Sec.499,500 of I.P.C. - Sec.197 Cr.P.C. and Sec.482 of Cr.P.C.- Defamatory letter addressed to the Higher authorities as a president of Association - whether sanction necessary - whether complaint is liable to be quashed - High court held that The test to be applied is whether the alleged act of the petitioner will fall within the four corners of Section 197 Cr.P.C or not? It is not the case of the petitioner that he addressed the letter dated 20.04.2010 to the Commissioner of Civil Supplies department while discharging his duties as Additional Director of Civil Supplies. Nowhere it is mentioned that the The Association activities forms integral part of the official duties of an Additional Director. and It is a settled principle of law that the Court has to take into consideration the allegations made in the complaint only while deciding the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The Court is not justified in embarking upon an enquiry to ascertain the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations made in the complaint at the pre-trial stage. The allegations made in the complaint, prima facie, constitute the offence alleged to have been committed by the petitioner for the offence punishable under Section 500 IPC.= CRIMINAL PETITION No.8936 OF 2011 01-08-2014 E. Laxmi Reddy...PETITIONER The State of A.P. rep. by Public Prosecutor High Court of A.P, Hyderabad and another.RESPONDENTS = 2014 - Aug. Month - http://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=11790

 Sec.499,500 of I.P.C. - Sec.197 Cr.P.C. and Sec.482 of Cr.P.C.- Defamatory letter addressed to the Higher authorities as a president of Association - whether sanction necessary - whether complaint is liable to be quashed - High court held that The test to be applied is whether the alleged act of
the petitioner will fall within the four corners of Section 197 Cr.P.C or not? It is not the case of the petitioner that he addressed the letter dated 20.04.2010 to the Commissioner of Civil Supplies
department while discharging his duties as Additional Director of Civil Supplies.  Nowhere it is mentioned that the The Association activities forms integral part of the official
duties of an Additional Director. and It is a settled principle of law that the Court has to take
into consideration the allegations made in the complaint only while deciding the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C.  The Court is not justified in embarking upon an enquiry to
ascertain the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations made in the complaint at the pre-trial stage.  The allegations made in the complaint, prima facie, constitute the offence alleged to have been committed by the petitioner for the offence punishable under Section 500 IPC.=

The petitioner and the respondent are acting as
president and honorary president of the Association.  In
course of time, disputes arose between them in connection
with the day to day affairs of the association.
        While things stood thus, the petitioner addressed a
letter to the Commissioner of Civil Supplies on 20.04.2010
making some allegations against the second respondent.
Being felt ashamed of the allegations made in the said letter,
the second respondent filed the complaint before the court
below. =
1) Second respondent filed the complaint without following the due
procedure as contemplated under Section 197 Cr.P.C; and
=
A perusal of Section 197 Cr.P.C. at a glance
demonstrates that this section was incorporated in Cr.P.C. to
protect a public servant in respect of an act or omission
committed by him while discharging duties in his official
capacity.  The test to be applied is whether the alleged act of
the petitioner will fall within the four corners of Section 197
Cr.P.C or not?
        It is not the case of the petitioner that he addressed the
letter dated 20.04.2010 to the Commissioner of Civil Supplies
department while discharging his duties as Additional
Director of Civil Supplies.  Nowhere it is mentioned that the
The Association activities forms integral part of the official
duties of an Additional Director. =
 2) The allegations made in the complaint do not constitute any
offence, much less the alleged offence under Section 500 IPC.=

It is a settled principle of law that the Court has to take
into consideration the allegations made in the complaint only
while deciding the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C.  The
Court is not justified in embarking upon an enquiry to
ascertain the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations
made in the complaint at the pre-trial stage.  The allegations
made in the complaint, prima facie, constitute the offence
alleged to have been committed by the petitioner for the
offence punishable under Section 500 IPC.
        A perusal of the record reveals that the learned
Magistrate, after satisfying himself with the material available
on record, has taken cognizance of the offence against the
petitioner under Section 500 IPC.   Viewed from either legal or
factual aspects, I am of the considered opinion that the trial
Court has not committed any irregularity or illegality while
taking cognizance of the offence against the petitioner.
   2014 - Aug. Month - http://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=11790    

