Hindustan Unilever Limited vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh on 5 November, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

Hindustan Unilever Limited vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh on 5 November, 2020

Author: Hemant Gupta

Bench: L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta, Ajay Rastogi

                                                                              REPORTABLE


                                     IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                    CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                                   CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 715 OF 2020
                            (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRIMINAL) NO. 578 OF 2020)



                      HINDUSTAN UNILEVER LIMITED                            .....APPELLANT(S)


                                                        VERSUS


                      THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH                         .....RESPONDENT(S)



                                                    WITH


                                   CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 716 OF 2020
                            (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRIMINAL) NO. 806 OF 2020)




                                             JUDGMENT

HEMANT GUPTA, J.

1. The challenge in the present appeals is to an order passed by the
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Vishal Anand
High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur on 9.1.2020 whereby the
Date: 2020.11.05
16:30:42 IST
Reason:

revision filed by Shri Nirmal Sen, appellant/Nominated Officer

1
(Incharge) of the Hindustan Unilever Limited 1, was allowed,

however the matter was remitted back to the trial court to revisit

the evidence adduced by both the parties, so far it relates to the

appellants, Nirmal Sen and the Company. The operative part of

the order reads thus:

“8. If the company-Hindustan Lever Limited is
acquitted of the charges, the said benefit will also
directly go to the applicant. In view whereof, this Court
finds a glaring and patent defect in the judgment of the
trial Court as well as in the judgment of the appellate
Court, thus, this Court, in these premises, finds it fit to
interfere in the judgment of the trial Court in exercise of
the revisional jurisdiction under Section 401(1) of
Cr.P.C., hence, this Court is inclined to set aside the
conviction and sentence passed against the applicant
being a nominated person of the company and remitted
back the matter to the trial Court for passing fresh
judgment considering the company-Hindustan Lever
Limited that had already been arrayed as an accused
along with the applicant.

9. In view of aforesaid discussions, this revision is
allowed. The impugned conviction and sentence
passed against the applicant is hereby set aside and
the matter is remitted back to the trial Court to revisit
the evidence adduced by both the parties and also
revisit its judgment dated 16/06/2015, so far as it
relates with the applicant and company-Hindustan
Lever Limited thereafter again pass a separate
judgment after providing opportunity of hearing to the
applicant as well as the company-Hindustan Lever
Limited without getting prejudice with the discussions
made by the appellate Court and this Court.”

2. Brief facts leading to the present appeals are that a complaint

1 Hereinafter referred to as “Company”.

2
was filed by Shri H.D. Dubey, Inspector, Food and Health, on the

basis of a sample taken on 7.2.1989 in respect of Dalda Vanaspati

Khajoor Brand Ghee manufactured by the Company, in terms of

the provisions of The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 2.

The sample of Vanaspati Ghee was taken from the godown of

Lipton India Limited which was found to be adulterated as the

melting point was found to be 41.8 degree centigrade which is

higher than the normal range i.e. as against 31-41 degree

centigrade. Initially, the complaint was filed against the Directors

of the Company as well as that of Lipton India Limited. However,

the said proceedings came to be decided by this Court in a

judgment reported as R. Banerjee & Ors. v. H.D. Dubey &

Ors.3 wherein it was held as under:

“12. In the result, the appeals are allowed. The order of
the learned Magistrate as well as the impugned order of
the High Court are set aside. The matters are remanded
to the learned trial Magistrate with a direction to inquire
into the question whether the nomination forms
nominating H. Dayani and Dr Nirmal Sen were received
and acknowledged by the Local (Health) Authority
competent to receive and acknowledge the same. This
question will be considered as a preliminary question
and the learned magistrate will record a finding
thereon. If he comes to the conclusion that the
nomination forms had been acknowledged by the
competent Local (Health) Authority he shall drop the
proceedings against the Directors of the company,
other than the company and the nominated persons. If
on the other hand he comes to the conclusion that the
prescribed forms had been acknowledged by a person

2 For short, the ‘1954 Act’
3 (1992) 2 SCC 552

3
other than the competent Local (Health) Authority he
will proceed against all the persons who are shown as
the accused in the complaint i.e. all the Directors
including the nominated person and the company. The
appeals are allowed accordingly.”

