the version that when the second respondent asked the petitioner to repay the misappropriated amount, an altercation took place between both of them and in the course of the said altercation, the petitioner abused the second respondent in his caste name seems to be inherently improbable and ex facie false. It would clearly appear that the said allegation was invented by the second respondent for the purpose of fixing the petitioner in a false charge under the Act.

HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE R.KANTHA RAO      

CRIMINAL PETITION NO.12725 OF 2010    

24-03-2014

Punugoti Naga Kiran Kumar..Petitioner/Accused  

State of Andhra Pradesh, Rep.by its Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P.,
Hyderabad and another..Respondents.  

Counsel for the Petitioner: Sri Nimmagadda Satyanarayana

Counsel for Respondents: Addl. Public Prosecutor, High
                          Court of A.P., Hyderabad

<Gist :

>Head Note:

?Cases referred:

THE HONBLE SRI JUSTICE R.KANTHA RAO        

CRIMINAL PETITION NO.12725_2010    


ORDER:

        Heard the learned counsel appearing for the
petitioner and the learned Additional Public Prosecutor
representing the State.  Though served with notice, the
second respondent did not appear in person or through
counsel.

2.      This Criminal petition is filed to quash the charge
sheet in S.C.No.29 of 2010 on the file of the Special
Judge for trial of Cases under S.C. and S.T (POA) Act,
Prakasam District at Ongole, filed against the petitioner
alleging commission of offences punishable under Section
506 of I.P.C., and Section 3(1)(x) of the Schedule Castes
and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
(hereinafter referred to as the Act).
3.      The brief facts of the case, which is sought to be
quashed may be stated as follows:-  The petitioner is the
Panchayat Secretary of Vallur village, Tangutur Mandal
of Prakasam District.  Earlier, he worked as Panchayat
Secretary of Boddulurivaripalem village of Ongole rural
Mandal.  The second respondent-de facto complaint was
the Sarpanch of Boddulurivaripalem village Gram
Panchayat and he belongs to Madiga community, which  
is a schedule caste.  The petitioner belongs to Brahmin
community, which is a forward caste.
        According to the second respondent-de facto
complainant, taking advantage of his innocence and
illiteracy, the petitioner who was discharging duties as
Panchayat Secretary from 1-6-2006 to August, 2007 of
Gram Panchayat, Boddulurivaripalem village, made him
to put his signatures on some cheques and other papers,
withdrew the funds of Gram Panchayat and utilized them
for his own purposes.  The second respondent reported
the matter to the higher authorities and the District
Panchayat Officer, Ongole caused an enquiry conducted
in this regard and obtained a report.  In the meanwhile,
the petitioner was transferred to Vallur village.
        While so, on 24-3-2008 around 6.00 PM., the
second respondent went to MPDOs Office, Ongole and
noticed the petitioner in front of MPDOs Office and
requested him to reimburse the misappropriated public
fund of Rs.35,500/- (Rupees thirty five thousand, five
hundred only) pertaining to Gram Panchayat
Boddulurivaripalem village.  On that a wordy quarrel
took place between the petitioner and second respondent,
during which the petitioner allegedly abused the second
respondent in filthy language, touching his caste, stating
that he would not pay the amount and the second
respondent could do whatever he wanted.  Lws.2 to 8
witnessed the incident, pacified the issue and sent both
of them away.
        Two days later i.e., on 26-3-2008 at 9.00 PM., the
second respondent lodged a type written report with the
Assistant Sub Inspector of Police, II Town Police Station,
Ongole. Basing on the said report, a case in Crime No.72
of 2008 for the offences punishable under Section 506 of
I.P.C., and Section 3(1)(x) of the Act was registered.  The
Sub Divisional Police Officer, Ongole conducted
investigation and filed charge sheet against the
petitioner, which is now pending as S.C.No.29 of 2010 on
the file of the Special Judge for trial of cases under SC
and ST (POA) Act, Prakasam District at Ongole.