THE HONBLE SRI JUSTICE T. SUNIL CHOWDARY        

CRIMINAL PETITION No.8936 OF 2011    

01-08-2014

E. Laxmi Reddy...PETITIONER  

The State of A.P. rep. by Public Prosecutor High Court of A.P, Hyderabad and
another.RESPONDENTS    

Counsel for Petitioners :Sri P. Veera Reddy, Senior    
                          Counsel
                          For Sri Karri Murali Krishna

Counsel for 1st Respondent: Additional Public
                             Prosecutor
Counsel for 2nd Respondent:Sri J. Sudheer

<GIST:

>HEAD NOTE:  


? Cases referred

  AIR 1979 SC 1841
2 (2008) 14 SCC 661
3 2006 (3) ALT (Crl.) 355 (A.P.)
4 (2010) 15 SCC 163
5 (1981) 3 SCC 208



THE HONBLE SRI JUSTICE T. SUNIL CHOWDARY        
CRIMINAL PETITION No.8936 OF 2011    
ORDER:
        This petition is filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash
the proceedings in C.C.No.616 of 2011 on the file of XIV
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, City Criminal
Courts, Namapply, Hyderabad.
        Sri P. Veera Reddy, the learned senior counsel
appearing for the petitioner submitted that institution of
criminal proceedings against the petitioner is not
maintainable for the following two grounds, viz., 1) Second
respondent filed the complaint without following the due
procedure as contemplated under Section 197 Cr.P.C; and 2) 
The allegations made in the complaint do not constitute any
offence, much less the alleged offence under Section 500 IPC.
        Per contra, Sri J. Sudheer, the learned counsel for the
second respondent submitted that there is no need to follow
the procedure contemplated under Section 197 Cr.P.C.  He
further submitted that since the allegations made in the
complaint satisfy the basic ingredients of Section 499 IPC, the
complaint before the Court below is maintainable.
        The second respondent filed a complaint under Section
200 Cr.P.C. against the petitioner for the offence punishable
under Section 500 IPC on the file of the learned XIV
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, City Criminal
Courts, Nampally, Hyderabad.   The learned Magistrate, after
following the due procedure contemplated under Cr.P.C, has
taken cognizance of the offence against the petitioner under
Section 500 IPC and issued process.
        The second respondent worked as Additional Director of
Civil Supplies and retired from service on attaining the age of
superannuation.  He also worked as president of Civil
Supplies Welfare Association (hereinafter referred as the
association) while he was in government service. The
petitioner has been working as Assistant Director of Civil
Supplies department, Somajiguda, Hyderabad. After 
retirement of the second respondent, the petitioner was
elected as president of the Association.  However, the 2nd
respondent was elected as honorary president of the
Association.  The petitioner and the respondent are acting as
president and honorary president of the Association.  In
course of time, disputes arose between them in connection
with the day to day affairs of the association.
        While things stood thus, the petitioner addressed a
letter to the Commissioner of Civil Supplies on 20.04.2010
making some allegations against the second respondent. 
Being felt ashamed of the allegations made in the said letter,
the second respondent filed the complaint before the court
below.  The above said fact is the root cause which made the
petitioner and the second respondent to approach the
criminal court as well as this Court.
        The first question that arises for consideration is
whether the filing of complaint by the second respondent is
hit by the provisions of Section 197 Cr.P.C.
        Section 21 IPC defines public servant.  There is no
doubt that the petitioner herein will fall within the scope of
public servant, as defined under Section 21 IPC.  But whether
he is entitled to take shelter under Section 197 Cr.P.C has to
be considered in the light of the alleged lis between the
petitioner and the second respondent.  The relevant portion of
Section 197 Cr.P.C reads as follows:
        197. Prosecution of Judges and public servants.-
(1) When any person who is or was a Judge or 
Magistrate or a public servant not removable from his
office save by or with the sanction of the Government is
accused of any offence alleged to have been committed
by him while acting or purporting to act in the
discharge of his official duty, no Court shall take
cognizance of such offence except with the previous
sanction-
(a) x x x x x x
(b) in the case of a person who is employed or, as the
case may be, was at the time of commission of the
alleged offence employed, in connection with the affairs
of a State, of the State Government.
(2) x x x x x x
(3) x x x x x x
(4) x x x x x x
        A perusal of Section 197 Cr.P.C. at a glance
demonstrates that this section was incorporated in Cr.P.C. to
protect a public servant in respect of an act or omission
committed by him while discharging duties in his official
capacity.  The test to be applied is whether the alleged act of
the petitioner will fall within the four corners of Section 197
Cr.P.C or not?
        It is not the case of the petitioner that he addressed the
letter dated 20.04.2010 to the Commissioner of Civil Supplies
department while discharging his duties as Additional
Director of Civil Supplies.  Nowhere it is mentioned that the
The Association activities forms integral part of the official
duties of an Additional Director.  It is a known fact that
associations are formed to pursue the welfare and well being
of the employees of that particular department. It is the
choice of the government employee either to join in the
association or not. The nature of the duties discharged by the
petitioner as Additional Director of Civil Supplies is entirely
different to that of a president of the Civil Supplies Service
Association.  The association activities cannot be equated
with the official duties. Both are distinct and different to each
other.   A perusal of the letter dated 20.04.2010 clearly
manifest that the petitioner addressed the said letter to the
Commissioner of Civil Supplies in the capacity of president of
the Association but not while discharging his official duties as
Additional Director of Civil Supplies Department.  Addressing
of letter by the petitioner to the Commissioner of Civil
Supplies will not fall within the purview of Section 197
Cr.P.C.
        The Honble Supreme Court, in B.Saha and Ors. Vs.
M.S. Kochar , while interpreting the scope of Section 197
Cr.P.C, held as under:
                17. In sum, the sine qua non for the applicability
of this Section is that the offence charged, be it one of
commission or omission, must be one which has been  
committed by the public servant either in his official
capacity or under colour of the office held by him.

