Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: In this petition filed before Rashid Ali Dar, J., an order passed by District Magistrate, Baramulla was challenged whereby detenu was ordered to be taken into preventive custody under Section 8 of the J&K Public Safety Act.

Petitioner’s custody in the police for the offences referred in the grounds of detention was converted into the custody under the impugned detention order. Petitioner challenged the order of detention on the ground that detenu was already under custody where an FIR was registered for offences under Section 7 and 25 of the Arms Act, 2013 and thus could not have been detained under the provision aforementioned. Whereas, Asif Maqbool, learned counsel on behalf of respondents contended that order of detention was passed taking into consideration the relevant provisions of the Act and he was well informed of the grounds of his detention thus, no illegality occurred. The question before the Court was, whether an order of detention could have been passed when the detenu was already in the custody of the police.

High Court relied on the case of A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras, (1950) 51 Cri LJ 1383 where it was held that: “Preventive detention is by its very nature repugnant to democratic ideals and an anathema to the rule of law”. Court mentioned that the mindset of respondents seems to be that if the detention order was passed the petitioner could not apply for bail and if he does he would be prevented by virtue of this order. The above thought of respondents was improper as the authorities in case of bail application could have contested the same thus; the impugned order cuts the very root of the State Act. Hence, this petition was allowed and the impugned order was quashed. [Akhter Rasool Lone v. State of J&K, HCP No. 447 of 2018, decided on 10-05-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Appellate Tribunal for Prevention of Money Laundering: A Coram of Justice Manmohan Singh (Chairperson) and G.C Mishra (Member) allowed an appeal against the order passed by the Adjudicating Authority to retain seized assets based on a reasonable belief of the respondents.

In this instant case, an FIR was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in relation to allegations that Sterling Group of companies and the Sandesara Group were involved in bribing public officials in the period between the period 2005 to 2011 for obtaining tenders for the supply of goods, loans by banks and financial institutions. The statements of one Ajay Panchal, who was maintaining diaries in the year 2011 was recorded, and it was stated that Angadias, one of the appellants, were involved in the transfer of suspected proceeds of crime from Vadodara to Delhi between “Starling Biotech Limited and various individuals/entities based in Delhi”. There was a search of the appellant’s premises and properties were seized based on the FIR.

The Appellate Tribunal took note of the allegations against the appellants and ordered that the impugned orders were passed without any due consideration to the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2000. The Appellate Tribunal, in its findings, opined that the allegations that the appellant’s services were used to transfer funds from the Sandesara Group to certain public officials did not hold true since the averment as to the whether there were any proceeds of crime was not concluded by the Directorate of Enforcement. The properties seized, pertained to the year 2017 whereas in the FIR and complaints it was noted that the transactions took place between 2005 and 2011. The Tribunal opined “the impugned orders have been passed without any application of mind and in a completely mechanical manner.”

 It was noted by the Tribunal that the Respondents failed to produce any material having relation or link between the appellants and Sterling Biotech Ltd., they also could not provide any proceeds of crime being generated from the transactions. The Petitioners have the option to enforce Section 8(8) of PMLA which provides an alternative statutory remedy to allow the release of property even during trials. The Appellate Tribunal noted that Sections 17 to 21 of PMLA provide that the outer limit up to the date for deciding the application for retention of property within the meaning Section 21(4) is 180 days from the date of seizure of any property or records and this said period cannot be extended. Thus, the Appellate Tribunal reiterated the provisions of Sections 17 and 18 of PMLA and stated that if the Adjudicating Authority has a legitimate reason for investigation of the said property, it should pass an order on the same and direct for investigation wherein the assets will be frozen for a period not exceeding 90 days, otherwise, the properties shall be defreezed.

The Appellate Tribunal ordered that in this instant case, the properties were seized for the purpose of investigation and the 90 days period had elapsed and there were no concrete averments against the appellants or their property hence the properties were to be defreezed.[Kapoor Chand Galbaji Prajapati v. Joint Director, Directorate of Enforcement, Delhi, FPA-PMLA-2231-2334/DLI/2018, decided on 02-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J. allowed a petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing of FIR registered for offences under Sections 498-A and 506 of the Penal Code, 1860, on the ground that parties had entered into a compromise.

