Hon'ble Raj Beer Singh,J.
1. Heard Sri Rakesh Pandey, learned Senior Advocate, assisted by Sri Amit Kumar Singh and Sri Prashant Kumar, learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri Ashish Agrawal, learned counsel for respondents and perused record.
2. This petition under Article 226 of Constitution of India has been preferred seeking following relief:
(I) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction to call for records leading to the issuance of Show cause notices dated 01.05.19 u/s 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act 2015, the Assessment order (if any exists on record), the Sanction order (if any exists on record) and the complaints u/s 50 and 51 of Black Money Act 2015 and quash and set aside the same as illegal, arbitrary aand violative of fundamental rights of petitioner.
(ii) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari quashing any sanction orders passed by the respondents whereby respondent's department filed the compliants dated 03.05.2019 u/s 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act 2015 for assessment year 2018-19 before the Special Judicial Magistrate, Meerut against petitioner without affording an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and alternatively, if no such sanction orders are there quash the complaints dated 03.05.19 u/s 50 and 51 of Black Money Act 2015.
(iii) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari quashing the criminal complaints Nos. 2982/2019 and 2983/2019 dated o3.05.19 filed by respondent's department u/s 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act 2015 for assessment year 2018-19 before the Special Judicial Magistrate, Meerut against petitioner as illegal and arbitrary and violative of fundamental rights of the petitioner;
(iv) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Prohibition to prohibit the respondent from unnecessary harassing the petitioner by issuing Show-cause notices without any substance or cause of action on the basis of documents recovered through search on 11.10.18 at the home and office premises of the petitioner;
(v) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondent to conduct hearing and inquiry with regard to show cause notices dated 01.05.19 as per established procedure and in conformity with the principles of natural justice after quashing and setting aside the same.
(vi) Issue a writ, order or direction to quash and set aside any subsequent and resultant proceedings, complaints dated 03.05.19 u/s 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act 2015 or action based on the show-cause notice dated 01.05.19 u/s 50 and 51 of Black Money Act 2015;
(vii) Any other writ, order or directions which this Hon'ble court may deem just, fit and proper in the light of aforementioned facts and circumstances of the case and may kindly be passed and;
(viii) Allow the writ petition with costs.
3. It has been argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner, who is a journalist and editor, has entered into Sale and Purchase Agreement dated 30.11.2015 with ST George Blackfriars Limited to purchase a property in London (foreign asset) against consideration of GBP 2,725,000/ and details of said property were duly disclosed in the Income Tax Return of petitioner and that source of payments, which were made to purchase the alleged property, were also disclosed. The petitioner has made first payment of GBP 10,000 & 262500 from his foreign account and second payment of GBP 272,500 was made from foreign account of his daughter Ms Tara Bahl and thereafter through assignment deed dated 01.11.2017 petitioner has assigned his interest in said property to RBRK Investment Limited. It was submitted that a search under Section 132(1) of Income Tax Act was conducted by Income Tax Authorities at the residence and office premises of the petitioner and certain documents were seized and thereafter Income Tax Officer issued a show-cause notice dated 02.11.2018 against Ms. Tara Bahl, daughter of the petitioner, under Section 276C of the Income Tax Act 1961 for Assessment Year 2017-18 and 2018-19 and under Section 50 and 51 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Asset) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015) and another notice dated 02.11.2018 was issued against petitioner under Section 276C of the Income Tax Act 1961 for Assessment Year 2018-19 and under Section 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act, 2015, which were duly replied by their authorized representative/ Chartered Accountant. Again show cause notice dated 22.11.18 issued by the Income Tax Officer, which was replied vide reply letter dated 28.11.2018. Similarly, the show cause notice dated 07.12.18 under Section 50 of the Black Money Act, 2015 issued to the petitioner for the Assessment Year 2017-18 was also replied by reply dated 12.12.2018.
