwan,
learned Advocate, submitted that while a Magistrate could not exercise any
inherent 8 jurisdiction to restore a case after the discharge or acquittal of
an accused, a second complaint could be entertained if the same could be tried
within the limitations imposed by this Court in Pramatha Nath Talukdar's case
(supra). Relying on the decision of this Court in Maj. Gen. A.S. Gauraya &
Anr. vs. S.N. Thakur & Anr. [AIR 1986 SC 1440], Mr. Sangwan submitted that
it had been held in the said decision that filing of a second complaint is not
the same thing as reviving a dismissed complaint after recalling the earlier
order of dismissal. Mr. Sangwan, therefore, urged that there was no legal bar
to a second complaint being entertained by the Magistrate if it could be
brought within the parameters of the exceptions culled out in Pramatha Nath
Talukdar's case (supra).
On behalf of the State, it was submitted by Mr. Gautam Awasthi,
learned Advocate, that apart from the various decisions mentioned hereinabove
regarding the competence of the learned Magistrate to entertain the second
complaint, right from the decision in Pramatha Nath Talukdar's case (supra),
any doubt as to whether a second complaint could be entertained by the Magistrate
if an earlier complaint was dismissed not 9 on merits but on account of default
on the part of the complainant, had been dispelled by the decision of this
Court in Jatinder Singh vs. Ranjit Kaur [2001 (2) SCC 570], wherein while
considering the earlier decisions, including the decision in Pramatha Nath
Talukdar's case (supra), this Court spelt out the distinction between Sections
202 and 203 Cr.P.C. in arriving at a finding that dismissal of a complaint on
grounds of default was no bar for a fresh complaint being filed on the same set
of facts. This Court held that under Section 202 of the Code a Magistrate
conducts an inquiry before issuing process, for the purposes of determining
whether there was sufficient ground for proceeding, whereas Section 203 of the
Code empowered him to dismiss a complaint after holding such inquiry, if he was
of the view that there was no sufficient ground of proceeding. In such an
event, the Magistrate was required to record reasons as to why there was no
sufficient ground for proceeding though an elaborate order was not required to
be given. But, there is no provision in the Code which debars a complainant
from preferring a second complaint on the same allegations if the first
complaint did not result in the conviction or 10 acquittal or even discharge.
This Court observed further that if the dismissal of the complaint was not on
merit but on default of the complainant to be present, there could be no bar in
the complainant moving the Magistrate again with the second complaint on the
same facts. However, this Court made a distinction in respect of a dismissal
under Section 203 of the Code on merits on the basis of an inquiry conducted
under Section 202 thereof. Relying on the observations made in Pramatha Nath
Talukdar's case (supra), it was held that in such a case the second complaint
on the same facts cannot be made unless very exceptional circumstances existed.
Mr. Awasthi submitted that since a prima facie case had been made
out for issuance of process in the first complaint in which process was issued
on 19th August, 1999, the High Court had rightly rejected the petitioner's
prayer for quashing the same. Even with regard to the subsequent complaint in
which process was issued by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Rohtak, on
8th January, 2004, there was no bar to the filing of a second complaint when
the earlier complaint had not resulted in either conviction, acquittal or
The main question which emerges for decision in these special
leave petitions is whether a second complaint on the same cause of action and
between the same parties would lie, when an earlier application had been
dismissed. In the instant case, the question is narrowed down further as to
whether such a second complaint would be maintainable when the earlier one had
not been dismissed on merits, but for the failure of the complainant to put in
process fees for effecting service.
The answer has been provided firstly in Pramatha Nath Talukdar's
case (supra), wherein this Court had held that even if a complaint was
dismissed under Section 203 Cr.P.C., a second complaint would still lie under
exceptional circumstances, indicated herein- before. The said view has been
consistently upheld in subsequent decisions of this Court. Of course, the
question of making a prayer for recalling the order of dismissal would not be
maintainable before the learned Magistrate in view of Section 362 Cr.P.C., but
such is not the case in these special leave petitions. In these cases, neither
have the complaints been dismissed on merit nor have they been dismissed at the
stage of 12 Section 203 Cr.P.C. On the other hand, only on being satisfied of a
prima facie case, the learned Magistrate had issued process on the complaint.
The said situation is smainly covered by the decision of this Court in Jatinder
Singh's case (supra), wherein the decision in Pramatha Nath Talukdar's case
(supra) was also taken into consideration and it was categorically observed
that in the absence of any provision in the Code barring a second complaint
being filed on the same allegation, there would be no bar to a second complaint
being filed on the same facts if the first complaint did not result in the
conviction or acquittal or even discharge of the accused, and if the dismissal
was not on merit but on account of a default on the part of the complainant.
As far as the first complaint under Section 420/34 I.P.C. is
concerned, the petitioner has not seriously questioned the order of the High
Court rejecting the petitioner's prayer for quashing the same. The petitioner
confined his case mainly to the complaint wherein the learned Sessions Judge
took cognizance and issued process under the provisions of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, 1988, despite an 13 earlier complaint on the same ground and on
the same set of facts having been dismissed earlier for non- filing of process
We are unable to appreciate the submissions made on behalf of the petitioner,
since the law with regard to the filing of a second complaint is now
well-settled that such a complaint is maintainable in different circumstances
as enumerated in Pramatha Nath Talukdar's case and Jatinder Singh's case (supra).
We, therefore, have no hesitation in dismissing both the Special Leave
Petitions, since we are of the view that both the complaints are maintainable
and the impugned judgment of the High Court does not warrant any interference.
The Special Leave Petitions are, accordingly, dismissed.
.................J. (ALTAMAS KABIR)
..................J. (CYRIAC JOSEPH)