P. DHARAMARAJ VERSUS SHANMUGAM & ORS

P. DHARAMARAJ VERSUS SHANMUGAM & ORS

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1514  OF 2022
(Special Leave Petition (Crl.) NO.1354 of 2022)
P. DHARAMARAJ                 …APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
SHANMUGAM & ORS.               ...RESPONDENT(S)
With
CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos. 1515­1516  OF 2022
(@ Special Leave Petition (Crl.) Nos..................... of 2022)
            (@ Special Leave Petition (Crl.) D.No.11748 of 2022)
J U D G M E N T
V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN, J.
Permission   to   file   Special   Leave   Petition(s)   is   granted   in
D.No.11748 of 2022.
2. Leave granted.
3. There are three Special Leave Petitions on hand, two of which
challenge  an  Order  passed by the  High Court  of Judicature at
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Madras in a Criminal Original Petition filed under Section 482 of
the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short “Cr.P.C”), quashing
a criminal complaint in CC No.25 of 2021 pending on the file of the
Additional Special Court for trial of cases related to Members of
Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu, on
the ground that all the victims have compromised their claims with
the accused. The third Special Leave Petition arises out of an order
of dismissal passed by the High Court in a Criminal Miscellaneous
Petition filed by a third party by name Anti Corruption Movement,
seeking   the   recall   of   the   order   dated   30.07.2021   in   the   quash
petition.
4. We have heard the learned senior  counsel appearing for the
parties, which include the de facto complainant, persons named as
accused   as   well   as   third   parties   who   claim   to   be   interested/
affected, albeit  indirectly.
Background Facts
5. The brief facts sufficient for the disposal of these special leave
petitions are as follows:­
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(i) On a complaint lodged by one K. Arulmani, working in the
technical   wing   of   the   factory   of   the   Metropolitan   Transport
Corporation of Tamil Nadu, a FIR in Crime No. 344 of 2018 was
registered on 13.08.2018. To avoid any confusion, the contents of
the said complaint are extracted as follows:
“I have been working as a Worker in the Technical Wing of the
Factory   of   Metropolitan   Transport   Corporation   (MTC),   at
Perambur.   In   the   year   2014,   an   announcement   in   regard   to
vacancies existing for the posts of Conductor and Driver in the
Transport   Department.   When   I   went   to   our   Head   Office   in
Pallavan Salai in connection with work, one Mr. Rajkumar got
introduced to me. He told me that he hails from Pambaipadayur
near Kumbakonam and he had got close contact with the then
Transport   Minister,  Mr.Senthil   Balaji   and  his  younger   brother
Asok   Kumar,   through   one   Mr.   Shanmugam,   who   was   the
Personal Assistant to Mr. Senthil Baljai and on paying money,
jobs   would   certainly  be   got.  My  friends  by  name  Ambedkar,
Senthil, Vijayakanth, Muthiah and a few others told to get them
jobs in the Transport Corporation and they are ready to pay
money for the same. 
I told that money was to be given to through one Mr.Rajkumar
and should there surface any problem, we should be ready to
face the same. They also, agreeing to the same, paid me money,
in   several   installments   during   the   period   from   25.12.2014   to
04.01.2015,   amounting   to   Rs.40,00,000/­.   conveyed   those
details to Mr. Rajkumar. In the first week of January 2015, he
and myself went to the house of Thiru Senthil Balaji at R.A.
Puram. At that time, Mr. Shanmugam, P.A. to Thiru Senthil Balaji
came towards me and received the sum of Rs.40,00,000/­. We
insisted  on Thiru Shanmugam to see  Thiru Asok Kumar and
Thiru Senthil Balaji in person. Thiru Asok Kumar, who came
there, when we gave the amount, had assured that all who have
paid amounts would issued with appointment orders. He took us
then itself to Thiru Senthil Balaji. He told in an assuring voice
that there is no need to worry and all those who gave money
would be definitely given appointment orders. 
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In the list of names released by the Transport Corporation, the
names of persons for whom I gave money, have not appeared in
list  of  appointments. Hence, persons  who  gave  money  to  me
started pestering me to return the money. When I asked about it
to Thiru Rajkumar, he  told  that  in the next list, their names
would definitely come. But in the next list also, names of none
came. When I informed this to Thiru Rajkumar, he said that he
would enquire about the same to Asok Kumar and Shanmugam
and then he would say. But each time when I asked Rajkumar,
giving me the very same reply, asked me to wait for some time.
Persons who gave me money, started threatening me. On their
insistence,   I   gave   them   my   cheques   from   my   savings   bank
account with Canara Bank, Ambatur Branch, as security. 
In pursuance of that, when I asked Rajkumar on 12.10.2015 for
returning the money, he gave me two cheques drawn on City
Union Bank, Mount Road Branch, filling each cheque with a sum
of Rs.15,00,000/­ He told me to deposit the said cheques for
collection at the time when he instructs, on his being paid repaid
the   amounts   by   Thiru   Senthil   Balaji,   Asok   Kumar   and
Shanmugam and the balance sum of Rs.10,00,000/­ would be
given by him later on. When I went to City Union Bank, Mount
Road Branch and checked whether there are sufficient amounts
in   their   accounts,   the   Bank   Officer   said   that   there   were   no
sufficient funds. When I met Raj Kumar, Shanmugam and Asok
Kumar several times and requested for returning the money, they
asked me to wait for some time. Persons who gave me money
started  pestering me very much demanding money. In October
2016, when I met Messrs Senthil Balaji, his younger brother
Asok Kumar, and P.A Shanmugam and Rajkumar, and entreated
them to return the money to me, after explaining my pathetic
position,   each   one   of   them   said   that   they   cannot   return   the
amount, nothing can be done against them and if I give them
trouble demanding money, they would liquidate me along with
my family.   I am living daily in consternation along with my two
children.   As   Thiru   Senthil   Balaji   was   a   Minister   then   and
subsequently a  MLA in the  ruling  party, the  situation posing
threat to my life in the event of my lodging a complaint against
him, was in existence. I came forward to give the complaint now,
since he is not holding any post. I therefore humbly request you
to kindly initiate appropriate legal action against Messrs Senthil
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Balaji, Asok Kumar, Shanmugam and Raj Kumar for their acts of
fraud, deception and also the threats unleashed against me and
get me back the sum of Rs.40,00,000/­ payable to me by all of
them.”
(ii) The FIR was for alleged offences under Sections 405, 420 and
506(1) of the Indian Penal Code (for short “IPC”).  Four persons by
name Shri Senthil Balaji (the then Transport Minister), Shri Ashok
Kumar (the brother of the Minister), Shri Shanmugam (Personal
Assistant to the Minister) and Shri Raj Kumar were cited as the
accused in the FIR.
(iii) After   investigation,   the   police   filed   a   final   report   dated
12.04.2019 under Section 173(2)(i) of Cr.P.C., against all the four
accused named in the First Information Report. The final report
indicted the persons named as accused, for alleged offences under
Sections   406,   409,   420,   506(1)   read   with   Section   34   IPC.   The
Special Court for trial of cases related to Members of Parliament
and Members of Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu took the final
report on file in CC No.25 of 2021.