In the present case, the petitioner-husband and respondent-wife were married according to Hindu rites. After five years of their marriage, the wife left her matrimonial home and went to live with her parents in Shimla. She later filed an FIR under Sections 498-A and 502 of IPC against the husband. However, the parties later entered into a compromise and in order to maintain their cordial relation, they did not want to pursue cases against each other. Thus, the present petition was filed by the husband under Section 482 of CrPC requesting the court to quash the FIR filed against him along with the cases based upon it.

Learned counsel for the petitioner, R. L. Verma, contended that as the parties have compromised the matter, no purpose would be served by keeping the matter alive, hence the FIR, along with the subsequent proceedings should be quashed by the Court.

Learned counsel for the respondent, Dinesh Bhatia, prayed that the petition may be allowed in view of the compromise arrived between the parties.

The Court relied upon the judgment in Jitendra Raghuvanshi v. Babita Raghuvanshi, (2013) 4 SCC 58 where it was held that even in non-compoundable offences pertaining to matrimonial disputes, if Court is satisfied that parties have settled the disputes amicably and without any pressure, then for purpose of securing ends of justice, FIR/complaint or subsequent criminal proceedings in respect of offences can be quashed.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed and FIR against petitioner, along with its subsequent proceedings, was quashed.[Dharmender Mathur v. State of H.P., Cr. MMO No. 177 of 2019, decided on 08-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: Dr A.P. Thaker, J. passed an order to grant anticipatory bail for the offences punishable under Section 3(1)(r)(s) and 3(2)(v-a) of the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

An appeal was made to the court after an application for anticipatory bail was rejected by the Special Judge (Atrocity), City Session Court, Ahmedabad.

The fact of the case was that the complainant had a fight with the appellant and during the fight, the appellant assaulted the complainant who suffered some injuries. Thereafter, the complainant lodged an FIR against the appellant under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Atrocity Act.  

The learned Counsel for the Appellant, Mahesh Bariya and Pooja Baswal, prayed for the grant of an anticipatory bail which was vehemently opposed by the respondent’s counsel, Monali Bhatt on the ground that the offence was made out under Atrocity Act and thus was a grave offence. 

The court placed reliance on the law laid down by the apex court in Gorige Pentaiah v. State of A.P., (2008) 12 SCC 531 which laid down that the preliminary inquiry shall be conducted by Deputy Superintendent of Police to find out whether allegation made out under the said act before registering an FIR relating to the commission of an offence and approval of appropriate authority shall be obtained before arrest of any person in connection with such offence.

The Court thus held that in the present case, it is doubtful as to commission of offence under Atrocity Act. Further, it appears from the affidavit of the complainant that the matter has been amicably settled between the parties and complainant has also tendered the affidavit for quashing the same FIR.  Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, without discussing the evidence in details, prima facie, this court is of the considered opinion that the discretion under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is required to be exercised. 

The anticipatory bail was thus granted with the condition that appellant shall remain present before the Magistrate on the first day of hearing of the application and after all the subsequent occasions as may be directed by the Magistrate. It was also clarified that the appellant, even if, remanded to police custody, upon completion of such period of police remand, shall be set free immediately, subject to other conditions of the anticipatory bail order.[Vipul Maganbhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 832, decided on 10-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Bench of Sonia Gokani, J., while hearing the grievance of the petitioner regarding non-filing of FIR, ordered the authorities to do a necessary investigation after lodging FIR.

A writ petition was made by the petitioner who was aggrieved by non-registration of the first information report on the basis of complaint given in writing. S.D. Mansur, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the offence being a cognizable offence doesn’t take away his right to lodge the FIR. Thus an application for appropriate order of the court was made by the petitioner.

Jirga Jhaveri, the learned counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, submitted that though a cognizable offence is made out, his first information report was not registered.