It was stated that the Income Tax Officer vide Emails dated 01.05.2019 issued show-cause notice dated 01.05.2019 under Section 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act, 2015 against the petitioner for the Assessment year 2018-19, wherein it was alleged that the petitioner has under-reported total investment in his foreign Assets by GBP 2.73 lakhs and thereby, has wilfully attempted to evade tax and its reply was sought by 02.05.2019. The authorised representative/ CA of petitioner submitted that the information provided in show-cause notice dated 01.05.2019 is factually incorrect and that payments made by petitioner for London property have been duly and properly mentioned in Income Tax Return for Assessment Year 2018-19. The petitioner's representative has requested Income Tax Authority to adjourn the matter for a fortnight for submitting detailed response but that request was rejected by the Income Tax officer vide Emails dated 02.05.2019 and petitioner was directed to file factual reply/ submission of show-cause notice by 02.05.2019. Petitioner's authorized representative again requested for the grant of adjournment vide Email dated 11.05.2019 and thereafter authorized representative/CA Firm, has filed reply dated 13.05.2019 containing detailed submissions against the show-cause notice dated 01.05.2019 but the Respondent's Department has filed impugned criminal complaints on 03.05.2019 under Section 50 and 51 of Black Money Act, 2015 in the Court the Special Chief Judicial Magistrate, Meerut, against petitioner.
It was further submitted that no copy of any sanction has been provided to the petitioner and that respondents have denied opportunity of hearing to the petitioner before granting sanction and filing the impugned complaint as much as the third show-cause notice was issued on 01.05.2019 and complaint was filed on 03.05.2019 declining the request of petitioner to grant reasonable time to submit his submissions. If any Sanction order has been granted, it was passed without giving opportunity of personal hearing to the petitioner, who has specifically asked for it in its reply Emails dated 02.05.2019. The respondents have instituted the impugned complaints against the petitioner with intention to tarnish and harm his integrity and standing in public eyes and that the impugned complaints and sanction order do not fulfill the necessary ingredients of the alleged offence ie undisclosed foreign income and assets. It was stated that all the payments made in foreign bank account in connection with alleged property (foreign asset) were transferred from Indian legitimate bank accounts of petitioner and money transferred in foreign bank accounts was duly disclosed and that the petitioner has legitimate source of such income.
Learned counsel further argued that the necessary ingredients of Section 50 and 51 of Black Money Act, 2015 are not satisfied and that no prima facie case is made out against the petitioner. It has been submitted that all investment in London property were duly disclosed in Income Tax Return and there was no undisclosed foreign income or assets of the petitioner.
4. Sri Ashish Agrawal, learned counsel for respondents argued that as per the petitioner, he has made payment of GBP 145047 and GBP 28998.6 for London property on 11.06.2018 and 27.07.2018 and Ms. Ritu Kapur has made payments of GBP 72523.4 and GBP 43514.1 for the London property on 07.08.2018 and 29.10.2018 while the alleged assignment was made on 01.11.2017 and thus, payments for the alleged property were made by petitioner and Ms. Ritu Kapur after alleged assignment, which is contradictory to his later submissions and that petitioner has shown the London property as directly held asset in his ITR for Assessment Year 2018-19, that is after the purported assignment of the property to M/s RBRK Investments Ltd. It was pointed out that as per AY 2017-18 and 2018-19, total share holding of petitioner in M/s RBRK Investment Ltd is merely of Rs 200/ while of Ritu Kapur is Rs 2,51,16,284/. It was submitted that no details of RB Trust and Vidur Bahl having been allotted any shares has been submitted. It was stated that prosecution has been launched u/s 50 of Black Money Act for non disclosure of foreign bank accounts in the name of his minor son Vidur Bahl as there is no such disclosure in the ITRs of petitioner that any shares have been allotted to Vidur Bahl and that Prima facie, petitioner is owner of the said property and he has under-reported total investment till 31.03.2018 in London property.
