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Supreme Court of India
M. Srikanth vs The State Of Telangana on 21 October, 2019Author: B.R. Gavai

Bench: Navin Sinha, B.R. Gavai

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REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL No.1586 OF 2019
(arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.) No. 9156 of 2017)

M. SRIKANTH …. APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

STATE OF TELANGANA AND ANR. …. RESPONDENT(S)

WITH

CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos.1587­1588 OF 2019
(arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.) Nos. 9160­9161 of 2017)

JUDGMENT

B.R. GAVAI, J.

Leave granted in both the Special Leave Petitions.

2. Both these appeals arise out of the common Judgment

Signature Not Verified
and Order passed by the single Judge of High Court of
Digitally signed by
SANJAY KUMAR
Date: 2019.10.21

Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the
16:30:44 IST
Reason:

State of Andhra Pradesh dated 01.06.2017.
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3. The criminal appeal arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No.

9156 of 2017 filed by M. Srikanth, the original accused No. 4,

challenges that part of the order by which the single Judge of

the High Court has rejected his application under Section 482 of

the Cr.P.C. for quashing the proceedings in Crime No.

311/2010 of P.S., Central Crime Station, Hyderabad. The

criminal appeals arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) Nos. 9160­9161 of

2017 at the instance of the original complainant challenge that

part of the order vide which the single Judge of the High Court

has quashed the complaint qua accused Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

4. The facts, in brief, giving rise to the present appeals

are as under:

The parties are referred to herein as they are arrayed

in the original complaint. The Respondent No. 2, Fatima Hasna,

in the criminal appeal arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 9156 of

2017 (hereinafter referred to as “the complainant”), is the sister

of accused No. 1, Akramuddin Hasan. The complainant had

filed a private complaint against nine persons including accused

No. 1. The allegations in the said complaint in a nutshell is that

the house bearing No. 3­5­1102 at Narayanaguda, Hyderabad,

originally belonged to Afzaluddin Hassan, the father of the
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complainant, who died on 28.05.1996. Afzaluddin Hassan,

possessed the same upon death of his mother, Khairunnisa

Begum Saheba as per the oral gift dated 12.12.1966 and deed of

confirmation of the said oral gift. It was the case of the

complainant, that upon death of her father, Afzaluddin Hassan,

the said property was inherited by her as well as her three

sisters and accused No. 1, her brother. It is further averred in

the complaint, that her father had entered into a development

agreement on 25.05.1989 with M/s Banjara Construction

Company Pvt. Ltd. However, the same was cancelled during his

lifetime. It is further averred by her that after the death of her

father, accused No. 3, Abid Rassol Khan, tried to trespass into

the property and for that on her complaint, Crime No. 159/1996

came to be registered for the offence punishable under Sections

448 and 380 of the IPC on 14.06.1996.

5. It is further averred by her that, thereafter, she came

to know about the existence of a document thereby assigning

the rights by M/s Banjara Construction Company Pvt. Ltd. in

favour of M/s NRI Housing Company Pvt. Ltd., represented

through accused No. 3, Abid Rasool Khan. For the said incident

another complaint vide Crime No. 177/1996, came to be
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registered for the offence punishable under Sections 418 and

420 read with Section 120­B of the IPC against seven persons

including M/s Banjara Construction Company Pvt. Ltd. and

accused No. 3 in the present case. With regard to the said cause

of action, the complainant had also filed Original Suit No.

1989/1996 against accused No. 3 and others for permanent

injunction. The complainant’s sisters had filed O.S. No.

1403/1999 against M/s Banjara Construction Company Pvt.

Ltd. of which accused No. 3, Abid Rasool Khan, was the

Managing Director. According to the complainant, certain

interim orders were also passed in the said original suits.

6. It is further the case of the complainant in the

complaint, that her brother accused No. 1, Akramuddin Hasan,

who had falsely created a will in Urdu purported to be executed

by their paternal grandmother, Khairunnisa Begum Saheba, in

favour of their parents Afzaluddin Hassan and Liaquathunnisa

Begum for their lifetime and vested remainder to accused No. 1.

