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, Crl. Pet. No. 130 of 2019, decided on 04-11-2019]

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Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Manoj K. Tiwari, J. disposed of a compounding application in favour of the parties as they had amicably settled the dispute by entering into a compromise.

In the pertinent case, an FIR was lodged by the respondents under Sections 420 and 468 IPC on 05-01-2019. Later a compounding application duly supported by affidavits was filed stating that they have buried their differences and settled the dispute amicably outside the Court by entering into a compromise, therefore, no useful purpose would be served if the same is continued. They further relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2010) 15 SCC 118 which has considered the question with regard to the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC in quashing the criminal proceedings. Moreover, it was contended that the offence involved in the case is of a personal nature and is not an offence against the society and is not heinous offence showing extreme depravity.

The Court opined that “the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of the criminal case would put the accused to great oppression and prejudice, which would tantamount to abuse of process of law.”And thereby, allowed the application. [Shiv Shankar v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 91, Order dated 15-02-2019]

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Delhi High Court: The Bench of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC holding it to be an abuse of process of law.

Petitioner was accused for committing an offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (dishonour of cheque). It was alleged that he had issued a cheque for a sum of Rs 12 lakhs in favour of the complainant for discharging the debt due to him. The said cheque got dishonoured. Therefore, complainant initiated the process under Section 138. The trial court summoned the petitioner as an accused. He assailed the summoning order in the present petition on the ground that the debt had become time-barred and thus the cheque represented an amount which was not legally recoverable.

The High Court observed that the petition at best-raised questions of fact which could be answered only at proper inquiry or trial. Such questions were not permitted to be raised in jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC. Furthermore, the Court held that filing of the petition was itself an abuse of the process of law. It was observed, “issuance of cheque gives rise to a presumption of the amount being due and consequently an acknowledgment rendering the plea of debt being time-barred inconsequential. It will be for the petitioner to show at trial that the amount was not due or that the cheque had not been issued to the complainant.” Therefore, the petition was dismissed and the costs of Rs 25,000 was imposed on petitioner. [Tarun Samdarshi v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6711, Order dated 16-01-2019]

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Uttaranchal High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Manoj K. Tiwari, J. allowed a compounding application as the offence involved was of a private nature and continuation of the criminal case would only cause oppression to the applicant.

This criminal miscellaneous application was filed by the applicant through his counsel Hemant Mehra and Vivek Pathak for setting aside the impugned order passed under Sections 9(b) and 37(2)(c) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 along with a compounding application which shows that the applicant and the respondent have entered into a compromise whereby they have settled their disputes amicably outside the court following which if the criminal case continued it would serve no purpose. Also, the respondent through her counsel Preeta Bhatt and Anjali Noliyal has agreed to compound the matter against the applicants.

Accordingly, the court said that the offence involved in this case was of a personal nature and thus was not an offence against the society and nonetheless was not a heinous offence showing extreme depravity therefore in order to prevent abuse of process of law inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC shall be exercised. Accordingly, the Court allowed the petition.[Asish Makhijani v. State of Uttarakhand,2018 SCC OnLine Utt 1021, decided on 14-12-2018]

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Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of P.N. Deshmukh and Swapna Joshi, JJ. partly allowed an application filed under Section 482 CrPC to quash and set aside FIR registered against the applications under Section 498-A read with Section 34 IPC.

Eleven applications, in this case, included the husband, father-in-law and other relatives of the husband of the non-applicant wife. She had alleged that she was harassed by the applicants in as much as she was abused by them. Specific allegations were levelled against the husband, father-in-law and two others that she was repeatedly asked by her husband to establish physical relations with the other three. The applicants contended that no offence was made out against them even if the allegations in FIR were accepted at face value.

