Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Sandeep Sharma, J. allowed the petition observing that High Court has inherent power to quash criminal proceedings even in non compoundable cases, but such power is to be exercised sparingly and with great caution.

The brief facts of the case are that the respondent 2/complainant, namely Kuljeet Kumar, who alleged that on 27-9-2019 petitioner/accused, who had boarded HRTC Bus from Bus stand, Hamirpur, started abusing him and manhandled him and suffered injuries on his nose and mouth. By way of instant petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, prayer has been made on behalf of the petitioner for quashing of FIR under Sections 353, 332 and 333 of Penal Code, 1860 on the basis of the compromise arrived inter se parties.

Counsel Vinod Kumar Thakur for the petitioners and Sudhir Bhatnagar, Kunal Thakur, Sunny Dhatwalia and Raj Kumar Negi stated before the Court that without any external pressure parties have entered into a compromise and have resolved to settle their dispute amicably inter se and have no objection in quashing the FIR. It was further submitted that due to compromise now, there are very bleak chances of conviction of the petitioner and as such, no fruitful purpose would be served in case FIR lodged sustains.

The Court relied on Supreme Court decision in Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466 and State of T.N. v. R. Vasanthi Stanley, (2016) 1 SCC 376 and duly observed that the power conferred under Section 482 of CrPC is to be distinguished from the power which lies in the Court to compound the offences under Section 320 of the Code. No doubt, under Section 482 of the Code, the High Court has inherent power to quash the criminal proceedings even in those cases which are not compoundable, where the parties have settled the matter between themselves. Such a power is not be exercised in those prosecutions which involve heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. In view of the facts, arguments and settled position of law in the instant case that the matter has been compromised and the compromise being genuine, this Court accepted the compromise and quashed the FIR.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed. [Sumit Kumar v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 436, decided on 16-03-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J. quashed the FIR to meet ends of justice and prevent the abuse of the process of the Court.

The brief facts of the case are that on 27-01-2019, respondent 2 boarded a private bus at village Dharla, District Mandi, which was coming from Karsog to Shimla. On alighting the bus at 11:30 a.m at Talland, Shimla another bus also stopped at the same stop, which was coming from Karsog. When he was standing near traffic police post all of sudden, driver of latter mentioned bus turned the bus and drove over his left foot, consequent to which he received simple as well as grievous injuries. Consequently, FIR was lodged under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the Penal Code, 1860 dated 27-01-2019, against the petitioner. Later, respondent 2 entered into a compromise stating not intending to pursue the case further. Hence, the present petition was filed under Section 482 CrPC to quash the FIR.

The counsel for the petitioner, Inder Sharma submitted that as parties have compromised the matter, the proceedings will serve no purpose and the FIR can be quashed and set aside.

Shvi Pal Manhans with P.K. Bhatti for respondents argued that the offence is not compoundable, so the petition may be dismissed. The counsel for respondent 2, Nitish Negi agreed on the same.

The Court relied on various judgments, prominent being Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641 and observed Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers and only recognizes and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court. In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power.

In view of the above, FIR was quashed and the petition was disposed of. [Shivesh Dutt v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 423, decided on 13-03-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: DrPushpendra Singh Bhati, J., dismissed a civil appeal seeking to set aside a tribunal order and allow a claim application.

In the present case, the claimant’s deceased husband met with an unfortunate accident while travelling on his motorcycle towards his home. A tractor was allegedly being driven in a rash and negligent manner hit the deceased which led to his demise. An FIR was lodged against the driver of the tractor immediately thereafter.

The counsel representing the appellant/claimant, J. Gehlot submitted that the learned tribunal erred in deciding the issues and referred to the statements deposed by various witnesses. The counsel submitted the deposition of a witness who deposed that the tractor was brought for repair at a workshop but the workshop did not have the facility to repair the tractor. The counsel also drew the attention of the court to a deposition which stated that the tractor was not having any lights for its operation. 

The counsel representing the respondent, M.S. Soni contended the submissions of the appellant and pointed out that one of the appellant-witnesses was actually the father of the deceased and not an eye witness. The counsel also contended by pointing out that one of the witness had deposed that the driver of the tractor was in a drunken state, however could not recognize the driver. It was also pointed out that witnesses failed to throw light on the accident in question. 

The Court upon perusal of the facts and circumstances stated that the depositions of the appellant witnesses is doubtful and the question of the tractor in question is not made out conclusively, as the appellant witnesses have failed to prove any direct involvement of the tractor in question with regard to the accident. The Court also observed that since the involvement of the tractor in question is doubtful, saddling the owner of the tractor with the liability to satisfy the claim will not be possible.[Kuldeep Kaur v. Uda Ram, 2020 SCC OnLine Raj 345, decided on 05-03-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court:  Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J. held that the order of the Tribunal was devoid of any fault on the ground that mere transfer does not mean that such registered owner stands absolved of his liability to a third person unless and untill changes are not made in RTO records.

