Writ Petition (Civil) No.614 of 2007. Case: Soma Suresh Kumar Vs Government of Andhra Pradesh & Ors., (With Writ Petition (Civil) No.637 of 2007). Supreme Court

Case Number:Writ Petition (Civil) No.614 of 2007
Party Name:Soma Suresh Kumar Vs Government of Andhra Pradesh & Ors., (With Writ Petition (Civil) No.637 of 2007)
Judges:K. S. Radhakrishnan and A. K. Sikri, JJ.
Issue:Andhra Pradesh Protection of Depositors of Financial Establishments Act, 1999 - Sections 3, 5, 8 and 9; Constitution of India - Articles 14 and 21; Indian Penal Code - Sections 120(b), 420, 409, 468, 477(A)
Judgement Date:September 12, 2013
Court:Supreme Court
 
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Judgment:

K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.

1. The petitioners, who were erstwhile Directors of Vasavi Cooperative Urban Bank Limited, have approached this Court seeking a declaration that Sections 3, 5, 8 and 9 of the Andhra Pradesh Protection of Depositors of Financial Establishments Act, 1999 (in short "the Andhra Act") are unconstitutional and violative of fundamental rights guaranteed to them under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India and also other consequential reliefs.

2. The petitioners were Directors of the above-mentioned bank during the period from 1996 to 2002. Large number of complaints were received from the depositors stating that the Board of Directors of the bank had swindled away the money of the depositors by creating false documents, amounting to crores of rupees. On receipt of the complaints, enquiry was conducted and, ultimately, Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies and Chief Executive Officer of the bank registered Crime No.8 of 2003 on the file of the CID, Police Station under Section 120(b), 420, 409, 468, 477(A), Indian Penal Code and under Section 5 of the Andhra Act. Criminal case was later investigated by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, STD-II, CID Hyderabad and charge-sheet was filed against several persons, including the petitioners. The Charge-sheet was registered as C.C. No.4 of 2003 before the Special Court-cum-Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Hyderabad. It is at this juncture, the petitioners have approached this Court seeking the above-mentioned reliefs and also for a writ of certiorari to quash all proceedings or orders passed by the competent authority and by the Special Court constituted under the Andhra Act. Petitioners have also sought for a writ of mandamus directing the respondents not to arrest the petitioners or to attach their properties for the offences alleged to have been committed by them under Sections 3 and 5 of Andhra Act.

3. The State of Andhra Pradesh filed a detailed counter-affidavit explaining the circumstances under which the petitioners were charge-sheeted. It was stated that, while they were in the Board of Directors of bank, they had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the borrowers of the bank and created fake proprietary concerns, firms/companies and swindled away money of the depositors by accepting defective, fake, forged title deeds and committed default in making payment of dues to the depositors. It was pointed out that the petitioners were rightly charge-sheeted for the various offences under the Indian Penal Code as well as Section 5 of the Andhra Act.

4. Union of India, in its counter affidavit, submitted that the petitioners were rightly charge-sheeted by the State Government and, over and above, the provisions under which they were charge-sheeted, even the provisions of Sections 11 to 11-D of Chapter IV of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (15 of 1992) would also be applicable as amended by the Amendment Act 2002 (59 of 2002). Further, it was also stated that the Andhra Pradesh Cooperative Societies Act, 1964 did not fall within the meaning of the "banking company" as defined by Section 5(b) of the Banking Regulations Act, 1949. Union of India has taken up that stand by placing reliance on the Judgment of this Court in R.C. Cooper Vs. Union of India (1970) 1 SCC 248, wherein this Court held that all activities falling under Section 5(b) of the...

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