Thursday, 22 August 2019

Whether FIR Can Be Filed In Respect Of Disputes Fully Settled In Lok Adalat?

 The dispute between the parties, therefore,
came to an end for all purposes consequent upon
passing of an award except to the extent of recovery
of the awarded amount of Rs.83,120/.
It is not in
dispute that the appellant paid the awarded amount
to the BSES in terms of the award dated 27.02.2015
and the same was also accepted by the BSES
without any protest. The award thus stood fully
satisfied.
18. We also find that the award did not contain
any condition granting liberty to the BSES to file an
FIR against the appellant under the Electricity Act
notwithstanding settlement of the dispute and
passing of an award in relation to demand in
question. On the other hand, the conditions set out
in the award, in clear terms, record that the dispute
has been settled in full and final satisfaction of the
demand in question. It is not in dispute that

Section 152 of the Electricity Act empowers the
officer concerned to compound the offences
punishable under the Electricity Act.
19. In our view, if the BSES was so keen to file FIR
against the appellant under the Electricity Act then
either they should not have settled the matter
through Lok Adalat or while settling should have
put a condition in the award reserving therein their
right to file FIR notwithstanding settlement of the
dispute in question. This was, however, not done.
20. We are, therefore, of the considered view that
the filing of FIR after passing of the award by the
Lok Adalat was wholly unjust and illegal and the
same was not permissible being against the terms of
the award and also for want of any subsisting cause
of action arising out of demand. It is, therefore, not
legally sustainable.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1244 OF 2019

Saleem Ahmed Vs State & Anr.

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
Dated:August 19, 2019

1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal is filed against the final judgment
and order dated 05.09.2018 passed by the High
Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Crl.M.C. No.4476 of
2018 whereby the High Court dismissed the petition
filed by the appellant herein.

3. The appeal involves a short point as would be
clear from the facts mentioned hereinbelow.
4. The appellant is the owner of the house
bearing No. F11/
75 (SF), Khasra No. 2271/4,
Malviya Nagar, Khirkee Extn., New Delhi. The
appellant let out this house to respondent No. 3
(the name of respondent No.3 was deleted from
the array of the parties by this Court order dated
25.04.2019) on monthly rent.
5. On 15.12.2014, the officials of the
Enforcement Department of BSES Rajdhani Power
Ltd.respondent
No. 2 herein inspected the
electricity meter installed in the aforesaid house and
found that the meter was not recording correct
reading.
6. On verification, the BSES made assessment in
relation to the consumption of the electricity and
accordingly sent a bill for theft for Rs. 97,786/to
the appellant and respondent No. 3 because he

being in occupation of the house was found
consuming the electricity supplied by the BSES. The
case was accordingly registered against the
appellant and respondent No.3 being case No. ID RJ
151214SC102 (CRN No. 25201 72444/SAKET)PLA
No. 1/37/2015.
7. On 27.02.2015, the BSES organized one
Permanent Lok AdalatI
in Lower Courts at Delhi
under the provisions of Legal Services Authorities
Act, 1987 to settle their several recovery cases. The
appellant's case was also fixed for settlement.
8. By order dated 27.02.2015 (Annexure P2),
the case was settled at Rs.83,120/against
full and
final payment of the aforesaid bill of Rs.97,786/.
The appellant accordingly paid Rs.83,120/to
the
BSES in terms of the order dated 27.02.2015 in
three equal installments. The order reads as under:
“In this case, the petitioner had approached
this Court for settlement with regard to DT
bill amounting to Rs.97,786/based
on
inspection dated 15.12.2004. A proposal for

settlement was given on behalf of the
petitioner, which was duly recorded in the
Order dated 13.02.2015.
Sh. Rajesh Arora submits that after
examining this proposal, the competent
authority has agreed to settle this bill for a
sum of Rs.83,120/.
This offer has now been
accepted by the Learned Counsel for the
petitioner. Accordingly, it is now agreed
between the parties that the petitioner shall
deposit a sum of Rs.83,120/in
full and final
settlement against the impugned bill of
Rs.97,786/.
It is further agreed between the
parties that the petitioner shall deposit the
said amount of Rs.83,120/in
three equal
installments. The amount of the first
installment shall be deposited by the
petitioner on or before 09.03.2015, the
amount of second installment on or before
30.03.2015 and the amount of third
installment, on or before 30.04.2015. The
said amount will be deposited at Andrews
Ganj office. It is further agreed that in case
the petitioner defaults in making the
payment of any of the installments, he shall
be liable to make the payment of the full
amount of the impugned bill forthwith.
It is further agreed that after deposit of
the amount of first two installments, the
request of the petitioner for release of a new
connection will be processed immediately
thereafter and new connection will be
released within one week from the date of
deposit of the second installment, subject to
completion of concerned formalities
including deposit of any other outstanding
amount against the premises in question.
With this order, the dispute between
the parties stands settled amicably. The said
settlement has been recorded without any
pressure, coercion or undue influence.