Brief facts of the case are that the claimant /respondent 1 was travelling in bus which was being driven in a rash and negligent manner by respondent 2  resulting in multiple injuries and fracture on the leg of the claimant. The accident was reported to the Police at Police Station, Kullu on the basis of which FIR was registered under Sections 279, 337 and 338 IPC. On these allegations, the claimant sought compensation to the tune of Rs 10, 00,000. 

Counsel for the appellant G.L. Palsra took specific stand that the vehicle was sold by him to respondent 4 Dhewa Ram and the possession of the vehicle was also given by him to respondent 4. 

Respondent 2 driver of the vehicle admitted that the claimant was travelling in the bus and took defence that he had taken a marriage party of his near relative to village Doghri without any consideration and when the bus reached near Shallang Govt. School, the claimant hurriedly got down in order to answer the call of nature. The driver was slowing down but the claimant opened the door without waiting for the bus to stop and fell down due to his own negligence and sustained injuries. 

Counsel Praneet Gupta for Respondent 3-Insurance Company took preliminary objections that the driver of the vehicle was not having valid and effective driving licence to drive the vehicle and the vehicle was being plied in contravention to the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act as well as contract of the insurance policy. It was further averred that the vehicle at the relevant time was being plied without route permit, fitness certificate and token tax, etc. It was also averred that the petition had been filed in connivance with respondents 1, 2 and 4. 

Advocate Naveen K. Bhardwaj for Respondent 4, Dhewa Ram took the plea that he had sold the vehicle to respondent 2 and had no concern with the said vehicle. 

On the evidence presented before the Tribunal earlier, it awarded compensation of Rs 5, 06,530 along with interest at the rate of 7% per annum from the date of petition i.e. 8-5-2008 till realization in favor of the claimant on account of the injuries sustained by him in the accident. The insurance company was directed to deposit the compensation in the first instance and then to recover the same from respondents 1 and 2. Aggrieved by the award so passed by the learned Tribunal, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The Court having heard both the parties relied on a Supreme Court Judgment Prakash Chand Daga v. Saveta Sharma, (2019) 2 SCC 747 observed that the appellant continues to be reflected as owner of the vehicle in the records maintained by the Registering and Licensing Authority and being the registered owner, the appellant is bound to satisfy the award as no transfer of ownership was carried out in accordance with Section 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. [Chaman Lal v. Murat Ram, 2020 SCC OnLine HP 320, decided on 29-02-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: Ashok Menon, J., disposed of a criminal miscellaneous application since the matter was under investigation and at an early stage to quash the First Information Report (FIR).

In the present case, the petitioner has been alleged to have committed an offence under Section 153 A of the Penal Code, 1860 with regard to his posts on Facebook which have allegedly incited the feeling of community. 

The advocate representing the petitioner, S. Chandrasekharan Nair submitted that his posts on Facebook bear no reference to any community. The advocate further submitted that in order to attract an offence committed under the stated section, it is essential that there must be an intention on the part of the accused to incite enmity between two communities. The counsel also relied on the Supreme Court decision in Manzar Sayeed Khan v. State of Maharashtra, (2007) 5 SCC 1 in support of his contentions.

The Court upon perusal of the arguments advanced by the petitioner stated that since the matter is still under investigation and the final report is yet to be filed it would be premature to quash the FIR. The Court further directed the investigating officer to look into the factors pointed out by the petitioner before filing of the final report. [Himalval Bhadrananda v. State of Kerala, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 929, decided on 02-03-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Alok Kumar Verma, J., allowed a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India challenging the impugned First Information Report dated 28-12-2019, seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the impugned FIR; and a writ of mandamus, commanding and directing the Respondents 1 & 2 not to arrest the petitioner in connection with the FIR.

The FIR stated that Respondent 3 had some conflict with her husband and the petitioner gave emotional support to her, later, they ended up in a hotel having physical relations in Dehradun, further, it stated that they again met in a hotel in Mumbai after few months. Respondent 3 stated that she wanted him to marry her or secure the future of her children.

The counsel for the petitioner Ranveer Singh Kundu and Raj Kumar Singh submitted that in the first instance given by the respondent the petitioner was detained at RVC Centre and College, Meerut Cantt. on duty, and regarding the second instance the petitioner did not go to Mumbai in the month mentioned by the respondent.

The Court while allowing the petition directed that no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner as the respondent was an adult and had her willful consent in the physical relations. [Rajendra Kumar Swain v. State of Uttarakhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 42, decided on 28-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: Ali Mohammad Magrey J., dismissed a petition under Section 561A of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 seeking to quash an FIR.

