Filing of FIR is illegal if dispute has settled in Lok Adalat

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Question asked on: 19/08/2019

The electricity board has filed an FIR under Section 135 of the Electricity Act 2003. That FIR was for electricity theft. However, I was guilty of that offence. But the dispute has settled between the parties in the Mega Lok Adalat. I have a copy of the award. What should I do?

Advised by: Shivendra Pratap Singh,

That is a compoundable offence under Section 152 of the Electricity Act. After compounding the case, the electricity board cannot file FIR. 

The Lok Adatalt has passed the award in your favour. I don’t know what the terms of the settlement are. Above all, the matter has closed for the parties.

If you disobeyed the award, the board might initiate steps for recovery. The board has filed FIR instead of taking steps under the electricity Act.

In State of Punjab &Anr. Vs Jalour Singh & Ors., (2008) 2 SCC 660; the Supreme Court held that in default of payment, the only remedy is to challenge the award.

This FIR is illegal and unjust because right now, no dispute is surviving. You should question the FIR under section 482 crpc.

Saleem Ahmed vs State and other, SLP (Crl) No.8801 of 2018: the Supreme Court held that-

After full and final satisfaction of the entire claim in Lok Adalat, there was neither any occasion and nor any basis to file FIR.

Hence, you should file a petition under section 482 crpc. The High Court has the power to quash this FIR because it is illegal and filed in abuse of the process of law.

The board has mala-fide intention to extort money from you. Once a dispute has settled no ground left for the criminal case.

In State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal (1992 Supp.(1) SCC 335) the Supreme Court held:

The court can quash a criminal proceeding where it is manifestly attended with mala fide intention.

The court will stop the proceeding and quash the FIR under section 482 crpc. So you should approach the High Court as soon as possible.

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