3. In terms of the directions of this Court, it appears that the learned

trial court passed an order on 6.7.1993 absolving the Directors of

the Company and the prosecution was ordered to continue

against the appellant Nirmal Sen. The said order is not on record

but it appears that no proceedings were continued against the

Company inasmuch as it has four accused, namely, Lipton India

Limited, Mohd. Saleem, Harish Dayani and Nirmal Sen were

arrayed as accused.

4. The Act was then repealed and the Food Safety and Standards

Act, 20064 came into force on 23.8.2006.

5. The learned trial court vide judgment dated 16.6.2015 convicted

the appellant/Nominated Officer under various provisions of the

1954 Act. The learned trial court held as under:

“58. That on the basis of the above complete evidence
analysis, it is certified that on the day of the incident,
the accused Dr. Nirmal Sen was a nominee of Hindustan
Limited Company and the goods of the said company
were given to the palm plantation oil vanaspati from
Godown Rathore Clearing and Forwarding Agency,
Panagar, Jabalpur, Mohd. Salim. Sale of Vanaspati by
Hindustan Liver Limited to the complainant food
inspector H.D. Dubey went to purchase there. At the
time when the said product was sold, the adulteration
was came in light, and according to rule 32(f) of the Act,
4 For short, the ‘2006 Act’

4
the details were not even duly marked, which comes
under the category of false impression in print of the
packet or pouch.

xx xx xx

60. Therefore, the accused Dr. Nirmal Sen was found to
be guilty under Section 2(1G)(K) r/w Section
32(F)/7(i)/16(A)(i) and Section 2(ia)(m) r/w 7(i)/16(1)/(a)

(i) of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and Food Adulteration
and Prevention Act under Section 14 r/w Rule 2(A) r/w
Section 7(v)/16(1C).”

6. A complete reading of the order passed by the trial court does not

lead to an inference that the Company was represented at any

stage during the course of trial. It is to be noted that in the

aforementioned judgment, there was no order passed by the

learned trial court to convict the appellant-Company of any

offence. The appellant Nirmal Sen contested the proceedings and

was convicted by the trial court.

7. In an appeal against the said judgment, the learned Additional

Sessions Judge held that the prosecution was found to be

maintainable against Rathore Clearing and Forwarding Agency

and the Company but the same was not mentioned in the

impugned judgment and order. The Court held as under:

“31. ….As per order dated 6.7.1993, the Hindustan
Lever Limited also has been held accused, but
erroneously, it could not have been mentioned in the
impugned judgment and order. As per law, any
company is a legal personality and it cannot be undergo
imprisonment sentence. The appellant Nirmal Sen
being the nominee for the offence of the aforesaid

5
company, has been punished. In such situation, the
appellant does not seem to be entitled for get any
benefit only on the mere technical grounds.”

8. The learned counsel for the appellant placed reliance on the

judgment of this Court reported as Nemi Chand v. State of

Rajasthan5 before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, in

support of the argument that pursuant to the repeal of the Act,

only punishment of fine has been contemplated under the 2006

Act. Thus, since the provisions of the 2006 Act are beneficial to

the accused, the accused is entitled to such benefits provided by

the 2006 Act. It was found that the decision in Nemi Chand has

been passed in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on the

constitutional courts, but the First Appellate Court does not have

any such specific constitutional power. The Court rejected the

applicability of the 2006 Act as the punishments imposed under

the repealed Act have been saved by Section 97 of the 2006 Act.

The Court held as under:

“39. There is no doubt in it that as a result of
amendment made by the post facto laws, if the
sentence given for any offence is lessened or rejected
then the accused is entitled to get benefit of it under
Article 20 of the Constitution of India. But is also
mentionable that the accused has been prosecuted and
sentenced under the “Act” of 1954 in the matter under
consideration and in place of it, the Food Safety and
Standard Act, 2006 has been implemented since
24.08.2006. By section 97 (1) of this new Act, the Act
of 1954 has been repealed but it also has been
provided that action could be kept continued under the

5 (2018) 17 SCC 448

6
repealed Act and any such penalty, confiscation or
punishment could be charged like it that as if this Act
be not passed.

