BABU VENKATESH VS STATE OF KARNATAKA

BABU VENKATESH VS STATE OF KARNATAKA

NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 252 OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 2183 of 2021]
BABU VENKATESH AND
OTHERS  …APPELLANT (S)
VERSUS
STATE OF KARNATAKA 
AND ANOTHER  …RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 253 OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 2182 of 2021]
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 254 OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 2162 of 2021]
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 255 OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 2217 of 2021]
J U D G M E N T 
B.R. GAVAI, J.
1. Leave granted. 
1
2. The present appeals challenge the four judgments and
orders dated 22nd January 2021, passed by the High Court
of Karnataka at Bengaluru, thereby dismissing the criminal
petitions filed by the present appellants under Section 482
of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as
Cr.P.C.).
3. The facts in brief giving rise to the present appeals,
taken from the appeal arising out of Special Leave Petition
(Crl.) No. 2183 of 2021, are as under: 
4. The   appellant   Nos.   2   and   3   on   one   hand   and
respondent No. 2 on the other hand, entered into various
Agreements for Sale with respect to properties situated at
Bangalore.   According   to   the   appellants,   the   amounts   as
mentioned   in   the   agreements,   were   paid   by   them   as
consideration by three cheques, one of them drawn from the
account of appellant No. 1, another one from account of
M/s.   S.S.R.V   Trans   Solutions   and   other   one   from   the
account   of   M/s.   Shobha   Tours   and   Travels,   which   are
operated by appellant No. 1. All these three cheques were
2
bearer cheques. It is the case of appellants that, all the
cheques were encashed by the respondent No. 2. 
5. It is the case of the appellants that, after receipt of the
payments, the respondent No. 2 was avoiding to get the
Sale­deed registered. As such, the appellant Nos. 2 and 3 on
24th November, 2017 had filed four different suits being O.S.
No. 8020/2017,  8018/2017, 1616/2017 and 1614/2017,
before   the   Courts   of   Principal   Senior   Civil   Judge   and
Principal   City   Civil   Judge   at   Bangalore,   for   specific
performance of contract. The respondent No. 2, who is the
defendant No. 1 in O.S. No. 8020/2017, filed his written
statement on 09th April 2018.  
6.  The   respondent   No.   2,   thereafter   filed   a   complaint
dated 10th September 2019, with Tilak Nagar Police Station,
Jayanagar,   Bengaluru,   against   the   appellants,   thereby
making allegations of cheating. Thereafter, following a gap of
almost   one   year,   the   respondent   No.   2   filed   Private
Complaint being P.C.R. No. 12445/2019 on 18th September
3
2019, before the Court of II Additional Chief Metropolitan
Magistrate, Bangalore. 
7.  On the same day, the respondent No. 2, along with his
wife who is the respondent No. 3 in the rest of the appeals
arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) Nos. 2182/2021,
2162/2021,   and   2217/2021,  filed   three   other   Private
Complaints   being   P.C.R.   Nos.   12441/2019,   12443/2019
and 12444/2019 before the same court. 
8. The allegations in the complaints are basically that the
appellant No. 1, who is the son of appellant Nos. 2 and 3,
had obtained blank stamp papers from the respondents and
created Agreements for Sale by misusing the said blank
stamp papers. As such, it is case of the respondents that,
the appellants committed forgery and cheated them, and as
such they are liable for punishment for offences punishable
under Sections 420, 464, 465, 468 and 120­B of the Indian
Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as the IPC). 
4
9.  The   II   Additional   Chief   Metropolitan   Magistrate,   at
Bangalore   on   6th  December   2019,   passed   the   order   as
under:
“The Complainant has filed the present
private complaint under section 200 of
CrP.C., against the accused Nos. 1 to 3
for   the   alleged   offences   punishable
under   section   420,465,468,464   and
120­B   of   IPC.   In   the   complaint,   the
complainant   has   made   serious
allegations against the accused persons.
Therefore, it appears this court that, it
is just and proper to refer the matter to
the   jurisdiction   police   for   investigate
and   submit   report.   Accordingly,   the
matter is referred to PSI of Jayanagar
Police Station under section 156 (3) of
CrP.C.,   for   investigation   and   submit
report by 26.02.2020.”
