Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: Dr A.K. Mishra J., allowed a criminal miscellaneous appeal to quash an on-going proceeding and also a cognizance order dated 07-02-2011 passed by the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate on the ground of settlement reached between the parties.

In the instant case, the petitioner, husband and the opposite party 2, the wife, had settled their marital dispute and had reached a divorce. However, the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, on finding sufficient grounds had taken cognizance of the matter on police report under Sections 498-A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and  406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Penal Code, 1860. The parties thereafter reached a settlement and approached the High Court under Section 482 (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash the criminal proceedings and the impugned order of the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate.

The Learned Additional Government advocate representing the opposite party 1, S. Pattnaik did not dispute the fact of settlement between the parties. The Learned advocate also brought to the High Court’s notice the joint memorandum filed in the Family Court, Srikakulam, that the wife should take necessary steps to withdraw the Criminal Case in order to maintain amity.

Counsel representing the petitioner, Samir Ku. Mishra agreed to the fact of settlement between the parties.

The High Court, felt justified to quash the criminal proceeding and the impugned judgment to prevent oppression and prejudice. The Court also placed reliance on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641, and quoted “In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence.” The Supreme Court laid down that the serious offences under criminal cases shall be distinguished from criminal cases having an “overwhelming or predominant element of civil dispute” and in such cases, the High Court shall be able to exercise power under Section 482 CrPC.

Thus, in the present case the High Court reiterated the position and stated that noting the gravity of the offence having a civil element, the Court exercised its power under Section 482 CrPC.[Ashish Kumar Rout v. State of Orissa, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 222, decided on 02-07-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Pakistan Supreme Court: A Full Bench of Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, JJ. allowed the appeal by the accused against the order given by Lahore High Court and set aside his conviction and sentence.

Appellant herein was tried alongside two persons Abdul Razzaq and Sakina Bibi who were co-accused for committing the murder of one Khalil Ahmed. The accused were presented before the Additional Sessions Judge who acquitted them. The said order was challenged in Lahore High Court wherein the appellant stood convicted under Section 302(b) of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. This order was under challenge in the present appeal.

Learned counsel for the appellant Shahid Azeem, ASC, contended that High Court should not have reversed the appellant’s acquittal after he extended benefit of doubt to co-accused. Further, it was contended that the acquittal order given the trial court was on the basis of the evidence presented and was not open to any exceptions.  

The Court noted that the reasons given by the learned trial Judge to acquit the accused from the charge which included – improbability of witnesses’ presence; their enmity with the accused, and contradictions in their disposition, were observed to be genuine. It was further opined that acquittal carries with it a double presumption of innocence and it could be reversed only when finding blatantly perverse. It could not be set aside merely on the possibility of contra view. 

It was held that High Court did not act according to settled principles of law and thus appeal was allowed, and impugned judgment given by High Court was set aside. The appellant was acquitted from the charge and was ordered to be released if not required in any other case.[Muhammad Shafi v. State, Criminal Appeal No. 48-L of 2016, decided on 07-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Vishal Mishra, J. dismissed a writ petition, where the petitioner challenged the order passed against the petitioner whereby the service was terminated because of a criminal case registered against the said petitioner and was accused of not disclosing the relevant information at the time of appointment.

Neeraj Shrivastava, counsel for the petitioner submitted that prior passing the impugned order the procedure as provided under Rules 9 and 52 of Rules M.P. Nagar Palika, Karamchari (Appointment and Services Condition) Rules, 1968 had not been taken care of as no opportunity of hearing was provided to the petitioner prior to passing of impugned order. It was further argued that the offence under Section 3 of the Public Gambling Act was registered against the petitioner wherein he had only been punished with a fine of Rs 75, which he had already deposited. The petitioner contended that the offence was trivial in nature and termination of service based upon such a past act was unfair and unjust.

Counsel for the respondent, S.P. Jain submitted that the petitioner had stated that no criminal case was registered against him and no information had been furnished by the petitioner hence he had concealed all necessary information and verified the same. An affidavit was also submitted by the petitioner to the effect that all the information which he had furnished in the form was true and correct to the best of his knowledge and no part was suppressed or false.

