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Simplex Mills Co. Ltd. v/s State of Maharashtra & Others

    CRIMINAL APPLICATION NO.2538 OF 2002

    Decided On, 04 April 2003

    At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.T. KHARCHE

    A.N. Vastani, for applicant. D.B. Yengal, A.P.P., for respondents No. 1 & 2.



Judgment Text

S.T. KHARCHE, J.


Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith.


2.Heard Mr. Vastani, learned Counsel, for the applicant and Mr. Yengal, learned A.P.P., for the respondent/State.


3.The learned Counsel for the applicant contended that the petitioner is a public limited company engaged in manufacture of paper and has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to expunge unwarranted and unjustified remarks made against it by the learned J.M.F.C. (3rd Court) Gondia in Regular Criminal Case No.9 of 1998 between respondent No.2 and 3. He contended that respondent No.3 was in the employment of the applicant and he committed theft of brass bolt from applicant's factory. Therefore, he came to be prosecuted for the offence punishable under section 380 of Indian Penal Code. The investigation was conducted by respondent No.2. After the trial, the learned Magistrate acquitted the accused/respondent No. 3 vide order dated 28-9-2001. In the said judgment the trial Court made unjustified and unwarranted remarks against the applicant, which can be culled out like this (a) perhaps probably for the reason that he was dancing at the tune of the management (To be found in para 18 of judgment of Annexure A) (Emphasis supplied) (b) I.O. dispensed with the statement of accused probably for the reason he was acting at the in stance of management of the Simplex Paper Mill ...... (To be found as last 3 lines of para 18 of the judgment at Annexure-A) (Emphasis supplied) (c) Letter below Exhibits 35, 36 & 37, which were issued by accused prior the incident, are clear proof of the fact that accused has been tremendously harassed at the hands of management for one reason or other (To be found in middle of para 19 of judgment at Annexure A) and (d) The story of the prosecution is best example how they fabricated case and how they tried to rope accused in a false case, so as to terminate him any how from the job of Simplex Paper Mill (To be found in para 20 of the judgment of Annexure A).


4.The learned Counsel for the applicant contended that the aforesaid remarks are totally unjustified, unwarranted and without any legal basis and without giving any opportunity to the applicant the said remarks were passed which violate the principles of natural justice. Therefore, those remarks deserve to be expunged from the record. He further contended that the objectionable remarks would adversely affect the corporate image of the applicant and if the objectionable remarks are allowed to stand the corporate image of the petitioner would definitely suffer and may given wrong signals to the world outside that the applicant's management is the one who implicates its employees in false case so as to facilitate retrenchment. In this view of the matter, the learned Counsel contended that it is necessary to expunge the said objectionable remarks.


5.The learned A.P.P. for respondents 1 & 2 contended that the remarks appearing in the judgment delivered by the trial Court on 28-9-2001 are not made against any particular person and, therefore, cannot be said to be disparaging remarks. He contended that the application is liable to be dismissed.


6.I have carefully considered the contentions canvassed by the learned Counsel for both the parties. It would reveal that under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this Court has inherent power to expunge remarks made by the lower courts in order secure the ends of justice. The learned Counsel for the applicant relied on the decision of the Apex Court in the case of The State of Uttar Pradesh v. Mohammad Naim, reported in A.I.R. 1964 S.C. 703, wherein Their Lordships in para No. 9 observed that "the second point for consideration is this, has the High Court inherent power to expunge remarks made by itself or by a lower Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice? There was at one time some conflict of judicial opinion on this question. The position as to case-law now seems to be that except for a somewhat restricted view taken by the Bombay High Court, the other High Courts have taken the view that though the jurisdiction is to be exercised in most exceptional cases only, it is undoubtedly open to the High Court to expunge remarks from a judgment in order to secure the ends of justice and prevent abuse of the process of the Court. In para 10 the Apex Court further observed that:


"the last question is, the present case a case of an exceptional nature in which the learned Judge should have exercised his inherent jurisdiction under section 561-A Cri.P.C. In respect of the observations complained of by the State Government? If there is one principle of cardinal importance in the administration of justice, it is this: the proper freedom and independence of the Judges and Magistrate must be maintained and they must be allowed to perform their functions freely and fearlessly and without undue interference by anybody, even by this Court. At the same time it is equally necessary that in expressing their opinions Judges and Magistrates must be guided by considerations of justice, fair-play and restraint. It is not infrequent that sweeping generalisations defeat the very purpose for which they are made. It has been judicially recognized that in the matter of making disparaging remarks against persons or authorities whose conduct comes into consideration before courts of law in cases to be decided by them, it is relevant to consider (a) whether the party whose conduct is in question is before the Court or has an opportunity of explaining or defending himself; (b) whether there is evidence on record bearing on the conduct justifying the remarks; and (c) whether it is necessary for the decision of the case, as an integral part thereof, to animadvert on that conduct. It has also been recognised that judicial pronouncements must be judicial in nature, and should not normally depart from sobriety, moderation and reserve."


7.There cannot be any dispute so far as the aforesaid ratio laid down by the Apex Court is concerned. In the present case, the alleged objectionable remarks are (a) Perhaps probably for the reason that he was dancing at the tune of the management; (b) I.O. dispensed with the statement of accused probably for the reason he was acting at the instance of management of the Simplex Paper Mill; (c) Letter below Exhibits 35, 36 & 37, which were issued by accused prior the incident, are clear proof of the fact that accused has been tremendously harassed at the hands of management for one reason or other; and (d) the story of the prosecution is best example how they fabricated case and how they tried to rope accused in a false case, so as to terminate him any how from the job of Simplex Paper Mill.


8.Bare reading of the aforesaid remarks mentioned in the judgment of the trial Court would reveal that those remarks have not been particularly made against any particular individual. It appears that in the judgment the trial Court wanted to make some observations against the Investigating Officer, but even the name of the Investigating Officer has not been mentioned in those remarks. It is obvious that the conduct of the applicant was not in question before the trial Court and, in such circumstances, I am of the considered view that the aforesaid remarks were not in the nature of disparaging remarks and no conclusion could be reached that these objectionable remarks would adversely affe

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ct the corporate image of the applicant and would give wrong signals to the world outside that the applicant's management is the one who implicates its employees in false case so as to facilitate retrenchment. In fact, the accused/respondent No. 3 was already dismissed from the service by holding departmental enquiry by the applicant prior to the judgment delivered by the trial Court and hence by no stretch of imagination it could be said that the said remarks mentioned above would give wrong signals to the world outside that the applicant's management is the one who implicates its employees in false case so as to facilitate retrenchment. In that view of the matter, I am of the considered view, that there is no merit in the present application which is liable to be dismissed. The application is accordingly dismissed. Rule discharged.
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