It is the case of the complainant, that the said will is registered

and said to have been executed on 02.04.1950. Further, it is the

case, that accused No. 1 had also created another forged and

fabricated document styled as deed of confirmation (Hiba Bil
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Musha) dated 08.03.1990 vide which the property is orally

gifted to accused No. 1 on 29.08.1989 and also handed over

physical possession thereof.

7. It is further the case of the complainant, that accused

No. 1, posing himself to be the owner of the premises, on the

basis of the alleged oral will and deed of confirmation, created a

registered lease on 01.12.2008, bearing document No.

3107/2008 permitting accused No. 4 to sub­lease the said land

in favour of accused No. 5, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation

Ltd. (“HPCL”). Accused No. 6 and accused No. 9 are the

employees/officers of accused No. 5 ­ HPCL whereas, accused

Nos. 7 and 8 are the attesting witnesses. On the basis of the

said complaint, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate directed the

registration of an FIR on 24.11.2010.

8. It appears, that various criminal petitions came to be

filed before the High Court. Criminal Petition No. 6047/2013

was filed by accused No. 7, Khaja Mohiuddin and accused No.

8, G. V. Prasad. Criminal Petition No. 6064/2013 came to be

filed by accused No. 3, Abid Rasool Khan. Criminal Petition No.

6609/2013 came to be filed by accused No. 4, M. Srikanth, who

is the appellant in the criminal appeal arising out of SLP (Crl.)
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No. 9156/2017. Criminal Petition No. 8743/2013 was filed by

accused No. 5 ­ HPCL and its officers, accused No. 6, S.K. Srui

and accused No. 9, R. Umapathi. By the impugned Order, the

High Court allowed the Criminal Petitions of all the applicants

except accused Nos. 3 and 4.

9. Being aggrieved by the dismissal of his petition,

accused No. 4, so also the original complainant, being aggrieved

by the impugned Order by which the petitions of accused Nos.

5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 have been allowed, have approached this Court.

10. We have heard Mr. D. Rama Krishna Reddy, learned

counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant, M. Srikanth, and

Mr. Shakil Ahmed Syed, learned counsel appearing on behalf of

the complainant. We have also heard Mr. K. M. Nataraj, learned

Additional Solicitor General, appearing on behalf of the original

accused No. 5 ­ HPCL and its officers/employees, accused Nos.

6 and 9.

11. The learned counsel for the original accused No. 4

submitted, that the only role attributed to the said accused in

the complaint is that a lease deed was executed in his favour by
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accused No. 1, showing himself to be the absolute owner of the

property in question; whereas, the property was owned by the

complainant and her three sisters along with accused No. 1. It

is further submitted, that the entire allegations of fabrication so

as to show that the property belongs to accused No. 1 are

against accused no. 1. It is submitted that accused No. 4, on

the basis of the advertisement issued by accused No. 5 – HPCL

for installation of a petrol pump, had applied and after being

successful in the competition had obtained the land in question

on lease from accused No. 1. He submitted, that as per the

terms and conditions for grant of the said outlet, he was

required to get the land on long term lease and sub­lease the

same to accused No. 5 – HPCL. It is submitted, that even taking

the complaint at its face value, there are no averments which

would show that accused No. 4 had any role to play in

fabrication of the document which bestowed the title on accused

No. 1. It is further submitted, that there are various civil

proceedings pending amongst the complainant, accused No. 1

and their sisters so also the other parties. Accused No. 4 is not

at all concerned with the same.
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12. It is further submitted, that as a matter of fact, the

case of accused No. 4 could not have been distinguished from

the case as against accused Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. It is

submitted, that applying the same logic, which the learned

Judge of the High Court had applied while quashing the case

against the said accused, the case against the present accused

No. 4 also ought to have been quashed. It is submitted that the

continuation of criminal proceedings against accused No. 4, the

appellant herein, would be nothing else but an abuse of the

process of law.

