Supreme Court in Thermax Ltd. and others Versus K.M. Johny and others [(2011) 11 SCALE 128]

The principles enunciated from the above-quoted decisions clearly show that for proceedings under Section 156(3) of the Code, the complaint must disclose relevant material ingredients of Sections 405, 406, 420 read with Section 34 IPC. If there is a flavour of civil nature, the same cannot be agitated in the form of criminal proceeding. If there is huge delay and in order to avoid the period of limitation, it cannot be resorted to a criminal proceeding.

The Courts below failed to appreciate an important aspect that the complaint came to be filed in the year 2002 when the alleged disputes pertain to the period from 1993 -1995. As rightly pointed out, the Courts below ought to have appreciated that Respondent No. 1 was trying to circumvent the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts which stopped him from proceeding on account of the law of limitation.

The entire analysis of the complaints with reference to the principles enunciated above and the ingredients of Sections 405, 406, 420 read with Section 34 IPC clearly show that there was inordinate delay and laches, the complaint itself is inherently improbable contains the flavour of civil nature and taking note of the closure of earlier three complaints that too after thorough investigation by the police, we are of the view that the Magistrate committed a grave error in calling for a report under Section 156(3) of the Code from the Crime Branch, Pune. In view of those infirmities and in the light of Section 482 of the Code, the High Court ought to have quashed those proceedings to safeguard the rights of the Appellants. For these reasons, the order passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Pimpri in CC No. 12 of 2002 on 20.08.2007 and the judgment of the High Court dated 11.01.2008 in Criminal Writ Petition No. 1622 of 2007 are set aside. The complaint filed by Respondent No. 1 herein is quashed.