Decided on June 23,2005



Pratibha Upasani, - (1.) THIS miscellaneous appeal is filed by the appellants/original defendant Nos. 3 to 6 being aggrieved by the order dated 23rd September, 2004 passed by the learned Presiding Officer of D.R.T., Pune on Ext. No. 28 in Original Application No. 226 of 2003. By the impugned order the learned Presiding Officer rejected the application made by the appellants for staying proceedings in the D.R.T. on the ground that criminal proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act initiated by the Bank are pending before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dadar.
(2.) I have heard Mr. Shintre for the appellant and Mr. Nasikwala for the respondent Bank. I have also gone through the proceedings including the impugned order and, in my view, the learned Presiding Officer has correctly passed the order. It is the contention of the appellants that since criminal proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act are pending before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dadar, proceedings before the D.R.T., Pune be stayed. It is contended that if the proceedings of the present Original Application are proceeded with, then appellants' defence in criminal proceedings is likely to be prejudiced. In my view, the above contention of the appellants is misplaced. Criminal proceedings can go on in their own way and civil proceedings can proceed independently. Criminal proceedings which are pending against the appellants are for dishonour of cheques and if the offence against the appellants is proved, penal consequences will follow. The present civil proceedings, however, are initiated by the Bank for recovery of its dues from the appellants and these civil proceedings have nothing to do with the dishonour of cheques.
(3.) RECOURSE can be usefully taken to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of State of Rajasthan v. Kalyan Sundram Inds. Ltd. II (1996) BC 189 (SC). In that case, the respondent company, after inviting tenders had executed an agreement on 13th April, 1969 for execution of the project. Thereafter, three post-dated cheques dated between May and July, 1989 were given for a sum of Rs. 6, 87, 100/-each of which got bounced. After issuing notice, suits came to be filed for recovery by the Bank. Simultaneously, proceedings were initiated by the Bank against the respondent company under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code in three complaints being C.C. Nos. 219, 220 and 254 of 1989. The High Court stayed the proceedings of the civil suits pending disposal of the criminal case. Thereafter, the Bank approached the Supreme Court by way of filing civil appeal by special leave. The Hon'ble Supreme Court on this background, observed that: It is settled law that pendency of the criminal matters would not be an impediment to proceed with the civil suits. The Criminal Court would deal with the offence punishable under the Act. On the other hand, the Courts rarely stay the criminal cases and only when the compelling circumstances require exercise power (of stay). We have never come across stay of any civil suits by the Courts so far. The High Court of Rajasthan is only an exception to pass such orders. The High Court proceeded on wrong premise that the accused would be expected to disclose their defence in the criminal case by asking them to proceed with the trial of the suit. It is not a correct principle of law.... Thus, when the High Court of Rajasthan stayed the civil proceedings by its order on the ground that criminal proceedings were pending, the Hon'ble Supreme Court passed strictures against the High Court.;

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