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Sarabjit Kaur Vs. The State of Punjab and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (01 Mar 2023)

Breach of contract does not give rise to criminal prosecution for cheating unless fraudulent or dishonest intention is shown right at the beginning of the transaction



The Appellant having failed before the High Court has filed the present appeal. A prayer was made for quashing of F.I.R. under Sections 420, 120-B and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The petition filed before the High Court seeking quashing thereof was dismissed.

There is nothing on record to suggest that, any notice was issued by the Respondent No. 2 or the vendee to the Appellant to get the sale deed registered just either before expiry of the last date fixed for executed of sale deed or immediately thereafter. No civil proceedings were also initiate rather the Respondent No. 2 proceeded only by filing complaints with the police two of which were earlier filed.

A breach of contract does not give rise to criminal prosecution for cheating unless fraudulent or dishonest intention is shown right at the beginning of the transaction. Merely on the allegation of failure to keep up promise will not be enough to initiate criminal proceedings.

From the facts available on record, it is evident that the Respondent No. 2 had improved his case ever since the first complaint was filed in which there were no allegations against the Appellant rather it was only against the property dealers which was in subsequent complaints that the name of the Appellant was mentioned. On the first complaint, the only request was for return of the amount paid by the Respondent No. 2. When the offence was made out on the basis of the first complaint, the second complaint was filed with improved version making allegations against the Appellant as well which was not there in the earlier complaint.

The entire idea seems to be to convert a civil dispute into criminal and put pressure on the Appellant for return of the amount allegedly paid. The criminal Courts are not meant to be used for settling scores or pressurise parties to settle civil disputes. Wherever ingredients of criminal offences are made out, criminal courts have to take cognizance. The complaint in question on the basis of which F.I.R. was registered was filed nearly three years after the last date fixed for registration of the sale deed. Allowing the proceedings to continue would be an abuse of process of the Court.

Hence, the impugned order passed by the High Court is set aside. The petition filed by Appellant for quashing of F.I.R. is ordered to be allowed. As a consequence, F.I.R. and all the subsequent proceedings therewith are ordered to be quashed. Appeal allowed.


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