Writ petition cannot be used to control or scuttle the investigation of a criminal case

Karnataka High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of N.K. Sudhindrarao, J. while hearing a civil writ petition praying for quashing of criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner, held that relief under writ jurisdiction cannot be used to scuttle the investigation of a case.

The present petition had been filed praying for quashing of criminal proceedings instituted against the petitioner in the trial court. Background of the matter is that the complainant (who had filed the case in trial court) alleged that the petitioner had falsely promised him to double a certain sum of money and on that pretext sent two people to obtain Rs. 15 lakhs from the complainant. It was alleged that those two people had fled away with the said money. On realizing that he had been duped, the complainant registered a criminal case for cheating against the petitioner for offence punishable under Section 420 of the  Penal Code, 1860.

Submission on behalf of the petitioner was that neither a complaint was filed nor an FIR was registered against him, but the petitioner was directly arrested and proceedings were started against him. The respondent submitted that since the matter was still under investigation, the proceedings against petitioner need not be quashed at this stage.

The High Court noted that a criminal proceeding starts with a complaint to set the criminal law in motion. Thereafter, an FIR is registered to register the commission of offence. However, it is not mandatory to mention the identity of accused in the FIR. It was observed that the scope of investigation and steps for investigation cannot be guided, controlled or stalled by filing a writ petition. Thus the Court held that a writ remedy cannot be resorted to in order to scuttle the investigation of a criminal case. [Ravi M.V. v. Amruthur Police, WP No. 49297 of 2018, decided on 16-10-2018]

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