Offence under Section 135 of Electricity Act not a dispute private in nature; quashing of FIR would be misplaced sympathy: Delhi HC

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. declined to exercise jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC to quash an FIR registered against the petitioner.

The petitioner was facing criminal prosecution under Section 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003. The petitioner who was represented by V.K. Sharma, Advocate sought quashing of FIR on the basis of payment of Rs 1,60,000 to the power distribution company. The prime contention was that the dispute being of civil liability, therefore the ruling of Supreme Court in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641 would not apply.

The High Court reproduced the relevant portion of board principles governing the exercise of extraordinary power and jurisdiction of the Court under Section 482 CrPC as observed in Parbatbhai case. As far as the present case concerned, the Court observed that “Theft of electrical energy is menace which the society suffers at great cost to itself and to the State. It is a serious offence which affects the financial and economic well being of the State having implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere dispute between private disputants”. Opining that such offence cannot be termed to be private in nature, the Court held that exercising jurisdiction under Section 482, in this case, would be a misplaced sympathy. Consequently, the application was dismissed. [Mukesh Chand v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13031, dated 10-12-2018]

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