Electricity Act, 2003 – Section 135 – Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Sections 420, 468 and 471 – If a particular act amounts to offence under Electricity Act and also an offence under IPC, there can be prosecution only under Electricity Act as per the procedure prescribed under the Act and before the special court established under the Act.

Held:- When the offences under Electricity Act are committed, these comprehensive legislation contemplates that those must be dealt with by the authorized officers of the State Electricity Board and its companies and the cases should be tried by Special Court established under Electricity Act. The offences are made compoundable. If the acts which squarely fall in definition of act like tampering of meter and theft of electricity u/s 135 of the Electricity Act, is to be held also the offence under IPC, there can be prosecution on the basis of the complaint or FIR of any person. Those cases can be tried by ordinary courts like Judicial Magistrate. The said offences will not be compoundable. If such an interpretation is to be made, it will be disastrous as all the provisions of Electricity Act would become redundant. We hold that, if a particular act amounts to offence under Electricity Act and also an offence under IPC, there can be prosecution only under Electricity Act as per the procedure prescribed under the Act and before the special court established under the Act. There cannot be separate prosecution before the ordinary criminal courts at the instance of any person for offence under IPC. We make it clear that, the act should be such that it should amount to offence under Electricity Act as well as IPC and not in cases where there will be offence under IPC but not under the Electricity Act. In the result, we hold that, the prosecution of the applicant under Sections 420, 468 and 471 IPC is not be maintainable while prosecution u/s 135 Electricity Act is already compounded. Hence, this is a fit case for quashing of the FIR against the applicant. We accordingly answer the points and pass the following order.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY BENCH AT AURANGABAD

CORAM : S. S. SHINDE & A. M. DHAVALE, JJ.

09.02.2018

CRIMINAL APPLICATION NO. 4415 OF2017

Syed Yaqoob Syed Masood, Age : 57 years, Occu. Service, R/o. Plot No. 14, Cresent Housing Society, Lane No. 4, N12, CIDCO, Aurangabad. … Applicant VERSUS 1. The State of Maharashtra Through P.I., City Chowk Police Station, Aurangabad. 2. Assistant Engineer, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) Office, Harsul Branch, Aurangabad. … Respondents Shri. Moinuddin Shaikh holding for Shri. S. S. Kazi, Advocate for the petitioner Mr B. E. Yawalkar, APP for respondent No.1/State Mr Avishkar A. Shelke, Advocate for respondent No. 2

JUDGMENT

(PER A. M.DHAVALE, J.):

1. The interesting question raised in this application u/s 482 Cr.P.C. is, whether the prosecution of the accused for offences under IPC can be continued when the same acts had resulted into offence u/s 135 of Electricity Act and same has been compounded. The petitioner seeks quashing of FIR at C.R. No. 0273/2017, registered at City Chowk Police Station, Aurangabad, for offences under Sections 420, 468, 471 r/w 34 IPC and u/s 135 of Indian Electricity Act, 2003.