The Court after hearing the party relied on the Judgment of Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1, which mandates that registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of Code of  Criminal Procedure, 1973.  The Court held that the police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering the offence if the cognizable offence is disclosed and the action should be taken against erring officer who does not register the FIR. The court further held that in order to ascertain the information regarding the cognizable offence it was important to conduct the preliminary inquiry. The court thus instructed the respondents to lodge the report and conduct the preliminary inquiry within one week and further instructed the petitioner that if the action is not taken, it shall be open to him to approach the higher officials, as provided under Section 154(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.[Avdhesh Bhawaniprasad Yadav v. State of Gujarat, Special Criminal Application No. 930 of 2019, Order dated 07-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Bench of Arvind Singh Sangwan, J., quashed the FIR on the basis of the compromise entered into by the parties.

A petition was filed by the petitioner for quashing the FIR for the offences punishable under Sections 377, 34 of Penal Code, 1908 and all the subsequent proceedings arising therefrom.  The ground for quashing the FIR mentioned was with respect to the compromise entered by the party. The Court revealed that they have voluntarily entered into a compromise and the Court is satisfied that the parties have amicably settled their dispute without any fear, pressure, threat or coercion and out of their free will. Hence the Application for quashing of FIR was filed.

The Learned counsel for the petitioner, Piyush Sharma, submitted apart from the amicable settlement between the parties there was no other criminal case pending and none of the petitioners is a proclaimed offender. Reliance was placed upon the case of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1.

The Learned counsel for the respondent, M.S. Nagra, has not disputed the fact that the parties have arrived at a settlement with intent to give burial to their differences.

The Court after noting the submissions of both the parties held that “since the parties have arrived at a compromise and have decided to live in peace, no useful purpose would be served in allowing the criminal proceedings to continue.”[Pipal Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 450, decided on 29-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: This Jail Appeal was filed before the Division Bench of Sudhir Agarwal and Vivek Varma, JJ., under Section 383 CrPC which prescribed the procedure to be followed when an appellant is in jail.

The facts of the case were such that the appellant was alleged for commission of crime of murder under Section 302 of Penal Code, which the Trial Court found to be proven beyond reasonable doubt and had sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment with six months simple imprisonment for default in payment of fine on the basis of ocular evidence of material witnesses and medical evidence. Hence, this appeal before this Court.

Ravi Chandra Srivastava, learned Amicus Curiae on behalf of the appellant submitted that witnesses of prosecution were interested witness who were in close relationship with the deceased thus were not independent. Further, prosecution had failed to show motive behind the alleged crime in addition to the non-supported ocular version of events by witness. Whereas Rishi Chaddha, learned Additional Government Advocate for State submitted that FIR was corroborated by the medical evidence brought before Court. The instrument used to commit the crime was found with the accused and accused had a strong motive to kill the deceased.

High Court was of the view that the argument advanced by accused that the eye witness’s version of the events cannot be accepted as they were closely in relationship with the deceased i.e. wife, cannot be accepted in view of the evidence presented before the Court. If the evidence provided by eye-witness inspires confidence then the same cannot be discarded on the ground of their relationship with the deceased. Therefore, this appeal was dismissed. [Shishu Pal v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 2112, decided on 19-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The Bench of Arvind Singh Sangwan J., imposed the fine on Vishal Dadlani and Tehseen Poonawala of Rs 10 lakhs each for hurting the sentiments of the Jain Community by insulting the Jain Saint Tarun Sagar on twitter, even though the FIR was quashed against the criminal charges registered against them. 

A case under Sections 295-A, 153-A and 509 of the Penal Code, 1860 was filed by the respondent/complainant against the petitioners (Vishal Dadlani and Tehseen Poonawala) for hurting the belief, religious feelings of the Jain Community and Jain Monk Tarun Sagar. The petitioner posted the photograph of Jain Monk (Muni) Tarun Sagar, when he was addressing the Haryana State Legislative Assembly and another photo by way of Photoshop, the photograph of a lady whose face was not shown, in a sitting posture wearing only undergarments was clubbed and posted along with the photograph of Jain Muni by Petitioner 2. 

Learned counsel for the petitioners, Karuna Nandy, submitted that there was no mens rea on the part of the petitioner to commit any offence and even the petitioner has tendered his apology to the Jain Muni Tarun Sagar, which was accepted by him by way of print media. She further submitted that a rational criticism of religious tenants, pounded in restraint language does not amount to an offence either under Sections 153-A or 295-A IPC.

