Case Law Companies Act Petitioner Asstt Registrar of Companies West Bengal Vs Respondent Standard Paint Works P Ltd and Ors

Case Law Companies Act

Petitioner Asstt Registrar of Companies West Bengal Vs

Respondent Standard Paint Works P Ltd and Ors

 

DATE OF JUDGMENT – 01/03/1971

 

BENCH:

RAY, A.N.

BENCH:

RAY, A.N.

VAIDYIALINGAM, C.A.

 

CITATION: 1971 AIR 1115 1971 SCR  (3) 859  1971 SCC  (2) 85

 

ACT: Code of Criminal Procediure (Act 5 of 1898), s. 417 and Companies Act (1 of 1956), s. 624B-Scope of.

HEADNOTE: The  appellant filed complaints before the Chief  Presidency Magistrate alleging that the officers of the respondent had committed  an offence under the Companies Act,1956. They were  acquitted on April 4, 1968.  On July 1, 1968,  appeals were filed in the High Court by the appellant (cornplainant) but the High Court held that they were barred by art. 114 of the  Limitation Act, 1963.  In appeal to this Court, it was contended  that the  appeals were filed not  under  s. 417 Cr.P.C, but under s. 624B of the Companies Act.

HELD:(1) Section 404, Cr.P.C., provides that no appeal shall  lie  from  any order of a criminal  court  except  as provided by the Code or by any other law for the time  being in  force.  But s. 624B does not confer any right of  appeal from  an  order of acquittal passed by a criminal  court  in respect of an offence under the Companies Act. It only em- powersthe Central Government to present appeals through persons mentioned in that section. [1861 E-G] (2)  Section 417, Cr.P.C.. provides right of appeal in cases

of  acquittal and if the order of acquittal is passed  in  a case  instituted upon complaint, an application for  special leave  to appeal from such order should be filed  within  60 days from the date of the order of acquittal, and under art. 114 of the Limitation Act, 1963, the appeal should be  filed within 30 days from the date of the grant of special  leave.

The  appeals  were not rightly entertained  in the  present case,  because  (a) there was no application  for  grant  of special leave under s. 417(3), Cr.P.C., (b) the appeals were incompetent  without  grant of special leave; and  (c)  they were barred by limitation. [860 G-H; 861 H; 862 A-D]

 

JUDGMENT: CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal Appeals Nos. 248 to 251 of 1968. Appeals from the judgment an order dated August 13, 1968  of the Calcutta High Court in Criminal Appeals Nos. 425 to 428 of 1968. L.M.  Singhvi and S. P. Nayar, for the appepant  (in  all the appears). The respondent did not appear.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Ray, J. These appeals are by certificate from the,  judgment dated 13 August, 1968 of the High Court at Calcutta  holding that 8 60

the  memorandum of appeals from an order of, acquittal  were barred by Article 114 of the Limitation Act, 1963. The appeals were directed against orders of acquittal passed by  the Presidency Magistrate, Calcutta on 4  April,  1968. The  four  petitions of appeal were presented  in  the High Court on 1 July, 1968 by the learned Advocate authorised  by the,  Vakalatnama  executed by the  Assistant  Registrar  of Companies,  West  Bengal described as the appellant  in  all The petitions. The  Assistant Registrar of Companies, West  Bengal  filed petitions of complaint  before  the Chief. Presidency Magistrate, Calcutta alleging   that the certain officers/directors  of the Standard Paint Works (P) Ltd.  Of 44  Beadon  Row, Calcutta mentioned therein were  guilty  of offence for non-compliance with provisions contained in the Companies  Act, 1956 by reason of default in  filing  Annual Return of the Company together with the Annual Accounts and Balance sheet. Section 210 of the Companies  Act  requires

Annual accounts  and balance, sheet of the  company  to  be filed  within  the time mentioned in the  section. If any person being  a director of the company fails to  take all reasonable  steps to comply with the provisions of  section 210,  he  shall, in respect of each offence.  be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or  with  fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with  both. The  complainant in filing  the petitions  of complaint prayed for exemption of personal appearance  under proviso to  section 247 of the Code of Criminal  Procedure read with section 621(1)A of the Companies Act. The Presidency Magistrate passed the orders of acquittal  in all the cases. Section 417  of the Code of Criminal  Procedure  speaks  of Appeal  incase  of acquittal. Sub-section (3)  of that: section is as follows

“If  such an order of acquittal is  passed  in any  case instituted upon complaint  and the. High  Court, on an. application made to it  by the  complainant.  in this  behalf, grants special  leave  to appeal from  the  order  of acquittal, the complainant may present such an appeal to the High Court”.