40. Thus, with regard to the offence occurred before
the date of implementation of the new Act, the
provisions of the “Act” of 1954 have applicability and it
cannot be held the punishment has been lessened by
amending in the offence under Section 16 of the old Act
by the new Act. It seems from the records that the case
has remained pending for several years before the Ld.
Trial Court but several Stays submitted by the accused
persons are also responsible for this delay and on this
ground, they are not entitled for any sympathy.
Keeping in view to the gravity of the offence, the
sentence awarded to the appellant Nirmal Sen by the
Ld. Subordinate Court in the case seems in accordance
with law and of appropriate and no need to interfere in
it does not seem.”

9. With the aforesaid discussion, the learned Additional Sessions

Judge affirmed the conviction of the appellant/Nominated Officer

but the conviction of the accused Harish Dayani and Mohd.

Saleem was set aside and they were acquitted.

10. The High Court in its order noticed that if the Company is

acquitted of the charges, the said benefit will also directly go to

the appellant/Nominated Officer. A glaring and patent defect in

the judgment of the trial court as well as in the judgment of the

appellate court was observed by the High Court. Thus, the

conviction and sentence passed against the appellant, being a

nominated person of the Company, was set aside and the matter

was remitted back to the trial Court for passing fresh judgment.

7

11. Before this Court, two-fold arguments were raised by the learned

counsels for the appellants. Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, learned

senior counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant/Nominated

Officer argued that the appellant was charged for the violation of

Section 2(ia)(m) read with Section 7(i) of the Act. Such violation

attracted a sentence of not less than six months and up to 3 years

and a fine of Rs.1,000/- under Section 16(1)(a)(i), whereas under

the 2006 Act, the punishment of such adulteration which is

related to only higher melting point is fine of Rs.5 lakhs and Rs.1

lakh under Sections 3(1)(zx) and 3(1)(i) respectively. The reliance

is placed upon judgments of this Court in T. Barai v. Henry Ah

Hoe & Anr.6, Nemi Chand and Trilok Chand v. State of

Himachal Pradesh7.

12. Mr. Siddharth Luthra, learned senior counsel for the appellant-

Company raised an argument that the Company was not

convicted by the trial court. Therefore, the High Court in revision

could not have passed an order of retrial, more so when the

Company was not given any notice of being heard. Since there

was no order of conviction by the trial court, as also no

opportunity of hearing was given, such order is in contravention of

sub-section (2) of Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,

6 (1983) 1 SCC 177
7 Criminal Appeal No. 1831 of 2010 decided on 1.10.2019

8
19738. Section 401 (2) of the Code reads thus:

“401(2). No order under this section shall be made to
the prejudice of the accused or other person unless he
has had an opportunity of being heard either personally
or by pleader in his own defence.”

13. We do not find any merit in the arguments raised by Dr. Singhvi

with respect to the punishment provided under the 2006 Act. The

judgment of this Court in T. Barai is consequent to amendment in

the Act when Section 16A was inserted by the Parliament.

Similarly, the judgment in Nemi Chand was a judgment arising

out of the amendment in the Act only. The benefit of amendments

in the Act, has been rightly granted to the accused in an appeal

arising out of the proceedings under the Act. But in the present

case, the Act has been repealed by Section 97 of the 2006 Act,

however, the punishments imposed under the Act have been

protected. Section 97 of the 2006 Act, which came into force on

5.8.2011, is as follows:

“97. Repeal and savings.—(1) With effect from such
date* as the Central Government may appoint in this
behalf, the enactment and orders specified in the
Second Schedule shall stand repealed:

Provided that such repeal shall not affect:—

(i) the previous operations of the enactment and orders
under repeal or anything duly done or suffered
thereunder; or

(ii) any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired,

8 For short, the ‘Code’

9
accrued or incurred under any of the enactment or
orders under repeal; or

(iii) any penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred in
respect of any offences committed against the
enactment and orders under repeal; or

(iv) any investigation or remedy in respect of any such
penalty, forfeiture or punishment,

and any such investigation, legal proceedings or
remedy may be instituted, continued or enforced and
any such penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be
imposed, as if this Act had not been passed :

(2) If there is any other law for the time being in force in
any State, corresponding to this Act, the same shall
upon the commencement of this Act, stand repealed
and in such case, the provisions of Section 6 of the
General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897) shall apply as if
such provisions of the State law had been repealed.