10.  On the basis of the same, a  First Information Report
(hereinafter referred to as FIR) No. 258/2019  came to be
registered at Jayanagar Police Station Bengaluru City on
18th  December   2019,   for   the   offences   punishable   under
Sections   120­B,   420,   471,   468,   465,   of   the  IPC.   Three
similar FIRs came to registered against the appellants on
different dates in December 2019. 
5
11.   The appellants thereafter filed petitions under Section
482 of the Cr.P.C. before the High Court of Karnataka at
Bengaluru,   being   Criminal   Petition   Nos.   6719/2020,
6733/2020,   6729/2020   and   6737/2020.   The   main
contention of the appellants in the criminal petitions was
that, the order under Section 156 (3) of the  Cr.P.C.   was
passed in a mechanical manner by the II Additional Chief
Metropolitan Magistrate, at Bangalore.
12.  It was submitted that, the Magistrate was required to
apply his mind before passing an order under Section 156
(3) of the Cr.P.C. It was further submitted that, unless an
application   under   Section   156   (3)   of   the   Cr.P.C.     was
supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the complainant,
the   learned   Magistrate   could   not   have   passed   an   order
under the said provision. 
13.  It was further submitted that, the dispute was purely
civil in nature and the criminal complaint was filed by the
respondents only to harass the appellants. The Single Judge
of the High Court vide four identical impugned orders dated
6
22nd January 2021, dismissed the petitions on the ground
that, serious allegations of cheating and forgery were shown
in the complaint and as such no case was made out for
quashing the FIRs. 
14.  We have heard Shri Abdul Azeem Kalebudde, learned
counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of   the   appellants   and   Shri
Shubhranshu Padhi, learned counsel appearing on behalf of
the State. In spite of being duly served, none appeared for
respondent No. 2.
15.  It   is   not   in   dispute   that,   apart   from   O.S.   No.
8020/2017, the appellant Nos. 2 and 3 have filed suits
being  O.S. No. 1614/2017, O.S. No. 1616/2017 and O.S.
No. 8018/2017,  seeking specific performance of contract
with   regard   to   the   Agreements   for   Sale   between   the
appellant Nos. 2 and 3 on one hand and respondent No. 2
on   the   other   hand.   The   said   suits   were   filed   on   24th
November 2017. 
16. It is also not in dispute that, written statements have
been filed by the respondent No. 2 in all the said suits,
7
between the period from 9th April 2018 to 1st August 2018. It
is the defense of the respondent No. 2 that, the appellant
No. 1 who is the son of appellant No. 2 and 3, is a money
lender and he lends money at a high rate of interest. It is
the   further   defense   of   respondent   No.   2   that,   when   the
respondents approached the appellant No. 1 for financial
help, he used to take respondents’ signatures on the blank
paper and also collected cheques signed by the respondent
No. 2 as security for said loan. 
17. It is the further contention of respondent No. 2 that he
had discharged the debt of the appellant No. 1 by paying an
amount of Rs. 56,50,000/­ (Rupees Fifty­Six Lakh and Fifty
Thousand only) by way of RTGS to the account of appellant
No. 1. The execution of Agreements for Sale was specifically
denied by the respondent No. 2.
18.  After filing of the written statement on 09th April 2018
in O.S. No. 8020/2017, respondent No. 2 on 10th September
2019   filed   a   complaint   before   police   station   Jayanagar,
stating therein that, the appellant No. 1 had created forged
8
documents with regard to the properties belonging to the
respondent No. 2 and his wife. He has stated in the said
complaint that he has not signed the documents and that
the appellants were taking advantage of the blank cheques
and   blank   stamp   papers.   Thereafter   on   18th  September
2019,   respondent   No.   2   filed   a   Private   Complaint   being
P.C.R. 12445/2019. He along with his wife filed three other
Private   Complaints   being   P.C.R.   Nos.   12441/2019,
12443/2019   and   12444/2019   before   the   Court   of   II
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bangalore, out of
which the present proceedings arise. 
19. It could thus be clearly seen that, the said complaint
dated 10th September 2019, was filed almost after a period
of two years from the date of institution of suits by the
appellant Nos. 2 and 3, and almost after a period of one and
a half year from the date on which written statement was
filed by respondent No. 2.
9
20. It will be relevant to refer to the following observations
of this court in the case of State of Haryana and Others
v. Bhajan Lal and Others,
1
 which read thus. 