So far as question of grant of sanction is concerned, it was submitted that Sanction order dated 02.05.19 has been passed considering the response submitted by the petitioner in response to show-cause notice dated 01.05.19. There is no obligation of serving the sanction order to the petitioner and that sanction orders were duly passed before instituting the prosecution in the Court. It was further submitted that the above stated assignment deed dated 01.11.2017 is not a registered document and thus, it has no evidentiary value. Further it does not even specify the consideration against which the assignment has been made and that the alleged assignment deed is an afterthought arrangement. It was further pointed out that the petitioner was not allotted any shares even by the month of January 2019 i.e. much after the search on the petitioner, for assigning his interest in the London property to M/s RBRK Investments Ltd. The petitioner was given sufficient opportunity to make his submission/ representation. The show-cause notice dated 01.05.2019 was issued before granting sanction for launching prosecution. However, as per prosecution manual it is not incumbent upon the office of Principal Director to grant opportunity hearing to petitioner. Further, grant of sanction is purely an administrative act and the department is not under the obligation to serve copy of the sanction on the petitioner and thus, no principle of judicial procedure has been violated.
5. Much thrust has been given to the argument that petitioner was denied opportunity of hearing before according sanction for launching prosecution of petitioner as much as the show-cause notice was issued on 01.05.2019 and complaint was filed on 03.05.2019 by declining the request of petitioner to grant reasonable time to submit his submissions and that the sanction order was also passed without giving opportunity of personal hearing to the petitioner, who has specifically asked for it in the reply E-mails dated 02.05.2019. In this regard it would be pertinent to mention that petitioner could not show any such legal or mandatory requirement that before according sanction or instituting such prosecution, an opportunity of hearing has to be given to the accused. Further, show cause notices dated 02.11.2018, 27.11.18 and 07.12.18 were issued to the petitioner to put his submissions.
In the case of Superintendent of Police (C.B.I.) Vs. Deepak Chaudhary, AIR 1996 SC 186, referred by the learned counsel for the respondents, accused respondent filed writ petition in the High Court seeking quashing of the order of sanction. One of the ground for challenge was that he not given an opportunity of hearing before granting sanction. The High Court accepted the contention and quashed the sanction order. Before the Hon'ble Apex Court, it was contended on behalf of the appellant that question of giving an opportunity to the charged officer before granting sanction does not arise since it is not a quasi judicial function but purely an administrative function. This argument was accepted by the Hon'ble Apex Court and it was held as under :
"We find force in the contention. The grant of sanction is only an administrative function, though it is true that the accused may be saddled with the liability to be prosecuted in a Court of law. What is material at that time is that the necessary facts collected during investigation constituting the offence have to be placed before the sanctioning authority and it has to consider the material. Prima-facie, the authority is enquired to reach the satisfaction that the relevant facts would constitute the offence and then either grant or refuse to grant sanction. The grant of sanction, therefore, being administrative act the need to provide an opportunity of hearing the accused before according sanction does not arise. The High Court, therefore, was clearly in error in holding that the order of sanction is vitiated by violation of the principles of natural justice."
In case of Union of India Vs W.N. Chadha, AIR 1993 SC 1082 after registration of the case against the accused, the Director, CBI requested the authority in Switzerland for freezing/blocking certain bank accounts of the accused which had relevency in the investigation of the case whereupon Federal Department of Justice and Police in Switzerland made an application before the concerned court which vide order dated 29.1.1990 froze the said bank account and further directed that the account shall remain frozen till 28 February, 1990 and further necessary assistance would be rendered only on receipt of the letter rogatory from a competent judicial authority in India. In response thereto, the C.B.I. approached the Special Judge, Delhi to issue a letter rogatory/request to Switzerland for getting the necessary investigation, which was allowed vide order dated 05.02.1990. In the meantime, certain public interest litigation was filed and the matter travelled up to the Hon'ble Apex Court. Detail facts and orders passed in those cases have no relevance to the controversy herein. What is relevant to mention here is that one of the accused W.N. Chadha filed a criminal writ petition before the High Court of Delhi challenging the legality and validity of the first information report and also the letter rogatory issued by the Special Court. The High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the first information report as well as letter rogatory issued on two occasions and other proceedings. The issue was taken to the Hon'ble Apex Court by way of Special Leave Petition. One of the issue raised before Hon'ble Apex Court was whether the letter rogatory issued without hearing the accused is violative of principle of natural justice and thereby has become liable to be quashed. While considering the said issue, it was observed in paragraph 80 & 81 as under :
"80. The rule of audi alteram partem is a rule of justice and its application is excluded where the rule will itself lead to injustice. In A.S. de Smith's Judicial Review of Administrative Action, 4th Ed. at page 184, it is stated that in administrative law, a prima facie right to prior notice and opportunity to be heard may be held to be excluded by implication in the presence of some factors, singly or in combination with another. Those special factors are mentioned under items (1) to (10) under the heading "Exclusion of the audi alteram partem rule". 81. Thus, there is exclusion of the application of audi alteram partem rule to cases where nothing unfair can be inferred by not affording an opportunity to present and meet a case. This rule cannot be applied to defeat the ends of justice or to make the law 'lifeless; absurd, stultifying and self-defeating or plainly contrary to the common sense of the situation' and this rule may be jettisoned in very exceptional circumstances where compulsive necessity so demands."
