Offence of criminal breach of trust under Section 405 will not be attracted if there was no entrustment of the property with the accused: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court ruled that the offence of criminal breach of trust under Section 405 will not be attracted if there was no entrustment of the property with the accused.

Background 

The Respondents are the Directors of M/s Ramkey Reclamation and Recycling Private Limited, a company within the meaning of the Companies Act, 2013 engaged in the business of environment management services and hereinafter referred to as the “Company”. The company has floated a tender inviting bids for recycling of plastics. The petitioner submitted his bid through his company M/s JK Waste Recycling Private Limited. It is not necessary to set out the terms and conditions of the tender. Suffice it so note that the petitioner lodged an FIR against Respondents making the allegations. 

Decision 

The division bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice C.T. Ravikumar noted that the petitioners had handed over waste plastic material to the concerned respondent and the respondent had processed the same and made the same over to the petitioners. 

The court said that the High Court found that the operative words and the essential ingredients of the offence of cheating are deception on the part of the accused or dishonest inducement by them, resulting in any person delivering any property to such accused or alteration or destruction of whole or any part of valuable security.

The court further noted that the High Court held that the essential requirement of Section 285 of IPC was that the accused must have done something with fire or any combustible matter in a rash and negligent manner to endanger human life.

The court said that the FIR in the present case does not show anything done by the accused with fire or any combustible matter. The act of recycling plastic waste material or supply of plastic waste material for recycling by the Petitioner could not be said to be an act done with fire or any combustible matter.

The court held that the act of the respondents of supplying material for testing and the recycling plant could not be said to be a negligent or rash act done to endanger human life. Thus, the essential ingredients of the offence were absent.

The court opined, that the well reasoned and well considered judgment of the High Court does not call for interference, more so, when the High Court has made it clear that the order would not come in the way of the Respondent in instituting any civil proceedings against the petitioner in respect of any grievance, if permissible in law, which would then be considered and decided in accordance with law. 

The court dismissed the special leave petition.

Case title: Gurukanwarpal Kirpal Singh v/s Surya Prakasam & Ors.

Citation: Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s). 5485/2021

Click here to read the Order/Judgment 

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