Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. hearing an application under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, quashed the cognizance taken against the petitioner holding that the subject dispute was purely a civil dispute.
Chairman of an NGO named Bharat Bharati (Educational) Service Institution, instituted a complaint case against the petitioner (Managing Director of the said NGO) alleging non-disbursal of funds received by him from the central government in lieu of certain jobs done by the NGO for the forest department of the State. Cognizance of the said case was taken under Sections 406, 420, 467 and 120(B) of the Penal Code, 1860. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner moved this Court under Section 482 of CrPC praying for quashing of the learned Magistrate’s order.
The Court observed that a purely civil dispute with regard to the distribution of money among the office bearers of the concerned NGO could not be said to be in the nature of any criminal offence as it was a pure and simple money dispute among the office bearers of the said NGO.
It was opined that where a person is aggrieved by non-payment of money, the only remedy available is under common civil law by way of filing a money suit. Reliance, in this regard, was placed on the judgment in Indian Oil Corpn. v. NEPC India Ltd, (2006) 6 SCC 736 where the practice of settling civil disputes by applying pressure through criminal prosecution was deprecated.
In view of the above, it was held that the institution of complaint case against the petitioner was the abuse of process of the court, and petitioner’s application was allowed.[Rameshwar Prasad Sinha v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 48, Order dated 15-01-2019]