(3) Notwithstanding the repeal of the aforesaid
enactment and orders, the licences issued under any
such enactment or order, which are in force on the date
of commencement of this Act, shall continue to be in
force till the date of their expiry for all purposes, as if
they had been issued under the provisions of this Act or
the rules or regulations made thereunder.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other
law for the time being in force, no court shall take
cognizance of an offence under the repealed Act or
orders after the expiry of a period of three years from
the date of the commencement of this Act.” (Emphasis
Supplied)

14. Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 provides the effect of

repeal as under:

“Where this Act or any Central Act or Regulation made
after the commencement of this act repeals any

10
enactment hitherto made or hereafter to be made,
then, unless a different intention appears, the repeal
shall not-

(e) affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy
in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation,
liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment…….

and any such investigation, legal proceeding or remedy
may be instituted, continued or enforced, and any such
penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be imposed as if
the Repealing Act or Regulation had not been passed.”

15. In terms of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, unless dif-

ferent intention appears, the repeal of a statute does not affect

any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any

such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or pun-

ishment and any such investigation, legal proceeding or remedy

may be instituted, continued or enforced, and any such penalty,

forfeiture or punishment may be imposed as if the Repealing Act

or Regulation had not been passed. But in the 2006 Act, the re-

peal and saving clause contained in Section 97 (1)(iii) and (iv)

specifically provides that repeal of the Act shall not affect any in-

vestigation or remedy in respect of any such penalty, forfeiture or

punishment and the punishment may be imposed, “ as if the 2006

Act had not been passed”. The question as to whether penalty or

prosecution can continue or be initiated under the repealed provi-

sions has been examined by this Court in State of Punjab v.

11

Mohar Singh9, wherein this Court examined Section 6 of the

General Clauses Act which is on lines of Section 38(2) of the

Interpretation Act of England. It was held as under:

“6. Under the law of England, as it stood prior to the
Interpretation Act of 1889, the effect of repealing a
statute was said to be to obliterate it as completely
from the records of Parliament as if it had never been
passed, except for the purpose of those actions, which
were commenced, prosecuted and concluded while it
was an existing law [ Vide Craies on Statute Law, 5th
edn, p. 323] . A repeal therefore without any saving
clause would destroy any proceeding whether not yet
begun or whether pending at the time of the enactment
of the Repealing Act and not already prosecuted to a
final judgment so as to create a vested right
[ Vide Crawford on Statutory Construction , p. 599-600w]
. To obviate such results a practice came into existence
in England to insert a saving clause in the repealing
statute with a view to preserve rights and liabilities
already accrued or incurred under the repealed
enactment. Later on, to dispense with the necessity of
having to insert a saving clause on each occasion,
Section 38(2) was inserted in the Interpretation Act of
1889 which provides that a repeal, unless the contrary
intention appears, does not affect the previous
operation of the repealed enactment or anything duly
done or suffered under it and any investigation, legal
proceeding or remedy may be instituted, continued or
enforced in respect of any right, liability and penalty
under the repealed Act as if the Repealing Act had not
been passed. Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, as is
well known, is on the same lines as Section 38(2) of the
Interpretation Act of England.

9. The offence committed by the respondent consisted
in filing a false claim. The claim was filed in accordance
with the provision of Section 4 of the Ordinance and
under Section 7 of the Ordinance, any false information
in regard to a claim was a punishable offence. The High
Court is certainly right in holding that Section 11 of the

9 AIR 1955 SC 84

12
Act does not make the claim filed under the Ordinance
a claim under the Act so as to attract the operation of
Section 7. Section 11 of the Act is in the following
terms:

“The East Punjab Refugees (Registration of Land
Claims) Ordinance 7 of 1948 is hereby repealed
and any rules made, notifications issued,
anything done, any action taken in exercise of
the powers conferred by or under the said
Ordinance shall be deemed to have been made,
issued, done or taken in exercise of the powers
conferred by, or under this Act as if this Act had
come into force on 3rd day of March, 1948”.