        Having regard to the facts of the case on hand and the
principle enunciated in the case cited supra, I am unable to
accede to the contention of the learned counsel for the
petitioner that filing of the complaint is hit by Section 197
Cr.P.C.        
        Sri P.Veera Reddy, the learned senior counsel for the
petitioner would submit that the alleged imputation, if any,
made by the petitioner against the second respondent will fall
within the exceptions of Section 499 IPC; hence it is a fit case
to quash the proceedings.
        Per contra, Sri J. Sudheer, the learned counsel for the
second respondent submitted that the allegations made in the
complaint will fall within the ambit of Section 499 IPC;
therefore, the petition is liable to be dismissed.
        To substantiate his argument, the learned counsel for
the petitioner has drawn my attention to the ratio laid down
in the following decisions:
i. Lakhwant Singh Vs. Jasbir Singh and Others .  The
relevant portion at para No.9 of the judgment reads as under:
.It would not be proper for the High Court to analyse the
case of the complainant in the light of all probabilities in order
to determine whether a conviction would be sustainable and
on such premises, arrive at a conclusion that the proceedings
are to be quashed. It would be erroneous to assess the
material before it and conclude that the complaint cannot be
proceeded with. In proceeding instituted on complaint,
exercise of the inherent powers to quash the proceedings is
called for only in a case where the complaint does not disclose
any offence or is frivolous, vexatious or oppressive. If the
allegations set out in the complaint do not constitute the
offence of which cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate,
it is open to the High Court to quash the same in exercise of
the inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. It is not,
however, necessary that there should be meticulous analysis
of the case before the trial to find out whether the case would
end in conviction or acquittal. The complaint has to be read as
a whole. If it appears that on consideration of the allegations
in the light of the statement made on oath of the complainant
that the ingredients of the offence or offences are disclosed
and there is no material to show that the complaint is mala
fide, frivolous or vexatious, in that event there would be no
justification for interference by the High Court..
ii.     K. Papi Reddy Vs. B. Venkateshwarlu and another
wherein this Court held that where a statement imputation is
made against a person in good faith, for public good, without
malice or ill-will, the same will fall within the ambit of
Exception 9 of Section 499 IPC.
iii.     Rajesh Rangarajan Vs. Crop Care Federation of Indian
and Another .  As per the principle enunciated in this case,
the Court can quash the proceedings under Section 482
Cr.P.C. if the allegations made in the complaint do not satisfy
the basic ingredients of Section 499 IPC.
        Let me consider the facts of the case on hand in the
light of the rival contentions and the legal principle cited
supra.
        It is not out of place to extract hereunder the relevant
portion in para No.8 of the complaint, which reads as under:
                .Even the distribution of the handbook by the
Complainant is tainted as an action to gain sympathy and
support. Anonymous Complaint if any made against the
employees cannot be attributed to any individual/Association
and at any rate it cannot be attributed to the complainant.
Above all, the action of the Accused in tarnishing the image
and reputation of the Complainant only to defame him
requires criminal action against the accused.  Due to writing
such letters several enquiries were made by known persons
about truth and otherwise of the allegations made against the
Complainant in the said letter.  He faced several embracing
situations in view of such reckless allegations.