(iv) Shri   Shanmugam,   named   as   accused   No.3   then   filed   a
criminal original petition in Criminal O.P. No.13374 of 2021 on the
file of the High Court of Judicature at Madras under Section 482 of
the Cr.P.C. praying for quashing the criminal complaint CC No.25
of 2021.
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(v) Before   the   High   Court,   the  de   facto  complainant   Shri   K.
Arulmani filed an affidavit supporting the accused and praying for
quashing of the final report, on the ground that what the victims
had with the accused was only a money dispute and that the same
had   been  settled  out  of   Court  and   that   due  to   political   rivalry
between   two   groups,   his   complaint   got   converted   into   a   more
serious one, by including unwarranted statements which were not
made by him.  
(vi) The victims who originally claimed to have paid money for
procuring employment, also filed individual affidavits supporting
the accused.
(vii) A   joint   compromise   memo   dated   28.7.2021   containing   the
signatures of 13 victims (who had paid money) on the one hand and
accused No.3 on the other hand was also filed before the High
Court.
(viii) When the quash petition came up for hearing, the learned
Government Advocate appearing for the State made a submission
that the occurrence took place in the year 2014 and that the matter
was compromised between the accused and the victims in the year
2019 after the filing of the final report.
(ix) Interestingly,   all   the   13   victims   also   appeared   before   the
learned   Judge   of   the   High   Court   of   Madras   through   Video
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Conference and claimed that the issues have been resolved between
them and the accused.
(x) In the light of what had transpired after the filing of the final
report, the High Court passed an order dated 30.07.2021 quashing
the criminal complaint on the ground that “by passage of time, the
parties have decided to bury their hatchet and that no useful purpose
would   be   achieved   by   keeping   the   criminal   case   pending”.  After
noticing that the offences are not compoundable in nature, the High
Court   recorded   in   one   sentence   that   it   had   taken   note   of   the
guidelines   issued   by   this   Court   in  Parbatbhai   Aahir   @
Parbatbhai   Bhimsinhbhai   Karmur   and   Ors.  vs.  State   of
Gujarat1
  and  The  State  of  Madhya  Pradesh  vs.  Dhruv  Gurjar
and Another2 and concluded that the complaint could be quashed.
(xi) Upon coming to know of the quashing of the complaint, a
person by name Shri P.Dharamaraj, who participated in the process
of selection for appointment to the post of drivers/conductors in the
Metropolitan Transport Corporation, but who did not get selected,
has come up with one special leave petition contending that what
happened was a cash­for­job scam and that he would have got
selected if the scam had not taken place. Since he was not a party
to the quash proceedings before the High Court, his special leave
petition was accompanied by an application for leave to file Special
1 (2017) 9 SCC 641
2  (2019) 2 MLJ Crl 10
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Leave Petition. The said application was allowed by this Court on
11.02.2022.
(xii) In the meantime, an organisation by name Anti Corruption
Movement, moved a Miscellaneous Petition before the High Court
seeking recall of the order dated 30.07.2021 on the ground that the
complaint involved allegations of corruption and abuse of official
position and that therefore the charge­sheet could not have been
quashed on the basis of a compromise between the parties.  This
application for recall was rejected by the High Court by an Order
dated 14.03.2022, primarily on the ground that this Court has
already entertained a special leave petition against the order sought
to be recalled.
(xiii) Therefore,   challenging   the   original   order   dated
30.07.2011 and the order dated 14.03.2022, the said Association,
namely, Anti Corruption Movement has come up with two special
leave petitions.
6. Before we proceed further, it is necessary to take note of the
fact that there are a few interlocutory applications whose details
are as follows:
 IA   No.49555/2022   filed   by   Anti   Corruption   Movement
seeking   intervention   in   SLP   (Crl.)   No.1354   of   2022   filed   by
Dharamaraj;
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 IA   No.59173/2022   filed   by   the   appellant   in   SLP   (Crl.)
No.1354   of   2022,   for   impleading   the   four   persons   named   as
accused.
 IA   No.59176/2022   filed   by   the   appellant   in   SLP   (Crl.)
No.1354 of 2022 seeking the appointment of a Senior Advocate as
Special Public Prosecutor to conduct the trial.
 IA Nos.126399 and 126400 of 2022 filed by one Y. Balaji,
who did not get selected for the post of conductor/driver, seeking
impleadment and the appointment of an impartial Special Public
Prosecutor.
 IA No.108569/2022 filed by one Shri S. Prithvirajan, who
claims to be a victim due to non­selection, for impleading himself
as party to the special leave petition.  
Rival Contentions
7. Assailing the order of the High Court, it is contended by  Shri
Siddharth Bhatnagar & Shri Gopal Sankaranarayanan, learned
senior counsel,  that  it is shocking to see that a matter of this
nature, where the bribe­giver and bribe­taker have come together,
has been allowed to be closed on the basis of a compromise memo;
that  the   original   complainant   Shri   Arulmani   was   himself   an
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employee   of   the   Metropolitan   Transport   Corporation   and
consequently   a   public   servant;  that  the   allegations   revolved
around payment of money to the then Transport Minister through
his   Personal   Assistant   for   procuring   appointment   in   the
Metropolitan Transport Corporation; and that, therefore, the High
court committed a serious illegality in quashing the complaint on
the basis of a compromise, despite the fact that even the offences
indicated in the charge­sheet are not compoundable. The learned
senior counsel drew our attention to the counter affidavit filed by
the Investigation Officer before the High Court of Judicature at
Madras in a writ petition in WP No.9061 of 2021 to highlight that
the allegations are of serious nature warranting a prosecution
under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (for short “P.C. Act”)
and argued that the shocking manner in which the High Court
had handled it, deserves special attention, if not special treatment.
8. Shri Prashant Bhushan, learned counsel appearing for Anti
Corruption Movement, which is the appellant in 2 of the appeals,
contended that the prosecution itself was guilty of not including in
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the charge­sheet the offences under the P.C Act and that even the
opportunity now available to the Court under Section 216 of the
Cr.P.C.   is   nipped   in   the   bud   by   the   High   Court   allowing   a
compromise and quashing the complaint.
9. Shri Rakesh Dwivedi, learned senior counsel appearing for
the first respondent in these special leave petitions and who was
the   petitioner   before   the   High   Court   in   the   quash   petition,
supported the order of the High Court contending inter alia that
the   statements   of   the   victims   did   not   make   out   a   case   for
prosecution of the accused under the P.C Act; that this is why the
final report filed by the police did not implicate the accused for
any   offence   under   the   P.C   Act;  that  the   prosecution   was
constrained   to   include   Section   409   IPC   only   because   of   a
statement as though respondent No.1 was a Personal Assistant to
the   then   Minister       (A­1);  that  however   no   such   order   of
appointment of respondent No.1 as the Personal Assistant to the
Minister   was   ever   brought   on   record;  that  in   the   Additional
Affidavit   filed   by   respondent   No.1,   he   categorically   denied   any
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association with the Minister as his Personal Assistant;  that  an
attempt was made earlier, by two other individuals who made
similar allegations against the then Transport Minister (present A1), by filing petitions in Criminal O.P. (MD) No.14067 and 14967 of
2016, seeking  a direction to the police to register a complaint and
investigate   into   the   same;  that  during   the   pendency   of   those
petitions, a criminal complaint came to   be registered in Crime
No.15 of 2016; that one of the accused (the Managing Director of
the Transport Corporation) immediately filed a quash petition in
Crl. O.P. (MD) No. 16023 of 2016 in which the Transport Minister
also got impleaded; that all those 3 criminal original petitions were
heard together by the High Court;  that  by a final Order dated
19.09.2016   the   petitions   seeking   a   direction   for   registering   a
complaint   were   rejected   but   the   petition   for   quashing   the
complaint was allowed; that the common order so passed by the
High Court on 19.09.2016 in Criminal O.P. (MD) Nos. 14067,
14967 and 16023 of 2016 was challenged before this Court by a
third party, by way of special leave petitions;  that  by an order
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dated 05.01.2017 this Court refused to grant leave to the third
party to file special leave petitions; that the first attempt so made
by  2 individuals  way  back in   2016  to  somehow   implicate  the
Minister thus failed; and that, therefore, the High Court was right
in this case, in putting to rest, the repeated attempts made by
rivals in politics to nix the accused.  