Learned counsel for the respondent, Khushbir K. Bhullar, submitted that there are serious allegations against the petitioners for hurting the religious feelings of the complainant and the followers of the Jain Saints. The entire Jain fraternity is defamed before the public in large by using electronic media, to spread the religious discontent and hurt their sentiments and therefore, the FIR was rightly registered. 

The Court opined that the country has witnessed large scale violent protest on incitement made by using social media platform, thereby, causing extensive damage to public property and therefore it was appropriate to impose the costs of Rs 10 lakhs each on the petitioners – Vishal Dadlani and Tehseen Poonawala, so that in future they may not mock at any head of a religious sect, just to gain publicity on social media like Twitter.  The Court ordered that the FIR registered against the parties to be quashed and gave the following instruction for the cost by parties i.e. “The petitioner – Tehseen Poonawala will deposit the costs of `5 lacs with the Tarun Kranti Manch Trust (Regd.), Defence Colony, Delhi (a Trust created by late Jain Muni Tarun Sagar) and will also deposit a costs of 5 lacs with the Poor Patient’s Fund (Prabh Aasra) in Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research at Chandigarh. The petitioner – Vishal Dadlani will deposit the costs of 5 lacs with the Shri Digamber Jain Mandir Trust, Sector 27, Chandigarh and 5 lacs with the Punjab and Haryana High Court Advocates Welfare Fund.” [Vishal Dadlani v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 446, decided on 29-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of A.P. Thaker, J., allowed the petition filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code for quashing and setting aside the FIR filed under Sections 304(A) read with Section 114 of the Penal Code, Sections 3(1)(j), 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and Sections 5, 6, 7 and 9 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

The brief facts of the case were that the complainant was a member of a scheduled caste who on the date of the incident received a message that his father died when he went to clean drainage in the society of the petitioners. He went there and found his father dead. The petitioners contended that the deceased never entered into said side drainage and he died due to heart problem and not by any negligence on the part of the petitioners. Further, they stated that the complainant had filed the complaint because he wanted compensation from the government. It was also contended that they had never called the deceased for any work nor were they present at the time of the alleged incident. Mr. Manish Patel, advocate for the petitioners, stated that the cause of death as revealed from the postmortem report was natural death due to cardiac-respiratory failure.

The Court while deciding the case emphasized on the settled law that for considering the petition under Section 482 of the Code, it was necessary to consider as to whether the allegations in the complaint prima facie make out a case or not and the Court was not to scrutinize the allegations for the purpose of deciding whether such allegations were likely to be upheld in trial. It was held that a criminal proceeding could be quashed where the allegations made in the complaint did not disclose the commission of an offence under the Penal Code. The complaint must be examined as a whole, without evaluating the merits of the allegations. Though the law does not require that the complaint reproduce the legal ingredients of the offence verbatim, the complaint must contain the basic facts necessary for making out an offence under the Penal Code. It was further stated that a Court exercising its inherent jurisdiction must examine if, on its face, the averments made in the complaint constitute the ingredients necessary for the offence. The FIR was registered on the basis of hearsay and relying on the postmortem report the application was allowed. [Jaykarbhai Kiritbhai Agnihotri v. State Of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 761, Order dated 25-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Daya Chaudhary, J., under Section 439 of Criminal Procedure Code for grant of regular bail where FIR was registered under Sections 324, 323, 342, 148, 149, 302 and 365 of Penal Code.

It was submitted by the petitioner that he was falsely implicated in the case where he was not involved in the commission of the alleged offence. The complainant and the eyewitnesses were examined and they did not support the case of the prosecution. Even the post mortem report did not suggest anything which could prove the involvement of the petitioner in the alleged commission of offence. Arguments were advanced stating that the deceased died after he was found in a good condition and discharged from hospital. The fact cannot be ignored that co-petitioner was already released on bail. Whereas respondent contended that petitioner was the main accused thus, should not be released on bail.

High Court was of the view that the bail should be granted and this petition was allowed as the death of the deceased cannot be said to be a result of injuries received by petitioner. [Gursewak Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 415, dated 22-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of Dr A.P. Thaker, J. while enlarging the appellant on bail disposed of a petition since the matter in dispute was already settled by the parties amicably.

