M.R.SHAH, J. -
(2.)Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned common judgment and order dated 11.05.2020 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Bench at Indore in M.Cr.C No. 49338/2019 and M.Cr.C. No. 49972/2019, the original petitioner as well as the State of Madhya Pradesh have preferred the present appeals.
By the impugned common judgment and order, the High Court has dismissed the aforesaid applications filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the respective FIRs for the offences under Sections 379 and 414, IPC, Sections 4/21 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as the 'MMDR Act') and under Rule 18 of the M.P. Minerals (Prevention of illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage) Rules, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as the '2006 Rules').
(3.)The facts in nutshell are as under:
On a surprise inspection, the respective Mining Inspectors checked the tractor/trolleys of the private appellants along with the minor mineral (sand/storage/yellow soil etc.) loaded in them. They handed over the tractor/trolleys to the concerned police stations to keep them in safe custody. Finding the private appellants indulged in illegal mining/transportation of minor mineral, the mining Inspectors prepared their respective cases under Rule 53 of the Madhya Pradesh Minor Mineral Rules, 1996(hereinafter referred to as the '1996 Rules') and submitted them before the Mining Officers with a proposal of compounding the same for the amount calculated according to the concerned 1996 Rules. The concerned Mining Officers submitted those cases before the Collector, who approved the proposal. The violators accepted the decision and deposited the amounts determined by the Collector for compounding the cases. Their tractor/trolleys along with the minerals, which were illegally excavated/transported, were released.
3.1 That after some time, a news was published in a daily newspaper - Bhaskar on 8.9.2019 with respect to illegal excavation/transportation of mineral sand from Chambal, Shivna and Retam and other Tributary rivers flow from District Mandsuar and in surrounding places. It was revealed that due to illegal transportation of the minerals and without payment of royalty, revenue loss is occurring. It was reported that illegal mining, storage and transportation of mineral sand was being carried out at large scale. Similar kind of information was also subsequently published on 3.10.2019 in the daily newspaper -Bhaskar in Mandsuar edition. It was also reported that despite the offences under Sections 379 and 414, IPC and the offences under the MMDR Act and the 2006 Rules were found attracted, necessary legal action has not been taken and the violators were permitted to go on compounding the offence under Rule 53 of the 1996 Rules. The learned Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Mandsuar took note of the aforesaid information and having taken note of the decision of this Court in the case of State (NCT of Delhi) vs. Sanjay, (2014) 9 SCC 772 taking the view that offences under the IPC and offences under the MMDR Act are distinct and different and it is permissible to lodge/initiate the proceedings for the offences under the IPC as well as under the MMDR Act, the learned Magistrate in exercise of powers conferred under Section 156(3), Cr.P.C. (suo motu) directed to register criminal case under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. for initiation of investigation and for submitting of report after due investigation is conducted. The learned Magistrate also directed the concerned In-charge/SHOs of the concerned police stations to register the first information report and a copy of the first information report be sent to the learned Magistrate as per the provisions of Section 157, Cr.P.C. 3.2 That pursuant to the order passed by the learned Magistrate, the In-charge/SHOs of the concerned police stations lodged separate FIRs for the aforesaid offences for illegal mining/transportation of sand, particulars of which are as under:
3.3 That thereafter the private appellants and others approached the High Court to quash the aforesaid FIRs registered against them for illegal mining/transportation of sand by submitting the applications under Section 482, Cr.P.C. It was mainly contended on behalf of the private appellants and other violators that in view of Bar under Section 22 of the MMDR Act, the order passed by the learned Magistrate directing to register the FIRs is unsustainable and deserves to the quashed and set aside. It was also contended on behalf of the private appellants and other violators that once there was compounding of offence in exercise of powers under Rule 53 of the 1996 Rules and the violators paid the amount determined by permitting them to compound the offence, thereafter the Magistrate was not justified in directing to initiate fresh proceedings which would be hit by the principle of "double jeopardy". That by the impugned common judgment and order, the High Court has dismissed all the aforesaid applications relying upon the decision of this Court in the case of Sanjay (supra).