criminal antecedents of accused

Supreme Court: In a criminal appeal filed at the instance of the accused persons/ appellants, against the Allahabad High Court's order, whereby the accused persons' petition to quash the First Information Report (‘FIR') against them for the offences under Sections 395, 504, 506 and 323 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC') was declined, the Division Bench of B.R. Gavai and J.B. Pardiwala* allowed the appeal and quashed the impugned order along with the criminal proceedings arising from the FIR.


In the matter at hand an FIR was registered against the accused persons, stating that when the informant and the respondents visited the accused persons house to place a request not to interfere with the lawful possession and ownership of the land in question belonging to the informant, the accused persons hurled abuses at the informant and other respondents. It was also alleged that the accused persons took away Rs. 2 lakhs from the informant on gun point. It was also alleged that the accused persons threatened to kill the informant’s family members and that they forcibly obtained informant's signature on a plain stamp paper. The accused persons preferred an application before the High Court for quashing the impugned FIR. However, the High Court declined the application. Hence, the present appeal.

Analysis and Decision

In relation to the offence of dacoity, the Court perused Section 390 and 391 and pointed towards essential ingredients for theft to amount to ‘robbery':

  • the offender must have voluntarily caused or attempted to cause to any person death or hurt or wrongful restraint, or fear of instant death or of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint;

  • this must be in order to the committing of the theft, or in committing the theft, or in carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft;

  • the offender must voluntarily cause or attempt to cause to any person hurt etc., for that end, that is, in order to the committing of the theft or for the purpose of committing theft or for carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft.

The Court also explained that it is not sufficient that in the transaction of committing theft, hurt, etc., had been caused and that that hurt had been caused in the course of the same transaction as commission of the theft. Theft would not amount to robber if hurt, etc., is caused at the time of the commission of the theft but for an object other than the one referred to in Section 390 of the IPC. It is also not sufficient.

The Court viewed that the prosecution had without understanding the true purport of the offence of ‘dacoity', registered the FIR for the offence punishable under Section 395 of the IPC and proceeded to even prepare charge sheet for the offence of dacoity. The Court also said that there was no good or plausible explanation given by the informant as to why he was carrying Rs. 2 lakhs in his pocket and the entire case appeared to be fabricated.

Regarding the offence under Section 503, 504 and 506, the Court said that mere abuse, discourtesy, rudeness or insolence, may not amount to an intentional insult within the meaning of Section 504, IPC if it does not have the necessary element of being likely to incite the person insulted to commit a breach of the public peace or commit any other offence. The Court also said that for the offence under Section 506 of the IPC, the Court said that before an offence of criminal intimidation is made out, it must be established that the accused had an intention to cause alarm to the complainant. The Court noted that it was stated in the FIR that the accused persons had used abusive language, however, the exact words uttered were not stated. Hence, the Cout said that it was not possible to decide whether the ingredients of intentional insult were present. The Court also referred to the parameters laid down in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, for quashing of an FIR.

Further, the Court observed that whenever inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (‘CrPC') or extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution are invoked to get an FIR or the criminal proceedings quashed, on the ground that such proceedings are manifestly frivolous or vexatious or instituted with ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance, then the Court owes a duty to look into the FIR closely and with little more care. The Court added that in frivolous or vexatious proceedings, the Court owes a duty to look into many other attending circumstances emerging from the record of the case over and above the averments and, if need be, with due care and circumspection try to read in between the lines. The Court also stated that while exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC or Article 226 of the Constitution, the Court need not restrict itself only to the stage of a case but is empowered to take into account the overall circumstances leading to the initiation/registration of the case as well as the materials collected in the course of investigation. It was also observed that the FIR in a criminal case is an extremely vital and valuable piece of evidence for the purpose of corroborating the oral evidence adduced at the trial. Delay in the registration of the FIR, by itself, cannot be a ground for quashing of the FIR, the Court observed.

The Court also noted that the accused persons are history sheeters and hardened criminals, however, the Court said that for the purpose of quashing the FIR or criminal proceedings, the criminal antecedents of the accused cannot be the sole consideration to decline to quash the criminal proceedings. It was also added that an accused has a legitimate right to say before the Court that howsoever bad his antecedents may be, still if the FIR fails to disclose commission of any offence or his case falls within one of the parameters as laid down by the Court in the case of Bhajan Lal (supra), then the Court should not decline to quash the criminal case only on the ground that the accused is a history sheeter.

Therefore, the Court concluded that the continuation of the criminal case against the accused persons would be nothing but abuse of the process of the law. Thus, the appeal of the accused persons was allowed, and the impugned order was set aside. Hence, the criminal proceedings arising from the FIR were also quashed.

[Mohd. Wajid v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 951, Decided on: 08-08-2023]

Buy Penal Code, 1860   HERE

penal code, 1860

Buy Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973  HERE

Code of Criminal Procedure

Buy Constitution of India  HERE

Constitution of India

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.