Decided on July 28,1971



- (1.) THESE Criminal Revision Cases raise a common question. Seventeen charge-sheets were filed before the 8th City Magistrate. Hyderabad. The offences alleged in each charge sheet were those under Sections 120-B 420 and 477-A. I. P. C. The first accused in all the cases was common while the other accused were different. The first accused was, during the relevant period, the warehouseman in charge of the godowns of the Central Warehousing Corporation at Hyderabad. The other accused were persons who had either stored or purported to store their grain in the godowns of the Corporation. The case against the accused as stated in each of the charge sheets was that they entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the Corporation and the concerned Bank by getting false entries made in the account books of the Corporation both as regards the quality and the quantity of the grain stored in the godowns of the Corporation, by getting false receipts from the Corporation and by inducing the Bank to advance loans on the basis of the false entries and false receipts.
(2.) THE accused appeared before the learned Magistrate and raised a preliminary objection that the prosecutions were incompetent as they were launched in contravention of Section 196-A (1) and (2) Criminal P. C. The learned Magistrate was of the view trial the consent of the State Government under Section 196-A (2) was unnecessary as the principal object of the conspiracy was to cheat and dishonestly induce to deliver property. He, however, held that Section. 196-A (1) was applicable to the facts of the case and that the charge sheets were not filed by an authorised person as contemplated by that section. The charge sheets were therefore directed to be returned. The principal Sessions Judge at Hyderabad referred these cases to this court under Section 438, Criminal P. C. as he was of the view that Section 196-A (1) had no application and the learned Magistrate was wrong in returning the charge sheets. Section 196-A. Criminal P. C. is as follows: 196-A: No court shall take cognizance of the offence of criminal conspiracy punishable under Section 120b of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ). (1) In a case where the object of the conspiracy is to commit either an illegal act other than an offence, or a legal act by illegal means, or an offence to which the provisions of Section 196 apply, unless upon complaint made by order or under authority from the State Government or some officer empowered by the State Government in this behalf, or (2) In a case where the object of the conspiracy is to commit any non-cognizable offence or, a cognizable offence not punishable with death. imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards unless the State Government or a Chief Presidency Magistrate or District Magistrate empowered in this behalf by the State Government has, by order in writing. consented to the initiation of the proceedings: Provided that where the criminal conspiracy is one to which the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 195 apply no such consent shall be necessary," Section 120-A. I. P. C. which defines criminal conspiracy is as follows: 120-A. Definition of criminal conspiracy. When two or more persons agree to do. or cause to be done: (1) an illegal act, or (2) an act which is not illegal by illegal means such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy: Provided that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offence shall amount to a criminal conspiracy unless some act besides the agreement is done by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof. EXPLANATION: It is immaterial whether the illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement, or is merely incidental to that object.
(3.) SRI T. V. Sarma learned Counsel who appeared for some of the accused and whose arguments were adopted by other learned counsel, submitted with considerable ingenuity that the object of the conspiracy was to obtain a loan from the Bank, a legal act; only the means adopted, that is the making of false entries and receipts was illegal. Therefore. he urged, the conspiracy was to commit a legal act by illegal means: Section 196-A (1) was therefore attracted. I do not agree with Sri Sarma. The object of the conspiracy was not to simply obtain from the Bank a loan to which the person concerned was eligible but it was to deceive and thereby dishonestly induce the Bank to advance a loan to which he was not eligible. The object of the conspiracy was clearly to commit an illegal art which was an offence i. e. cheating end dishonestly inducing delivery of property (Section 420 I. P. C.) Section 196-A (1) has no application,;

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