Parties are directed to sign this order of
settlement. A copy of this order be supplied
to the parties for compliance.”
9. Despite settlement of the case and receiving
the payment, the BSES filed FIR No.548/15 against
the appellant on 21.03.2015 under Section 135 of
the Electricity Act in P.S. Malviya Nagar, South
Delhi in relation to the same demand.
10. The appellant felt aggrieved by the registration
of FIR against him and filed a petition under Section
482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
(hereinafter referred to as “the Code”) in the High
Court challenging its registration as being bad in
law.
11. The High Court, by impugned order,
dismissed the petition, which has given rise to filing
of the present appeal by way special leave by the
appellant in this Court.

12. Heard learned counsel for the parties.
13. Having heard the learned counsel for the
parties and on perusal of the record of the case, we
are constrained to allow the appeal, set aside the
impugned order, allow the petition filed by the
appellant under Section 482 of the Code and quash
FIR No.548/15.
14. In our opinion, once the dispute in relation to
recovery of outstanding amount was finally settled
between the parties (appellant and BSES) amicably
in Lok Adalat resulting in passing of the award
dated 27.02.2015 in full and final satisfaction of the
entire claim, there was neither any occasion and
nor any basis to file FIR by the BSES against the
appellant in respect of the cause which was subject
matter of an award.

15. The remedy of the parties in such a case was
only to challenge the award in appropriate forum in
case they felt aggrieved by the award. Such was,
however, not the case here. (SeeState
of Punjab &
Anr. vs. Jalour Singh & Ors., (2008) 2 SCC 660
and Bhargavi Constructions & Anr. vs.
Kothakapu Muthyam Reddy & Ors., (2018) 13
SCC 480)
16. In our opinion, the effect of passing of an
award was that dispute in relation to the demand
raised by the BSES was settled amicably between
the parties leaving no dispute surviving. The
original demand was for Rs.97,786/whereas
the
dispute was settled at Rs.83,120/in
full and final
satisfaction of the claim made by the BSES against
the appellant.

17. The dispute between the parties, therefore,
came to an end for all purposes consequent upon
passing of an award except to the extent of recovery
of the awarded amount of Rs.83,120/.
It is not in
dispute that the appellant paid the awarded amount
to the BSES in terms of the award dated 27.02.2015
and the same was also accepted by the BSES
without any protest. The award thus stood fully
satisfied.
18. We also find that the award did not contain
any condition granting liberty to the BSES to file an
FIR against the appellant under the Electricity Act
notwithstanding settlement of the dispute and
passing of an award in relation to demand in
question. On the other hand, the conditions set out
in the award, in clear terms, record that the dispute
has been settled in full and final satisfaction of the
demand in question. It is not in dispute that

Section 152 of the Electricity Act empowers the
officer concerned to compound the offences
punishable under the Electricity Act.
19. In our view, if the BSES was so keen to file FIR
against the appellant under the Electricity Act then
either they should not have settled the matter
through Lok Adalat or while settling should have
put a condition in the award reserving therein their
right to file FIR notwithstanding settlement of the
dispute in question. This was, however, not done.
20. We are, therefore, of the considered view that
the filing of FIR after passing of the award by the
Lok Adalat was wholly unjust and illegal and the
same was not permissible being against the terms of
the award and also for want of any subsisting cause
of action arising out of demand. It is, therefore, not
legally sustainable.

21. In view of the foregoing discussion, the appeal
succeeds and is accordingly allowed. The impugned
order is set aside. As a consequence, the petition
filed under Section 482 of the Code by the appellant
is allowed and FIR No. 548/2015 registered in PS
Malviya Nagar, South Delhi against the appellant is
hereby quashed.
.………...................................J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
…...……..................................J.
[R. SUBHASH REDDY]
New Delhi;
August 19, 2019

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