August 20, 2019

FIR cannot be filed post the settlement of case in Lok Adalat: Supreme Court

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


A Bench of Supreme Court Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and R. Subhash Reddy held that in a case where award has been passed and the matter resolved through Lok Adalat, filing of FIR is unjust and illegal.

The officials of the Enforcement Department of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd. inspected the electricity meter installed in the house of the appellant and found that the meter was not recording correct reading. 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.

The BSES organized one Permanent Lok Adalat in Delhi under the provisions of Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to settle the recovery case. The Lok Adalat passed an order and settled the case at Rs.83,120 against full and final payment of the aforesaid bill of Rs.97,786. Accordingly, the appellant paid Rs.83,120 to the BSES in three equal installments.

Despite settlement of the case and receiving the payment, the BSES filed FIR in South Delhi against the appellant under Section 135 of the Electricity Act in relation to the same demand.

Aggrieved by this, the appellant filed a petition in the High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C) challenging the FIR registration as being bad in law. The High Court dismissed the petition.

The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court by way of Special Leave.

The Supreme Court observed that “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 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.”

The Apex Court set aside the impugned order, allowed the petition filed by the appellant under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C and quashed the FIR filed by BSES.

Full View Judgement

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