In the pertinent matter, the appellant (accused -husband) and the original complainant (wife) got married while they both continued to reside separately at their respective homes and the same was not revealed to their families. Later the parents accepted them and they both were remarried. Subsequently, a complaint was made where it was alleged that the accused persons (in-laws and the husband) started abusing her regarding her caste and tortured her physically and mentally seeking dowry. An FIR was lodged after a 2 months delay to that effect. But later an affidavit was filed acknowledging the fact that the dispute has been amicably settled by the parties and that the complainant has no problem if the appeal is allowed.

The Court after considering the facts, presence of the original complainant and the affidavit so produced, was of the opinion that the husband and wife have amicably settled the dispute and the alleged offence under the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is not made out. Therefore, considered it to be a fit case to exercise its discretion under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code and thus the bail was granted. [Mauleshbhai Ramanbhai Raval v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 677, decided on 15-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: M. Dhandapani, J., quashed a case registered against the petitioner along with others for demonstrating and raising slogans against the Principal and the Head of the Department (English) of Government College affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University.

On 17-02-2016, on Anandharaj, a student of B.A. (English), III year, in the said college, committed suicide in his house by self-immolation. After his post-mortem, the petitioner and other students started a demonstration and raised slogans. Since during the demonstration, the petitioner and other students prevented the ingress and egress of the general public from the Government Hospital, a complaint was lodged against them. After completing the investigation, the Police filed a charge-sheet before the Judicial Magistrate. The present petition was filed for quashing of the same.

Holding that the present case was squarely covered an earlier decision of the Court in Jeevanandham v. State, Crl. OP (MD) No. 1356 of 2018, dated 20-09-2018, the High Court observed: “this Court has held that the assembly of persons were expressing and claiming for minimum rights that are guaranteed to an ordinary citizens. If such an assembly of persons are to be trifled by registering an FIR under Section 143 IPC and filing a Final Report for the very same offence, no democratic dissent can ever be shown by the citizens and such prohibition will amount to a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.” In such view of the matter, the present petition was allowed and the case against the petition pending before the Judicial Magistrate was quashed. [G. Ayyapan v. State, Crl. OP (MD) No. 4305 of 2019, dated 08-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Bench of A.Y Kogje, J. partly allowed a petition whereby the case was remanded back to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to reconsider the earlier order by giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner.

In the pertinent case, the petitioner submitted that while the period for which the license was to operate an FIR came to be registered with an allegation that in the area where the Anand Mela was being conducted, some people had indulged in gambling activity and therefore the area where the Anand Mela was being held was sealed. Since the livelihood of many families was dependant on the functioning of the Anand Mela, the petitioner thus approached the Court for an amendment to such order.  Further, it was contended that the license holder was not even present when the alleged incident had taken place and therefore if any of the visitors would have indulged in such activity then the petitioner cannot be held responsible.

The respondents, in turn, made allegations that the persons involved in the gambling activities and that the person conducting such activity had escaped from the premises. He also submitted that the petitioner is not entitled to any opportunity of hearing more particularly when he is in breach of the condition of license condition No. 16 of the license.

The Court after considering the material facts and the registered FIR opined that “the contention itself discloses that the license holder himself was not found on the spot when the petitioner strongly disputes about the nature of game being played at the Anand Mela and also disputes his presence at the time when the offence came to be registered. It would be a question of fact which will have to be gone into while the offence is being tried”. Also “The Provisions of Bombay Police Act under which the license is granted does not provide for any appeal as the provisions for appeal is restricted to certain sections but does not include Section 33(1) of the Bombay Police Act”. Further since conducting the Anand Mela was the primary source of livelihood for the petitioner and others, therefore before canceling the license where the petitioner is strongly opposing activity of gambling in the premises, the principles of natural justice should be followed.[Manharbhai Kachrabhai Rathod v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 604, Order dated 04-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: R.K. Gauba, J., referring to the relevant authority on the subject, allowed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of an FIR registered under Sections 498-A and 406 read with Section 34 IPC.

