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private complaint under sec.195 and 120B of I.P.C.= The question which, therefore, arises for consideration in this appeal is that even if the Rent Controller is held not to be a “Court”, whether any private complaint would be maintainable in respect of statements alleged to have been falsely made before it.

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2225 OF 2011

(Arising out of SLP(Crl) No.5625 of 2007)

IQBAL SINGH NARANG & ORS. … APPELLANTS

VS.

VEERAN NARANG … RESPONDENT

O R D E R

ALTAMAS KABIR, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. On 3rd August, 1998, the Appellant No.1 filed

an Ejectment Application under Section 13 of the
2

East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, for

eviction of the Respondent from the premises in

question.

3. The said Respondent filed Crl. RBT Complaint

No.283/19.8.2003/2.8.2005 against the Appellants

before the Illaqa Magistrate, under Sections 193,

420, 120-B IPC, for allegedly making false

statements in judicial proceedings before the Rent

Controller, Amritsar. The statement of the

Complainant/Respondent was recorded before the

Chief Judicial Magistrate. The Complainant/

Respondent also filed an application under Sections

193/420/425 IPC before the Rent Controller-cum-J.M.

First Class, Amritsar, in Rent Application No.111

of 1998, which had been filed by the Appellant

No.1, in which allegations had been made that the

Appellant No.1 had made false statements therein.

By order dated 14th March, 2005, the Rent Controller

disposed of the application filed by the
3

Complainant/Respondent in the rent proceedings upon

holding that the complaint filed under Sections

193, 420, 425 IPC was yet to be decided and there

was, therefore, no question of initiation of any

action against the Appellant on the basis of the

complaint filed by the Complainant/Respondent.

According to the Appellant, since the Respondent

had not challenged the order of the Rent Controller

on the Application dated 14th March, 2005, the same

had attained finality.

4. Appearing in support of the Appeal, Ms. Indu

Malhotra, learned Senior Advocate, contended that

it was obvious from the number of applications

moved by the Respondent before the Rent Controller

that the same was merely a ploy to delay the

proceedings and cause prejudice to the Appellant

No.1. The facts reveal that the Respondent had

delayed the rent proceedings, which are pending
4

since 1998, by filing vexatious and frivolous

applications.

5. On 20th April, 2006, the Judicial Magistrate,

First Class, Amritsar, after observing that no

offence under Section 420 IPC had been made out

against the accused, issued summons against them to

face trial under Section 193 read with Section 120-

B IPC.

6. Ms. Malhotra submitted that the Appellant Nos.1

and 2 appeared before the Judicial Magistrate,

First Class, Amritsar, and were released on bail

vide order dated 16th May, 2006. Subsequently, the

Appellants filed Crl. Misc. No.32515 of 2006 before

the Punjab & Haryana High Court under Section 482

of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for

quashing of the complaint filed by the Respondent

under Sections 193/120-B IPC pending before the

Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Amritsar, as also
5

the Summoning Order dated 24th April, 2006. By its

impugned judgment and order, the High Court

dismissed Crl. Misc. No.32515 of 2006 filed by the

Appellants on the ground that the Rent Controller

is not a Court within the meaning of Section 195(1)

Cr.P.C. and held that a private complaint would be

maintainable in case of false evidence being

adduced or recorded before the Rent Controller.

Ms. Malhotra submitted that the High Court had

failed to consider the fact that the ejectment

proceedings initiated by the Appellant No.1 were

still pending before the Rent Controller and a

similar application had been dismissed on the

ground that the proceedings were still going on and

that the Court had not formed any opinion in the

matter.

7. Having held that the Rent Controller is not a

Court within the meaning of Section 195(1) Cr.P.C.,

the learned Single Judge also held that private
6

complaints would be maintainable in case of

allegations of false evidence before the Rent

Controller. The learned Judge observed that the

concept of the Rent Controller being a Court was

erroneous and hence the decision of the Division

Bench of the High Court in Ram Krishan Vs. Santra

Devi [1986 (1) P&H (DB) PLR 567] was per incuriam.

