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Panna Lal vs Emperor Through Mukat Behari Lal

High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad|07 September, 1942


ORDER Allsop, J.
1. This is a reference by the learned Additional Sessions Judge of Alighar recommending that this Court should direct a Magistrate to stay the proceedings in a criminal case. The complaint was filed in December 1941 and the Magistrate did stay proceedings for some time because he was told that there was a civil suit connected with the same affair which had been instituted on 12th July 1941 and which was still pending. After waiting for a considerable time, the Magistrate decided that he could wait no longer and directed that the criminal case should proceed. The learned Additional Sessions Judge considers that he was wrong. In my judgment there is no sufficient reason for staying the criminal proceedings any further. The civil suit was instituted by the present accused in order to recover a sum of Rs. 126. He alleged that the complainant had deposited an ornament with him in order to secure the payment of a debt and that in spite of four notices to the complainant that the ornament alleged to be of gold was largely alloy and that he should pay the debt and redeem it, the complainant failed to do so and the accused had to sell the ornament for what it was worth which was less by a sum of Rs. 126 than the amount due from the complainant to the accused. It was five months later that the complainant made the criminal complaint alleging that the accused had misappropriated the necklace which had been deposited with him and had pretended to sell it for much less than it was really worth. Sometime later, the complainant filed a civil suit on the same allegation.
2. The learned Judge thinks that the decision of the criminal case should wait till the civil cases are decided. I do not accept this view. The learned Judge seems to have an idea that the criminal Court will be bound by the decisions of the civil Court, but one moment's consideration should show that there is no force in that idea. The criminal case is one between the Crown representing the interests of the general public to prevent dishonesty and insecurity on the one side and the accused on the other. The offences with which the accused have been charged are under Sections 420 and 406, Penal Code. The latter offence is not compoundable and the former is compoundable only with the consent of the Court. It is clear that the criminal case is not one in which the Court is concerned only with the interests of the complainant or with any dispute between the complainant and the accused. If it were held that criminal Courts in these circumstances should be bound or should even be affected by decision of civil Courts it would lay open a way to a complainant to compound offences of this nature by allowing a collusive civil decree to be passed against him. It may be that the criminal charge against the accused is frivolous as has been argued on his behalf, but if that is so, the Magistrate will doubtless discharge the accused. There seems to be no reason why the criminal proceedings should be stayed because they are to all intents and purposes independent of the decisions in the civil suit which will be decisions between the complainant and the accused and not decisions between the Crown and the accused. I reject the reference. The criminal case will proceed.
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Panna Lal vs Emperor Through Mukat Behari Lal


High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad

07 September, 1942