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Subodh Kumar Verma Vs. The State of Bihar and Ors. - (High Court of Patna) (28 Mar 2019)

For wrongdoing of a Company, its officers may be responsible, but not to extent that all employees of a Company would be criminally liable



The Petitioner has moved the Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). For quashing of the order of cognizance passed by learned Judicial Magistrate. The allegation against the Petitioner and three others is that their Company entered into agreement with the company of opposite party No. 2 (O.P.), for supply of mustard oil for which security money was taken but when the oil was not supplied, the agreement was cancelled and cheque of Rs. 4,11,000 was given to the O.P., which was dishonoured.

The Petitioner submitted that, the agreement of the O.P. was with the Company of which two other accused are the Managing Director/Director. It was submitted that, the Petitioner was only a paid employee of the Company of the other co-accused and further that the agreement was entered into between the O.P. and other co-accused and also the same was cancelled not by the Petitioner but by the other accused.

Similarly, it was submitted that even the cheques which were issued in favour of the O.P., the same were by the other co-accused being the Managing Director/Director of the Company in which the Petitioner was employed. Learned counsel submitted that the case basically relates to allegation of cheating by not supplying mustard oil by the Company to the O.P. can at best be attributed to the Company and its owners but not to the Petitioner who was the Regional Sales Manager at Muzaffarpur.

No criminal act can be attributed to him for the reason that even if the averments made in the complaint are accepted on their face value, at best, it would be against the other co-accused who being the Managing Director/Director of the Company, and who are the owners of the Company. Thus, the Court does not find that any criminal proceeding against the Petitioner is fit to proceed based on the averments made in the complaint in the present case.

For the wrongdoing of a Company, its officers may be responsible, but not to the extent that all the employees of a Company would be criminally liable. In the present case, it was only the other co-accused in the capacity of Managing Director/Director of the Company, who are also the owners of the Company, and who have either got into an agreement with the O.P. or cancelled the agreement or had issued the cheques in favour of the O.P., which are said to have been dishonoured, can be held accountable for such non-encashment of the cheques. The entire criminal proceeding arising out of Complaint Case pending before the court below, as far as it relates to the Petitioner, stands quashed. Application allowed.


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