4.      It is submitted by the learned counsel appearing for
the petitioner that in fact, the second respondent
misappropriated the funds of Gram Panchayat, on the
representations made by some of the villagers of Gram
Panchayat, the District Panchayat Officer caused an
enquiry to be conducted into the allegations of
misappropriation and the Officer conducted an enquiry
and submitted a report to the District Panchayat Officer.
Before the Enquiry Officer, the petitioner submitted a
detailed statement to the District Panchayat Officer
stating that the entire records pertaining to the Gram
Panchayat were handed over to the Sarpanch on
8-11-2006 and the Sarpanch kept them in his custody
and also passed a receipt to him and the said fact was
also brought to the notice of other members of Gram
Panchayat and Upa-Sarpanch and obtained their
signatures.  In the said statement, which was submitted
much prior to the First Information Report in the present
case, the petitioner categorically stated that the second
respondent threatened him to implicate in a false case
under the Act as the second respondent belongs to
schedule caste.
        It is further submitted by the learned counsel that
after receiving enquiry report, the District Panchayat
Officer cancelled the cheque power of the second
respondent.  Challenging the same, the second
respondent filed W.P.No.7970 of 2008 before this Court
and the said writ petition was dismissed, holding that an
alternative remedy was available to him under the
provisions of Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1994
by way of an appeal.

5.      On the other hand, the learned Additional Public
prosecutor submitted that since the allegations leveled in
the First Information Report prima facie make out an
offence punishable under Section 506 of I.P.C., and
Section 3(1)(x) of the Act, the contentions urged by the
petitioner can only be decided during the course of trial
after the evidence is let in by both parties and this is not
a fit case to quash the proceedings at the threshold.

6.      For the purpose of pronouncement upon the issue
as to whether the charge sheet can be quashed by
invoking the powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., certain
crucial aspects in this case have to be examined.

7.      Basing on the enquiry report received, the District
Panchayat Officer suspended the petitioner, who was the
panchayat secretary on the ground that he failed to
conduct meetings of the Gram Panchayat properly.  But,
at no point of time, the panchayat secretary was held
guilty of misappropriation and no amounts were ordered
to be recovered from him.  In fact, the Collector,
Panchayat Wing issued a notice dated 25-5-2008 to the
second respondent stating that he misused his powers
and misappropriated Rs.35,500/- (Rupees thirty five
thousand, five hundred only) and failed to give an
explanation to the show-cause notice issued and
therefore, he has to repay the aforesaid amount within
seven days from the date of receipt of the notice.
        In the explanation to the show-cause notice issued
to him, the petitioner gave a statement to the Divisional
Panchayat Officer on 16-11-2007, stating that the
Sarpanch threatened him to incorporate false resolutions
in the minutes book by abusing him in filthy language
and also threatened him stating that he belongs to
schedule caste and he would foist false cases against him
under the provisions of the Act and he would be sent to
jail.  This statement was given much prior to the report
lodged by the second respondent with the police.

8.      Further, the villagers of Boddulurivaripalem
submitted a report to the Collector, Prakasam District
stating that the Sarpanch, without paying heed to the
words of the petitioner who was the panchayat secretary,
withdrew the panchayat funds and misused the said
amount, when the petitioner asked the second
respondent Sarpanch to submit the receipts, the second
respondent told him that he need not show any receipts
for the amounts drawn by him and if the petitioner
complains against him to the higher authorities, he
would foist false case against him under the Act.  The
said representation was sent to the Collector by 51
villagers on 8-10-2007.  The aforesaid representation was
also much prior to the lodging of the report by the second
respondent.  Subsequently, the suspension order passed
against the petitioner was revoked and he was reinstated.

