(1) The present revisions arise out of the order dated 17-11-2001 passed in different revisions. The matter in controversy and the law points involved are common hence both the revisions are being decided by the common order.
(2) The brief facts relating to Criminal Revision No. 658 of 2001 are that Smt. Kanak Prabha Dutta opposite party No. 1 filed a complaint under Ss. 138/141 of the N. I. Act Police Station George Town, Allahabad, on the ground that the revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh and opposite parties Nos. 3 to 6 were the partners of the firm opposite party No. 2, Sri P. N. Singh opposite party No. 3 took Rs. 1,00000.00 (one lac) from Kanak Prabha Dutta with a promise to return the same on 30-6-1997. On the said date cheque number 097603 was issued by opposite party No. 3, which was presented to the Bank on the same day but the Bank informed on 3-7-1997 that it cannot be paid on account of shortage of money in the said account. The opposite party No. 2 Smt. Kanak Prabha issued a notice which was served on opposite party Nos. 2 to 6 on 16-6-1997 and demanded Rs. 1,00000.00 (one lac) which was not paid hence the complaint was filed.
(3) The facts of Criminal Revision No. 659 of 2001, are almost the similar except that Smt. Sonali Dutta opposite party No. 1 filed a complaint on the same facts that the opposite party Nos. 2 to 6 borrowed Rupees 1,00000/- (one lac) from her and promised to pay on 30-6-1997. On 30-6-1997 the opposite party No. 3 Paras Nath Singh issued Cheque No. 097604 as partner of the firm opposite party No. 2 which was presented to the Bank but the same was returned on account of shortage of money hence a notice was sent which was received to revisionist and opposite parties 2 to 6 on 16-7-1997 whereby the complainant opposite party No. 1 demanded Rs. 1,00000.00 (one lac) and the same being not paid, the complaint was filed.
(4) In both the complaints an order dated 3-12-1997 was passed against which a revision was filed in this Court, this Court ordered that the Magistrate shall pass the order after hearing the parties. Consequently, the Magistrate passed the order on 18-8-1999 discharging the revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh but further ordered that the complaint against the remaining accused shall proceed as it is. Smt. Sonali Dutta filed Revision No. 1217 of 1999 against the discharge of accused-revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh and the remaining accused-Vikas Singh and others filed Revision No. 1414 of 1999 against the order of the Magistrate. Similarly, in the complaint of Smt. Kanak Prabha Dutta Revision No. 1218 of 1999 was filed against discharge of accused-revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh and Vikas Singh and other accused (opposite party Nos. 2 to 6 of the present revision) filed Revision No. 1413 of 1999 against the order of the Magistrate. In all the cases the (sic) revisional Court dismissed Revision No. 1413 of 1999 and partly allowed Revision No. 1218 of 1999 setting aside the order of the Magistrate discharging revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh and ordered to proceed with the case from the stage of 244, Cr. P.C. In the case of Sonali Dutta similar orders were passed by the revisional Court dismissing the Revision No. 1414 of 1999 and partly allowing Revision No. 1217 of 1999 filed by Smt. Sonali Dutta.
(5) Being aggrieved by the order of the revisional Court the present revisions have been filed.
(6) I have heard learned counsel for the revisionist learned AGA and learned counsel for opposite party Nos. 1 to 6.
(7) Learned counsel for the revisionist has raised the first point that Anil Kumar Singh has ceased to be the partner of the firm before the issue of the cheque and he has nothing to do with the said transaction. Therefore, the order of lower revisional Court setting aside the order of the Magistrate is against law. The next point was raised that the case being a summon trial should not proceed as a warrant trial and there is no occasion for coming to the stage of 244, Cr. P.C.
(8) Now coming to the first question that Anil Kumar Singh ceases to be a partner or not, I have examined the record on this point. There is no dispute that Anil Kumar Singh was partner of the said firm and it has to be seen whether at the relevant point of time he ceased to be a partner or not.
