MANJU GUPTA Vs. LT COL M S PAINTAL
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: DELHI)
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Tulzapurkar, J. -
(1.) In this appeal the question raised is whether the process issued by Shri Om Prakash, Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi, against the appellant (Smt. Manju Gupta) for an offence under Ss. 467/471 read with S. 34, I.P.C. on a complaint filed by the respondent (Lt. Col. M. S. Paintal) should be quashed or not The appellant's attempt to get it quashed under S. 482, Cr. P. C. failed before the Delhi High Court and hence this appeal. After hearing counsel on either side at great length we were satisfied that the said process should be quashed and by our order dated 26th April, 1982 we directed accordingly and observed that the reasons would follow. We are now indicating our reasons for the order.
(2.) The facts in brief are these:The complainant-respondent is the owner/landlord of premises bearing Municipal No. C-221, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi; he had let out the ground floor of the said premises to South Delhi Public School through Surinder Nath (accused No. 1, being the husband of the appellant) at the monthly rent of Rs. 1,000, the school is run by a Registered Society known as Cosmopolitan Society of Education Research and Child Welfare, of which the appellant and her husband Surinder Nath were at all material times the Secretary and the Jt. Secretary respectively. It appears that civil proceedings are pending between the parties:one is an eviction petition filed by the respondent against Surinder Nath and the Society and another is a suit filed by him for recovery of arrears of rents against them and the complaint has arisen from what transpired in these civil proceedings. In substance the allegation of the respondent has been that this Surinder Nath in furtherance of the common intention of three accused (himself, his wife and the Society through its Chairman) had forged two rent receipts dated 7th June, 1976 and 18th October, 1977 and had filed them in the proceedings pending before the respective Rent Controllers with a view to show that no rent was due from the tenants and the case in the complaint is that these forged receipts had been fraudulently and dishonestly used by the accused as genuine. After registering the complaint, recording complainant's evidence and perusing the various documents filed by the respondent, the learned Magistrate issued process by summoning both the accused Surinder Nath and his wife (the appellant) for offences under Ss. 467/471 read with S. 34, I.P.C. The question is whether on the entire material on record any case for the commission of the offences could be said to have been made out by the respondent against the appellant for issuing the process
(3.) Counsel for the appellant contended that even if all the allegations made in the complaint and the material produced by the respondent before the Magistrate are taken into account and accepted as true no case could be said to have been made out against the appellant. He urged that no specific allegation or any overt-act has been ascribed to the appellant in the matter of the commission of the offence of using forged documents as genuine in civil proceedings pending before the Rent Controllers and the respondent has dragged the appellant to criminal Court with a view to use the criminal process as a lever for pressurising the settlement of the civil dispute to his satisfaction. We find considerable force in this submission for the criminal process has been resorted to even when the civil proceedings are pending and even before the issue whether the disputed receipts are forged or genuine is finally decided by the Rent Controller.;
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