Section 417 (4) of the Code of Criminal, Procedure states that  no application under sub-section (3) for the grant  of special leave to appeal from an order of acquittal shall  be entertained  by the High Court after the expiry of  60 days from  the date of the order of acquittal. No 8  application was  made to the High Court in cornpiance with section 417 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 861 On  behalf  of the appellant it was contended  both  in the High,  Court  and  in  this  Court  that the  appeals were preferred  under  section 624B of the Companies Act, 1956. Section 624B is as follows

“Notwithstanding anything  contained  in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, the  Central Government  may, in any case arising  out  of this  Act,  direct any company  prosecutor  or authorise any other person either by name  or by virtue of his office, to present an  appeal from an order of acquittal passed by any Court other than a High  Court  and an appeal presented by such prosecutor or other  person shall be deemed to have been validly presented to the appellate Court.”.

The contention on behalf of the appellant that the right of appeal is conferred by section 624B of the Companies Act  is unacceptable. Section 624B  only speaks  of the Central Government directing or authorising any person to present an appeal from the order of acquittal.

Section 417(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure enacts that in case  of acquittal the State Government may direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the High Court. Section 624B  of  the Companies Act  empowers the Central Government  to present appeals through persons mentioned  in that  section. Presentation  of  appeal  by  the Central Government  is a similar provision to section 417(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Chapter XXXI of the Code of Criminal Procedure relates to, appeals.  Appeal  is a creature of statute. The right  to appeal is  governed by the Code  of  Criminal Procedure.-, Section 404 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that no

Appeal shall lie from any judgment or order of a  Criminal Court  except  as  provided  for by  the  Code of  Criminal Procedure  or by any other law for the time being in  force. Section 624B of the Companies Act does not confer any  right of  appeal  from  any order passed by a Criminal  Court  in respect of any offence under the provisions of the Companies Act. The right to appeal to the High Court in the present cases of acquittal is governed by section 417 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Article 114  of the Limitation Act,  1963  requires  appeal under sub-section (3) of section 417 of the Code of Criminal Procedure  to be filed within 30 days from the date of the grant  of  special leave. No application for the  grant  of special leave to appeal from an order of acquittal was made within 60 days from that order of acquittal. The orders  of acquittal were passed on 4 April, 1968. 862

The petitions of appeal were presented on 1 July,  1968. The  appeals were rightly not entertained by the High  Court because first there was no application for grant of  special leave-under section  417(3)  of  the Code  of Criminal Procedure;  secondly, the appeals were incompetent  without grant  of  special leave, and thirdly these were  barred  by limitation. An  appeal  under  section   417(3)   against acquittal  is competent only when there is  special ‘leave granted by the High Court.  On obtaining special leave the appeal is thereafter filed within 30 days of the  grant  of leave  to escape the mischief of the period  of  limitation under Article 114 ,.of the Limitation Act, 1963.

A  provision  in the Companies Act which  confers  right  of Appeal is  section 483.  It speaks of appeals from  orders made and the decisions given in the matter of winding up  of the  companies by the Court and it enacts that such  appeals shall lie to the same Court to which, in the same manner  in which, and  subject to the same  ,conditions  under  which, appeals lie from any order or decision of the Court in cases with in its ordinary jurisdiction. Section 624B is not such a section which can be said to be conferring a  right of appeal. Section 624B only mentions as to the person through whom appeal is presented. The appeals therefore fail and are dismissed. V.P.S.

Appeals dismissed. 863

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