In Every Case Of Mere Breach Of Contract, Criminality Cannot Be Fastened Upon The Accused Persons: Jharkhand High Court
The Jharkhand High Court quashed the criminal proceedings against the petitioner in a case registered under Sections 406, 420, 379, and 120B of the IPC. The Court held that the opposing party was needlessly prolonging the matter, emphasizing that not every dispute should lead to criminal charges, particularly when the underlying issue is civil in nature, such as a breach of contract. The petitioner had sought the quashing of all criminal proceedings against them in a case involving allegations under various sections of the IPC, along with the FIR lodged under Section 156(3) of the CrPC.
A Bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi noted, “On the intervention of this Court, the appointment has been again offered to the complainant by the company, as has been discussed hereinabove, which suggests that opposite party no.2 is unnecessarily dragging this matter and if any case is made out against the petitioners i.e. civil in nature. Mere breach of contract and in every cases, criminality cannot be fastened upon the accused persons.”
The Court emphasized that the complainant was unnecessarily prolonging the matter and that not every dispute should result in criminal charges. It cited M N G Bharateesh Reddy v. Ramesh Ranganathan and another; (2022 SCC OnLine SC 1061) to highlight that criminal prosecution for cheating could only arise if fraudulent or dishonest intentions were present from the outset of the transaction.
Advocate Indrajit Sinha appeared for the Petitioner Advocate Fahad Allam appeared for the State and Advocate Amrita Sinha appeared for opposite party no.2.
The petitioner's counsel argued that the dispute stemmed from a land sale agreement. The land had already been transferred to the company, and the complainant had been offered a job in Kolkata, which they declined. It was contended that the dispute was civil in nature, and filing a criminal case was unnecessary.
The respondent's counsel argued that the complaint included a letter of assurance, detailing the terms and conditions, including the promise of employment. They maintained that the complainant was being unjustly harassed, considering the land had been transferred to the company, and the promised employment had not been provided.
The Court noted that the complaint itself revealed that the accused had offered the complainant a job in Kolkata, which the complainant declined based on a prior understanding. The complainant wished to stay within the district. The Court also referred to the letter of assurance, which stated that the company would offer a permanent job based on qualifications, project progress, and requirements.
The Court concluded that continuing the criminal proceedings, despite the company's offer of employment, would amount to an abuse of legal processes.
The Court granted the petitioner's request and quashed the criminal proceedings against them.
Cause Title: Adhunik Power and Natural Resources Limited & Ors. v. The State of Jharkhand & Anr.