The present case relates to a petition filed for quashing of FIR and all consequential proceedings. The petitioners did not appear for the earlier or the present proceedings. The Court had previously passed an order providing liberty to the Police to submit the final report before the competent court.

The Court before delving into the merits of the case sought to answer the question as to whether the FIR pending before a Police Station can be quashed under section 561A of CrPC filed in this Court. The Bench placed reliance on the decision in State of M.P. v. Laxmi Narayan, (2019) 5 SCC 688 wherein the Supreme Court had stated that “….while exercising the power under Section 482 of the Code to quash the criminal proceedings in respect to non-compoundable offences, which are private in nature and do not have a serious impact on society, on the ground that there is a settlement/compromise between the victim and the offender, the High Court is required to consider the antecedents of the accused, the conduct of the accused, namely, whether the accused was absconding and why he was absconding, how he had managed with the complainant to enter into a compromise.”

High Court stated that keeping in the view of the scope of Section 561A of CrPC it should refrain from making a prima facie decision at the interlocutory stage when entire facts of the case are incomplete and the material evidence is yet to be collected. [Mohd Altaf v. State of Jammu & Kashmir, 2020 SCC OnLine J&K 138, decided on 26-02-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Anoop Chitkara, J., allowed a bail petition of an accused who was under arrest due to an FIR registered under Sections 452 and 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 4 and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the POCSO Act’).

The FIR stated that the mother of the victim mentioned that she stayed in her matrimonial home with two of her children, a son aged 13 years and a daughter aged 14 years and her daughter was deaf from childhood and couldn’t even walk on her own. On 8-10-2019 at 7:30 p.m., she was going to attend the wedding in the village when she noticed the accused petitioner standing near the door of her house, on which she asked him the purpose to which he left the place. Later, she locked the house after placing her daughter inside and left to attend the wedding. When she returned at around 10.30 p.m. she found the locks to be broken and the blanket on her daughter removed along with bloodstains on her salwar. She suspected the accused petitioner and requested a medical examination after which he was arrested on filing the FIR. The doctor who had conducted the medical examination had said that there was no sign of any physical violence over the body and also mentioned that she was not menstruating and there was no external injury however the possibility of sexual intercourse could not be ruled out. The report from Forensic Science Laboratory did not deduct semen on clothes of the victim, vaginal swab and quilt cover.

On the other hand, the petitioner had specifically mentioned that the mother of the victim had been purchasing daily needs and ration items from him, on credit but despite requests, she did not pay and that he was not involved with the alleged offence. The petitioner had filed a petition under Section 439 Criminal Procedure Code, before Special Judge but it was dismissed thus the instant petition arose.

High Court while allowing the petition explained that the doctor did not find even a single trace of sexual assault nor the Laboratory deducted any semen from the vaginal swab and the mother’s allegation is also based on mere suspicion thus the petitioner is entitled to receive bail. [Bhup Singh v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 147, decided on 24-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Anoop Chitkara, J., dismissed an appeal filed to challenge the acquittal of respondents-accused for carrying 600 bottles of country-made liquor without a license, where the Chief Judicial Magistrate had acquitted him giving reasons.

The daily diary report of the Police line in Hamirpur stated that on the morning of November 29, 2006, when the police party was present at a place known as Karer, then from the side of Salauni, one vehicle number bearing No. HP22A 8412 had arrived and it was stopped on suspicion. The vehicle had two people, the driver and one other person who ran away taking advantage of darkness. On checking the police had found 50 cartons, each carton contained 12 bottles of 750 ml each, in all 600 bottles of country-made liquor of Brand Una No. 1, out of which 5 bottles were taken out by the officials for sample and others were sealed, after which FIR was filed for the commission of offence punishable under Section 61 of the Punjab Excise Act as applicable to the State of H.P., also during investigation, the police arrested the absconding accused. After the completion of the investigation, police had filed a report under Section 173 (2) CrPC in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate. After the recording of the prosecution evidence, the trial Court had put the incriminating circumstances to the accused in compliance with the provisions of Section 313 of CrPC; the accused denied all the circumstances but had not led any evidence in defence. The Court had dismissed the prosecution case and acquitted the accused of all charges thus the instant appeal was filed by the State.

The High Court while dismissing the appeal found the impugned Judgment well reasoned and explained that the point that the police had introduced an independent witness at a later stage as there was no mention of him in the daily diary report and in cross-examination also the prosecution witness admitted to the fact that he had seen 350 bottles in a gunny bag which were unsealed, and the prosecution had failed to prove in evidence that the quantity of bottles of liquor in question was 600.  [State of Himachal Pradesh v. Vipan Kumar, 2020 SCC OnLine HP 34, decided on 03-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: N. Anil Kumar, J. allowed this application for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The applicant here is the accused in Crime No. 1158 of 2019, for offences punishable under Sections 418 and 420 of the Penal Code which was registered at Muhamma police station, and then the FIR was forwarded to SHO for investigation than to the Judicial First Class Magistrate.