The Apex Court in the case of State of M.P. Vs. Dr. Krishna Chandra Saksena, reported in (1996) 11 SCC 439, relied by learned counsel for the respondents, held that at the stage of granting of sanction, accused need not be heard. Para 8 of the said judgment is as follows :
"8. On a careful consideration of the rival contentions it is found that the learned Single Judge had ex fade erred in interfering with the criminal proceedings at the stage of filing a challan after investigation which was backed up by relevant sanction. It is now well settled that interference under Section 482 Cr.PC for quashing a criminal proceeding should be done very sparingly and in exceptional cases. In the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal it has been laid down by a two member Bench of this Court speaking through S. Ratnavel Pandian, J., that the power of quashing a criminal proceeding should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases. The extraordinary or inherent powers do not confer an arbitrary jurisdiction on the High Courts to act according to its whim or caprice. The court will not be justified in embarking upon an enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness or otherwise of the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint. It has also been laid down by way of illustration as to under what circumstances the High Court can be justified in interfering with the criminal proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India or Section 482 Cr.PC."
The case of Zenit Mataplast Private Ltd Vs State of Maharashtra (2009)10 SCC 388, relied by the learned counsel for the petitioner, does not address the issue involved in the present case. That case does not assist the appellant, since the facts and issue involved therein differ materially from those in present case. In the instant case, it is correct that prior of granting sanction, the show-cause notice was issued on 01.05.2019 and complaint was filed on 03.05.2019 by declining the request of petitioner for grant of more time to submit his submissions but from the above stated position of law it is quite apparent that grant of sanction is an administrative act and there is no requirement to provide an opportunity of hearing to the accused before according sanction. Once there was no requirement of affording an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner before grant of sanction, it would not make any difference that the request of petitioner for granting more time to submit reply in pursuance of notice dated 01.05.19 was declined.
In view of aforesaid legal position, no fault can be found with the alleged notice dated 01.05.19 or with grant of sanction. The complaint or proceeding thereof are not vitiated on ground that no opportunity of hearing was granted to the petitioner before according sanction or before instituting the complaint. The contention raised in this regard by the learned counsel for the petitioner has no substance.
6. So far the argument that alleged property in London can not be termed as ''undisclosed foreign income and assets'' and that necessary ingredients of Section 50 and 51 of Black Money Act, 2015 are not satisfied and that no prima facie case is made out against the petitioner, is concerned, in view of allegations made against petitioner and material on record, it can not be said that prima facie no case is made out against the petitioner. There are allegations against the petitioner that alleged payment of GBP 145047 and GBP 28998.6 for property in question were made on 11.06.2018 and 27.07.2018 and Ms. Ritu Kapur has made payments of GBP 72523.4 and GBP 43514.1 on 07.08.2018 and 29.10.2018 while the alleged assignment was made on 01.11.2017 and thus, payments for the alleged property were made by petitioner and Ms. Ritu Kapur after alleged assignment, which is contradictory with the version of petitioner. No terms, conditions and consideration have been mentioned in the alleged assignment nor petitioner has provided share transfer deed of RBRK Investment. Further, petitioner has shown the London property as directly held asset in his ITR for Assessment Year 2018-19, that is after the purported assignment of the property to M/s RBRK Investments Ltd. Alleged Assignment deed was not registered and even as per petitioner, he was assigned shares of M/s RBRK Investments Ltd only in month of February 2019 and thus, as per the respondents, alleged assignment deed was afterthought. As per AY 2017-18 and 2018-19, total share holding of petitioner in M/s RBRK Investment Ltd is merely of Rs 200/ while of Ritu Kapur is Rs 2,51,16,284/. The account in name of his minor son, was not disclosed by the petitioner in return of income for 2017-18. No details of RB Trust and Vidur Bahl having been allotted any shares, were provided. Further, as per respondents, the prosecution has been launched u/s 50 of Black Money Act for non disclosure of foreign bank accounts in the name of his minor son Vidur Bahl as there is no such disclosure in the ITRs of petitioner and that there is nothing to show that any shares have been allotted to Vidur Bahl. As per respondent, Prima facie, petitioner is owner of the said property and he has under-reported total investment till 31.03.2018 in London property, which falls within the ambit of section 51 of Black Money Act 2015.