13. Per contra, Mr. Shakil Ahmed Syed, learned counsel

appearing on behalf of the private complainant, submitted that

the High Court has rightly dismissed the petition of accused

No. 4. It is submitted, that accused No. 4 in order to deprive

the benefits of the property to the complainant had got the lease

deed executed in his favour from accused No. 1 knowing very

well that the claim of accused No. 1 was based on fabricated

document(s). He further submitted, that the High Court had

also erred in allowing the petitions of accused Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8

and 9 and, therefore, the order to the extent that it quashes the

criminal proceedings qua them also needs to be set aside.
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14. Mr. K.M. Nataraj, learned Additional Solicitor General,

submitted that accused Nos. 5, 6 and 9 have been

unnecessarily dragged in the said criminal litigation. It is

submitted that accused No. 5 ­ HPCL is a public undertaking

and accused Nos. 6 and 9 are its officers. It is submitted that

the High Court has rightly arrived at a finding that there was no

material against them and quashed the criminal proceedings

qua them.

15. This Court, in the case of State of Haryana and Ors.

vs. Bhajan Lal and Ors.1 after considering all its earlier

judgments, has laid down principles which are required to be

taken into consideration by the High Court while exercising its

jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. for quashing the

proceedings. It will be relevant to refer to the following

observations of this Court in Bhajan Lal (supra):

“102. In the backdrop of the interpretation of the various
relevant provisions of the Code under Chapter XIV and of
the principles of law enunciated by this Court in a series of
decisions relating to the exercise of the extraordinary power
under Article 226 or the inherent powers under Section 482
of the Code which we have extracted and reproduced above,
we give the following categories of cases by way of
illustration wherein such power could be exercised either to
prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to
1 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335
10

secure the ends of justice, though it may not be possible to
lay down any precise, clearly defined and sufficiently
channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and
to give an exhaustive list of myriad kinds of cases wherein
such power should be exercised.

(1) Where the allegations made in the first information
report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their
face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima
facie constitute any offence or make out a case against
the accused.

(2) Where the allegations in the first information report and
other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not
disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an
investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of
the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within
the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.

(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR
or complaint and the evidence collected in support of
the same do not disclose the commission of any offence
and make out a case against the accused.

(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a
cognizable offence but constitute only a non­cognizable
offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer
without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated
under Section 155(2) of the Code.

(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are
so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of
which no prudent person can ever reach a just
conclusion that there is sufficient ground for
proceeding against the accused.

(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of
the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under
which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the
institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or
where there is a specific provision in the Code or the
concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the
grievance of the aggrieved party.
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(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with
mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously
instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking
vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him
due to private and personal grudge.”

16. It could thus be seen, that this Court has held, that

where the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint, even if

they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety

do not prima facie constitute a case against the accused, the

High Court would be justified in quashing the proceedings.

Further, it has been held that where the uncontroverted

allegations in the FIR and the evidence collected in support of

the same do not disclose any offence and make out a case

against the accused, the court would be justified in quashing

the proceedings.

17. Let us consider the case of the complainant on its face

value without going into the truthfulness or otherwise thereof.

It is the case of the complainant, that the property originally

belonged to her grandmother. After her death, it devolved upon

her father, Afzaluddin Hassan and after his death on

28.05.1996, it devolved upon accused No. 1 and his three

sisters, namely, Karima Siddiqua, Saleha Asmatunnisa and

Sadika Khairunnisa. Their father had entered into a
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development agreement with M/s Banjara Construction

Company Pvt. Ltd., however, the same was cancelled during his

lifetime. After the death of their father on 28.05.1996, accused

No. 3 tried to trespass into the property for which, on the basis

of her complaint a crime was registered. That the said M/s

Banjara Construction Company Pvt. Ltd. had executed some

document alleging assignment of its rights in favour of M/s NRI

Housing Company Pvt. Ltd. of which accused No. 3, Abid Rasool

Khan was the Managing Director. In respect of the same action,

Crime No. 177/1996 had been registered at the instance of the

complainant. With respect to the said transaction, two original

suits were already filed, one by the complainant and another by

her sisters.

18. It is further the case of the complainant, that accused

No.1 created a will in Urdu purported to be executed by her

grandmother bequeathing the property in favour of her parents,

namely, Afzaluddin Hassan and Liaquathunnisa Begum for

their lifetime and vesting the remainder to accused No. 1. The

said will is created on a non­judicial stamp paper of Nizamat

Jung and has been allegedly executed on 02.04.1950.