……………….The truth or falsity of the claim has to be
investigated in the usual way and if it is found that the
information given by the claimant is false, he can
certainly be punished in the manner laid down in
Sections 7 and 8 of the Act. If we are to hold that the
penal provisions contained in the Act cannot be
attracted in case of a claim filed under the Ordinance,
the results will be anomalous and even if on the
strength of a false claim a refugee has succeeded in
getting an allotment in his favour, such allotment could
not be cancelled under Section 8 of the Act. We think
that the provisions of Sections 47 and 8 make it
apparent that it was not the intention of the Legislature
that the rights and liabilities in respect of claims filed
under the Ordinance shall be extinguished on the
passing of the Act, and this is sufficient for holding that
the present case would attract the operation of Section
6
of the General Clauses Act. It may be pointed out that
Section 11 of the Act is somewhat clumsily worded and
it does not make use of expressions which are generally
used in saving clauses appended to repealing statutes;
but as has been said above the point for our
consideration is whether the Act evinces an intention
which is inconsistent with the continuance of rights and
liabilities accrued or incurred under the Ordinance and
in our opinion this question has to be answered in the
negative.”

13

16. In another judgment reported as Tiwari Kanhaiyalal & Ors. v.

Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi10, the assessments were

completed under the Income Tax Act, 1922 after the Income Tax

Act, 1961 came into force. There was search on the premises of

the assessee. The revised returns were filed after the Income Tax

Act, 1961 came into force. The penalty proceedings were initiated

and it was levied under the 1961 Act. Later, the complaints were

filed alleging commission of the offences under Section 277 of

1961 Act. Another set of complaints were filed under the Income

Tax Act, 1922. This Court held that the complaints under the 1922

Act remains unaffected. It was held as under:

“7. It is advisable to discuss and dispose of a new point
which arose during the hearing of these appeals. Sub-
section (1) of Section 297 of the 1961 Act repealed the
1922 Act including Section 52. In sub-section (2) no
saving seems to have been provided for the launching
of the prosecution under the repealed Section 52 of the
1922 Act. It does not seem correct to take recourse to
clause (h) of Section 297(2) to make the offences come
under Section 277 of the 1961 Act as was endeavoured
to be done by the respondent in the first 12 complaint
petitions. But then from no clause under sub-section (2)
a different intention appears in this regard from what
has been said in Section 6 of the General Clauses Act.
On the facts alleged the criminal liability incurred under
Section 52 of the 1922 Act remains unaffected under
clause (c) of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act….”

17. Thus, in view of Section 97 of the 2006 Act, as also under Section

6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, the proceedings would
10 (1975) 4 SCC 101

14
continue under the Act. No benefit can be taken under the 2006

Act as the prosecution and punishment under the Act is protected.

18. The judgment of this Court in Trilok Chand is the only judgment

which has given benefit of the 2006 Act and the sentence was

imposed by imposing a fine of Rs.5,000/-. The attention of the

Court was not drawn to Section 97 of the 2006 Act, which protects

the punishments given under the repealed Act. Therefore, the

order in Trilok Chand is on its own facts.

19. However, we find merit in the argument of Mr. Luthra that the

order of remand by the High Court to the trial court against the

Company cannot be sustained for the reason that such an order

was passed without giving an opportunity of hearing, as

contemplated under Section 401(2) of the Code. The question

thus now narrows down as to whether the course adopted by the

High Court to remand the matter to the trial court after more than

30 years to cure the defect which goes to the root of the trial,

though permissible in law, is justified.