7. Recently in case of Srinidhi Karti Chidambaram vs The Principal Chief Commissioner decided on 2 November, 2018, (W.A.Nos.1125 to 1128, 1130 & 1131 of 2018, W.P.Nos.13005 to 13007, 13008 to 13010, 13070 to 13072, 13041 to 13043, 11714, 11715 & 22329 to 22331 & 22333 of 2018 and Rev.Appl.Nos.79 to 82 of 2018 and Connected WMPs, CMPs and MPs), Hon'ble Madras High Court had an occasion to consider the provisions of Black Money Act 2015 and it was held as under:
''The object of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 (BMA 2015 for short) is not only assessment of total disclosed foreign asset and income of an assessee but also mandates true and full disclosure of such foreign asset or income to be disclosed voluntarily by a resident assessee in the return of income filed by him under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Failure of such assessee to furnish return of income under s.139(1) attracts prosecution under s.49 of BMA, 2015; Failure to disclose fully and truly by such assessee details of foreign assets and income in a return of income filed under s.139(1) attracts prosecution under s.50 of BMA 2015 and attempts in any manner to evade tax, penalty that proceedings should be initiated and completed U/s 10 of the BMA before invoking the provisions of Chapter of V particularly Section 50 read with Section 55 is not tenable. Section 10 deals with assessment of undisclosed foreign income and asset. As per section 2(11), undisclosed asset located outside India means an asset held by the assessee in his name or in respect of which he is a beneficial owner, and he has no explanation about the source of Investment in such asset or the explanation given by him is in the opinion of the Assessing Officer unsatisfactory. The provisions of Section 50 (falling under chapter V) are attracted for failure to furnish in a return of income filed any information about an asset (including financial interest in any entity) located outside India. Thus it can be seen the proceedings under s 10 and proceedings under 5.50 are separate and distinct. It is pertinent to point out here that even assuming that the assessee has provided explanation to the satisfaction of the A.0, regarding the source of investment of asset located outside India, still prosecution under s.50 is attracted for failure to furnish any information of asset located outside India in return of Income filed in the prescribed form setting forth such details in the prescribed manner. It therefore follows that the process of sanctioning prosecution can commence even before completion of assessment U/s 10(3) of the BMA, 2015. The scheme of the Act makes It clear that assessment and prosecution are not only distinct and separate but the two proceedings are independent and irrespective of the outcome of the assessment under s.10(3) of the BMA, 2015. Besides, it has been held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in P.Jeyappan Vs S.K. PERUMAL, 1984 AIR 1693 that the pendency of assessment proceedings cannot act as a bar to institution of criminal prosecution for offences punishable under the provisions of law''.