10. Shri Mukul Rohtagi, learned senior counsel appearing for
Shri Arulmani, on whose complaint the FIR in Crime No.344 of
2018 was registered on 13.08.2018, also supported the impugned
order   of   the   High   Court   by   contending  inter   alia  that   the
allegations made in the complaint did not make out a case for
prosecution under the P.C Act; that the affidavits filed by all the so
called victims before the High Court made it crystal clear that it
was a simple money dispute;  that  the allegations complained of
against the accused do not constitute offences against the State
but revolved around a private dispute with regard to payment of
money; that even in cases arising out of a prosecution under the
P.C Act, this Court held in  Sanjay  Tiwari  vs.  State  of  Uttar
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Pradesh & Another.3
 that a third party, who is neither a victim
nor   an   accused,   cannot   poke   his   nose   into   the   criminal
proceedings;  that  therefore, the appellants in the above appeals
have no locus standi to question the order of the High Court; and
that in the light of the contents of the affidavit filed by the de facto
complainant­Shri Arulmani before the High Court, no conclusion
other than the one reached by the High Court is possible.
11. Shri C.A. Sundaram, learned senior counsel appearing for
A­1 contended inter alia, that the appellants who have approached
this Court have no locus standi to interfere with the proceedings
initiated   at   the   behest   of   individual   complainants;  that  the
appellants have taken cudgels on behalf of the political rivals, to
undo   a   compromise   reached   between   a   few   individual
complainants and persons who received money from them;  that
the parameters laid down by this Court for closing criminal cases
on the basis of the compromise reached between parties even in
the   case   of   non­compoundable   offences,   have   been   followed
3  2020 SCC Online SC 1027
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properly by the High Court in this case; and that since allegations
of corruption are not made out in this case, there is no element of
public interest involved. According to the learned senior counsel
for A­1, the appellants are relying heavily upon other cases filed
under the P.C Act, to upset a compromise reached in a case which
does not concern allegations under the P.C Act.
12. Shri   Manan   Kumar   Mishra,   learned   Senior   Counsel
appearing for respondent No.1 contended that the attempt of the
appellants herein is only to harass the Minister. According to the
learned senior counsel, there are two other pending complaints
where allegations under the P.C Act are included. The appellants
have already impleaded themselves as parties to those criminal
complaints.   Therefore,   it   is   contended   by   Shri   Manan   Kumar
Mishra that the whole exercise is unwarranted and nothing but
witch hunting. Insofar as persons who claim to be victims due to
their   non­selection   for   appointment   to   the   post   of
conductors/drivers are concerned, it is contended by Shri Manan
Kumar   Mishra   that   they   have   already   filed   writ   petitions
15
challenging their non­selection and hence their remedy does not
lie in the present proceedings.
13. Shri S. Prabhakaran, learned Senior Counsel contended that
the Minister concerned was a member of the splinter group which
revolted against those in office during the previous regime and
that   therefore   the   present   criminal   complaints   came   to   be
registered at the behest of his political opponents and that the
same   group   is   now   targeting   him   as   he   had   again   become   a
Minister   in   the   present   regime.   Therefore,   the   learned   Senior
Counsel submitted that this Court should see through this game
before being swayed by legal nuances. 
Discussion and Analysis
14. In   a   nutshell,   the   rival   contentions   revolve   around   three
important issues. They are: (i)  the locus standi of the appellants;
(ii) the effect of the compromise entered into between the de facto
complainant and 13 named victims on the one hand and the four
16
accused on the other hand; and  (iii)  the non­inclusion in the
charge­sheet of the offences under the P.C. Act.
Locus standi
15. The preliminary objection of the respondents to the  locus
standi  of the appellants, has to be rejected outright, for several
reasons.   The  first   is  that   in   the   counter  affidavit   filed  by  the
Assistant   Commissioner   of   Police,   Central   Crime   Branch,   Job
Racket Wing, Chennai, to the writ petition WP No.9061 of 2021, he
has narrated certain sequence of events which are as follows:
(i) Pursuant   to   an   order   passed   by   the   High   Court   on
09.06.2014   in   Writ   Appeal   No.1027   of   2013,   directing   all
appointments in all Government departments to be made only
after   due   notification   to   the   public   in   Newspapers   besides
sponsorship   from   the   Employment   Exchange,   the   Secretary   to
Government,   Employment   and   Training   Department   sent   a
communication to the Managing Directors of all State Transport
Undertakings on 30.07.2014 to follow the directions of the High
Court in the matter of appointments;
(ii) All   the   representatives   of   all   the   State   Transport
undertakings resolved in a meeting held on 06.10.2014 to conduct
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future recruitments only after inviting applications from the open
market through newspaper advertisements apart from getting a
list of candidates sponsored by the Employment Exchange;
(iii) Thereafter, Thiru Senthil Balaji, the then Transport Minister
(A­1 in the present case) instructed the officers to collect details
regarding   the   day­to­day   progress   of   the   recruitment   in   all   8
Transport Corporations of the State;
(iv) These communications were directed to be transmitted to the
Minister’s office  via  e­mail and the mail box was operated and
maintained by Shri B. Shanmugam and not by any of the other
Personal Assistants of the Minister; 
(v) The   advertisements   for   recruitment   were   issued   in
newspapers on 02.11.2014. Simultaneously, the lists of eligible
candidates   were   also   invited   from   the   concerned   Employment
Exchanges;
(vi) A total of 22602 applications were issued to the aspirants
during the period from 03.11.2014 to 20.11.2014; 
(vii) These 22,602 applications related to the posts of Reserved
Crew Driver, Reserved Crew Conductor, Junior Tradesman, Junior
Engineer and Assistant Engineer;  
(viii) The total number of filled in applications received from the
candidates was 16081; 
(ix) But 12765 candidates attended the interview; 
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(x) Orders of appointment were issued to 2209 candidates from
the list given by the Minister;
(xi) There were 5542 other eligible candidates; 
(xii) Many of the note files have been created without any date;
(xiii)  Appointment orders were issued to candidates whose names
were contained in the list sent by the Transport Minister through
his associate Shanmugam.
