Special Leave Petition (Criminal) Nos. 6219-6220 of 2012. Case: Kamlesh Kumar and Ors. Vs The State of Jharkhand and Ors.. Supreme Court (India)

Case NumberSpecial Leave Petition (Criminal) Nos. 6219-6220 of 2012
JudgesH. L. Gokhale and Madan B. Lokur, JJ.
IssueForeign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 - Sections 9(1), 13, 18, 18A, 19(1), 44(2), 56, 56(1), 57, 58, 61, 61(1), 62, 64(2); Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 - Section 49(4); Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 - Section 138; Criminal Law Amendment Act 1952 - Sections 6, 6(1), 7, 7(1); Securities and Exchange Board Act, 1992 ; Code of Criminal ...
Judgement DateSeptember 26, 2013
CourtSupreme Court (India)


H. L. Gokhale, J.

1. These Special Leave Petitions (Criminal) seek to challenge the judgment and order dated 19.7.2012, whereby a Learned Single Judge of the Jharkhand High Court dismissed the two Writ Petitions bearing Nos. Writ Petition Nos. 95 and 112 of 2003 filed by Shri Kamlesh Kumar and three others, all children of one Dr. K.M. Prasad who worked earlier as the Director of Animal Husbandry department in Government of Bihar. They are being prosecuted under the provisions of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (in short FERA), and those cases have been transferred to the Special Judge hearing the Fodder scam cases. In the above referred Criminal Writ Petitions they had challenged the transfer of those cases to the Special Court by contending that the transfer order was bad on various grounds, the principal amongst them being that the State Government had no jurisdiction to authorise the Special Judge to try these cases under FERA. Those Criminal Writ Petitions have been rejected, and hence these Special Leave Petitions (Criminal) have been filed.

Facts leading this Criminal Petition are as follows:

2. The above referred Dr. K.M. Prasad, father of the Petitioners, was working earlier as the Director of Animal Husbandry department, Government of Bihar. He is being prosecuted along with some others by the Central Bureau of Investigation (C.B.I.) in the Court of Special Judge at Ranchi for conspiracy to defraud the State Government to the extent of Rs. 7,09,92,000/- during 1980-90 on the basis of fake allotment letters purportedly issued by him for the purchase of medicines. It is claimed that fake supplies were shown as made by the suppliers, and the money withdrawn towards such fake allotments was misappropriated by the accused persons.

3. During the course of investigation it was realized that the amount involved was much more, i.e. Rs. 19,81,66,460/- approximately, and that the accused Dr. K.M. Prasad had acquired huge movable as well as immovable assets in his own name, and in the name of his children and others. at different places. The said Dr. K.M. Prasad and his children were also therefore prosecuted in the case arising out of this investigation, and charges have already been submitted by the CBI against them, and the cases are pending in the court of Special Judge CBI at Ranchi.

4. It was further revealed during the course of investigation, that Mr. Kamlesh Kumar and three others, children of Dr. K.M. Prasad, had received huge amounts of Foreign Exchange over U.S. $3,15,000 and British £1000. It was suspected that these remittances were not actually genuine gifts as claimed by them, but were amounts arranged by certain persons involved in the animal husbandry scam in violation of the provisions of FERA. It was alleged that they had violated the provisions of Section 9(1)(a) and (b) and64(2) of the FERA, and rendered themselves liable to be prosecuted Under Section 56 of the said Act.

5. The Enforcement Director accordingly filed cases against the Petitioners before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Ranchi for taking cognizance Under Section 56 of FERA. The Enforcement Director however, realized that many of the offenders in the FERA cases were also accused in the cases which were pending before the Special Judge in the Fodder scam cases, and the documents relied upon and the witnesses to be examined were common. The Director, therefore, wrote to the State Government on 25.1.2002 seeking to have these cases tried by the same court. Accordingly, the Law Secretary of the Government of Jharkhand wrote to the Registrar General of the High Court on 2.3.2002 and on 25.4.2002. Thereafter, the full Court of Jharkhand High Court passed a resolution on 25.4.2002, to empower the Special Judge, CBI Animal Husbandry scam cases, to try the cases of FEMA, 1999. (This is because in the meanwhile, from 1.6.2000, FERA had been replaced by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999-FEMA for short). Accordingly a notification was issued by the State of Jharkhand on 17.5.2002, empowering the Special Judge CBI (AHD Scam cases) to try the cases under FEMA. Pursuant to that notification, the Complaint filed on 23.5.2002 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ranchi was transferred by order dated 31.5.2002, for trial to the court of the Learned Additional Judicial Commissioner cum Special Judge CBI (AHD Scam cases) Ranchi.