(9) I have perused the order passed by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, I, Allahabad and find that the discharge has been based on the fact that the revisionist has joined as Assistant Engineer in the M.E.S. Bamrauali and the papers filed with the Trade Tax Officer show that he has informed the Trade Tax Officer about his disassociation with the partnership of the said firm with effect from 31-3-1996. Learned counsel for the opposite party has referred to an application on behalf of the revisionist and others which is dated 24-3-1998 in which the revisionist had admitted to be the partner of the said firm. Para I of the application dated 24-3-1998 moved before the trial Court reads as follows : "YAH KI VAAD PATRA KI DHARA EK MAIN LIKHIT BATON MAIN KEWAL ITNA SWEEKAR HAI KI SABHI PRARTHIGAN M/s. TIMBER AND COMPANY KE PARTNER HAIN SHESH BATEIN NIRADHAR EVAM GALAT HAIN." It shows that the revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh continued to be the partner of M/s. Timber and Company at least till 24-3-1998. Thus the plea of revisionist that he ceased to be the partner since 31-3-1996 is patently wrong.
(10) It appears that this date has been chosen only to avoid the responsibility of the issue of cheque, which was issued on 30-6-1997. This application was moved by counsel for revisionist on behalf of revisionist and other co-accused. On the same day the counsel had moved an application for exemption of the attendance as well. There is another application dated 14-5-1998 and para 23 of the said application shows that the partnership had come to an end on 31-3-1997 and Vishal Singh, Vikas Singh and Vivek Singh and Anil Kumar Singh (revisionist) ceased to be the partners with effect from 31-3-1997. This again falsifies the version of the revisionist that he ceased to be the partner since 31-3-1996. The record further shows that there was RETIREMENT DISSOLUTION DEED dated 31-3-1997 which shows that the partnership was at will and it came to an end by this deed. It also bears the signature of revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh, though this document is not admissible but even for arguments sake, if it is looked into then partnership of the revisionist would come to an end on 31-3-1997. Thus on the facts available on record it is nowhere established that revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh ceases to be the partner of the firm M/s. Timber and Company on 31-3-1996.
(11) So far as legal position is concerned it also does not support the revisionist. The revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh has based his separation from the firm on the strength of certain letters and certificates to the Trade Tax Officer. Simply by informing the Trade Tax Officer no partner can retire nor the partnership can be dissolved. The affairs of the partnership are governed by Indian Partnership Act, 1932. Chapter V and Ss. 31 to 38 of the Indian Partnership Act, 1932 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') deals with incoming and outgoing partners. Section 32 of the Act deals with the retirement of a partner. It lays down : "32. Retirement of a partner :- (1) A partner may retire- (a) with a consent of all the other partners, (b) in accordance with an express agreement by the partners, or (c) where the partnership is at will, by giving notice in writing to all the other partners of his intention to retire. (2) A retiring partner may be discharged from any liability to any third party for acts of the firm done before his agreement by an agreement made by him with such third party and the partners of the reconstituted firm, and such agreement may be implied by a course of dealing between such third party and the reconstituted firm after he had knowledge of the retirement. (3) Notwithstanding the retirement of a partner from a firm, he and the partners continue to be liable as partners to third parties for any act done by any of them which would have been an act of the firm if done before the retirement, until public notice is given of the retirement : Provided that a retired partner is not liable to any third party who deals with firm without knowing that he was a partner. (4) Notices under sub-section (3) may be given by the retired partner or by any partner of the reconstituted firm."
(12) There is nothing on record to show that on the alleged date i.e. 31-3-1996 any of the formalities was done. It nowhere lays down that simply by informing the Trade Tax Officer the partnership shall come to an end. The alleged document i.e. 'RETIREMENT DISSOLUTION DEED' dated 31-3-1997 shows at page 2 that it was a partnership at will. The provisions for dissolution of partnership at will has been given in S. 43 of the Act. It lays down that where the partnership is at will, the firm may be dissolved by any partner giving notice in writing to all the other partners of his intention to dissolve the firm. The said deed has not seen the light of the day. A photocopy has been filed before the trial Court.