16. From what is extracted above from the counter affidavit of
the Investigation Officer filed in a connected writ petition, it is
clear that even according to the Investigating Officer,  persons
who claim to have paid money, but did not receive orders of
appointment,  were  not   the  only   victims.  Persons  who  were
more meritorious, but who did not get selected, on account of
being   edged   out   by   candidates   who   paid   money   and   got
selected, are also victims of the alleged corrupt practices, if
those  allegations  are  eventually  proved. Shri P. Dharamaraj,
who   is   the   appellant   in   one   of   these   appeals,  claims   to   be   a
candidate who participated in the selection, but could not make it.
19
There is also an intervenor by name Shri Prithivirajan who was the
petitioner in WP No.9061 of 2021, in which the counter affidavit
referred   to   in   the   preceding   paragraph   was   filed   by   the
Investigation   Officer.     This   candidate   was   not   selected   and
according to him, he would have got selected, had there been no
corrupt practices on the part of the concerned.
17. Even the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the
respondents could not contest the position that a victim is entitled
to file an appeal against the impugned order of the High Court. If
persons  who  participated   in  the   selection  process  but  who
could not make it to the final list of selected candidates on
account of the alleged corrupt practices adopted by those in
power are not victims, we do not know who else could be a
victim.
18. We cannot shy away from the fact that candidates, who are
selected   and   appointed   to   posts   in   the   Government/public
corporations by adopting corrupt practices, are eventually called
20
upon to render public service. It is needless to say that the quality
of   public   service   rendered   by   such   persons   will   be   inversely
proportionate to the corrupt practices adopted by them. Therefore,
the   public,   who   are   recipients   of   these   services,   also   become
victims,   though   indirectly,   because   the   consequences   of   such
appointments get reflected sooner or later in the work performed
by the appointees. Hence, to say that the appellants have no locus
standi, is to deny the existence of what is obvious.
19. The decision in Sanjay Tiwari (supra), relied upon by Shri
Mukul   Rohtagi,   learned   senior   Counsel   for   the  de   facto
complainant, is of no application to the case on hand. The appeal
in Sanjay Tiwari’s case arose out of an application for expediting
the trial of a criminal case pending on the file of the Special Judge,
Gorakhpur, for alleged offences under Sections 420, 467, 468,
471, 477A, 120B IPC and Section 13(1)(c)(d) read with Section
13(2) of P.C. Act. The said application for expediting the trial was
moved by a person who was neither the victim nor the accused.
Therefore, this Court found out that a person who has nothing to
21
do   with   the   pending   trial,   cannot   seek   to   expedite   the   trial,
Paragraphs 11 to 15 of the said decision on which heavy reliance
is placed read as follows:­
“11. It is well settled that criminal trial where offences involved
are   under   the   Prevention   of   Corruption   Act   have   to   be
conducted   and   concluded   at   the   earliest   since   the   offences
under Prevention of Corruption Act are offences which affect not
only the accused but the entire society and administration. It is
also well settled that the High Court in appropriate cases can
very well under Section 482 Cr.P.C. or in any other proceeding
can always direct trial court to expedite the criminal trial and
issue such order as may be necessary. But the present is a case
where proceeding initiated by respondent No. 2 does not appear
to be a bona fide proceeding. Respondent No. 2 is in no way
connected   with   initiation   of   criminal   proceeding   against   the
appellant. Respondent No. 2 in his application under Section
482 Cr. P. C in paragraph 6 has described him as social activist
and an Advocate. An application by a person who is in no way
connected with the criminal proceeding or criminal trial under
Section 482 Cr.P.C. cannot ordinarily be entertained by the
High  Court.   A  criminal  trial  of  an  accused  is  conducted   in
accordance   with   procedure   as   prescribed   by   the   Criminal
Procedure   Code.     It   is   the   obligation   of   the   State   and   the
prosecution  to ensure  that   all  criminal  trials  are  conducted
expeditiously so that justice can be delivered to the accused if
found guilty. The present is not a case where prosecution or
even   the   employer   of   the   accused   have   filed   an   application
either  before  the  trial court  or   in  any  other  court  seeking
direction   as   prayed   by   respondent   No.   2   in   his   application
under Section 482 Cr.P.C. 
12. With regard to locus of a third party to challenge the
criminal proceedings or to seek  relief  in  respect  of  criminal
proceedings   of   accused   had   been   dealt   with   by   this   Court
Janata Dal v. H.S. Chowdhary,(1991) 3 SCC 756. In the above
case the CBI had registered FIR under the IPC as well as under
the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 against 14 accused. On
22
an application filed by the CBI the learned trial Judge allowing
the application to the extent that request to conduct necessary
investigation and to collect necessary evidence which can be
collected in Switzerland passed order on 05.02.1990 which is to
the following effect:
“In the result, the application of the CBI is allowed to the
extent that a request to conduct the necessary investigation and
to   collect   necessary   evidence   which   can   be   collected   in
Switzerland and to the extent directed in this order shall be
made   to   the   Competent   Judicial   Authorities   of   the
Confederation   of   Switzerland   through   filing   of   the
requisite/proper undertaking required by the Swiss law and
assurance for reciprocity.”
13. A criminal miscellaneous application was filed by Shri
H.S.   Chowdhary   seeking   various   prayers   before   the   Special
Judge which petition was dismissed by the Special Judge. A
criminal Revision under Sections 397/482 Cr. P.C. was filed by
H.S. Chowdhary in the High Court to quash the order of the
Special Judge, which Revision was also dismissed by the High
Court. The appeals were filed in this Court by different parties
challenging   the   said   order   including   H.S.   Chowdhary.   This
court while dismissing the appeals filed by the H.S. Chowdhary
and others made the following observations:
“26. Even if there are million question of law to be deeply
gone into and examined in the criminal case of this nature
registered against specified accused persons, it is for them and
them   alone   to   raise   all   such   questions   and   challenge   the
proceedings   initiated   against   them   at   the   appropriate   time
before the proper forum and not for third parties under the garb
of public interest litigants.
“27.   We,   in   the   above   background   of   the   case,   after
bestowing   our   anxious   and   painstaking   consideration   and
careful thought to all aspects of the case and deeply examining
the   rival   contentions   of   the   parties   both     collectively   and
individually give our conclusions as follows:
1. Mr. H.S. Chowdhary has no locus standi (a) to file
the petition under Article 51A as a public interest litigant
praying that no letter rogatory/request be issued at the
request of the CBI and he be permitted to join the inquiry
23
before the Special Court which on 5.2.90 directed issuance
of   letter   rogatory/request   to   the   Competent   Judicial
Authorities   of   the   Confederation   of   Switzerland;     (b)   to
invoke the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under
Section  397   read   with  401   of  the   CrPC  challenging  the
correctness, legality or propriety of the order dated 18.8.90
of the Special Judge; and (c) to invoke the extraordinary
jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 482 of the
CrPC   for   quashing   the   First   Information   Report   dated
22.1.90 and all other proceedings arsing therefrom on the
plea of preventing the abuse of the process of the Court.
28. In the result, we agree with the first part of the Order dated
19.12.90   of   Mr.   Justice   M.K   Chawla   holding   that   Mr.   H.S.
