The Karnataka High Court at Bengaluru granted anticipatory bail to the wife and son of a legal practitioner who was engaged in the act of sending fake Judicial or Court Orders to his client through WhatsApp messages having the High Court's seal along with the sign of the Registrar.

Justice Rajendra Badamikar while allowing the petition filed by the wife and son seeking anticipatory bail observed –

"Though there is allegation in the complaint that the amount is also paid to the present petitioners also, but prosecution has not produced any scrap of paper to show that any amount was deposited to the account of the present petitioners. Petitioner No.2 is the woman and petitioner No.3 is the student. Petitioner No.2 falls under exception. The offences alleged are not exclusively punishable with death or life imprisonment, and are triable by the learned Magistrate. Further the main allegation regarding forgery and cheating is against accused No.1."

The Court further made an observation that "Under these circumstances, I do not find any impediment for admitting the petitioners on bail. The other apprehensions raised by the learned HCGP can be meted by imposing certain conditions. Hence, the petition needs to be allowed by imposing certain stringent conditions."

Senior Advocate M.S.R. Prasad and Advocate Govindaraju S.P. appeared for the petitioners i.e., wife and son.

Advocate Rashmi Jadhav represented the respondent i.e., the State.

Brief Facts –

The complainant had filed a writ petition and one more case in the High Court by engaging a lawyer to prosecute both cases. In this regard, she had paid a sum of Rs.10,00,000/- to him through Demand Draft, Cash, and Cheques. The lawyer i.e., the accused had sent Court orders through WhatsApp messages bearing the seal of the High Court as well as the signature of the Registrar. When the complainant checked the High Court's website, it was found that the orders were not there. Thereafter, when she enquired with the lawyer, it was asserted that due to Corona, certain orders were not uploaded.

However, the complainant suspected that they were fake orders, and approached the accused. But on the contrary, he abused her in filthy language. She then asked him to return her case files as well as the amount of Rs.10,00,000/-. But he did not refund the said amount. Hence, the complainant filed a complaint on July 04, 2022, before the concerned jurisdictional police and the crime got registered. It was alleged that the wife and son of the accused i.e., the lawyer also received a certain amount from the complainant. Thereafter, the petitioners approached the Sessions Judge seeking anticipatory bail but the same got rejected by the Court.

Hence, the petitioners filed a petition in the High Court seeking anticipatory bail in the event of their arrest for the offences punishable under Sections 420, 465, and 468 of the Indian Penal Code.

The High Court after considering the above-stated matter noted –

"Having heard the arguments and perusing the records, it is evident that accused No.1 is a legal practitioner and complainant has entrusted writ petition No.56012/2015 and RSA No.50/2017 to him to prosecute on her behalf. Further she has alleged to have given Rs.10,00,000/- to him. Though it is alleged that amount was paid to the present petitioners also, but prima-facie no material evidence is placed to show that the present petitioners have received any amount from the complainant. Further the present petitioners are not legal practitioners. The allegation does discloses that it is only accused No.1 who has forged the Court's orders and sent through Whats App to the complainant."

The Court further ordered –

"The petitioners/accused Nos.2 and 3 are directed to be enlarged on bail in event of their arrest, in Crime No.44/2022 of Vidhana Soudha Police Station, registered for the offences punishable under Sections 420, 465, 468 of IPC on each of them executing personal bond for a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakhs only) with one surety for the like-sum to the satisfaction of the Investigating Officer/SHO."

Accordingly, the Court allowed the petition and granted anticipatory bail.

Cause Title – Umadevi Murugesh and Anr. v. State of Karnataka

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