8. In the instant case on a careful consideration of the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case and the provisions of law, we are satisfied that there exists a prima facie case to initiate prosecution against the petitioner for the offence in terms of section 50, 51 of the Black Money Act, 2015 and it could not be said that a prima facie case is not made out against the petitioner. The legal position on the issue of quashing of criminal proceedings is well-settled that the jurisdiction to quash a complaint, FIR or a charge-sheet should be exercised sparingly and only in exceptional cases and Courts should not ordinarily interfere with the investigations of cognizable offences. However, where the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint even if taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused, the FIR or the charge-sheet may be quashed in exercise of powers under Article 226 or inherent powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. In the well celebrated judgment reported in AIR 1992 SC 605 State of Haryana and others Vs. Ch. Bhajan Lal, also referred by learned counsel for the petitioner, Hon'ble Supreme Court has carved out certain guidelines, wherein proceedings can be quashed but cautioned that those guidelines should be exercised sparingly and that too in the rarest of rare cases. Guidelines are as follows:
(1) Where the allegations made in the First Information Report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety to do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.
(2) Where the allegations in the First Information Report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 156(2) of the Code.
(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.
(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code.
(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can every reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.
(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge."
9. The issue has been reconsidered by the Supreme Court on several occasions. In (2003) 6 SCC 195 (Union of India vs. Prakash P. Hinduja and Another) the Supreme Court narrowed down the scope of Ch. Bhajan Lal (supra) and held as follows:
"The grounds on which power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. can be exercised to quash the criminal proceedings are: (1) where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused, (2) where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or the complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused, (3) where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure or the Act concerned to the institution and continuance of the proceedings. But this power has to be exercised in a rare case and with great circumspection."
In case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal & Ors. (supra) also, in guideline number 3 it was laid down that where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and do not make out a case against the accused, the Court may quash the FIR as well as the investigations, however a note of caution was added by observing that the power of quashing a criminal proceeding should be exercised sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases. It was held that the Court would not be justified in embarking upon an inquiry as to the reliability or genuineness or otherwise of the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint.
In the judgments of Rupan Deol Bajaj v. K.P.S. Gill; reported in (1995) SCC (Cri) 1059, Rajesh Bajaj v. State of NCT of Delhi; reported in (1999) 3 SCC 259 and Medchl Chemicals & Pharma (P) Ltd. v. Biological E Ltd. & Ors; reported in 2000 SCC (Cri) 615, the Apex Court clearly held that if a prima facie case is made out disclosing the ingredients of the offence, Court should not quash the complaint. However, it was held that if the allegations do not constitute any offence as alleged and appear to be patently absurd and improbable, Court should not hesitate to quash the complaint. The note of caution was reiterated that while considering such petitions the Courts should be very circumspect, conscious and careful. Thus, there is no controversy about the legal proposition that in case a prima facie case is made out, the FIR or the proceedings in consequence thereof cannot be quashed.
10. It was further submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the entire proceedings against the petitioner are malicious and that respondents are trying to put 'cart before the horse', it may be observed that no specific material was indicated in support of alleged plea and even otherwise, such questions can not be examined by this Court in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The appreciation of evidence or the reliability of the allegations can not be examined at this stage. In State of Orissa v. Saroj Kumar Sahoo (2005) 13 SCC 540 it has been held that probabilities of the prosecution version can not be analysed at this stage. Likewise, the allegations of mala fides of the complainant/ respondents are of secondary importance. The relevant passage reads thus: (SCCp. 550, para 11) "11......It would not be proper for the High Court to analyse the case of the complainant in the light of all probabilities in order to determine whether a conviction would be sustainable and on such premises arrive at a conclusion that the proceedings are to be quashed. It would be erroneous to assess the material before it and conclude that the complaint cannot be proceeded with."
11. From the above stated case law it is apparent that the adjudication of questions of facts and appreciation of evidence or examining the reliability and credibility of the version, does not fall within the arena of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. In view of the material on record it can not be held that the impugned notice or criminal proceeding are manifestly attended with mala fide and maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge. The criminal proceedings can be quashed only in accordance with parameters laid down by Hon'ble Apex Court in catena of decisions. The present petition does not fall in any of such category, wherein, this Court can exercise jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to quash the impugned notice and complaints.
12. In view of aforementioned facts and legal position and considering submissions of the parties, allegations made against petitioner and perusing the material on record including sanction order, it could not be said that no prima facie case is made out against the petitioner or that the petitioner deserves any relief claimed by him. The petition lacks merit and thus, liable to be dismissed.
13. Hence the petition is accordingly, dismissed.