Decided on March 14,1996


Referred Judgements :-



SATYA NARAYAN CHAKRABORTHY, J. - (1.)CRIMINAL Revision No. 2558 of 1991 has been filed for quashing criminal proceeding being Case No. 4 of 1987 under Section 409/467/471/477 -A of the Indian Penal Code pending in the Calcutta Fourth Special Court and the impugned order dated 23 -8 -1991 passed therein.
(2.)PETITIONER 's case in short is that the employees of the Food and Supplies Department Govt. of West Bengal, formed a Co -operative Society which is registered under the relevant Act and its known as Food Directorate Employees' Co -operative Societies Ltd., Which is being run according to the provision of Co -operative Societies Act by its Managing Committee whose members were elected from time to time. In the Annual General Meeting held on 16.5.1972, members of the Managing Committee for the period 1972 -73 were elected and thereafter the petitioner was elected as Treasurer and he remained Treasurer for one year only and thereafter handed over charge to his successor -in -office. After 1973, a "casting" mistake of a sum of Rs. 1100/ - was found in the accounts of the Society whereupon special audit was ordered and it was detected that the said sum was not deposited in the bank of the Society and subsequent Secretary made a complaint on 13.10.1982 against the petitioner and the Accountant and the case was registered as section "J", Taltola P.S. Case No. 618 dated 16.11.1982 and by order dated 6.12.1982 learned Judge, Calcutta Fourth Special Court, in his Special Case No. 4 of 1985 framed charges against the petitioner and the Accountant under sections 409/477 -A and 409/120 B of the Indian Penal Code. The petitioner, on account of long lapse of time from the date of occurrence and continuance of the case for about seven years moved a revisional application before this Court (Criminal Revision No. 345 of 1989) in which interim order was passed which is still in operation.
(3.)THE Secretary filed another petition of complaint before the teamed Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on 4.10.82 whereupon an order under sections 156 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure was passed and section "J", Taltola P.S. Case No. 551 dated 18.10.1982 under sections 409/469/471/477 A of the Indian Penal Code was started and ultimately the police submitted charge -sheet on 18.11.1987 to the effect that the petitioner being Treasurer of this Society in 1973 and the custodian of its cash and cheques in connivance with some other unknown persons committed criminal breach of trust in respect of Rs. 2,314.50 by three cheques allegedly issued in September, October and November, 1973 and in respect of the three other accused no case was made out in the charge -sheet. After protracted investigation for over five years police submitted charge -sheet before the learned Judge and copies of the papers were supplied after long time and case was registered as Special Case No. 4 of 1987 and the learned Judge after about four years took up the matter of framing of charge and by order dated 23.8.1991, he framed charge against the petitioner.
According to the petitioner, the impugned criminal proceeding is liable to be quashed for the following reasons : -

(1) the material on record, particularly the report dated 13.3.1986 of the Director -Questioned Documents Examination Bureau, C.I.D. West Bengal, revealed that no opinion regarding authorship of the writing on the cheques in question could be given and there is nothing on record to show that the petitioner was the person putting signature on the questioned cheques and the withdrew the money encashing those cheques. There was also nothing to show that the petitioner was the sole custodian of the cheques of the Co -operative Society and no material could be collected to substantiate the ingredients of the offence with which the petitioner has been charged.

(2) The charge framed against the accused are not compatible with the allegations made against him in the petition of complaint. It was the allegation of the investigating agency that the petitioner committed criminal breach of trust and other offences in respect of a sum of Rs. 2,314.50 belonging to the Food Directorate Employees' Co -operative Society Ltd. of 11 A Mirza Ghalib Street, Calcutta as Treasurer of the Society, but the charge framed would show that the Books of Accounts of the Society actually belonged to the Government of West Bengal which is not supported by materials collected during investigation. Though the incident allegedly took place in September, October and November, 1973 more than 18 years have passed and the matter is still pending. The petitioner has been kept under in definite suspense and he has been suffering harassment and ordeal for such a long period although there is no specific material to implicate him fundamental right enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution inasmuch as speedy trial is part of such right to life and liberty. Accordingly, the impugned proceeding should be quashed on the ground of unreasonable delay in completing the trial and it would be improper and against interest of justice of proceed with the trial.


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