Decided on August 20,2007

CHAMAN LAL Appellant
STATE Respondents


- (1.) This petition has been preferred by the petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and Section 482 of Cr.P.C for quashing the FIR No.7 of 2003 dated 6th January, 2003. It is submitted that the allegations in FIR against the petitioner were that he while working as C.O., collected Rs.31,000/- from the consumers as water charges against the water bills but he neither deposited the said amount in the office nor returned the same to the consumers. The petitioner submits that on the same allegations, a departmental inquiry was conducted against him and the Inquiry Officer came to conclusion that the charges against the petitioner could not be established since none of the witness has come forward to depose that they made payments to the petitioner. It is prayed that in view of findings of enquiry officer, this FIR should be quashed.
(2.) The petitioner relied upon 83 (2000) DLT 395 Madan Lal Khandelwal v B. Hazara Enforcement Officer and 2005(3) 8 Delhi 307 Sunder Lal vs. Union of India. In the first case, the charges against the petitioner were that the petitioner violated Sections 9(1) B, 9(1) D and Section 64 of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. A show cause notice was served upon the petitioner by the Enforcement Directorate and the Enforcement Directorate, after conducting an inquiry, came to conclusion that there was no violation of these provisions of the FERA Act, 1973. The Court, therefore, held that since department itself held that there was no violation, the criminal complaint against the petitioner could not survive. To similar effect is the second judgment. In the instant case, the inquiry officer exonerated the petitioner since none of the witnesses came forward to depose against the petitioner and that a complaint made by the petitioner to his department along with a statement of Pradhan of the area that someone else had collected money in the name of the petitioner, was not acted upon.
(3.) I consider that on the ground that the petitioner has been exonerated in departmental inquiry, criminal proceedings against the petitioner cannot be quashed. The findings given by the Enquiry Officer in departmental inquiry are not binding on the criminal court. The procedure which is followed by the inquiry officer in a departmental inquiry is quite different from the procedure followed by the criminal courts. Criminal court has power to force the attendance of a witness by coercive measures, which the inquiry officer does not have.;

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