Chowdhary and other intervening parties have no locus standi. We,
however, set aside the second part of the impugned order whereby
he has taken suo moto cognizance and issued show cause notice to
the State and CBI and accordingly the show cause notice issued by
him is quashed.” 
14.  This Court in the above case laid down that it is for the
parties   in   the   criminal   case   to   raise   all   the   questions   and
challenge the proceedings initiate against them at appropriate
time before the proper forum and not for third parties under the
grab of Public Interest Litigants.
15.  We are fully satisfied that respondent No. 2 has no locus
in the present case to file application under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
asking the Court to expedite the hearing in criminal trial. We
have already observed that all criminal trials where offences
involved under the prevention of Corruption Act have to be
concluded at an early date and normally no exception can be
taken to the order of the High Court directing the trial court to
expedite the criminal trial but in the present case the fact is
that proceedings have been initiated by respondent No. 2 who
was not concerned with the proceedings is any manner and the
respondent No. 2 has no locus to file application which was not
clearly maintainable, we  are  of the view  that  the impugned
judgment   of   the   High   Court   dated   09.09.2020   cannot   be
sustained.”
24
20. All that this Court pointed out in paragraph 11 of the decision
in Sanjay Tiwari (supra) was that an application for expediting the
trial, filed by a person who is in no way connected with the criminal
proceeding or criminal trial cannot “ordinarily be entertained by
the High Court.”
21. The   decision   in  Janata   Dal  vs.  H.S   Chowdhary   and
Others4
 cited in paragraphs 12 and 13 of Sanjay Tiwari also has
no application to the case on hand. In Janata Dal (supra), which
arose out of Bofors case, the Special Court allowed an application
of CBI to conduct necessary investigation and to collect necessary
evidence, in Switzerland. A letter rogatory was also issued. At that
stage an Advocate by name H.S. Chowdhary filed a petition in
public interest before the Special Judge, invoking Article 51A of
the Constitution. He sought several reliefs including a direction
not to issue letter rogatory and to allow him to join the enquiry
before   the   Special   Court   in   the   capacity   of   a   public   interest
4  (1991) 3 SCC 756
25
litigant. The Special Court dismissed the petition filed by H.S.
Chowdhary, but took up for consideration suo moto, the question
as to whether any  action under Section 340 of the Cr.PC. should
be initiated or not. The order of the Special Judge was challenged
by H.S. Chowdhary by way of revision before the High Court. The
High Court held that H.S. Chowdhary did not have any  locus
standi  to maintain the petition. It was the said order that was
challenged by H.S. Chowdhary before this Court. The order of the
Special   Judge   taking  suo   moto  action   was   also   challenged   by
political parties.
22. While disposing of those appeals, this Court held that a third
party has no  locus standi  in a matter of this nature. It must be
noted that the attempt made by H.S. Chowdhary was to upset the
move initiated by CBI to have a letter rogatory issued. He also
wanted the FIR to be quashed. It is in that context that this Court
answered the question of locus standi as aforesaid.
26
23. Today, we have travelled a long way from the position of law
as it stood then. By Act 5 of 2009, the definition of the word
“victim” was inserted in Section 2(wa) of the Cr.P.C. It reads thus:
“victim” means a person who has suffered any loss or injury
caused by reason of the act or omission for which the accused
person has been charged and the expression “victim” includes
his or her guardian or legal heir.”
Simultaneously, a proviso was also inserted under Section 372 of
the Code providing a right of appeal to the victims. 
24. In fact, long before the aforesaid amendment, the question of
locus   standi  was   considered   by   this   Court   in  P.S.R.
Sadhanantham  vs. Arunachalam and Another5
. The said case
arose under peculiar circumstances. A person who was convicted
by the Sessions Court for an offence under Section 302 and whose
conviction was set aside by the High Court, was convicted by this
Court in a criminal appeal, filed not by the State, but by the
brother of the victim, though he was neither the complainant nor
the first informant. Thereafter, the accused filed a writ petition
under Article 32 contending that this Court had no power to grant
5 (1980) 3 SCC 141
27
special leave to the brother of the victim to file an appeal against
the judgment of the High Court. While rejecting the contention,
Hon’ble Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer (as he then was) said in his
inimitable style: 
“……the   bogey   of   busybodies   blackmailing   adversaries   through
frivolous   invocation   of Article136 is   chimerical.   Access   to   Justice   to
every   bona   fide   seeker   is   a   democratic   dimension   of   remedial
jurisprudence even as public interest litigation, class action, pro bono
proceedings,   etc.   We   cannot   dwell   in   the   home   of   processual
obsolescence when our Constitution highlights social justice as a goal.”
Therefore, the objection about the locus standi of the appellants is
without any merit. In any case, the appellant in one of these
appeals, is a victim, as he could not get selected on account of the
alleged corrupt practices. Therefore, the contention regarding the
locus standi of the appellants is to be rejected.
25. In fact, it is surprising that the  de facto  complainant Shri
Arulmani has raised the question of locus standi.  It is seen from
his   complaint   dated   13.08.2018   that   he   is   working   in   the
Technical   Wing   of   the   factory   of   the   Metropolitan   Transport
Corporation. Therefore, he should not have, in the first instance,
become a party to the transactions narrated in his complaint.
28
After having been a party to the collection of money for illegitimate
purposes, even while working in the Transport Corporation, the de
facto  complainant   Shri   Arulmani   has   committed   the   second
mistake   of   filing   an   affidavit   supporting   the   compromise   and
claiming therein as though he never made allegations against the
Minister. 
26. The   stand   taken   by   Arulmani   before   the   High   Court   is
deplorable for one more reason. It is seen from an entry in the FIR
out of which the present case arises, that Arulmani filed a criminal
original petition in Crl. O.P.No. 24029 of 2017 on the file of the
High Court, complaining that he lodged a complaint against these
4 accused way back on 21.09.2017 and that no action was taken.
On 16.11.2017, the High Court passed an order directing the
Police to act in accordance with the law laid down by this Court in
Lalita Kumari vs. Government of Uttar Pradeshand Others6
. It
is only thereafter that the Police registered the FIR in Crime No.
344   of   2018   on   13.08.2018.   Therefore,  we   would   have   hardly
6 (2014) 2 SCC 1
29
expected Shri Arulmani to say that the allegations against the
Minister were added up later by the Police and that it was a simple
money dispute. His present stand supporting the accused and
questioning the locus standi of the appellants, is, to say the least,
shocking and warrants something more than mere condemnation.
We leave it at that in the hope that the employer and the State
would take notice of his conduct. Suffice it to say for our present
purpose   that   the   objection   relating   to   the  locus   standi  of   the
appellants is liable to be rejected. Accordingly, it is rejected. 
The Effect of the compromise and the non­inclusion of the
offences under the P.C. Act
27. The second issue arising for consideration is about the effect
of the compromise entered into between the  de facto  complainant
and 13 named victims on the one hand and the 4 accused on the
other hand.
28. As we have pointed out earlier, the FIR was registered only for
offences under Sections 405, 420 & 506(1) of the IPC. This was
despite the fact that the allegations contained in the complaint very
30
clearly pointed to payment of money for procuring employment in
the Public Transport Corporation. We have already extracted the
entire complaint in paragraph 5(i) above. It was stated in the said
complaint that in the year 2014, an announcement for filling up
vacant posts of Conductor and Driver in the Transport Corporation
was issued and that the complainant got introduced to one Mr.
