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Thursday, September 23, 2021

HC to Punjab Police: Probe, get legal opinion before filing FIR in cases of commercial offences

The bench further ordered that before registration of the FIR in a casual manner, police officers will obtain the opinion of the District Attorney/Deputy District Attorney (Legal) whether any offence is made out or not, in cases arising out of commercial dispute.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
July 28, 2021 8:38:36 am
Gavel, law, courtThe bench of Justice Sangwan thus ordering the matter to be listed for November 30, ordered that in the meantime, no coercive action be taken against the petitioner.

Taking up the plea of a real estate developer booked on directions of the NRI Commission, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Punjab DGP to issue directions to all police officers that if any such direction is issued by any commission in a dispute of commercial offences then a preliminary probe should be conducted first.

The court said that police officials should follow judgment of the Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari’s case, wherein it is ordered that “a preliminary enquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not”.

The bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan further ordered that before registration of the FIR in a casual manner, police officers will obtain the opinion of the District Attorney/Deputy District Attorney (Legal) whether any offence is made out or not, in cases arising out of commercial dispute.

Justice Sangwan, was hearing the quashing plea of Parkwood Developers Private Limited, which is engaged in the business of building and construction activity of multi-tower projects and is undertaking one such project in Sector 116, Mohali.

The petitioner, Parkwood Developers Private Limited, sought quashing of FIR registered by Mohali police on June 8, 2021, under Section 420 IPC at PS Kharar, Mohali.

The petitioner’s counsel, IP Singh, contended that Hari Om Paul Jalota, had booked two flats with the petitioner — company in the year 2011 and has made part payment of Rs 24 lakh on different dates. As per the stipulation, the possession of the flats was to be handed over in March, 2014 on making balance payment. Since the petitioner company could not hand over the possession in time, the complainant Jalota approached the NRI Commission. On July 24, 2019, the NRI Commission marked an investigation to the SSP Mohali, and during the investigation, a compromise/settlement was arrived at between the petitioner and the complainant. And as per MOU between the parties, the petitioner (builder) was to return the entire amount along with 8 per cent simple interest as the complainant represented that he wanted his money back and was not interested in taking the flats, by making the balance payment.

The first payment was made through demand draft by petitioner however, the second cheque was dishonoured, though, the petitioner cleared it through RTGS, however again, 3 subsequent cheques were dishonoured.

Thus NRI Commission directed Mohali SSP to take appropriate action and issued notice to the petitioner. The petitioner, however, appeared before the commission and agreed to pay interest 8 per cent for the delayed payment, till realization and the case was adjourned.

Advocate IP Singh submitted that despite the fact that the entire amount stands returned and only part of the interest remains to be paid, the NRI Commission again passed an order June 2, 2021, directing the SSP Mohali, to submit the status report regarding the investigation, and subsequently under the orders of NRI Commission, the FIR has been registered.

The bench of Justice Sangwan thus ordering the matter to be listed for November 30, ordered that in the meantime, no coercive action be taken against the petitioner.

It was also directed to the petitioner and complainant to appear before the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the HC on August 10, 2021, as the petitioner has offered to return the balance amount, and if the complainant failed to hand over the original documents, it will be open for the petitioner to not to make the balance payment till all the original documents are handed over to the petitioner by the complainant.

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