20. A three-Judge Bench of this Court in Aneeta Hada v. Godfather

Travels & Tours Private Limited11 considered the question of

conviction of the Directors in the absence of the Company in

proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act,

188112 as also in the proceedings under Information Technology

11 (2012) 5 SCC 661
12 For short, the ‘NI Act’

15
Act, 2000. This Court held that Section 141 of the NI Act dealing

with offences by companies contemplates that every person who

at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was

responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the

company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of

the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and

punished accordingly. This Court, considering the said provision,

held as under:

“38. From the aforesaid pronouncements, the principle
that can be culled out is that it is the bounden duty of
the court to ascertain for what purpose the legal fiction
has been created. It is also the duty of the court to
imagine the fiction with all real consequences and
instances unless prohibited from doing so. That apart,
the use of the term “deemed” has to be read in its
context and further, the fullest logical purpose and
import are to be understood. It is because in modern
legislation, the term “deemed” has been used for
manifold purposes. The object of the legislature has to
be kept in mind.

xx xx xx

56. We have referred to the aforesaid passages only to
highlight that there has to be strict observance of the
provisions regard being had to the legislative
intendment because it deals with penal provisions and a
penalty is not to be imposed affecting the rights of
persons, whether juristic entities or individuals, unless
they are arrayed as accused. It is to be kept in mind
that the power of punishment is vested in the
legislature and that is absolute in Section 141 of the Act
which clearly speaks of commission of offence by the
company. The learned counsel for the respondents have
vehemently urged that the use of the term “as well as”
in the section is of immense significance and, in its

16
tentacle, it brings in the company as well as the
Director and/or other officers who are responsible for
the acts of the company and, therefore, a prosecution
against the Directors or other officers is tenable even if
the company is not arraigned as an accused. The words
“as well as” have to be understood in the context.

xx xx xx

58. Applying the doctrine of strict construction, we are
of the considered opinion that commission of offence by
the company is an express condition precedent to
attract the vicarious liability of others. Thus, the words
“as well as the company” appearing in the section
make it absolutely unmistakably clear that when the
company can be prosecuted, then only the persons
mentioned in the other categories could be vicariously
liable for the offence subject to the averments in the
petition and proof thereof. One cannot be oblivious of
the fact that the company is a juristic person and it has
its own respectability. If a finding is recorded against it,
it would create a concavity in its reputation. There can
be situations when the corporate reputation is affected
when a Director is indicted.

59. In view of our aforesaid analysis, we arrive at the
irresistible conclusion that for maintaining the
prosecution under Section 141 of the Act, arraigning of
a company as an accused is imperative. ……….”

21. Section 17 of the Act reads as under:

“17. Offences by companies—(1) Where an offence
under this Act has been committed by a company—

(a) (i) the person, if any, who has been nominated
under sub-section (2) to be in charge of, and
responsible to, the company for the conduct of the
business of the company (hereinafter in this section
referred to as the person responsible), or

(ii) where no person has been so nominated, every
person who at the time the offence was committed was

17
in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for
the conduct of the business of the company; and

(b) the company,

shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be
liable to be proceeded against and punished
accordingly:

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall
render any such person liable to any punishment
provided in this Act if he proves that the offence was
committed without his knowledge and that he exercised
all due diligence to prevent the commission of such
offence.

(2) **** *****”

22. Clause (a) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 17 of the Act makes the

person nominated to be in charge of and responsible to the

company for the conduct of business and the company shall be

guilty of the offences under clause (b) of Sub-Section (1) of

Section 17 of the Act. Therefore, there is no material distinction

between Section 141 of the NI Act and Section 17 of the Act which

makes the Company as well as the Nominated Person to be held

guilty of the offences and/or liable to be proceeded and punished

accordingly. Clauses (a) and (b) are not in the alternative but

conjoint. Therefore, in the absence of the Company, the

Nominated Person cannot be convicted or vice versa. Since the

Company was not convicted by the trial court, we find that the

finding of the High Court to revisit the judgment will be unfair to

18
the appellant/Nominated Person who has been facing trial for

more than last 30 years. Therefore, the order of remand to the

trial court to fill up the lacuna is not a fair option exercised by the

High Court as the failure of the trial court to convict the Company

renders the entire conviction of the Nominated Person as

unsustainable.

23. In view of the above, the appeals are allowed and the order

passed by the High Court is set aside. Resultantly the complaint is

dismissed.

………………………………………J.

(L. NAGESWARA RAO)

………………………………………J.

(HEMANT GUPTA)

………………………………………J.

(AJAY RASTOGI)

NEW DELHI;

NOVEMBER 5, 2020.

19



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