Rajkumar. In fact there is also an averment in the complaint that in
the first week of January 2015, the complainant went along with
the said Rajkumar to the residence of Thiru Senthil Balaji at R.A.
Puram and that the amount of Rs.40 lakhs was paid therein to Shri
Shanmugam, P.A. to the Minister. The complainant had gone on to
state that upon his insistence, he was allowed to meet the Minister
and his brother and that the Minister and his brother assured him
that   all   those   who   gave   money   would   definitely   be   given
appointment orders.
29. It must be recalled that though the FIR came to be registered
only on 13.08.2018, it was actually in pursuance of an order passed
by the High Court on 16.11.2017 in Crl. O.P. No. 24029 of 2017.
31
Therefore,   we   are   surprised   that   the   FIR   did   not   include   the
offences under the P.C. Act, 1988.
30. While filing a final report, the Investigation Officer seems to
have been little more gracious by including Section 409 IPC, since
Sh.  Shanmugam,  the  person  who   received  the  money  from the
complainant and the victims was stated to be a Personal Assistant
to the Minister. Additionally, the money was said to have been paid
at the residence of the Minister with his knowledge and the Minister
is stated (in the FIR) to have acknowledged that those who paid
money will be rewarded with the appointment orders.
31. Thus it is clear that the final report implicated the accused for
offences under Sections 406, 409, 420 and 506(1) IPC. None of
these   offences   except   the   one   under   Section   506   IPC   is
compoundable under sub­Section (1) of Section 320, Cr.P.C.  The
offences under Sections 406 and 420 are compoundable under subSection (2) of Section 320.
32. Sub­section (9) of Section 320 makes it clear that no offence
shall be compounded except as provided by the Section.  Therefore,
32
there was no way the offence under Section 409 IPC, included in
the final report, could have been compounded.  As a matter of fact,
the High Court has recognised in the penultimate paragraph of the
impugned order that the final report includes offences which are
not compoundable. However, the High Court proceeded to quash
the final report, purportedly on the basis of the guidelines issued by
this Court in Parbatbhai Aahir @ Parbathbhai  (supra) and The
State of Madhya Pradesh (supra). Therefore we may now proceed
to examine whether the High Court was right in doing so.
33. In  Gian  Singh  vs.  State  of  Punjab  and  another7
,  a three
Member Bench of this Court was concerned with a reference made
by a two Member Bench, which doubted the correctness of the
decisions in  B.S.  Joshi  and  Others  vs.  State  of  Haryana  and
another8
, Nikhil Merchant  vs. Central Bureau of Investigation
and Anr.
9
 and Manoj Sharma vs. State and Others10
.
7  (2012) 10 SCC 303
8  (2003) 4 SCC 675
9  (2008) 9 SCC 677
10 (2008) 16 SCC 1
33
34. B.S. Joshi (supra) was a case where the dispute was a family
dispute and the offences complained were under Sections 498A,
323 and 406. Therefore, this Court appears to have taken a lenient
view. 
35. Nikhil   Merchant  (supra)   is   a   case   where   a   borrower
committed default in repayment of the loans taken from Andhra
Bank. Apart from filing a suit for recovery of money, the Bank also
filed a criminal complaint both against the officers of the company
and against the officers of the bank, not only for offences under the
IPC but also for offences under the PC Act. After the suit was
compromised,   the   Managing   Director   of   the   borrower   Company
sought to get discharged from the complaint. The special Judge
(CBI)   rejected   the   application   for   discharge.   The   High   Court
confirmed the same. But this Court reversed the decision of the
High Court, solely on the ground that the amount payable to the
Bank stood settled. However, it must be noticed that in  Nikhil
Merchant, the operative portion of the order of this Court merely
34
stated   that   the   criminal   proceedings   were   quashed   against   the
appellant therein. There   is   no   indication   therein   that   the
complaint against the officers for offences under the P.C. Act were
also quashed. 
36. Manoj   Sharma  (supra)   was   a   case   where   the   offences
complained   were   under   Sections   420,   468,   471,   34   read   with
Section   120B   IPC.   Though   this   Court   quashed   the   criminal
complaint   in   the   said   case   also,   one   of   the   learned   Judges
constituting   the   Bench   (Markandey   Katju,   J.)   reserved   the
question regarding the power of the High Court to quash noncompoundable cases under Section 482 Cr.P.C or Article 226 of the
Constitution, on the basis of the compromise reached between the
parties, to be decided by a larger bench at an appropriate time.
Paragraph 27 of the decision in Manoj Sharma which contains the
opinion of Markandey Katju, J., reads as follows:  
“27. There can be no doubt that a case under Section 302 IPC
or other serious offences like those under Sections 395, 307 or
304­B cannot be compounded and hence proceedings in those
provisions cannot be quashed by the High Court in exercise of
its power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. or in writ jurisdiction on
35
the basis of compromise. However, in some other cases, (like
those akin to a civil nature) the proceedings can be quashed by
the   High   Court   if   the   parties   have   come   to   an   amicable
settlement even though the provisions are not compoundable.
Where a line is to be drawn will have to be decided in some later
decisions of this Court, preferably by a larger bench (so as to
make it more authoritative). Some guidelines will have to be
evolved in this connection and the matter cannot be left at the
sole unguided  discretion  of Judges, otherwise  there may be
conflicting decisions and judicial anarchy. A judicial discretion
has to be exercised on some objective guiding principles and
criteria, and not on the whims and fancies of individual Judges.
Discretion, after all, cannot be the Chancellor's foot.”
37. Therefore in Gian Singh (supra), the three Member Bench of
this Court took up for consideration the question regarding the
difference   between   the   power   of   the   court   to   quash   a
complaint/charge­sheet and the power to compound an offence.
After analysing the statutory provisions and the various decisions of
this Court, this Court summarised the position, in paragraph 61 of
its decision in Gian Singh, as follows:
“The position that emerges from the above discussion can be
summarised thus: the power of the High Court in quashing a
criminal   proceeding   or   FIR   or   complaint   in   exercise   of   its
inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power
given   to   a   criminal   court   for   compounding   the   offences
under Section   320 of   the   Code.   Inherent   power   is   of   wide
plenitude with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised
in accord with the guideline engrafted in such power viz; (i) to
secure the ends of justice, or (ii) to prevent abuse of the process
of   any   Court.   In   what   cases   power   to   quash   the   criminal
36
proceeding or complaint or F.I.R may be exercised where the
offender and victim have settled their dispute would depend on
the facts and circumstances of each case and no category can
be prescribed. However, before exercise of such power, the High
Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the
crime.   Heinous   and   serious   offences   of   mental   depravity   or
offences   like   murder,   rape,   dacoity,   etc.   cannot   be   fittingly
quashed   even   though   the   victim   or   victim’s   family   and   the
offender have settled the dispute. Such offences are not private
in nature and have serious impact on society. Similarly, any
compromise between the victim and offender in relation to the
offences  under special statutes  like Prevention  of  Corruption
Act or the offences committed by public servants while working
in that capacity etc; cannot provide for any basis for quashing
criminal proceedings involving such offences. But the criminal
cases having overwhelmingly and pre­dominatingly civil flavour
stand   on   a   different   footing   for   the   purposes   of   quashing,
particularly   the   offences   arising   from   commercial,   financial,
mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the
offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the
family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal
in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute. In
this   category   of   cases,   the   High   Court   may   quash   criminal
proceedings if in its view, because of the compromise between
the offender and victim, the possibility of conviction is remote
and bleak and continuation of the criminal case would put the
accused   to   great   oppression   and   prejudice   and   extreme
injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal
case despite full and complete settlement and compromise with
the   victim.   In   other   words,   the   High   Court   must   consider
whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice
to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the
criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of
law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and
wrongdoer   and   whether   to   secure   the   ends   of   justice,   it   is
appropriate that the criminal case is put to an end and if the
answer to the above question(s) is in affirmative, the High Court
shall   be   well   within   its   jurisdiction   to   quash   the   criminal
proceeding.”