The facts of the case are that the de facto complainant is the Managing Director of the Company-Brothers Coir Mills Pvt. Ltd., registered under the Companies Act, 2013, engaged in the business of manufacturing and exporting of coir products. The brother of the de facto complainant, John Jose, is one of the Director Board Member of the company. The accused worked as Senior Accountant of the company from 01-03-2017 to 31-08-2019.

The counsel for the respondent, B. Jayasurya, public prosecutor, contended that while the accused worked as a Senior Accountant of the company, he misappropriated the company funds in his own name. The total amount that he misappropriated was Rs 17,05,856. Hence, on this basis, the counsel contended that the accused should not be granted anticipatory bail. The counsel for the respondent hence was in the favour that there is a need for the custodial interrogation of the accused and recovery of the money.

The learned counsel for the petitioner, C.K. Sajeev, contended that for proper payments of the TDS amount due from the Company and to prevent hacking account from internet, the misappropriated amount was paid from the account opened in the name of the Director, namely, John Jose, who is the brother of the de facto complainant. The amount was transferred from the Current Account of the Company which was maintained with the South  Indian Bank Ltd. to the Current Account maintained and operated by the Board in the SME branch of the State Bank of India.

Section 148 of the Penal Code states that in case the accused cheats with the knowledge that he is likely to cause wrongful loss to a person whose interest is the transaction to which the cheating relates, he is bounded to be punished. The prosecution is bound to prove a legal contract.

Section 420 provides that in case where the accused cheats and dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, to make or destroy or alter, whole or any part of a valuable security, which is signed or sealed and is capable of being converted into valuable security shall be punished as per Section 420.

The Court after perusing the documents came to the conclusion that there was some dispute between the Board of the Directors of the company and the petitioner, therefore, initiated the prosecution for no reason. The Court hence allowed the anticipatory bail with following directions:

  1. the petitioner will be released on bail in the event of arrest by executing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 along with two solvent sureties each for the amount to the satisfaction of the arresting officer.
  2. the petitioner will have to appear before the Investigating Officer every Monda between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for a period of 3 months or till the charge sheet is filed, whichever earlier.
  3. the petitioner should not in any manner intimidate or influence the prosecution witnesses
  4. in case of violation, it is open to the Court having jurisdiction over the case to cancel his bail without any further orders from the Court.[Balaji A.S. v State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 6057, decided on 27-12-2019]
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Lok Pal Singh, J., addressed an application that sought to quash criminal proceedings under Sections 420, 468, 471 of Penal Code, 1860 and Section 66(D) of Information Technology Act pending in Judicial Magistrate Court.

In the present matter, a complaint was lodged against the applicant that he committed forgery for purpose of cheating by using as genuine the forged and fraudulent document with the intention to cause damage to the Trust and hacked the information stored in the computer.

A charge-sheet was submitted by against the applicant in respect of selfsame offences. Further, Magistrate took cognizance and summoned the applicant to face the trial in respect to the mentioned offences.

Siddhartha Singh, applicant for the counsel submitted that the applicant was an old trustee and was appointed as the President of Kailashanand Mission Trust. He submitted that proceedings against the applicant are nothing but the outcome of the revengeful activity of the complainant and his associates. Complainant concealed the fact of the applicant being the President of the Trust and went on to lodging an FIR against him in the name of him being an “Unknown Hacker”.

According to the applicant’s counsel, the entire proceedings are nothing but an abuse of process of law and Court.

Senior Advocate, Rakesh Thapliyal on behalf of the complainant due to nefarious activities of the applicant, Swami Kailashanand was annoyed with him and by way of a resolution of trust, he cancelled all rights of the applicant and even removed him from the post of Manager of Trust.

He further submitted that various complaints were filed against the applicant for forging Trust’s letter pad, seals and receipt book and resolutions.

Applicant’s Counsel while relying on the Supreme Court case in, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) v Nimra Cerglass Technics (P) Ltd., (2016) 1 SCC 348, argued that in order to bring a case for offence of cheating, it is not merely sufficient to prove that a false representation was made, but it is further necessary to prove that the representation was false to the knowledge of accused and was made in order to deceive complainant.

According to the ruling in Supreme Court case of Amit Kapoor v. Ramesh Chander, (2012) 9 SCC 460, in which certain principles in respect of exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC are laid down, one of the principles which hold significance in the present matter is following:

“…Court should apply the test as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as made from the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith prima facie establish the offence or not.”

Thus, in the present matter, High Court stated that in view of the above, a bare perusal of FIR as well as the charge sheet, it is apparent that foundation of criminal offence is laid against the applicant. Jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC should not be exercised to stifle or scuttle the legitimate prosecution. Court stated that in the present case, this is not the stage to quash the charge sheet.

