Can Person Be Tried Under NI Act And Also Under IPC For Similar Allegations - SC Refers Question To Larger Bench
Whether on a similar set of allegations of fact the accused can be tried for an offence under the Negotiable Instrument Act and also for offences under the Indian Penal Code unaffected by the prior conviction or acquittal, the issue has been referred to a larger Bench by the Supreme Court Bench of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice JK Maheshwari.
The Bench was dealing with a case where proceedings against a person for offences under Sections 120B, 406, 420 and 34 of Indian Penal Code was quashed by the High Court considering that proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act pertaining to the same cause of action and on the same facts and grounds were pending, prior to the registration of the proceedings under IPC.
Advocate S. Nagamuthu appearing for the appellant contended that in the facts of the present case the plea of double jeopardy or bar of Section 300(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure would attract only when the earlier offence and the later offence is same or have same ingredients.
While placing reliance on the judgments in the case- Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel v. State of Gujarat and Anr, (2012), he urged that the quashing of the proceedings as directed by the High Court was wholly unjustified.
On the other hand, T Harish Kumar, Counsel for the respondents, placed reliance on the judgments made in the case- Kolla Veera Raghav Rao v. Gorantla Venkateswara Rao and Anr, (2011) and also on- G. Sagar Suri and Anr. v. State of UP and Others, (2000).
The Supreme Court observed thus "In our considered view, the bench of this Court in the case of Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel (supra) followed in M/s. V.S. Reddy and Sons (supra) has taken a different view from the previous judgments of G. Sagar Suri (supra) and Kolla Veera Raghav Rao (supra) rendered by the bench of the same strength. The view taken in both the cases are conflicting to each other."
Considering that the judgments cited by the respective parties were conflicting, the Court referred this issue to a larger bench to answer the following questions:
• Whether the ratio of the judgment, in the case of G. Sagar Suri (supra) and Kolla Veera Raghav Rao (supra) lay down the correct law?
• Whether on similar set of allegations of fact the accused can be tried for an offence under NI Act which is special enactment and also for offences under IPC unaffected by the prior conviction or acquittal and, the bar of Section 300(1) Cr.P.C. would attract for such trial?
Cause Title- J. Vedhasingh v. R.M. Govindan & Ors.