The parties were married to each other. The wife had lodged the aforesaid FIR against her husband and in-laws. Investigation concluded, the police filed a charge-sheet and cognizance was taken. Subsequently, the parties reached a settlement as per which they agreed to obtain a divorce and terminate the present criminal case. Consequent to the same, the present petition was moved and the wife supported the same.

The High Court noted pertinently that the offence under Section 498-A is a non-compoundable offence. Thereafter, it cited various decisions of the Supreme Court and the observations therein which pertain to the law on the present subject.

Reliance was placed upon B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana, (2003) 4 SCC 675 wherein it was stated, “…the ends of justice are higher than the ends of mere law…”, Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 was also quoted wherein the Supreme Court observed, “…the power of compounding of offences given to a court under Section 320 is materially different from the quashing of criminal proceedings by the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction.” Further reliance was placed on Jitendra Raghuvanshi v. Babita Raghuvanshi, (2013) 4 SCC 58 wherein it was held, “… it is the duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes…”

Following the well-settled principle that continuing criminal action which arose essentially out of the matrimonial dispute and where parties decide to hurry the hatchet, will be an abuse of judicial process, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the subject FIR and proceedings arising therefrom. [Naman Jethani v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7681, Order dated 14-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Three petitions were clubbed together dealing with regular bail in an FIR registered under Section 395 IPC, registered at Police Station Sadar Ludhiana.

The facts leading to this case were that complainant along with five others was having dinner, when the complainant was threatened by petitioner to hand over the amount which they had in their possession. Since then the petitioner were in custody. It was submitted that complainant before giving complaint to the police had allegedly gone out. It was brought before the Court that investigation was complete, challan was presented and charges were framed but the conclusion of the trial would take time.

High Court viewed that State counsel could not dispute the factual position without commenting on the merit of the case. Therefore, these petitions were allowed and they were directed to be released on regular bail. [Saroop Ali v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 290, decided on 25-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sunil Gaur, J. allowed a petition for quashing an FIR filed under Sections 498-A and 406 read with Section 34 IPC and the proceedings arising therefrom.

The quashing of FIR was sought on the basis of mediated settlement reached at between the parties. The complainant was present in the Court and she was identified by the Assistant Sub-Inspector on the basis of her identity proof. She submitted that the dispute between the parties had been amicably resolved vide mediated settlement dated 20-3-2018 and the terms thereof had been fully acted upon. She affirmed the contents of her affidavit filed in support of the present petition and submitted that now no dispute with the petitioners survive and therefore, the proceedings arising out of the FIR in question may be brought to an end.

The High Court relied on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641 wherein the parameters for exercising inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of FIRs/complainants were reiterated. Allowing the petition, the Court stated, “Since the subject matter of this FIR is essentially matrimonial, which now stands mutually and amicably settled between parties, therefore, continuance of proceedings arising out of the FIR in question would be an exercise in futility.” The petitioners were directed to deposit costs of Rs 25,000 with the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. [Vipin Mittal v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7635, decided on 15-3-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: The Bench of H.C. Mishra and Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, JJ. allowed the appeals while setting aside the judgment of conviction and order of sentence convicting and sentencing the appellants.

In the pertinent case, the dispute was over land and its illegal possession wherein the accused were held guilty of murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code and the Trial Court even sentenced the accused accordingly. The Court was approached because there were discrepancies in the FIR and the statements provided by the prosecution witnesses, where they first stated that the occurrence had taken place in the hut and they could not see which accused was armed with what weapon. Subsequently, in evidence, the place was changed to the land in question and improvements were made on the details as to which accused was armed with what weapon and the person who assaulted. Also, the Investigation Officer (IO) was not examined because of which the necessary implications could not be taken from the IO. Even the Doctor conducting the post-mortem examination was not examined in the case.

The Court in the interest of justice looked into the case diary with the help of the learned senior counsel, Mr V.P. Singh, where it became apparent that the non-examination of the IO has vitally prejudiced the defence in the case and even the place of occurrence has not been properly proved in the case. The Court further believed that, the benefit of doubt should be extended to the appellants in the absence of the evidence of the IO and the Doctor. Therefore, the Court set aside the conviction and sentence ordered by the 1st Additional Sessions Judge and discharged the appellants from their respective liabilities.[Manik Singh v. State of Jharkhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 244, Order dated 11-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Jaishree Thakur, J., under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code invoking the inherent power of High Court seeking quashing of FIR registered under Sections 498-A, 406, 323, 506 and 34 of Penal Code and all subsequent proceedings arising therefrom on the basis of compromise entered between the parties.