Hence, Since, prima facie case is made out against the applicant, the Magistrate has rightly taken cognizance and summoned the applicant to face the trial in respect of the offences complained of against him. [Vijay Kumar Gupta v. State of Uttarakhand, Criminal Misc. Application No. (C-482) No. 1087 of 2016, decided on 18-12-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Dinesh Kumar Singh, J. while disposing of this petition gave liberty to the petitioner to move an application for altering the charge against the accused.

This instant petition was filed under Section 482 CrPC challenging the order of Additional District and Sessions Judge (Ex-cadre), Pratapgarh. The charges were framed under Sections 147, 323/149, 452, 504, 506 IPC.

Counsel for the petitioner, Amar Nath Dubey submitted that Sessions Judge did not frame charge under Section 436 IPC. This was done on the incorrect ground that there was no allegation either in the FIR or in the statement of the complainant recorded under Section 161 CrPC that the accused used fire or explosive substance to put on fire the residential property of the complainant or another person. The miscreants/accused persons had put on fire the thatch of Ramadhar.

The Court in view of the above observed that at the stage of framing of charge, a Judge is required to evaluate the evidence to find out prima facie case but he is not required to go in detail every statement or every evidence which has been collected by the Investigating Officer. The Sessions Judge after considering the version of the FIR and the statement of the other witnesses including the complainant was prima facie of the opinion that offence under Section 436 IPC is not made out. If the complainant or the prosecution is of the view, during the course of the trial, that some other offences has/have also been committed by the accused, it is always open to him/her to file an application under Section 216 CrPC to alter the charges. [Nepali Devi v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 4366, decided on 30-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Brijesh Sethi, J., while stating that,

“Rape not only causes serious injury to a woman’s body, her honour and dignity and even if such an offence is settled by the offender and victim, this offence being not private in nature but has a serious impact on the society and, therefore, cannot be quashed.”;

dismissed the petition filed with respect to the quashing of FIR and the proceedings emanating therefrom.

The present petition was filed for quashing of FIR under Sections 376 and 380 of the Penal Code, 1860 and the consequential proceedings emanating therefrom.

Background of facts

Petition pleaded that respondent 2 had met the petitioner on account of a professional assignment and thereafter they kept meeting each other regularly and got romantically involved. Respondent 2 entered into a live-in relationship with the petitioner. 

An altercation took place between the petitioner and respondent 2 and the petitioner left respondent 2. Respondent 2 filed a complaint thereafter against the petitioner which culminated into the aforesaid FIR. 

The fact to be noted is that, during the course of the trial, the marriage of the petitioner and respondent 2 was solemnized. However, on account of some differences and misunderstandings, the trial proceedings continued. Upon the intervention of friends the dispute between both resolved by way of the settlement deed. 

Further, respondent 2 gave her ‘No Objection’ affidavit for quashing of the aforesaid FIR and all proceedings emanating therefrom. 

Conclusion

High Court on perusal of the facts and circumstances noted that the FIR under Sections 376 and 380 IPC was registered on the basis of the statement made by complainant/respondent 2 wherein she mentioned about her emotional, physical, mental and sexual abuses at the hands of the petitioner.

Further, the question that arose for consideration was whether the fact that the parties got married and had settled the dispute should be a reason good enough to quash the FIR registered under Section 376 and 380 IPC and consequential proceedings emanating therefrom.

In the Supreme Court decision of Parbathhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, 2017 SCC Online SC 1189, it was held that scope of power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC to quash the criminal proceedings on the basis of settlement in a heinous or serious offence is limited.

In Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, Criminal Appeal No. 686/2014, the Supreme Court held that in respect of offences against society, it is the duty of the state to punish the offender. In consequence, deterrence provides a rationale for punishing the offender. Hence, even when there is a settlement, the view of the offender and victim will not prevail since it is in the interest of the society that the offender should be punished to deter others from committing a similar crime.

Even in the Supreme Court decision of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 Court held that the settlement in cases where nature of offence is heinous /serious like murder, rape and dacoity, the criminal proceedings cannot be quashed even if they are settled by the accused and the victim, by invoking the jurisdiction of High Court under Section 482 CrPC.

In the present case, it is the case of the respondent 2 that she was deceived by petitioner and sexual relations were established on the pretext of false promise of marriage and she was, thus, subjected to emotional, physical, mental and sexual abuse and therefore applying the ratio laid down in the above-cited cases, offence committed by petitioner clearly falls under the category of heinous and serious one.

Thus, in Court’s opinion, the FIR and proceedings emanating therefrom cannot be quashed. [Ananda D.V. v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 11163, decided on 14-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: Rumi Kumari Phukan, J., allowed and further disposed of the petition in view of the matter being settled outside the Court.

