Proceedings relating to economic offences not to be quashed even after settlement

Supreme Court: Dealing with an important question that whether
continuance of criminal proceedings in case of loans taken from banks on the
basis of forged documents would be an unnecessary load on the criminal justice
dispensation system once the parties have entered into a settlement, the bench
of Dipak Misra and P.C. Pantt, JJ held that a grave criminal offence or serious
economic offence or for that matter the offence that has the potentiality to
create a dent in the financial health of the institutions, is not to be quashed
on the ground that there is delay in trial or the principle that when the
matter has been settled it should be quashed to avoid the load on the system.

In the case where the respondent,
a former Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes along with her late husband
applied for loans on the basis of forged documents in more than one bank,
advanced a plea that she had signed the documents either as a guarantor or as a
co-applicant, and that she is a lady and she was following her late husband’s
commands, the Court rejected her plea after considering that the respondent who
has voluntarily retired from the post of Assistant Commissioner of Commercial
Taxes and thereafter became a member of Rajya Sabha. The Court noted that the
assertions as regards the ignorance are a mere pretence and sans substance
given the facts. Lack of awareness, knowledge or intent is neither to be
considered nor accepted in economic offences.

Unimpressed by the argument based
on the gender of the respondent, the Court went on to say that an offence under
the criminal law is an offence and it does not depend upon the gender of an
accused. Though there are certain provisions in CrPC relating to exercise of
jurisdiction under Section 437, etc. therein but that altogether pertains to a
different sphere. A person committing a murder or getting involved in a
financial scam or forgery of documents, cannot claim discharge or acquittal on
the ground of her gender as that is neither constitutionally nor statutorily a
valid argument. [State v. R. Vasanthi Stanley, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 815, decided on 15.09.2015]
Source: Legal news India