On a bare perusal of FIR, the High Court noted that the wife had made serious allegations against her husband, father-in-law and two others. However, the FIR did not reveal any specific allegation against other relatives particularly her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. Relying on the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, the Court held that continuation of proceedings against applicants except for the husband, father-in-law and two others would be an abuse of process of law. Therefore, the FIR in regard to such other relatives was directed to be quashed. [Chandrahas Jagatnarayan Choube v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 5574, decided on 30-11-2018]

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Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Sanjay Kumar Gupta, J., dismissed a petition filed under Section 561-A of the Jammu & Kashmir CrPC, whereby the petitioner sought quashing of an FIR filed against him for offences under Sections 427 & 379 of the Ranbir Penal Code, 1989.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the petitioner was entitled to get relief under Section 561-A of the CrPC.

The Court observed that from the FIR it was evident that a case for cognizable offences had been made out which calls for an in-depth investigation. Further, the argument of the petitioners that they were pursuing their case before the Court when the offence was committed was rejected by the Court because the records of the Court had no mention of the petitioners on the said date. The Court observed that FIR can be only quashed in order to prevent abuse of process of law or to secure the ends of justice. In cases where an innocent person is subject to unnecessary prosecution or an investigation is initiated without proper materials to make out a prima facie case, an FIR can be quashed. Inherent powers given to the Court under Section 561-A are to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with great caution since this power is vested in the High Courts to do substantial justice.

The Court held that the petitioner had failed to show sufficient grounds which might require the interference of the Court and resultantly, the petition was dismissed.[Pitamber Singh v. State of J&K,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 859, order dated 22-11-2018]

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Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of K.S Mudagal, J. slammed a daughter-in-law for filing a false case of dowry against her mother-in-law and quashed the FIR registered against petitioner mother-in-law.

The instant criminal writ petition was filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, (CrPC) praying for quashing of FIR and chargesheet filed against the petitioner and her son by her daughter-in-law (complainant) for offences allegedly committed by them under Sections 498 A and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

The petitioner was not even residing with her son and complainant daughter-in-law and so she could not have harassed the complainant. Complainant had merely stated that cash and gold was given at the time of her marriage – the same did not mean that it was given at petitioner’s behest. The Court also took note of the forum chosen by the complainant remarking that while the petitioner resided in a remote area of Andhra Pradesh, the case was filed against her in Davanagere Women Police Station. 

In view of the above and placing reliance on the dictum of Apex Court in Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand, (2010) 7 SCC 667, the Court observed that proceedings against the petitioner was nothing but abuse of process of the court and continuance of the same would amount to failure of ends of justice. Therefore, the petition was allowed and proceedings against the petitioner were quashed.[Puttalakshmi v. State of Karnataka,2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1820, decided on 09-11-2018] 

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Karnataka High Court: While passing the order in a writ petition filed under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution, a Single Judge Bench of Vineet Kothari, J. dismissed the petition holding that the petitioner has not allowed the respondent Authorities to consider the case on merits and proceed further in accordance with law and this amounted to abuse of process of law.

The petitioner was aggrieved by the Occupancy Certificate issued by the respondent Authorities in favor of the 5th respondent to develop and construct a building on the site owned by the petitioner. The petitioner alleged that the 5th respondent deviated from the sanctioned plan and thus the Occupancy Certificate needs to be cancelled and the building be demolished. It was also brought to the notice of the Court that the respondent Authorities had already withdrawn the impugned certificate.

The Court held the petition to be misconceived. There were various remedies available to the petitioner under the KMC Act, 1976. The main relief prayed for in the petition- withdrawal of the certificate- stood granted by the respondent, already. As regards the further process, the Court held that it was premature for the Court to direct the respondent Authorities at this stage.

The Court was of the opinion that even if the public bodies do not take appropriate step in the matter, the only remedy available to the complainant is to avail the remedy by way of civil suits in the competent Civil Court under Section 9, CPC. The complainant has to make specific factual averments and lead appropriate evidence in such Civil Courts before claiming any relief. The complainant should first pursue their remedy before the Departmental Authorities under the KMC Act and then the Civil Courts. Initiating such legal process from the top by invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is an abuse of process of law and bypassing the relevant remedies could not be appreciated. Accordingly the petition was dismissed without any order as to costs. [H.K. Chanchala Devi v. State of Karnataka,  2017 SCC OnLine Kar 1829, decided on August 16, 2017]