No provision for Consolidation of cases under Cr.P.C.: SC
The Hon’ble Supreme Court recently observed that there is no provision of consolidation of cases in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
In the case of Vani Enterprise V/s State of Gujarat, the appellant issued four cheques to respondent no. 2 and the same were dishonored hence, the respondent no. 2 sent notice u/s 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act and later in the year 1999 complaints were filed.
The appellant filed an application and requested Hon’ble Court to consolidate all the four complaints and to try them together. It was considered that since one notice was issued, four separate trials cannot take place. However, it was also observed by the Court that “There is no provision of consolidation of cases in Code of Criminal Procedure”.
On contrary under Civil Jurisdiction, Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed in various pronouncements that Court can exercise power to consolidate different suits under Section 151 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. In the case of Mahalaxmi Cooperative Housing Society Ltd. & Ors. V/s Ashabhai Atmaram Patel (Dead) Through Legal Representative & Ors. the Hon’ble Supreme Court said that “…. There is no specific provision in Civil Procedure Code for consolidation of suits. Such a power has to be exercised only under S. 151 of Civil Procedure Code…”
Similarly, in Chitivalasa Jute Mills V/s Jaypee Rewa Cement and Zakinaben D/o Gulamhusen Kammruddin Lokhandwala V/s Babubhai Alimohammad Kapadi it was held by Hon’ble Supreme Court that power under Section 151 can be exercised to consolidate the suits if found necessary for securing ends of justice.
Therefore, in civil cases as held in above quoted judgements, Hon’ble Supreme Court has directed that Court can exercise its inherent powers under Section151 of Civil Procedure Code to consolidate the civil suits. However, Apex Court in the judgement of Vani Agro industries has found it otherwise under Criminal Jurisdiction.