        A perusal of the complaint prima facie reveals that the
petitioner made certain imputation or allegations against the
second respondent.
        The next question that fall for consideration is whether
the allegations or imputation made by the petitioner against
the second respondent will fall within the ambit of Exceptions
1, 2, 3 and 9 of Section 499 IPC as contented by the learned
counsel for the petitioner.
        Exception 2 to Section 499 IPC deals with public
conduct of a public servant.  Admittedly, the second
respondent is not a public servant as defined under Section
21 IPC as he retired from service long back.  The gist of
Exceptions 1, 2 and 9 is that making of imputation against a
person in good faith and in public interest.
        Whether a person made an accusation against the other
in good faith or public interest or not will be considered with
reference to the facts and circumstances of a particular case
and other attending circumstances.  Whether the petitioner
addressed the letter dated 20.04.2010 to the Commissioner of
Civil Supplies Department in good faith or not is purely a
question of fact. It is a settled principle of law that a pure
question of fact shall not fall within the ambit of Section 482
Cr.P.C.  Even otherwise, the burden of proof lies on the
petitioner to establish that he addressed the letter dated
20.04.2010 to the Commissioner of Civil Supplies Department
in good faith and in public interest.
        In identical circumstances, the apex Court in Sewakram
Sobhani Vs. R.K.Karanjia, Chief Editor, Weekly Blitz & Others
held as under:
   The prayer in the application before the High Court was
merely to quash the order dated November 30, 1977 of the
learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhopal and not to quash
the complaint itself as the High Court has done. But, that
was only a technical defect and we do not take serious
notice of it in an appeal under Article 136 of the
Constitution where we are very naturally concerned with
substantial justice and not with shadow puppetry. The
position now is this: The news item in the Blitz under the
caption MISA Rape in Bhopal Jail undoubtedly contained
serious imputations against the character and conduct of
the complainant. In order to attract the Ninth Exception to
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, the imputations must
be shown to have been made (1) in good faith, and (2) for the
protection of the interest of the person making it or of any
other person or for the public good. Good faith is defined,
in a negative fashion, by Section 52 of the Indian Penal Code
as follows: Nothing is said to be done or believed in good
faith which is done or believed without due care and
attention. The insistence is upon the exercise of due care
and attention. Recklessness and negligence are ruled out by
the very nature of the definition. The standard of care and
attention must depend on the circumstances of the
individual case, the nature of the imputation, the need and
the opportunity for verification, the situation and context in
which the imputation was made, the position of the person
making the imputation, and a variety of other factors. Good
faith, therefore is a matter for evidence. It is a question of
fact to be decided on the particular facts and circumstances
of each case. So too the question whether an imputation was
made for the public good. In fact the First Exception of
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code expressly states
Whether or not it is for the public good is a question of
fact. Public good like good faith is a matter for evidence
and not conjecture.

        It is a settled principle of law that the Court has to take
into consideration the allegations made in the complaint only
while deciding the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C.  The
Court is not justified in embarking upon an enquiry to
ascertain the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations
made in the complaint at the pre-trial stage.  The allegations
made in the complaint, prima facie, constitute the offence
alleged to have been committed by the petitioner for the
offence punishable under Section 500 IPC.
        A perusal of the record reveals that the learned
Magistrate, after satisfying himself with the material available
on record, has taken cognizance of the offence against the
petitioner under Section 500 IPC.   Viewed from either legal or
factual aspects, I am of the considered opinion that the trial
Court has not committed any irregularity or illegality while
taking cognizance of the offence against the petitioner.
        Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the
case, I am of the considered opinion that it is not a fit case to
quash the proceedings in C.C.No.616 of 2011 on the file of
XIV Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, City Criminal
Courts, Namapply, Hyderabad.
        The Criminal petition is accordingly dismissed. As a
sequel, miscellaneous petitions, if any pending in this
Criminal Petition shall stand closed.
__________________________  
T. SUNIL CHOWDARY, J.  
Date: 01-08-2014.

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