(13) Leaving all the things apart the liability of the partners continued even after dissolution of the partnership unless the public notice of dissolution is given. This provision is contained in S. 45 of the Act. The mode of giving public notice is also given in S. 72 of the Act which lays down that : "72. Mode of giving public notice.- A public notice under this Act is given- (a) where it relates to the retirement or expulsion of a partner from a registered firm, or to the dissolution of a registered firm or to the election to become or not to become a partner in a registered firm by a person attaining majority who was admitted as a minor to the benefits of partnership, by notice to the Registrar of Firms under S. 63 and by publication in the Official Gazette and in at least one vernacular newspaper circulating in the District where the firm to which it relates has its place or principal place of business, and (b) in any other case, by publication in the Official Gazette, and in at least one vernacular newspaper circulating in the district where the firm to which it relates has its place or principal place of business."
(14) Not only this S. 63 of the Act further lays down that :- "63. Recording of changes in and dissolution of a firm : (1) When a change occurs in the constitution of a registered firm any incoming, continuing or outgoing partner, and when a registered firm is dissolved any person who was a partner immediately before the dissolution, or the agent of any such partner or person specially authorised in this behalf, may give notice to the Registrar of such change or dissolution, specifying the date thereof, and the Registrar shall make a record of the notice in the entry relating to the firm in the Register of Firms, and shall file the notice along with the statement relating to the firm filed under S. 59."
(15) The above provision says that after there was retirement of any partner or dissolution of the partnership, notice was a must to the Registrar who could make a record of the notice in the Register of Firms.
(16) As earlier pointed out there is nothing on record to suggest that any of the formalities required by the Act has been carried out and consequently the revisionist and other partners are liable for the act of the partnership firm. The relevant S. 45 of the Act reads as follows : "45. Liability for acts of partner done after dissolution.- (1) Notwithstanding the dissolution of a firm, the partners continue to be liable as such to third parties for any act done by any of them which would have been an act of the firm if done before the dissolution, until public notice is given of the dissolution : Provided that the estate of a partner who dies, or who is adjudicated an insolvent, or of a partner who not having been known to the person dealing with the firm to be a partner, retires from the firm, is not liable under this section for acts done after the date on which he ceases to be a partner. (2) Notice under sub-section (1) may be given by any partner."
(17) Thus when the retirement of revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh or dissolution of the partnership firm has not been made in accordance with law nor any public notice of dissolution has been given then the revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh or any of the partners cannot be exonerated from the liability.
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s not only on the facts but even on legal grounds revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh did not cease to be a partner of the firm M/s. Timber and Company. (19) The learned Magistrate has not taken care to go through the record nor considered the legal aspect of the matter and discharged the revisionist. The learned lower revisional Court has rightly set aside the order of the learned Magistrate discharging revisionist-Anil Kumar Singh. (20) It was next submitted on behalf of revisionist that the revisional Court has ordered for proceeding under S. 244, Cr. P.C. whereas the offence under S. 138, N.I. Act is a summons trial and not a warrant trial. (21) I have perused the order of the revisional Court and also of the Magistrate. The learned Magistrate while passing the order dated 18-8-1999 has mentioned in the operative portion that the case be fixed for statement under S. 244, Cr. P.C. Section 259 of the Code of Criminal Procedure empowers the Magistrate to try a summons case as warrant case in which the imprisonment is for a term exceeding six months. Thus there is no illegality in proceeding with the case as warrant trial. (22) The Criminal Revision Nos. 658 and 659 2001 therefore lack merit and are dismissed. (23) A copy of this order be placed on the record of connected Criminal Revision No. 659/2001. Petition dismissed.