Facts pertaining to the present petition were that the respondent 2 lodged an FIR raising allegations of mental torture, dowry and her father-in-law outraging her modesty. Adding to the said allegations, she filed the FIR with certain other allegations against her husband and father-in-law under Section 498 (A)/ 354 Penal Code, 1860.

Further, during the course of the trial when the trial court impleaded the accused’s they all collectively came forward for quashing the entire proceedings on the ground that they have already settled the matter and the informant has no more interest to proceed with the case.

High Court noted the affidavit sworn by the respondent/wife in respect to the settlement in which it was stated that she is not willing to pursue the case as the matter was already settled amicably between the parties.

Court in the present matter noted that it was in respect to matrimonial offence and the victim herself came forward apprising about the amicable settlement, which implies that the victim/respondent will not support her case.

“Amicable settlement in a case of matrimonial offence can be allowed for the sake of social justice so as to maintain harmony in the society.”

Stating the above, the Court held that as the victim herself has buried her grievances against all the accused persons, the further proceeding will yield no result and it will be an abuse of process of law. [Hiranmoy Das v. State of Assam, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 5018, decided on 04-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: Ashwani Kumar Singh, J., dismissed the application for quashing of FIR as the FIR clearly stated the incidence of tampering of the meter which would constitute a cognizable offence and hence the investigation is necessary.

In the pertinent case, the petitioner filed the application for the quashing of an FIR registered under Section 135 of the Electricity Act. The Petitioner had, in spot billing of the month of December, 2017, an electric bill for an amount of Rs 1,55,089 showing meter reading as 27678 was issued. The consumption in two days was of 24110 units. Thereafter, he made a complaint on 12-02-2018 through the online portal of South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited. An electrician came and inspected the said meter was defective and would be reinstalled after repairing. Subsequently, he came back and reinstalled a meter. Thereafter, on 23-02-2018, some officials of the Electric Supply Sub- Division, Jamui came at his house and made an allegation that the petitioner had tampered the meter.

The counsel for the opposite party contended that in the FIR, there is a specific allegation against the petitioner that on 23-02-2018, when the meter installed at the house of the petitioner was inspected, it was found that the body of the meter on the right side tampered and the seal was broken. Further, the meter number on the body and the screen did not match. It was also noticed that the past reading of the meter was reduced. They contended that the allegations made in the FIR clearly attract the ingredients of the offence punishable under Section 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

The Court observed that there is specific allegation in the FIR regarding tampering of the meter installed at the house of the petitioner. The seal of the meter was found broken. The aforesaid allegations are sufficient to attract the ingredients of the offence alleged, which is classified as a cognizable offence. In case of a cognizable offence, the police has a statutory right to investigate. Therefore, the Court held that neither the institution of the FIRnor its investigation can be held to be bad. [Bijay Kumar v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1870, decided on 23-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Lisa Gill, J. dismissed the appeal filed by insurance company challenging the amount of compensation granted by the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (‘MACT’).

In the present case, one Dalip Singh and Aslam (deceased), met with a motor vehicle accident which led to their fatal death. The MACT had awarded compensation to the families of both the deceased. Aggrieved thereby, the insurance company filed the present appeal stating that the said case did not fall under a motor vehicle accident and thus prayed for reducing the amount of compensation. Appeal was also filed by the claimants praying to increase the amount of compensation awarded.

In the appeal filed by the insurance company, the appellant contended that there was no evidence of a motor vehicle in the FIR, therefore, the respondents could not claim compensation for a motor accident. Also, the age of the deceased was wrongly concluded hence the amount of compensation must be reduced. Whereas in the appeal by the claimants, they contended for an increase in the compensation amount awarded by the Tribunal. However, they accepted the fact that the age of the deceased was wrongly concluded.

The Court after referring to all the facts, and hearing the witness with placed reliance on the judgment in Mangla Ram v. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., (2018) 5 SCC 656 where it was opined that claimants in proceedings under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 have to prove their case on the touchstone of preponderance of probabilities and not beyond reasonable doubt.

It was held that the claimants had successfully proved the involvement of a vehicle and hence the judgment of the MACT was upheld. However, after analyzing the facts and the on consideration of a change in the age of the deceased, the Court reduced the amount of compensation.[IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Asha Devi, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1403, decided on 22-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Vibhu Bakhru, J. dismissed a writ petition filed by a serving officer of the Indian Army seeking to quash an FIR registered against him in Imphal, Manipur.

At the relevant time, the petitioner was posted at Dimapur, Nagaland, and was the Commanding Officer of 50 Coy ASC (Supply). It was alleged that during his tenure, he accepted illegal gratification from a local contractor engaged in supplying edible oil and pulses to 50 Coy ASC (Supply). An FIR was registered against him by the CBI Anti-Corruption Branch at Imphal.