According to the complainant, accused No. 1, her brother, had
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created another forged and fabricated document styled as deed

of confirmation (Hiba Bil Musha) dated 08.03.1990 confirming

the oral gift to accused No. 1 and also recording handing over

of physical possession. It is her case, that on the basis of these

fabricated documents, accused No. 1, posing himself to be an

absolute owner of the property, executed a lease deed in favour

of accused No. 4 (the appellant herein in one of the appeals) on

01.12.2008. It is further the case of the complainant, that

thereafter accused No. 4 executed a sub­lease in favour of

accused No. 5 ­ HPCL represented by accused Nos. 6 and 9

within a period of two months i.e. on 30.01.2009 and that

accused Nos. 7 and 8 are the attesting witnesses. That is all the

case of the complainant.

19. The complaint filed by respondent No. 2 runs into 26

pages and 26 paragraphs. As already discussed hereinabove, it

reveals a disputed property claim based on inheritance between

the complainant, her sisters and her brother, accused No. 1. A

perusal of the complaint would further reveal, that the

complainant also disputes with regard to the area of the

property including the manner of its devolution upon the

parents of the complainant and her competing interest with that
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of her siblings. There is not even a whisper in the complaint

that the present appellant, i.e., accused No. 4 was fully aware

that accused No. 1 was not the sole beneficiary by inheritance

and that the property had devolved upon the complainant and

her sisters. Also there is nothing to show that knowing this he

has collusively entered into the lease agreement with accused

No. 1, by creating a false and fabricated will. Though, there is a

mention with regard to conspiracy, but there is not even a

suggestion with regard to manner of such conspiracy.

20. Upon perusal of the complaint itself, it would reveal

that the father of the complainant and accused No. 3 had

himself entered into a development agreement which

subsequently came to be cancelled during his lifetime. It would

also reveal, that only after the lease in question was executed in

favour of the appellant, the complainant has raised all these

issues. We are of the considered view, that the issues raised

reflect a civil dispute with regard to inheritance amongst the

legal heirs. We fail to understand as to how a dispute with

regard to the inheritance under a will and deed of confirmation

can be decided in a criminal proceeding. We find, that the same

can be done only in an appropriate civil proceeding. Not only
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that, the civil proceedings with that regard are already

instituted by various parties including the complainant. These

proceedings are as follows:

(i) O.S. No. 239 of 2004 on the file of the Hon’ble XI ACJ,
CCC, Hyderabad.

(ii) O.S. No. 337 of 2002 on the file of the Hon’ble XI ACJ,
CCC, Hyderabad.

(iii) O.S. No. 58 of 2001 on the file of the Hon’ble XI ACJ,
CCC, Hyderabad.

(iv) O.S. No. 277 of 2000 on the file of the Hon’ble XI ACJ,
CCC, Hyderabad.

(v) O.S. No. 506 of 2001 on the file of the Hon’ble XI ACJ,
CCC, Hyderabad.

(vi) Writ Petition (C) No. 685 of 2010.

21. It will be relevant to refer that though in the complaint,

the complainant had mentioned about pendency of O.S. No.

1989 of 1996 against accused No. 3 and O.S. No. 1403 of 1999

against M/s Banjara Construction Pvt. Ltd., there is no

reference with regard to the other proceedings. Accused No. 4

has been impleaded as a party­defendant in O.S. No. 506 of

2001 only on 30.10.2009.
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22. O.S. No. 239 of 2004 has already been filed by the

complainant against her brother, accused No. 1 and her three

sisters inter alia for partition and separate possession which is

stated to be pending. As such, the documents alleged to be

fraudulent in the complaint will fall for consideration in the

said suit. A possibility of contradictory finding in civil

proceeding as against criminal proceedings cannot be ruled

out. Though, the complainant had filed Writ Petition Nos.

23017/2009 and 23672/2009 to restrain construction on the

plot in question, the same was dismissed on 28.10.2009.