9.      More over, the MPDO, Mandal Prishad Tanguturu
addressed a letter to the Sub Divisional Police Officer,
Ongole, stating that on 24-3-2008 the petitioner who was
a panchayat secretary was on duty at Mandal Parishad
Office, Tangutur from 11.00 AM., to 3.00 PM., and
subsequent thereto, he worked in Computerisation
Progoramme of Indiramma Pensions Scheme along with  
one R.Sanjeeva Rao-Panchayat Secretary till 7.00 P.M.,
on his instructions.

10.     This Court is conscious of the fact and it should not
assume the role of trial Court and evaluate evidence.  At
the same time, while exercising the jurisdiction under
Section 482 of Cr.P.C., this Court cannot adopt a casual
or mechanical approach to the facts before it.  It is under
a duty to scrutinize the facts in the light of the
circumstances of the case.  Merely because the First
Information Report contains some allegations attracting
the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the Act
and the fact that a charge sheet was lodged after
investigation, it cannot refrain from examining the
absurdity or falsity of allegations mentioned in the
FIR/charge sheet.  If the allegations mentioned in the
FIR/charge sheet are inherently improbable or
apparenttly absurd, this Court can proceed to quash the
FIR/charge sheet in exercise of powers under Section 482
of  Cr.P.C notwithstanding the fact that the allegations
mentioned in the FIR/charge sheet technically attract the
offence punishable under the Act or any other offence
under the Penal Code.

11.     In the instant case, the most crucial aspect which
requires consideration is that long prior to the lodging of
report, the second respondent-de fact complainant
threatened the petitioner to implicate him in false cases
under the provisions of the Act.  This fact was brought to
the notice of the Collector, Panchayat Wing by the
petitioner in his statement submitted to him and also by
the villagers in their representation to the Collector.
Thus, it is submitted on behalf of the petitioner that
earlier to the lodging of the report, the second respondent
threatened the petitioner to implicate him in false
charges under the provisions of the Act which finds place
in the above two documents.  Therefore, there is
documentary proof in regard to the statement made by
the petitioner and obviously threats were hurled by the
second respondent to implicate the petitioner in false
charges under the provisions of the Act much prior to the
lodging of report by him in the present case.

12.     The  version of the second respondent is that when
he  asked the petitioner who was present in front of the
MPDOs Office to repay the misappropriated amount, the
incident took place.  In fact, the Collector directed the
second report to repay the misappropriated amount.  The
petitioner was never directed to repay any such amount.
The petitioner was suspended only on the charge of not
properly conducting the meetings of Gram Panchayat and
subsequently he was reinstated.  When no notice was
served on the petitioner to repay the misappropriated
amount, he cannot be expected to repay the same.
Therefore, the version that when the second respondent
asked the petitioner to repay the misappropriated
amount, an altercation took place between both of them
and in the course of the said altercation, the petitioner
abused the second respondent in his caste name seems  
to be inherently improbable and ex facie false.  It would
clearly appear that the said allegation was invented by
the second respondent for the purpose of fixing the
petitioner in a false charge under the Act.

13.     The main object of exercise of powers under Section
482 of Cr.P.C., is to prevent abuse of process of law and
miscarriage of justice.  For such purpose, this Court can
certainly subject the allegations leveled in the FIR/charge
sheet to scrutiny to find as to whether there is falsity or
absurdity which is inherent in the very allegations.  In
the instant case, the allegations made in the First
Information Report and also in the charge sheet are
prima facie absurd and false and if on the basis of the
said allegations, the petitioner who is a panchayat
secretary is forced to undergo the ordeal of Sessions trial,
it is nothing but abuse of process of law.  This Court
therefore is of the considered view that this is a fit case,
wherein the charge sheet can be quashed in exercise of
powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C.

14.     For the foregoing reasons, the entire proceedings in
Sessions Case No.29 of 2010 on the file of the Special
Judge for trial of Cases under S.C. and ST (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, Prakasam District at Ongole are quashed.
        Accordingly, the Criminal Petition is allowed.  The
Miscellaneous Petitions pending if any shall stand closed.
___________________  
R.KANTHA RAO,J  
Date: 24-3-2014

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