Ripu Daman Bhardwaj, Special Public Prosecutor appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation, at the outset, raised objections regarding the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court to entertain the instant petition. Per contra, Lovkesh Sawhney, Durgesh Kumar Pandey and Deepak Kumar, Advocates, representing the petitioner, contended that the petition was maintainable.

The Court was of the view that the principal question for consideration was whether the Court should exercise its jurisdiction in the facts of the case. It was noted: “Undeniably, a substantial part of the offence alleged against the petitioner was committed outside the jurisdiction of this Court. As noticed above, the petitioner was posted in Dimapur and the allegation is regarding his conduct of receiving illegal gratification while serving as the commanding officer of 50 Coy ASC (Supply). Whilst it may be correct that the funds are stated to have been received by the petitioner; the allegation is that the same was done at the instance of the petitioner, who was, at the material time, posted in Dimapur.”

In such view of the matter, the High Court was of the view that it would not be apposite for the Court to entertain the instant petition. It was also observed: “Insofar as the principle of forum conveniens is concerned, the said principle has to be applied keeping in view the place where the substantial cause has arisen and where the substantial evidence for adjudicating the cause is available.”

Resultantly, it was held that trial in the instant matter was required to be conducted within the jurisdiction of another High Court. The petition was therefore dismissed.[Amit Sharma v. CBI, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 10129, decided on 13-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Ranjit More and Bharati H. Dangre, JJ. addressed a petition filed by Gautam Navlakha an accused in the Bhima – Koregaon Case, in order to quash the proceedings of FIR registered on 08-01-2018 qua him.

Sequence of events

The FIR was registered pertaining to a complaint, initially, for the offence punishable under Sections 153 A, 505(l) (b), 117 read with Section 34 of Penal Code, 1860. FIR proceeds on the lines that fist informant came to know through social networking sites that there is a programme at Shaniwarwada organised by Elgar Parishad and he attended the same.

Further, he stated that some of the performers at the programme enacted shot-plays, dances and songs which were provocative in nature and had the effect of creating communal disharmony. Few objectionable books and other literature were kept at the venue for sale. In the FIR it was also alleged that the banned organisation CO (Maoist) was inciting violence.

Adding to the stated, the allegation that members of Kabir-Kala Manch spread hatred through their songs, plays and speeches causing enmity between different communities and as a result thereof, there were incidents of violence, arson and stone pelting near Bhima – Koregaon causing loss of lives and public money.

January 1st 2018 – Events occurring at Bhima – Koregaon had wide repercussions throughout the State of Maharashtra, law and order was affected. The investigation revealed that there was deep-rooted conspiracy to create communal disharmony and accordingly Section 120-B was added.

May 17th 2018 – Provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 were invoked. Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 18 B, 20, 38, 39 and 40 of the said Act were added to the subject FIR.

August 28th 2018 – Petitioner along with four others came to be arrested from their houses in Delhi and was immediately taken to the Court of CJM, Delhi, who granted two days transit remand to Pune police. On the very same day, a habeas corpus petition was filed on behalf of the petitioner in the Delhi High Court and the Court directed that the petitioner will not be moved from Delhi till further orders. In the evening of the same day, Delhi High Court stayed the mentioned order and directed the house arrest.

August 29th 2018 – Five academicians filed a PIL in the Supreme Court praying for Court-monitored SIT. Supreme Court extended the interim protection granted to the petitioner by Delhi High Court from 28-08-2018.

September 28th 2018 – Supreme Court by majority of 2:1 declined to order a Court-monitored investigation but extended the house arrest.

October 1st 2018 – Delhi High Court quashed the petitioner’s arrest and ordered his release from the house arrest. In pursuance to the liberty granted by the Supreme Court to the petitioner, the present petition is filed. Petition was finally heard on 26-07-2019 and the order was reserved.

Background of the facts

Petitioner claims to be the human right activist for decades and his outspoken views on political issues are claimed to be well within the constitutional guarantee of free speech. He was called upon by the State to assist in securing the release of officials abducted by left-wing extremists in 2011. Petitioner adds that he has been an open critic of left-wing extremist violence.

Contentions

Counsel for the petitioner, Dr Choudhary submitted that the FIR does not disclose any offence under the provisions of UAPA Act. Petitioner had nothing to do with either Elgar Parishad or the organisation of the event as mentioned above, either as the member of the said Parishad or as a participant in the event. Neither the petitioner was present nor involved in the violence of Bhima-Koregaon, therefore, subject FIR is manifestly unjust and is liable to be quashed.

References in the computer of a third party are being used against the petitioner, which is not legally permissible. Mere references by name is insufficient for adding someone in the FIR. Counsel also added to his submissions that even if the allegations made in the FIR are taken at face value, they do not make out a case against the petitioner and therefore the subject FIR deserves to be quashed qua the petitioner.

