The Karnataka High Court has observed that an employee cannot be permitted to initiate criminal proceedings as an alternate method to arm-twist the employer.

The Single Bench of Justice M. Nagaprasanna was dealing with a petition seeking quashing of FIR registered for offences punishable under Sections 420, 406, 506, 149 of the Indian Penal Code.

Advocate Afsar Ahmed S. appeared for the Petitioner whereas Advocate K.S. Abhijith appeared for the State.

The Complainant-Respondent was an employee of the TTC News Channel. The news channel did not get the benefits or the profit that it was intended to. At that point in time, a notice was issued to all the employees. The notice clearly indicated that the employees will be terminated due to lack of work and funds to run the TV news channel and would be hiring them back if they become financial capable to resume the operations.

After the said notice and termination, the subject complaint is filed against the petitioner-employer by the complainant alleging that the complainant has been terminated without following due process of law.

The Court observed that if the complainant was a workman in the organization and had been terminated without following due process of law, it was open for him to initiate proceedings under the relevant provisions before the appropriate forum instead of initiating criminal proceedings that too for the offences under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC.

The Court noted that the offences under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC which deal with criminal breach of trust and cheating which have their ingredients in Sections 405 and 415 of the IPC respectively, cannot be seen to be remotely made out in the case at hand.

"The case at hand is the one where the termination of the complainant happens pursuant to the losses incurred by the petitioner or the TTC news channel. Therefore, the criminal proceedings to be initiated as an alternate method to arm twist the petitioner instead of knocking the doors of an appropriate Court for an appropriate relief, cannot be permitted to continue, as it would result in abuse of the process of law and miscarriage of justice.", the Court observed.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the criminal proceedings.

Cause Title- Sri Samiulla B. v. State of Karnataka & Anr.

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