“The civil court cannot punish the accused for criminal offences of forgery, cheating, etc. The relief sought for in the suit is for the purposes of cancellation and/or declaration on the validity and bindingness of the gift deed and the sale deed, which cannot be granted in a criminal proceeding,” Justice Suraj Govindaraj has pointed out in his order while dismissing a petition filed by YN Sreenivasa and his wife Suraksha from West of Chord Road, Bengaluru.
The couple had challenged the FIR registered against them by Sanjay Nagar police on December 17, 2018 based on the complaint by Latha Manjari and two others. The complainants had claimed that after the death of LN Ashwathama, the husband of Latha Manjari, in 2010, Sreenivasa and his wife, who were looking after the temple built in 14 guntas leftover land released by the BDA, submitted forged documents before the sub-registrar. They got Ashwathama’s name deleted to ensure Sreenivasa is shown as the sole owner of the property.
The couple argued that when the complainants have already filed a civil suit and availed remedy, the registration of FIR over the same issue is not maintainable.
According to them, false information, if any, having been submitted to the sub-registrar, it is for him/her to initiate criminal proceedings in view of section 195(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which prohibits any court from taking cognizance of offences under sections 172 to 188 of IPC.
However, rejecting their contentions, the judge said an individual will not be barred from initiating proceedings under sections 419, 420, 468 and 471 of IPC on account of fabrication having occurred before a sub-registrar, which is a separate offence under section 177 of IPC.
“The requirement under section 195(1)(a)(i) of CrPC would only apply when the complaint is not related to offence under section 177 (furnishing false information) of the IPC,” the judge added, while reserving liberty to the couple to raise all defences before the trial court.