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While putting an end to the criminal proceedings pursuant to a settlement between parties, the Delhi High Court has directed a person accused of electricity theft under Section 138 of the Electricity Act to plant 50 trees within one month as community service.
The judgement was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva.
The petitioner, Mukesh Mann, had rented out the shop to a tenant. On account of non-payment of rent, the electricity supply to the tenant was disconnected. Thereafter, the tenant without the knowledge and consent of the petitioner allegedly connected a wire directly to the electricity pole outside the shop.
Subsequently, the tenant was convicted and he paid the civil liability amount.
Meanwhile, criminal proceedings were initiated against the petitioner as well on the allegation that the wire was connected with his consent and knowledge.
It was the petitioner’s stance that he did not give his consent for the same and there was no material to show that he had any knowledge of the direct theft of electricity.
The parties were referred to mediation and subsequently a Mediation Settlement was executed.
Without prejudice to his rights and contentions, petitioner agreed to pay the settlement amount of Rs.18,267 to the Electricity Authority.
The petitioner thus moved the Court for quashing of the criminal proceedings against him in view of the settlement.
After hearing the parties, the Court opined that it was a fit case for exercise of powers under Section 482 of the CrPC as “no fruitful purpose would be served in continuation of the proceedings”.
“Keeping in view the totality of facts and circumstances and also the fact that the parties have settled their disputes, I am of the view that this is a fit case for exercise of powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C for putting an end to the proceedings.”
Further, the Court directed that the petitioner to plant 50 trees as community service, within one month.
“..for the same shall report to the Deputy Conservator of Forests (West), who shall assign him duty to plant 50 trees in Central Ridge Reserve Forest, Budha Jayanti Park, Vandemataram Marg, New Delhi. The plants/trees shall be of deciduous indigenous variety with a nursery age of three and a half years, and a height of at least six feet.”
Depending on the the soil type and topography, the Court listed twenty varieties of plants which may be considered for plantation. The plant variety included Jaamun, Mango, Mahua, Amaltas etc.
The Court also ordered the petitioner, as well as the DCF, to file an affidavit of compliance. Aerial pictures, prior to and after the plantation, shall also be obtained by the DCF and filed along with his affidavit.
Similarly, the DCF shall also obtain quarterly updates from the petitioner in order to monitor and ensure the upkeep of the plantation.
A Report of the same will also be filed after six months of the plantation, along with fresh photographs to show its health/status of the plantation.
The petition was accordingly, disposed of in the above terms.
The petitioner was represented by advocate Vagisha Kochar.
The respondents were represented by Prosecutor Hirein Sharma and advocates Abhay Kumar and Amit Singh.
Read the Judgement: