When decision passed by the Appellate authority under the FERA, 1973, based on Merits and not only on Technical grounds, should survive, as held by Apex Court here
Criminal Appeal No. 332 of 2016
Bench: Justice Dipak Misra; Justice Shiva Kirti Singh
Case Brief: Here, in the present appeals, the appellants here challenged the impugned order which was passed by the High Court in the Criminal Application. In the facts of the case, the Appellant- company and its officer were facing trial for the offence punishable under section 56 (1)(i) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 for the alleged contravention of the provisions of Section 18(2) and (3) of the Act. And in the complaint case registered against appellants before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, that magistrate had passed discharge order in favour of the appellants, which the Revisional Court had dislodged under the Criminal Revision petition, and allowed the revision. That order of the Revisional Court was challenged by the appellant before the High court and that High court passed the impugned order thereafter, dismissing the application of assessee. Here, it is notable that earlier while the matter was pending for trial before the learned Chief Metropolitan magistrate, the adjudicating authority imposed penalty against the appellant- company and against its each of the directors. Feeling aggrieved the company and its directors preferred appeal a before the Appellate Tribunal which has dislodged the findings of the adjudicating authority and it is notable again that this order of Tribunal attained finality as has not been assailed by Revenue.
This bench found that in the facts of this case, it is found that the Tribunal has arrived at a conclusion that the appellant cannot be held guilty for Section 18(2) read with section 18 (3) of the Act of 1973. Moreover, this bench also found that the High Court here, had not assailed the order passed by the Tribunal and adverted to the same and opine that it does not subscribe to the view expressed by the Tribunal that Section 18(2) and (3) of the Act were not applicable. This bench also found that the findings of the Tribunal were on merits, and thus this bench held that High court was totally erred in law. As such, this bench allowed the appeals preferred by the appellants and also set aside the impugned judgements and order passed by the High Court and also by the Revisional Court. Moreover, this bench made it clear that the decision to discharge the appellants as was passed by the Magistrate was restored by it.
Read the Judgment: M/s Videocon Industries Ltd and Anr Vs State of Maharashtra and Ors