Telangana High Court: Unregistered Sale Transactions Not Necessarily Criminal Offence

Telanagana High Court Restriction Welfare Fund Advocates

LI Network

Published on: January 15, 2024 at 14:00 IST

The Telangana High Court recently clarified that every sale transaction that is not registered in favor of the purchaser may not amount to a criminal offense.

The Court dismissed an appeal challenging the District Court’s decision, which had overturned the verdict of the Civil Courts in favor of the Second Respondent. The petitioners were accused of failing to register a piece of land in the Second Respondent’s name and transferring it to someone else.

Justice K. Surender, presiding over the case, highlighted the requirement for an act of deception to be present to establish an offense of cheating.

The Court emphasized that for cheating to occur, there should be an intentional act of deception, leading to the delivery of the property by the deceived person.

The Court’s ruling came in response to a private complaint filed by the Second Respondent, alleging offenses under various sections of the Indian Penal Code related to a property transaction dating back to 1998.

The petitioners argued that the transactions were civil in nature, and the magistrate had mechanically taken cognizance without proper consideration of the facts. Although the police initially closed the case due to insufficient evidence, the Second Respondent filed a protest petition, leading to the issuance of summons.

The High Court noted that the District Court erred in overturning the Civil Court’s direction to register the plot in the name of the second respondent. Considering this, the court held that the initiation of a criminal trial for cheating in the same sale transaction was inappropriate. The court further observed that a criminal complaint filed almost 18 years later, after failing in the civil court, is impermissible.

The Court stressed that the complaint lacked essential allegations of deception and property delivery required for establishing cheating. Additionally, the petitioners, being the owners of the plot, had no intention to deceive the second respondent from the beginning. The charge of criminal misappropriation was deemed inapplicable in this context. Consequently, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Case Title: D. Balamani and another v The State of Telangana and another

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