“102. In the backdrop of the interpretation of
the various relevant provisions of the Code
under Chapter XIV and of the principles of
law enunciated by this Court in a series of
decisions   relating   to   the   exercise   of   the
extraordinary power under Article 226 or the
inherent powers under Section 482 of the
Code   which   we   have   extracted   and
reproduced   above,   we   give   the   following
categories   of   cases   by   way   of   illustration
wherein   such   power   could   be   exercised
either to prevent abuse of the process of any
court   or   otherwise   to   secure   the   ends   of
justice, though it may not be possible to lay
down   any   precise,   clearly   defined   and
sufficiently   channelised   and   inflexible
guidelines or rigid formulae and to give an
exhaustive   list   of   myriad   kinds   of   cases
wherein such power should be exercised.
(1) Where the allegations made in the first
information report or the complaint, even if
they   are   taken   at   their   face   value   and
accepted in their entirety do not prima facie
constitute any offence or make out a case
against the accused.
1 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 
10
(2)   Where   the   allegations   in   the   first
information   report   and   other   materials,   if
any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a
cognizable offence, justifying an investigation
by police officers under Section 156(1) of the
Code except under an order of a Magistrate
within the purview of Section 155(2) of the
Code.
(3)   Where   the   uncontroverted   allegations
made   in   the   FIR   or   complaint   and   the
evidence collected in support of the same do
not disclose the commission of any offence
and make out a case against the accused.
(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not
constitute a cognizable offence but constitute
only   a   non­cognizable   offence,   no
investigation is permitted by a police officer
without   an   order   of   a   Magistrate   as
contemplated   under   Section   155(2)   of   the
Code.
(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or
complaint   are   so   absurd   and   inherently
improbable on the basis of which no prudent
person can ever reach a just conclusion that
there   is   sufficient   ground   for   proceeding
against the accused.
(6)   Where   there   is   an   express   legal   bar
engrafted   in   any   of   the   provisions   of   the
Code or the concerned Act (under which a
criminal   proceeding   is   instituted)   to   the
institution   and   continuance   of   the
proceedings and/or where there is a specific
provision in the Code or the concerned Act,
11
providing   efficacious   redress   for   the
grievance of the aggrieved party.
(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly
attended with mala fide and/or where the
proceeding is maliciously instituted with an
ulterior   motive   for   wreaking   vengeance   on
the accused and with a view to spite him due
to private and personal grudge.
103. We also give a note of caution to the
effect that the power of quashing a criminal
proceeding   should   be   exercised   very
sparingly and with circumspection and that
too in the rarest of rare cases; that the court
will not be justified in embarking upon an
enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness
or otherwise of the allegations made in the
FIR   or   the   complaint   and   that   the
extraordinary   or   inherent   powers   do   not
confer an arbitrary jurisdiction on the court
to act according to its whim or caprice.”
21.  It   could   thus   be   seen   that,   though   this   court   has
cautioned that, power to quash criminal proceedings should
be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and
that too in the rarest of rare cases, it has specified certain
category of cases wherein such power can be exercised for
quashing proceedings. 
12
22.  We find that in the present case, though civil suits
have been filed with regard to the same transactions and
though they are contested by the respondent No. 2 by filing
written statement, he has chosen to file complaint under
Section 156 (3) of the Cr.P.C. after a period of one and half
years from the date of  filing of written statement  with an
ulterior motive of harassing the appellants. We find that, the
present case fits in the category of No. 7, as mentioned in
the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal (supra).
23.  Further we find that, the present appeals deserve to be
allowed on another ground. 
24.  After analyzing the law as to how the power  under
Section 156 (3) of Cr.P.C. has to be exercised, this court in
the case of Priyanka Srivastava and Another v. State of
Uttar Pradesh and Others2 has observed thus:
“30. In our considered opinion, a stage has
come in this country where Section 156(3)
2 (2015) 6 SCC 287
13
CrPC applications are to be supported by an
affidavit   duly   sworn   by   the   applicant   who
seeks the invocation of the jurisdiction of the
Magistrate.   That   apart,   in   an   appropriate
case, the learned Magistrate would be well
advised to verify the truth and also can verify
the veracity of the allegations. This affidavit
can make the applicant more responsible. We
are   compelled   to   say   so   as   such   kind   of
applications   are   being   filed   in   a   routine
manner   without   taking   any   responsibility
whatsoever only to harass certain persons.
