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SC Affirms Raj HC's Ruling to Quash Arunachal Pradesh Criminal Case

SC Affirms Raj HC's Ruling to Quash Arunachal Pradesh Criminal Case

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court affirmed the Rajasthan High Court's decision to dismiss a criminal case filed in Arunachal Pradesh.

A bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and KV Viswanathan determined that the High Court's decision was justified as it correctly determined that no legal basis for the case originated in Arunachal Pradesh.

Additionally, the Bench observed that the allegations appeared to constitute a civil matter rather than a criminal one, indicating that the case should not have been filed as a criminal proceeding initially.

''"The High Court of Rajasthan had rightly found as a matter of fact ... that the offence, if any, although according to us, no offence is made out, would be within the territorial jurisdiction of Rajasthan and not Arunachal Pradesh.''

Furthermore, the Bench was surprised at the Arunachal Pradesh government's decision to contest the Rajasthan High Court's ruling, particularly considering that the original complainant had not contested the closure of the case by the High Court.

"Why the State of Arunachal Pradesh has approached this Court is also a question to be answered by the said State when the complainant in a matter relating to civil/commercial dispute is not coming forward to defend its FIR which has been quashed by the Rajasthan High Court," the top court's April 18 judgment stated.

The case under consideration revolved around accusations that the accused party had not transferred certain property despite the complainant's payment for its purchase.

Although the property in question was situated in Rajasthan, and both the accused individuals and the complainant were residents of Rajasthan, the complainant filed a criminal case invoking Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in Arunachal Pradesh.

Significantly, the complainant provided the address of a company in Arunachal Pradesh as his own address. Subsequently, the accused individuals filed petitions before both the Rajasthan High Court and the Gauhati High Court to dismiss the criminal case.

The Rajasthan High Court dismissed the case and its proceedings, whereas the Gauhati High Court declined to provide any such relief. Subsequently, the Arunachal Pradesh government lodged three appeals before the Supreme Court, contesting the Rajasthan High Court's ruling to dismiss the criminal case. Meanwhile, the accused individuals filed appeals challenging the decision of the Gauhati High Court.

The Supreme Court concurred with the Rajasthan High Court's determination that no aspect of the purported offense had occurred in Arunachal Pradesh and consequently rejected these appeals. It proceeded to affirm the decision to dismiss the case entirely, highlighting that the accusations did not meet the criteria for constituting a criminal offense.

Therefore, the appeals lodged by the accused individuals against the decision of the Gauhati High Court were granted, overturning the earlier ruling. Conversely, the appeals submitted by the Arunachal Pradesh government against the Rajasthan High Court's verdict were rejected, maintaining the dismissal of the case.

Senior Advocates Siddhartha Dave and Liz Mathew with advocates Navneet R, Prastut Dalvi, Mallika Agarwal, and Mohit Khandelwal appeared for those accused who initially moved the Gauhati High Court. Advocates Anuj Bhandari, Rajat Gupta, and Yuvraj Singh Rajawat appeared for the accused who had earlier moved the Rajasthan High Court.

Click here to Read/Download the Judgement

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