Learned APP, Mrs Pai submitted that the petitioner is found to be working and is an active member of a banned terrorist organisation, namely, Communist Party of India (Moist). Petitioner was also found providing strategic inputs in furtherance of the objective of armed rebellion as per the strategic document of the banned terrorist organisation.

Conclusion

The High Court on perusal of the material filed, contentions, facts and the documents recovered from the electronic devices of the petitioner and others relied upon by the prosecution as disclosed in the charge-sheet, are satisfied that the investigating agency has material to connect the petitioner in the subject crime.

Court stated that in respect to the nature and magnitude of the conspiracy, the investigating agency is required to be given sufficient time to unearth the evidence against the petitioner, especially when the scope of investigation is not restricted to Bhima-Koregaon incident but activities leading to the incident and subsequent activities as well are the subject matter of investigation.

Therefore, the present petition in view of the above is without any merit and the same is accordingly dismissed. [Gautam P. Navlakha v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 1866, decided on 13-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: G.S. Ahluwalia, J., dismissed a petition filed under Article 226 Constitution of India to direct the respondents to register an FIR on the basis of the complaint made by her.

The main question before the High Court to decide was ‘whether a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for registration of the FIR is tenable or not?’

The Supreme Court in the case of Divine Retreat Centre v. State of Kerala, (2008) 3 SCC 542 had held that the High Court in exercise of its power under Article 226 can always issue appropriate directions at the instance of an aggrieved person if the High Court is convinced that the power of investigation has been exercised by an investigating officer mala fide. That power is to be exercised in the rarest of the rare case where a clear case of abuse of power and non-compliance with the provisions falling under Chapter XII of the Code is clearly made out requiring the interference of the High Court. But even in such cases, the High Court cannot direct the police as to how the investigation is to be conducted but can always insist for the observance of the process as provided for in the Code. Even in cases where no action is taken by the police on the information given to them, the informant’s remedy would lie under Sections 190, 200 of CrPC, but a writ petition in such a case cannot be entertained.

Similarly, in the case of Lalita Kumari v. Government of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1, the Supreme Court held that cases like these do not pertain to issue of entitlement to writ of mandamus for compelling the police to perform statutory duty under Section 154 CrPC without availing alternative remedy under Sections 154(3), 156(3), 190 and 200 of CrPC.

Therefore, the Court finally dismissed the petition as the petitioner still had an efficacious and alternative remedy of filing a criminal complaint before the Court of competent jurisdiction.[Mamta Prajapati v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 2477, decided on 06-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J. entertained a writ petition filed under Section 482 of CrPC for quashing FIR registered under Sections 376,366 and 506 of IPC.

The facts of the case were that the petitioner had a relationship with a woman who was already married to one Roshan Lal. It was the story of the petitioner that the woman had a strained relationship with her husband and she was about to get divorced and then get married to the petitioner. Subsequently to execute their plan they left their native place and the woman admitted that she did not want to return as there was a threat to her life as her husband and relatives warned her of dire consequences. The woman had in favour of petitioner filed an affidavit where she swore that she willfully left the company of her husband and went along with the petitioner. Meanwhile, the husband- complainant filed a missing report. When the woman returned, FIR was filed against the petitioner where the woman accused him of rape and kidnapping along with other charges.

The petitioner contended that the parties have compromised the matter and an affidavit was filed for the same. The petitioner further submitted that the woman had mentioned in the affidavit that the FIR was filed under coercion from her husband and she was forced to do it. Hence, the petitioner requested that the husband himself had compromised the matter and did not want to pursue the case further, thus, he sought to quash FIR. Learned counsel for the petitioner had argued that as the parties had compromised the matter, no purpose was served by keeping the proceedings against the petitioner.

On the other hand, the counsel for the State argued that since the offence was not compoundable in nature, the petition should not be dismissed.

The Court noted that the Supreme Court in B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana, (2003) 4 SCC 675, had held that, “if for the purpose of securing the ends of justice, quashing of FIR becomes necessary, Section 320 would not be a bar to the exercise of power of quashing. It is well settled that the powers under section 482 have no limits. Of course, where there is more power, it becomes necessary to exercise utmost care and caution while invoking such powers.” A similar case where the Supreme Court had observed thatultimate object of justice is to find out the truth and punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The tendency of implicating the husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of the criminal trial, it is difficult to ascertain the real truth. Experience reveals that long and protracted criminal trials lead to rancour, acrimony and bitterness in the relationship amongst the parties. The criminal trials lead to immense sufferings for all concerned.”

Hence, the Court took into consideration the case laws already decided by the Supreme Court on similar law points and found the case fit for exercising power under Section 482 CrPC. Thus, FIR was quashed and the petition was disposed of.[Sunny v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 1350, decided on 27-08-2019]