However, there is no mention with regard to the same in the

complaint. This Court in Sardool Singh vs. Nasib Kaur2

observed as follows:

“2. A civil suit between the parties is pending
wherein the contention of the respondent is that no
will was executed whereas the contention of the
appellants is that a will has been executed by the
testator. A case for grant of probate is also pending
in the court of learned District Judge, Rampur. The
civil court is therefore seized of the question as
regards the validity of the will. The matter is sub
judice in the aforesaid two cases in civil courts. At
this juncture the respondent cannot therefore be
permitted to institute a criminal prosecution on the
allegation that the will is a forged one. That question
will have to be decided by the civil court after
recording the evidence and hearing the parties in
accordance with law. It would not be proper to
permit the respondent to prosecute the appellants
on this allegation when the validity of the will is

2 (1987) Supp. SCC 146
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being tested before a civil court. We, therefore, allow
the appeal, set aside the order of the High Court,
and quash the criminal proceedings pending in the
Court of the Judicial Magistrate, First Class,
Chandigarh in the case entitled Smt Nasib
Kaur v. Sardool Singh. This will not come in the way
of instituting appropriate proceedings in future in
case the civil court comes to the conclusion that the
will is a forged one. We of course refrain from
expressing any opinion as regards genuineness or
otherwise of the Will in question as there is no
occasion to do so and the question is wide open
before the lower courts.”

23. It is further to be noted, that the complainant and her

sisters executed an agreement of sale­cum­irrevocable specific

power of attorney on 20.03.2015 in favour of one Mohd. Khalid

Shareef. Various litigations have also been filed with regard to

the installation of the petrol pump and grant of N.O.C. etc. The

complaint was sent to the police for registration of an FIR and

investigation under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. on

24.11.2010. In its final report dated 30.08.2017, the police has

opined that no material had surfaced to show any conspiracy

during investigation.

24. The learned Judge himself in Paragraph 8, after

observing that it is nobodies case that the signatures on the

documents in question are forged or anybody has impersonated

for the purpose of cheating, goes on to observe thus:
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“8…..The allegation in nutshell in this regard is that
accused No. 1 is not the absolute owner of the properties,
but for one of the co­owner or co­sharer along with the de
facto complainant and other sisters of them and he
falsely claimed as if he is the owner for purpose of
cheating by using as if genuine forged and fabricated
documents of so called will and so called deed of
confirmation. The so called will is of the year 1950 and
the so called deed of confirmation is of year 1989­1990
and the alleged oral gift prior to that is of 1966….”

25. We fail to understand, as to how after observing the

aforesaid, the learned Judge could have refused to quash the

proceedings against accused No. 4. Not only that, but on the

basis of the said observations, the learned Judge himself has

observed that it will not be in the interest of justice to permit

the Police authorities to arrest the accused for the purposes of

investigation. We are of the considered view, that the learned

Judge, having found that the entire allegations with regard to

forgery and fabrication and accused No. 1 executing the lease

deed on the basis of the said forged and fabricated documents

were only against accused No. 1, ought to have exercised his

jurisdiction to quash the proceedings qua accused No. 4 also.

We find that the learned Judge ought to have applied the same

parameters to the present accused No. 4, which had been

applied to the other accused whose applications were allowed.
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26. Insofar as the criminal appeals arising out of the

special leave petitions filed by the original complainant is

concerned, we absolutely find no merit in the appeals. The

learned single Judge has rightly found that there was no

material to proceed against accused No. 5 – HPCL and its

officers accused Nos. 6 and 9 as also accused Nos. 7 and 8, who

have been roped in, only because they were the attesting

witnesses. The learned single Judge has rightly exercised his

jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.

27. Insofar as original accused No. 4 is concerned, we have

no hesitation to hold, that his case is covered by categories (1)

and (3) carved out by this Court in the case of Bhajan Lal

(supra). As already discussed hereinabove, even if the

allegations in the complaint are taken on its face value, there is

no material to proceed further against accused No. 4. We are of

the considered view, that continuation of criminal proceedings

against accused No. 4, M. Srikanth, would amount to nothing

else but an abuse of process of law. As such, his appeal

deserves to be allowed.
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28. In the result, the criminal appeal arising out of S.L.P.

(Crl.) No. 9156/2017 filed by accused No. 4 is allowed. The

criminal proceedings in Crime No. 311/2010 of P.S., Central

Crime Station, Hyderabad, against accused No. 4 are quashed

and set aside. The criminal appeals arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.)

Nos. 9160­61/2017 filed by the original complainant are

dismissed.

…………………..J.
[NAVIN SINHA]

………………….J.
[B.R. GAVAI]
NEW DELHI;
OCTOBER 21, 2019.

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