Supreme Court: In a criminal appeal against the judgment passed by the Madras High Court, wherein the Court has allowed the application filed by the accused under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC') and caused the criminal proceedings for the offences under Sections 124A, 153A, 504, 505(1)(b) and 505(2) of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC'), the division bench of M.R. Shah and CT Ravikumar, JJ. said that the High Court, without giving any reasonable time to the investigating agency to investigate the allegations in the FIR, has, in haste, quashed the criminal proceedings. Thus, it set aside the impugned judgment and order.
In the case at hand, the First Information Report (‘FIR') came to be lodged on 09-12-2021, on the very next date, the quashing petition was filed and within a period of four days, the impugned judgment and order has been passed and the criminal proceedings were quashed.
The Court said that from the impugned judgment and order and the reasoning given by the High Court, it appears that the High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings, as if it was conducting the mini trial. Further, it referred to Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 315, wherein the scope and ambiguity of powers to be exercised under Section 482, CrPC has been elaborately dealt with and considered.
The Court said that it is a settled position of law that while exercising powers under Section 482, CrPC, the High Court is not required to conduct the mini trial. What is required to be considered at that stage is the nature of accusations and allegations in the FIR and whether the averments/allegations in the FIR prima facie discloses the commission of the cognizable offence or not. The Court held that the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is contrary to the decision in Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd(supra) and the other decisions on the points, thus, it is unsustainable.
The Court noticed that in the present case without giving any reasonable time to the investigating agency to investigate the allegations in the FIR, the High Court has, in haste, quashed the criminal proceedings. As per the settled position of law, it is the right conferred upon the investigating agency to conduct the investigation and reasonable time should be given to the investigating agency to conduct the investigation, unless it is found that the allegations in the FIR do not disclose any cognizable offence at all or the complaint is barred by any law.
[State represented by the Inspector of Police v M. Maridoss, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 47, order dated 09-01-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Petitioner: Senior Advocate Sanjay R. Hegde
Advocate-On-Record Dr. Joseph Aristotle S
Advocate Shobhit Dwivedi
Advocate Raghav Gupta
Advocate Sharukh Ali
Advocate Tanay Hegde
*Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.