6. This made the Petitioners file the above referred Criminal Writ Petitions to quash the notification dated 17.5.2002. The Learned Single Judge of the Jharkhand High Court at Ranchi dismissed the said Writ Petitions by his judgment and order dated 19.7.2012. It is this order which is under challenge in the present Special Leave Petitions (Criminal).

7. The notification issued by the Jharkhand Government dated 17.5.2002 reads as follows:


RANCHI dated 17th May, 2002

Sr. Prabhu Tiwari, Special Judge, CBI (A.H.D. Scam cases), Ranchi, is being authorized for disposal of cases of FEMA, 1979, in addition to his own works in the light of letter No. 3449/APPTT dated 06/05/2002 of Jharkhand High Court, Ranchi.

By the order of Governor
(Prashant Kumar) Secretary to Government
Law(Justice) Department
Jharkhand, Ranchi

Memo No. 1-A/court-Gathan-103/2001-1111/J Ranchi dated 17th May 2002

Copy to, Superintendent, State Press, Post-Doranda, Ranchi for publishing the same in the next state gazette.

Secretary to Government
Law (Justice) Department
Jharkhand, Ranchi

This notification had been issued in the light of letter dated 6.5.2002 from the Registrar General of the High Court of Jharkhand, which reads as follows:

Office: 501449
Res: 503024
Fax No: 0651-501114
No. 3449/APPT
Dated, Ranchi 06/05/2002


Registrar General High Court of Jharkhand, Ranchi


The Secretary to the Government

Law (Judl.) Department, Govt. of Jharkhand, Ranchi


With reference to your Letter No. 1/A/Court-Estab-103/2001 J 531 dated 02/03/2002, I am directed to say that the Court has been pleased to resolve that Sri Prabhu Tiwary, Special Judge, C.B.I. (AHD Scam cases) at Ranchi be vested with the Powers to try cases under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.

I am further directed to say that since the vesting of this power has to be effective before 31st May, 2002 immediate notification to this effect may be issued.

Yours faithfully
Registrar General


on behalf of the Petitioners:

8. It was firstly submitted on behalf of the Petitioners that the transfer of Appellants' prosecution under FERA/FEMA from the Magistrate's Court to the Court of the Special Judge was unlawful, since the disputed transfer was being made to a Court which had no jurisdiction to try the offence. In this context, it was submitted by learned senior Counsel Mr. Shekhar Naphade appearing for the Petitioners that for the offences for which the Petitioners were being prosecuted Under Section 56 of FERA, the punishment did not exceed 7 years of imprisonment. Since we are concerned with Sub-section (1) of Section 56, we may reproduce the said subsection. We may note at this stage that though FERA came to be repealed and replaced by FEMA with effect from 1.6.2000, in view of Section 49(4) of FEMA, all offences committed under FERA continue to be governed by the provisions of FERA, as if that Act had not been repealed. This Section 56(1) of FERA reads as follows:

56. Offences and prosecution-(1) Without prejudice to any award of penalty by the adjudicating officer under this Act, if any person contravenes any of the provisions of this Act [other than Section 13, Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of [Section 18, Section 18A], Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 19, Sub-section (2) of Section 44 and Sections 57 and 58], or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder he shall, upon conviction by a court, be punishable-

(i) in the case of an offence the amount or value involved in which exceeds one lakh of rupees, with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to seven years and with fine:

Provided that the court may, for any adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months;

(ii) in any other case, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

9. It was then submitted that the punishment being less than 7 years, as provided under the second entry of Part-II of First Schedule to Code of Criminal Procedure, the offences which are punishable with imprisonment for three years and upwards but not more than seven years, and are cognizable and non-bailable offences, are triable by the Magistrate of the first class. The State Government was therefore, not competent to transfer the prosecution Under Section 56 of FERA from the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate to the Court of the Special Judge. This is because if so permitted it will result into denial of one right of appeal to the Petitioner.

10. (i) Reliance was placed in support of this proposition on the...

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