Facts of the case were that the respondent was married with petitioner and out of this wedlock, a child was born. However, temperamental differences arose between the husband and wife and FIR was registered by respondent. But the same was compromised between the two with the intervention of respectable persons. It was submitted before the Court that their statements were recorded in support of the compromise. In pursuance of which a report was received from the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) stating that the compromise was done without any pressure or coercion from anyone. DAG, Haryana had admitted before the Court that the parties had settled their dispute and had no objection to the quashing of the FIR.

High Court was of the view that a decision which is based on compromise causes no loss to any party rather it would bring peace and harmony between the parties to a dispute and restore tranquility in the society. In the light of nature of offence alleged and compromise entered between the parties continuing the prosecution was considered futile. Therefore, this petition was allowed and FIR was quashed. [Vikas Khatri v. State of Haryana, CRM-M-38284-2017 (O&M), decided on 01-08-2018]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Pakistan: The Division Bench of Dost Muhammad Khan and Qazi Faez Isa, JJ. allowed an appeal against order convicting a person for the offence of defiling Quran, for lack of any evidence in support of offence.

Appellant herein was alleged to have desecrated the Holy Quran and was charged for an offence under Section 295-B of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (PPC). It was alleged that he had masturbated in the centre of a mosque and then smeared his semen on the Holy Quran. Allegedly this act was seen by one Muhammad Akhtar who was deaf and dumb. The trial Court convicted the appellant and Lahore High Court affirmed the said order. Aggrieved thereby, a jail petition was filed, which was converted into an appeal by this Court.

The Court noted that the FIR, in this case, was lodged with an inexplicable delay of five days. The interpreter of Muhammad Akhtar’s sign language who, himself was a witness had not been administered any oath, which was contrary to Section 543 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. There were disagreements between witnesses regarding the date of occurrence of the offence.

It was observed that the purported confession of the accused before panchayat was after he had been kept in the custody of complainants, and beaten by them. Further, eleven pages were removed from the Holy Quran and only those pages were sent for chemical examination. Though it was confirmed that there were semen stains on the pages, no effort was made for the DNA test and semen matches. It was, thus, opined that the prosecution failed to act independently and fairly in the present case.

The Court concluded that punishment for an offence under Section 295-B PPC is imprisonment for life, therefore, it was necessary that the prosecution and the trial Court had proceeded with caution. Unfortunately, in this case even the basic parameters of proof required in a criminal case were completely disregarded.

In view of the absence of any tangible evidence, innumerable contradictions, the abject failure of the prosecution to act independently, and violation of criminal procedural laws, the conviction and sentence of appellant was held unsustainable and accordingly set aside.[Muhammad Mansha v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Pak SC 18, Order dated 15-01-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Petitioner filed before the bench of Gurvinder Singh Gill, J., an application for grant of anticipatory bail where FIR was registered under Sections 307, 326, 324, 325, 148 and 149 of Penal Code.

The FIR was filed alleging petitioner that he inflicted a blow with kirch in the stomach of the complainant and his nephew was also injured in the process. Petitioner submitted that genesis of occurrence was suppressed as he himself had received 7 injuries. Further, the incident occurred in a shop possessed by the petitioner which shows that complainant was the aggressor. Whereas the respondent submitted that since petitioner was specifically mentioned in the FIR and allegations against him were duly established in the Medico-Legal Report thus no case for anticipatory bail was made out.

High Court perused a judgment passed by Civil Judge (Junior Division) Amritsar where an uncle of the complainant, had filed a civil suit against a petitioner seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the defendant from causing any damage to the shops. The aforementioned suit was dismissed where the petitioner had failed to establish entitlement towards a suit property. As stated by petitioner the appeal against the above was dismissed. However, the Court was of the view that since petitioner had 7 injuries whose aggressor was not certain anticipatory bail must be granted. [Raj Kumar v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 151, dated 26-02-2019]