High Courts to exercise inherent power under S. 482 CrPC with caution in commercial litigations appearing to be civil in nature

Supreme Court: In a significant decision regarding the issue of exercise of inherent power of the High Courts under Section 482 CrPC to quash criminal proceedings in matters related to commercial disputes where the cases appear to have predominant civil nature but on perusal of facts reveals an innate criminal modus operandi the Bench of Dipak Misra and Vikramjit Sen, JJ. observed that it is an accepted principle that whenever there is a manipulative and cleverly conceived availing of benefits like letters of credits then such cases are not regarded as having a predominant civil character as such manipulations create a financial hazard for the society at large therefore the superior courts being the guardians of collective interest should not invoke its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC and Article 226 of the Constitution to quash the proceedings.

The facts as deduced from the chargesheet prepared by the Central Bureau of Investigation states that the respondents got letters of credit issued form Bank of Baroda showing fake details in name of fictitious companies which further discounted the letters of credits by attaching their bogus bills.

On perusing the arguments of Pinky Anand, Additional Solicitor General and A.L. Das representing the appellants and respondents, respectively, the Court went with the arguments of the appellant pointing out that the foundation of the case is in criminal law, therefore, the case does not have a civil character. The Court further observed that, in such cases, it falls upon the High Courts to perform their principle duty of thoroughly scanning the facts before passing an order to quash the proceedings in order to secure the ends of justice and prevent the abuse of process of the court. State of Maharashtra v. Vikram Anantrai Doshi, Crl. Appeal No. 2048 of 2014, decided on 19.09.2014.

To read the full judgment, refer SCCOnLine  

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