8. On the basis of the aforesaid findings, the

High Court chose not to interfere with the order

passed by the learned Magistrate taking cognizance

of the offence alleged to have been committed by

the Appellants under Section 193/120-B IPC and

dismissed the Misc. Case No.32515-M of 2006 filed

by the Appellants herein.

9. On behalf of the Respondent it was urged that

the order of the learned Single Judge, impugned in

this appeal, was based on a judgment of this Court

and hence it did not suffer from any irregularity
7

or illegality. It was also urged that since the

Rent Controller was not a Court, a complaint under

Section 195 Cr.P.C. in respect of false statements

made before it, would be maintainable at the

instance of a private party, notwithstanding the

bar to filing of such complaint, except on a

complaint in writing of that Court, by such officer

of the Court, as that Court may authorize in

writing in such regard. Learned counsel submitted

that no interference was called for with the order

of the High Court and the appeal was liable to be

dismissed.

10. The question which, therefore, arises for

consideration in this appeal is that even if the

Rent Controller is held not to be a “Court”,

whether any private complaint would be maintainable

in respect of statements alleged to have been

falsely made before it. While disposing of the

Revisional Application filed by the Appellants, the
8

learned Single Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High

Court took note of a judgment of the said Court in

Ishwar Chand Gupta Vs. Chander Shekhar & Anr.

[(2001) 1 RCR Criminal 171], in which it had been

held that the Rent Controller was not a Court and

that a complaint would lie under Section 195

Cr.P.C. in respect of statement made before the

Rent Controller at the instance of a private party.

11. The aforesaid question has fallen for

consideration in several cases before this Court

and the consistent view which has been taken is

that the Rent Controller, being a creature of

Statute, has to act within the four corners of the

Statute and could exercise only such powers as had

been vested in him by the Statute.

12. In the decision rendered by this Court in

Prakash H. Jain Vs. Marie Fernandes [(2003) 8 SCC

431], this Court held that the Competent Authority
9

under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, is at

best a statutory authority created for a definite

purpose and to exercise powers in a quasi-judicial

manner, but its powers were strictly circumscribed

by the very statutory provisions which conferred

upon it those powers and the same could be

exercised in the manner provided therefor and

subject to such conditions and limitations

stipulated by the very provisions of law under

which the Competent Authority itself was created.

The aforesaid observations were made by this Court

in the context of the powers conferred on the

Competent Authority appointed under the Maharashtra

Rent Control Act, 1999, which included powers to

condone the delay in the filing of the proceedings.

It is in such circumstances that it was observed

by this Court that the High Court had rejected the

submissions made on behalf of the Appellant therein

that since it had all the trappings of a Court, the
10

Competent Authority was a Court in the eye of law

and consequently possessed inherent powers to

condone the delay. The High Court also rejected the

said prayer upon observing that statutory

authorities have to act within the powers conferred

on them by Statute.

13. The same views were also expressed by this

Court in Om Prakash Vs. Ashwani Kumar Bassi [(2010)

9 SCC 183], wherein it was held that in the absence

of a specific power being vested in the Rent

Controller, it being a creature of statute, it

could only act in terms of the powers vested in it

by the Statute and could not, therefore, entertain

an application under Section 5 of the Limitation

Act for condonation of delay, since the Statute did

not vest him with such power.

14. The aforesaid decisions of this Court establish

that though the Rent Controller discharges quasi-
11

judicial functions, he is not a Court, as

understood in the conventional sense and he cannot,

therefore, make a complaint under Section 340

Cr.P.C. Consequently, as held by the High Court, a

complaint could be made by a private party in the

proceedings.

15. In addition to the above, we also see no reason

to quash the proceedings in which the Appellants

herein had been summoned under Section 193/420/120-

B IPC. The Appeal is, accordingly, dismissed. The

interim orders passed earlier are vacated.

………………………………………………………J.

(ALTAMAS KABIR)

………………………………………………………J.

(SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)

New Delhi

Dated: 30.11.2011

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