High Court Chief Justice

Supreme Court: A “shocking case of gross abuse of process of law” wherein, the respondents’ failure to get interim relief for quashment of First Information Reports (‘FIRs’) and proceeding with filing of civil writ petition prompted the Division Bench of Abhay S. Oka* and Pankaj Mithal, JJ. to slam the respondents with costs and reprimand the Judge concerned for not converting the writ petition to criminal writ petition for roster Judge taking up criminal writ petitions.


The matter started with registration of 6 FIRs against 3 respondents at the instance of appellant, and two other FIRs against the same respondents by some other informants. Two petitions were filed by the said respondents seeking to quash the 2 FIRs filed at the instance of other respondents.

The Court in the instant matter dealt with the orders passed in April 2023 by the single Judge of Rajasthan High Court for petitions under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’) wherein, no interim relief was granted. This led the said respondents to take “a very extra ordinary step” by filing a civil writ petition on 5-05-2023 praying for issuance of writ of mandamus for clubbing the 8 FIRs and consolidating them into one. The High Court passed the impugned order dated 8-05-2023 restricting any coercive action against the said respondents in all 8 FIRs.

The appellant in the instant matter made very serious allegations relying upon the prevailing roster notified by the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, that since the Single Judge taking up the assignment of criminal matters dealing with Section 482 CrPC did not grant interim relief to the said respondents in two cases, the method of filing civil writ petition was invented to pray for consolidation of 8 FIRs and protection against any coercive action in order to avoid the roster Judge who refused to grant interim relief. It was further pointed out that the complainants in the said FIRs were not impleaded in the civil writ petitions, and the same advocate represented the respondents in both civil and criminal cases.

Forum Hunting

The Court tagged the instant matter as “a classic case of forum hunting” and “a case of gross abuse of process of law” to note that as against the relief granted vide order dated 8-05-2023 in the civil writ petition, in the petitions for quashing FIRs under Section 482 of CrPC, the respondents persuaded the Bench concerned on 1-06-2023 to grant relief not taking coercive action against them.

The Court wondered “how a Civil Writ Petition for clubbing First Information Reports could be entertained” while pointing out that there was a separate roster for criminal writ petitions in the roster notified by the Chief Justice. The Court commented that “If the Courts allow such sharp practices, the roster notified by the Chief Justice will have no meaning. The Judges have to follow discipline and ought not to take up any case unless it is specifically assigned by the Chief Justice. A Judge can take up a case provided either the cases of that category have been assigned to him as per the notified roster or the particular case is specifically assigned by the Chief Justice. Taking up a case not specifically assigned by the Chief Justice is an act of gross impropriety.”

The Court reprimanded by stating that the civil writ petition filed by the respondents ought to have been converted into a criminal writ petition by the Judge concerned, which could have been placed before the roster Judge taking up criminal writ petitions. The Court further directed the Court concerned taking up petitions under Section 482 CrPC for quashing FIRs to consider the said respondents’ conduct. It further slammed the respondents with costs of Rs 50,000.

The Court therefore allowed the instant appeal, dismissed the impugned order, and regarded the filing of civil writ petition by the respondents as gross abuse of process of law and a classic case of forum hunting.

[Ambalal Parihar v. State of Rajasthan, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1374, decided on 16-10-2023]

Judgment authored by: Justice Abhay S. Oka

Know Thy Judge | Justice Abhay S. Oka – Harbinger of Social Change and Preserver of Administrative Accountability

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate on Record Pranab Prakash, Advocate Yash Chaturvedi

For Respondent: Advocate Ashutosh Shekhar Paarcha, Advocate Neha Kapoor, Advocate on Record Milind Kumar, Advocate on Record Sanyat Lodha, Advocate Sanjana Saddy, Advocate Surbhi Arora

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Code of Criminal Procedure

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