That apart, it becomes more disturbing and
alarming when one tries to pick up people
who   are   passing   orders   under   a   statutory
provision which can be challenged under the
framework of the said Act or under Article
226   of   the   Constitution   of   India.   But   it
cannot be done to take undue advantage in a
criminal court as if somebody is determined
to settle the scores.
31. We have already indicated that there has
to be prior applications under Sections 154(1)
and   154(3)   while   filing   a   petition   under
Section 156(3). Both the aspects should be
clearly   spelt   out   in   the   application   and
necessary documents to that effect shall be
filed. The warrant for giving a direction that
an   application   under   Section   156(3)   be
supported   by   an   affidavit   is   so   that   the
person   making   the   application   should   be
conscious and also endeavour to see that no
false affidavit is made. It is because once an
affidavit is found to be false, he will be liable
for prosecution in accordance with law. This
will   deter   him   to   casually   invoke   the
authority   of   the   Magistrate   under   Section
156(3). That apart, we have already stated
14
that   the   veracity   of   the   same   can   also   be
verified   by   the   learned   Magistrate,   regard
being had to the nature of allegations of the
case. We are compelled to say so as a number
of   cases   pertaining   to   fiscal   sphere,
matrimonial   dispute/family   disputes,
commercial   offences,   medical   negligence
cases, corruption cases and the cases where
there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating
criminal   prosecution,   as   are   illustrated
in Lalita Kumari [(2014) 2 SCC 1 : (2014) 1
SCC (Cri) 524] are being filed. That apart, the
learned Magistrate would also be aware of the
delay in lodging of the FIR.”
25.  This court has clearly held that, a stage has come
where applications under Section 156 (3) of Cr.P.C. are to
be supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the complainant
who   seeks   the   invocation   of   the   jurisdiction   of   the
Magistrate. 
26.  This court further held that, in an appropriate case,
the learned Magistrate would be well advised to verify the
truth and also verify the veracity of the allegations. The
court has noted that, applications under Section 156 (3) of
the Cr.P.C. are filed in a routine manner without taking any
responsibility only to harass certain persons. 
15
27.  This court has further held that, prior to the filing of a
petition under Section 156 (3) of the Cr.P.C., there have to
be applications under Section 154 (1) and 154 (3) of the
Cr.P.C.   This   court   emphasizes   the   necessity   to   file   an
affidavit so that the persons making the application should
be  conscious  and   not  make  false  affidavit.  With   such   a
requirement, the persons would be deterred from causally
invoking authority of the Magistrate, under Section 156 (3)
of the Cr.P.C. In as much as if the affidavit is found to be
false,   the   person   would   be   liable   for   prosecution   in
accordance with law. 
28.  In   the   present   case,   we   find   that   the   learned
Magistrate while passing the order under Section 156 (3) of
the Cr.P.C., has totally failed to consider the law laid down
by this court. 
29.  From the perusal of the complaint it can be seen that,
the   complainant/respondent   No.   2   himself   has   made
averments with regard to the filing of the Original Suit. In
16
any case, when the complaint was not supported by an
affidavit, the Magistrate  ought not to have entertained the
application under Section 156 (3) of the Cr.P.C. The High
Court has also failed to take into consideration the legal
position as has been enunciated by this court in the case of
Priyanka   Srivastava   v.   State   of   U.P.   (supra),  and has
dismissed the petitions by  merely observing that serious
allegations are made in the complaint. 
30.  We   are,   therefore,   of   the   considered   view   that,
continuation of the present proceedings would amount to
nothing but an abuse of process of law. 
31.  We therefore, allow these appeals  and  set­aside the
judgments and orders of the High Court dated 22nd January
2021,   passed   in   Criminal   Petition   Nos.   6719/2020,
6729/2020, 6733/2020 and 6737/2020.  Consequently, the
FIR   Nos.   255/2019,   256/2019   filed   on   16th  December,
2019, FIR No. 257/2019 filed on 17th December, 2019 and
FIR No. 258/2019 filed on 18th December, 2019 registered
with Jayanagar Police Station, Bengaluru City are quashed
17
and set aside.   Pending application(s), if any, shall stand
disposed of.
..............................J. 
[B.R. GAVAI]
 .............................J. 
[ KRISHNA MURARI] 
NEW DELHI;
FEBRUARY 18, 2022
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