IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM
WP(C).No. 18975 of 2011(V)
1. RMP INFOTEC PRIVATE LIMITED, ... Petitioner
1. THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE AND ... Respondent
2. ADGP (CRIMES),
3. SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE
4. SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE,
5. SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE
6. SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE,
7. SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE,
8. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
9. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
10. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
11. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
For Petitioner :SRI.K.T.SHYAMKUMAR
For Respondent :ADDL.ADVOCATE GENERAL
The Hon'ble MR. Justice PIUS C.KURIAKOSE
The Hon'ble MR. Justice C.K.ABDUL REHIM
O R D E R
PIUS C.KURIAKOSE & C.K.ABDUL REHIM,JJ.
WP(C).NO. 18975 of 2011
Dated this the 25th day of July, 2011
The petitioner is a Private Limited Company incorporated under the Indian Companies Act having its registered office at Chennai. Petitioner is engaged in multi-level marketing of various products like laptops, solar lamps, water purifiers etc. For implementation of the multi-level marketing, the company has devised a network marketing concept in which the consumers are approached through a network system of customers. The products are introduced to the consumers through the customers and the consumers, after buying the products, will become customers and will start introducing further consumers who in turn will become customers again. On the basis of enrolling of new customers and by widening the network, the existing customers can earn more and more income.
2. The petitioner company has got franchisee offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Thrissur and Calicut. It is stated that all the transactions are conducted on payment of tax and duties payable to the State Government and the petitioner company is regularly paying Income Tax due to the Central Government. It is further stated that the petitioner company has done large volume of business by purchasing goods from very reputed manufacturers.
3. Grievance voiced is that, as part of investigation started to curb, 'money chain' business transactions in the State, the police authorities have closed down the franchisee offices of the petitioner and they have taken away the keys of such offices. It is complained that the keys taken into custody were not even produced before the Magistrate Courts having jurisdiction at the respective places. The police are not even giving any proper explanation regarding the forceful closing of the offices and in preventing the petitioner's activities which according to the petitioner was conducted in a perfectly lawful manner. It is alleged that the search and seizure was conducted without getting any orders from the Magistrate Courts and that not even a proper mahazar or search list have been prepared with respect to the articles seized from the offices. The key of the business premises were taken away in clear violation of the procedure contemplated under the Code of Civil Procedure, is the allegation. It is further alleged that the police is illegally refraining the petitioner company from continuing its business.
4. It is stated in the writ petition that some persons have lodged complaints against the petitioner company, due to compulsion and threat from the side of the police authorities. Several such persons have later approached the petitioner and offered to withdraw such complaints. But since the police authorities are threatening them with dire consequences, the complaints are not withdrawn. Under the above mentioned circumstances the writ petition is filed seeking direction to refrain the respondents from causing any sort of harassment to the petitioner in the functioning of its franchisee offices and to its distributors. Petitioner inter alia seeks direction against the respondents to refrain from coercing or compelling the individual distributors to lodge complaints against the petitioner and also to refrain from preventing the existing complaints being withdrawn.
5. We heard Sri. K.A.Jaleel, learned Additional Advocate General. It is submitted that, under the guise of the multi level marketing of products, the petitioner is promoting money circulation, which is banned under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978. It is submitted that, with respect to the petitioner company as well as other companies engaged in similar line of activities, various complaints were received from different Districts and so many cases have been registered in various police stations. The Additional Advocate General highlighted that the business of these companies and other establishments are concentrated on innocent and illiterate villagers who are more vulnerable to cheating. It is stated that the activities conducted by the petitioner company will constitute offences punishable under sections 3,4,5 and 6 of the above said Act, apart from offences punishable under sections 405 and 420 of the IPC. It is further stated that very huge amounts have already been collected through such illegal activities by the promoter and other companies from innocent public. It is submitted that the State Government have constituted a 'special investigation team' headed by the Additional Director General of Police (Crimes) to investigate into all the cases registered against such companies and persons conducting business activity of the like nature, under the guise of multi level marketing .
6. However, learned Addl. Advocate General conceded that if commission of any cognizable offence is detected with respect to the petitioner company, the police will take action for arrest of any of its officials or customers only after due compliance of the provisions contained in section 41A to section 41D of the Cr.P.C. Further it is also assured that if presence of any of the officials of the company is required in connection with investigation into the cases already registered or which will be registered later, then due notice as contemplated under the provisions of Cr.P.C will be issued. The relief sought for with respect to permitting the business activity being conducted or with respect to handing over of key to the franchisee offices could not be allowed, because the petitioner could not be permitted to perpetrate the alleged business activity which will amount to violation of the provisions contained in the Act, is the submission.
7. Having considered the rival contentions we are of the opinion that none of the reliefs sought for by the petitioner can be granted in exercise of the jurisdiction vested under Article 226 of the Constitution. However it is left open to the petitioner to approach the Magistrate Courts concerned, having jurisdiction in the respective area for appropriate reliefs.
8. We take notice of two judgments issued by this court in similar circumstances, in WP(C).No.17410/2011 and connected cases, dated 6.7.2011 and in WP(C).No.18708/2011 and connected cases, dated 15.7.2011. We notice that those writ petitions were filed in identical circumstances and this court had had already dismissed those writ petitions.
9. Under the above mentioned circumstances, the writ petition deserves no merit and the same is accordingly dismissed, subject to observations contained hereinabove.
PIUS C. KURIAKOSE,JUDGE