37
38. After  Gian   Singh,   this   Court   was   concerned   in  Narinder
Singh and Others   vs.   State of Punjab and Another11 with the
perennial problem of courts swinging from one extreme to the other
in respect of cases involving offences under Section 307 IPC. A via
media was struck by this Court in the said decision, by holding that
it would be open to the High Court to go into the nature of the
injury sustained, nature of the weapons used etc. This was after
holding that an offence under Section 307 would fall in the category
of heinous and serious offence.
39. Then came the decision in  State  of  Maharashtra  through
Central   Bureau   of   Investigation  vs.  Vikram   Anantrai   Doshi
and Others12
, where this Court was concerned with an order of the
High   Court   of   Bombay   quashing   the   criminal   proceedings   for
offences punishable under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468 & 471 read
with   Section   120B   IPC.   It   was   a   case   involving   credit   facilities
provided by the Banks and the failure of the borrowers to repay the
11 (2014) 6 SCC 466
12 (2014) 15 SCC 29
38
loan. After the debts due to the bank were assigned in favour of an
Asset Reconstruction Company, a settlement was reached and the
borrower took a “No Due Certificate”. Therefore, relying upon the
decisions   of   this   Court   in  Madan   Mohan   Abbot  vs.  State   of
Punjab13  and Central   Bureau   of   Investigation  vs.  A.
Ravishankar   Prasad  and   Others14, the High Court of Bombay
quashed the proceedings on the ground that no useful purpose
would be served by allowing the matter to proceed for trial. It is
interesting to note that  Madan  Mohan  (supra), as seen from the
last paragraph of the order, was passed in the peculiar facts of the
case.   But   in   so   far   as  A.   Ravishankar   Prasad  (supra)   is
concerned, the High Court quashed the proceedings on the basis of
a settlement reached between the borrowers and the Indian Bank.
But the decision of the High Court was over turned, by a two Judge
Bench of this Court even after taking note of B.S.Joshi and Nikhil
13 (2008) 4 SCC 582
14 (2009) 6 SCC 351
39
Merchant.  In paragraph 46 of its decision, this Court said in A.
Ravishankar Prasad :­
“46. Before parting with the case we would like to observe that
mere repayment of loan under a settlement cannot exempt the
accused from the criminal proceeding in the facts of this case.”
40. Therefore, in Vikram Anantrai Doshi (supra), this Court took
note of the aforesaid decisions and held in paragraph 26 as follows:­
“26.  We are in respectful agreement with the aforesaid view. Be
it stated, that availing of money from a nationalised bank in the
manner, as alleged by the investigating agency, vividly exposits
fiscal   impurity   and,   in   a   way,   financial   fraud.   The   modus
operandi as narrated in the charge­sheet cannot be put in the
compartment of an individual or personal wrong. It is a social
wrong and it has immense societal impact. It is an accepted
principle   of   handling   of   finance   that   whenever   there   is
manipulation   and   cleverly   conceived   contrivance   to   avail   of
these kinds of benefits it cannot be regarded as a case having
overwhelmingly   and   predominatingly   civil   character.   The
ultimate   victim   is   the   collective.   It   creates   a   hazard   in   the
financial   interest   of   the   society.   The   gravity   of   the   offence
creates   a   dent   in   the   economic   spine   of   the   nation.   The
cleverness which has been skillfully contrived, if the allegations
are true, has a serious consequence. A crime of this nature, in
our view, would definitely fall in the category of offences which
travel   far   ahead   of   personal   or   private   wrong.   It   has   the
potentiality to usher in economic crisis. Its implications have its
own seriousness, for it creates a concavity in the solemnity that
is expected in financial transactions. It is not such a case where
one can pay the amount and obtain a “no dues certificate” and
enjoy the benefit of quashing of the criminal proceeding on the
hypostasis that nothing more remains to be done. The collective
interest of which the Court is the guardian cannot be a silent or
a mute spectator to allow the proceedings to be withdrawn, or
40
for that matter yield to the ingenuous dexterity of the accused
persons   to   invoke   the   jurisdiction   under   Article   226   of   the
Constitution or under Section 482 of the Code and quash the
proceeding. It is not legally permissible. The Court is expected
to be on guard to these kinds of adroit moves. The High Court,
we humbly remind, should have dealt with the matter keeping
in mind that in these kinds of litigations the accused when
perceives a tiny gleam of success, readily invokes the inherent
jurisdiction for quashing of the criminal proceeding. The Court's
principal duty, at that juncture, should be to scan the entire
facts to find out the thrust of allegations and the crux of the
settlement. It is the experience of the Judge that comes to his
aid and the said experience should be used with care, caution,
circumspection and courageous prudence. As we find in the
case at hand the learned Single Judge has not taken pains to
scrutinise the entire conspectus of facts in proper perspective
and   quashed   the   criminal   proceeding.   The   said   quashment
neither helps to secure the ends of justice nor does it prevent
the abuse of the process of the court nor can it be also said that
as there is a settlement no evidence will come on record and
there will be remote chance of conviction. Such a finding in our
view would be difficult to record. Be that as it may, the fact
remains   that   the   social   interest   would   be   on   peril   and   the
prosecuting agency, in these circumstances, cannot be treated
as an alien to the whole case. Ergo, we have no other option but
to   hold   that   the   order   [Vikram   Anantrai   Doshi v. State   of
Maharashtra,   Criminal   Application   No.   2239   of   2009,   order
dated   22­4­2010   (Bom)]   of   the   High   Court   is   wholly
indefensible.
41. In Parbatbhai Aahir (supra), referred to by the High Court in
the   impugned   order,   a   3   member   Bench   of   this   Court   again
summarised the broad principles on this question in paragraph 16.
Paragraph 16.6 and 16.8 to 16.10 of the decision read as follows:­
41
“16.6. In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while
dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High
Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the
offence.   Heinous   and   serious   offences   involving   mental
depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity cannot
appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the
victim   have   settled   the   dispute.   Such   offences   are,   truly
speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact upon
society. The decision to continue with the trial in such cases is
founded   on   the   overriding   element   of   public   interest   in
punishing persons for serious offences.
16.8.  Criminal   cases   involving   offences   which   arise   from
commercial,   financial,   mercantile,   partnership   or   similar
transactions with an essentially civil flavour may in appropriate
situations   fall   for   quashing   where   parties   have   settled   the
dispute.
16.9. In such a case, the High Court may quash the criminal
proceeding if in view of the compromise between the disputants,
the possibility of a conviction is remote and the continuation of
a criminal proceeding would cause oppression and prejudice;
and
16.10.  There is yet an exception to the principle set out in
propositions 16.8. and 16.9. above. Economic offences involving
the   financial   and   economic   well­being   of   the   State   have
implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere dispute
between private disputants. The High Court would be justified in
declining to quash where the offender is involved in an activity
akin to a financial or economic fraud or misdemeanour. The
consequences of the act complained of upon the financial or
economic system will weigh in the balance.”
42. Thus it is clear from the march of law that the Court has to go
slow even while exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.PC or
Article 226 of the Constitution in the matter of quashing of criminal
proceedings   on   the   basis   of   a   settlement   reached   between   the
42
parties, when the offences are capable of having an impact not
merely on the complainant and the accused but also on others.  
43. As seen from the final report filed in this case and the counter
affidavit   filed   by   the   I.O.,   persons   who   have   adopted   corrupt
practices to secure employment in the Transport Corporation fall
under two categories namely,   (i)  those who paid money and got
orders of appointment; and (ii) those who paid money but failed to
secure employment. If persons belonging to the 2nd  category are
allowed to settle their dispute by taking refund of money, the same
would   affix   a   seal   of   approval   on   the   appointment   of   persons
belonging to the 1st category. Therefore, the High Court ought not to
have   quashed   the   criminal   proceedings   on   the   basis   of   the
compromise.
44. It is needless to point out that corruption by a public servant
is an offence against the State and the society at large.  The Court
cannot   deal   with   cases   involving   abuse   of   official   position   and
adoption of corrupt practices, like suits for specific performance,
where the refund of the money paid may also satisfy the agreement
43
holder. Therefore we hold that the High Court was completely in
error in quashing the criminal complaint.
45. Coming to the next issue regarding the non­inclusion in the
final report, of the offences under the P.C. Act, the less said the
better. In the counter affidavit filed by the I.O. to the writ petition
W.P.No.9061   of   2021,   filed   by   the   non­selected   candidates,   the
modus operandi  adopted by the accused has been given in detail.
We have provided a gist of the contents of such counter affidavit
elsewhere in this judgment. We are constrained to say that even a
novice in criminal law would not have left the offences under the
P.C. Act, out of the final report.  The attempt of the I.O. appears to
be of one, “willing to strike but afraid to wound” (the opposite of
what Alexander Pope wrote in “Epistle to Dr.Arbuthnot”)15
.
46. An   argument   was   sought   to   be   advanced   as   though   the
Minister   was   not   involved   and   that   Shri   Shanmugam   who   is
allegedly   involved,   was   not   the   P.A.   to   the   Minister.   But   this
argument flies in the face of the contents of paragraph 11 of the
15 Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer, Willing
to wound and yet afraid to strike, just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.
44
counter affidavit filed by the I.O. in W.P. No.9061 of 2021 which
reads as follows:­
“11. It   is   respectfully   submitted   that,   after   the   Notification
process   Tr.V.Senthil   Balaji,   then   Minister   for   Transport
instructed   Tr.Sarangan,   Special   Officer,   Tr.K.T.Govindarajan,
Senior Deputy Manager, Administration, Tr. V.Venkadarajan,
who were serving in the Chairman office, to collect the details
regarding the day­to­day progress of the recruitment such as,
sale   of   application,   receipt   of   filled   application,   interviews
conducted, etc…   Accordingly, they have collected the details
from all the eight Transport Corporations through their email
address   ‘chotpt@gmail.com’  and   on   the   same   day,   they
transmitted   it   to   the   Minister’s   office   email   id
‘ministertransport@yahoo.com’.   The   e­mail   communications
made between Chairman office and Transport Corporations on
03.11.2014, 04.11.2014 and 05.12.2014 from the office of the
Chairman, Transport Corporations, Chennai.  Many a time, the
data had also been sent to Tr.M. Vetrichelvan, Public Relations
Officer (PRO) of MTC to his email address ‘vetri67@gmailcom’,
as   he   was   very   close   to   the   then   Transport   Minister   Tr.V.
Senthil Balaji.  It is pertinent to mention here that the e­mail
named   ‘ministertransport@yahoo.com’  had   been   maintained
only   by   Tr.B.Shanmugam   and   not   by   any   of   the   Personal
Assistants of the Minister Tr.V.Senthil Balaji.”
Therefore, the argument that there is nothing on record to show
that Shri Shanmugam was appointed as P.A. to the Minister, is to
be stated only to be rejected.
47. Yet another contention raised on behalf of the respondents is
that there are two other cases where allegations of corruption are
made and that CC No.25 of 2021 with which we are concerned now,
45
did not involve allegations of corruption. But the said contention is
abhorring, for the simple reason that all criminal complaints arose
out of the very same cash­for­job scam. We are informed that the
proceedings in respect of those two cases have also been stayed by
the High Court. We do not know how the High Court could have
stayed prosecution of persons  under the  P.C. Act, especially in
matters of this nature.
48. As a matter of fact, the State ought to have undertaken a
comprehensive investigation into the entire scam, without allowing
the accused to fish out one case as if it was a private money
dispute.
49. The reliance placed by the respondents on an order passed by
the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on an earlier occasion
in Criminal O.P.(MD)Nos.14067, 140967, 16023 of 2016, will not
have bearing upon the present complaints. In fact, the SLP filed by
a   3rd  party   against   the   order   passed   in   those   petitions   was
dismissed   by   this   Court   on   05.01.2017   even   at   the   stage   of
46
permission to file SLP. Therefore the respondents cannot rely upon
the same as if it constitutes a precedent.
Conclusion
50. In the light of what is stated above, the impugned order of the
High   Court   is   wholly   unsustainable.   Therefore   the   appeals   are
allowed and the impugned order of the High Court is set aside.  The
criminal complaint is restored to file.  The I.O. shall now proceed
under Section 173(8) of the Code to file a further report, based on
the   observations   made   in   the   preceding   paragraphs.
Additionally/alternatively, the Special Court before which the CC is
pending, shall exercise power under Section 216 of the Cr.P.C., if
there is any reluctance on the part of the State/I.O.  If two other
cases where offences under the P.C. Act are included, are under the
orders of stay passed by the High Court, the State should take
appropriate steps to have the stay vacated. The Court dealing with
those two cases should also keep in mind the disastrous effect of
putting on hold the prosecution under the P.C. Act.
47
51. At present we are not passing any orders on the prayer made
by the intervenors either to constitute a Special Investigation Team
or to appoint Special Public Prosecutor, since we do hope that
based on the observations made above, the State itself may do the
needful. We also make it clear that at the time of trial, the Special
Court may not be swayed by the observations contained herein, but
proceed on the merits of the case and the law on the points.
The appeals are allowed.  I.As stand closed.
……………………………J.
(S.Abdul Nazeer)
…………………………...J.
(V. Ramasubramanian)
New Delhi
September  8, 2022
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