Temple property transferred with fake documents: Both civil suit & criminal complaint maintanable, says HC
The High Court of Karnataka has held that both a civil suit and a criminal complaint are maintainable in a case where forged documents were allegedly used to transfer the property of a temple
The High Court of Karnataka has held that both a civil suit and a criminal complaint are maintainable in a case where forged documents were allegedly used to transfer the property of a temple.
Y N Sreenivasa and his wife Suraksha had approached the HC challenging a criminal complaint filed against them by Latha Manjari and her son Y A Chetan Kumar.
It was claimed in the complaint that the husband of Latha -- L N Ashwathama -- and Sreenivasa jointly owned one acre 11 guntas land (40 guntas make one acre).
The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) acquired this land leaving out 14 guntas.
A temple was built on this land which was managed by Ashwathama and Sreenivasa. Ashwathama died on October 30, 2010.
It is alleged that in 2018, Sreenivasa executed a gift deed of a portion of this land in the name of his wife Suraksha and another portion in the name of his son.
Later, an absolute sale deed was executed by the Trust represented by the husband and wife in favour of their son on March 31, 2018. Allegedly fabricated 'khatha' certificate, fabricated tax-paid certificate were used to register this deed.
A criminal complaint was filed under Sections 419, 420, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the Sanjay Nagar police station. These are related to cheating, cheating by personation, forgery and using forged documents.
In the HC, Sreenivasa and Suraksha contended that a civil suit over the same issue was pending before a civil court and therefore a criminal case on the same ground could not have been initiated.
However, Justice Suraj Govindaraj said in his recent judgement that both were maintainable.
The petition had also challenged the criminal complaint on the ground that since the sub-registrar was the aggrieved party, only he can file a criminal complaint under Section 177 of the IPC which deals with fabricated documents presented to a civil servant.
The HC however, pointed out that only in respect of Section 177 a complaint has to be filed by a civil servant who is affected. But complaints regarding other sections of the IPC would not be affected.
"A private individual would not be barred from initiating proceedings under Section 419, 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC on account of fabrication having occurred before a sub-registrar, which is a separate offence under Section 177 of IPC," the HC said.