Supreme Court made a candid admission and stated that it was “sorry” for delay of over a decade in the commencement of the criminal trial due to the two conflicting orders passed by High Court judge in a single day in the two different but related cases.
SC Bench further added that this had created a legal conundrum as the one order of the High Court Judge restricted further probe in case while in the other order, it allowed investigation to go on.
Case was stuck in the legal tangles and thus had reached Supreme Court in the year 2009 and the woman, who had initially lodged complaint in the year 2004 against her own brothers over alleged grabbing of her shop, had now passed away and was represented by her Legal Representative.
Apex Court Bench comprising of Justice R K Agrawal and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul stated that “we are sorry to note that such a confusion has caused more than a decade’s delay in even criminal trial commencing and allowed the appeals of the woman”.
In the year 2004, Shyam Lata who is a resident of Roorkee situated in Uttarakhand, made a written complaint to SSP of Haridwar alleging that her two brothers forged documents and signatures and claimed she had give her shop on rent to them. Criminal case was lodged against her brothers alleging that they had prepared fictitious rent receipt by forging woman’s signatures and left its photocopy at her house for laying a false claim of the tenancy.
One of her brothers also filed a civil suit seeking to restrain her from evicting him from premises, claiming himself as a tenant of shop on basis of the alleged forged rent receipt.
The Sessions Court allowed plea of woman and directed for sending entire case record to judicial magistrate, Roorkee, so that required photographs may be taken and the further investigation takes place. Sessions Court’s order was challenged by brother before High Court while parallely judicial magistrate where woman had filed objections to final report of IO, allowed her plea and directed for the further probe.
Order of Judicial Magistrate directing Police for further probe was challenged by the brother in Uttarakhand High Court. Two petitions were before HC were heard simultaneously and were decided by judge in the two separate judgements on same date in the year 2006.
In one verdict, HC modified Sessions Court order and directed that IO should be present before Civil Court along with the handwriting expert on the fixed date to take the photographs of disputes as well as the specimen signatures of woman. But in Second Verdict, HC judge set aside order of judicial magistrate directing Police to further probe into the case.