The Madras High Court on February 4, 2016, in the case of M/s. Lakshmi Metal Works v. State, has reiterated that a criminal culpable offence shall not be inherited by the heirs. Once the accused died, the charge against the accused will be dismissed as abates.
A single judge bench comprising of Justice R. Mala passed the ruling while hearing a petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, praying to quash the case against the petitioners/Accused No. 3, 4.
In this case, the complainant filed a complaint against the first and second accused, parents of A4 for the offences punishable under Sections 120(B) and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. It was the case of the complainant that the first accused borrowed money from him on several occasions with an intention to cheat the complainant.
After investigation, the state registered a case and filed a charge sheet against A1 to A4, since A1 has died on 05.01.2013, his son was added as an accused (A4) and A3 proprietary concern was also cited as an accused. Aggrieved with this, the son (A4) moved the High Court.
After hearing both the parties, the court held that “It is well settled law that a criminal culpable offence shall not be inherited by their heirs. Once the accused died, the charge against the accused has been dismissed as abates. So the first respondent in his counter has stated that the Lakshmi Metal Works has been inherited by his son and so they are necessary accused, does not merit acceptance. The investigating agency without knowing the basic thing and without applying its mind had filed the charge sheet against A4, who is only the legal heir of the deceased A1. So the proceedings against A4 is liable to be quashed.”
Further, in respect of A3, the court held that “A3 is a proprietary concern. A proprietary concern does not have a separate legal entity apart from its proprietor since the proprietary concern and the proprietor are one and the same person. Thus, proprietary concern is not an independent, legal and juristic entity having legal recognition in the eye of law and it can neither initiate proceedings nor proceedings be initiated against it. In the instant case, A1 has borrowed money and a complaint has been preferred against A1 for failing to repay the money. Since A1 died, A3 shall not be impleaded as accused and so, the proceeding against A3 is liable to be quashed.”
Thus, the court allowed the petition and quashed the chargesheet laid against the third and the fourth accused.