Staff Reporter

MADURAI: A criminal court cannot proceed against an accused in a forgery case relating to money transaction once a civil court decides in his/her favour in a suit based on the same set of facts, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled.

Discharging five persons in a criminal case, Justice G. Rajasuria said: “The contents of the FIR [first information report] are actually found in the written statement filed by the complainant in the civil suit. Both the trial and appellate civil courts gave concurrent findings that the contention in the written statement should be rejected. In such a case, subsequently instituted criminal case has no legs to stand.” He said the criminal and civil court proceedings could be held side by side only in cases in which the facts differed from each other.

The judge relied upon a judgment of the Delhi High Court in Charanjiv Pratap Ahluwalia versus Delhi Administration (1997) to substantiate his conclusion.

Dealing with the present case, the judge said according to the complainant, in the criminal case, he borrowed money from the petitioners on issuing a post-dated cheque which was reportedly lost by the latter.

Thereafter, he issued another cheque and retrieved it after paying the borrowed amount. But, the lenders dishonestly filled up the first cheque and filed a civil suit against him.

The Usilampatti District Munsif-cum-Judicial Magistrate court decreed the civil suit in favour of the lenders but refused to discharge them from the criminal case filed by the complainant. Simultaneously, the complainant filed an appeal against the civil decree before a sub-court here and the lenders filed a revision before the Bench against the Magistrate’s refusal to discharge them from the case.