The Court observed that the petitioner had concealed the necessary information related to his criminal background, it was when the character verification took place, and the authorities came to know about the alleged crime. The aforesaid act of the petitioner amounted to suppression of information. The Court held that, “It is settled position of law that imposition of fine in the criminal case by the competent Court is also in category of conviction, therefore, the petitioner cannot be exhorted from its liabilities that he was required to give the complete information in Column 12 of the form submitted by him.” Court further cited the established principle of law that suppression of information was moral turpitude though the crime itself was not, in that eventuality, the service was liable to be terminated, even if there had been no further trial and the petitioner was discharged.[Rajesh Balmik v. State of M.P, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 1349, decided on 28-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J., allowed the writ petition filed with a prayer of expeditious disposal on the grounds that delay was being caused by the respondent in examining the witnesses and this was coming in the way of consideration of petitioner’s superannuation that was to be done taking into account his age.

The facts of the case were that the petitioner was working in place of his brother who died in 1988. He continued to work without any complaint but suddenly in the year 1994, on a complaint, a full-fledged departmental enquiry was held by the Railways in which he was ultimately exonerated. It was submitted that thereafter again complaint was made in 2013, for the same charges and on the one hand departmental proceedings were initiated and on the other hand, a criminal case was also instituted. In this criminal case, it was submitted that it was the authorities who were not cooperating as witnesses are not being examined on behalf of the prosecution. This would cause a delay in the superannuation which was due within a few weeks as the criminal case would come in the way of consideration. The prayer was to expedite and conclude the trial at the earliest.

The Court allowed the petition finding prayer to be reasonable. [Hoti Rai v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 307, Order dated 08-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Bench of B. Sudheendra Kumar, J. imposed cost of Rs 25,000 each on Kerala’s former transport minister Thomas Chandy, his son Toby Chandy, Water World Tourism Company Director Biji K John and Alappuzha Harbour Engineering Division Executive Engineer Jose Mathew, for wasting Court’s time by unnecessarily filing a petition challenging the criminal case registered against them.

Facts of the matter date back to August, 2017 when Alappuzha District Collector submitted a report stating that portions of Marthandam lake in Alappuzha (the heartland of backwater tourism in the State) had been usurped by Transport Minister and National Congress Party (NCP) member Thomas Chandy, for building his lake-side resort, and that he had illegally filled adjoining paddy fields in order to level it for parking lot, thereby causing ecological violations.

One might recall that despite Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s unwavering support for Chandy, he was forced to resign in November, 2017 after this Court dismissed Chandy’s plea to quash land grabbing charges, asking him to first resign and then dispute the report of District Collector. The resignation came amidst high drama after four ministers of the Communist Party of India (CPI), the second ruling coalition partner, boycotted a cabinet meeting.

Taking cognizance of the District Collector’s report, State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau conducted a probe into the matter, and FIR was registered against Chandy and other officials for violating provisions of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008. The instant petition was filed by Chandy and four others seeking quashing of the case against them.

The petition was heard and judgment in the case had been reserved for pronouncement on 04-02-2019. However, on 01-02-2019, the petitioners submitted that they wanted to withdraw this petition, and accordingly, a memo for withdrawal of case was filed on 04-02-2019. The cases were re-listed on 05-02-2019 along with the said memo, on which date, this Court allowed withdrawal of the petition. However, it was opined that “since the petitioners had wasted precious time of this Court”, costs of Rs. 25,000 be imposed on all petitioners except the resort supervisor Jijimon Varghese.[Jose Mathew v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 768, Order dated 05-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Manoj K. Tiwari, J. allowed a criminal miscellaneous application challenging the proceedings of the criminal case on the ground that the parties had settled the dispute between themselves.

The counsels for the parties submitted that parties had buried their differences and entered into a compromise and settled the dispute amicably outside the court, therefore, no useful purpose would have been served if the criminal case was to be continued.

The Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2010) 15 SCC 118 which had considered the question with regard to the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC in quashing the criminal proceedings against the offender, who had settled his dispute with the victim of the crime in a case, where crime is not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC. The Court held that in view of the settlement arrived at between the complainant and the applicants and the possibility of a conviction being remote and bleak, the FIR shall be quashed. [Abdul Rahman v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 87, Order dated 18-02-2019]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. allowed the quashing of the criminal case owing to the amicable compromise between the parties.

The petitioners have approached this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for the alleged offence under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The petitioner has been alleged for demanding dowry from the opposite party for a motorcycle along with the fact that he assaulted the opposite party. It has also been alleged that he was in an illicit relationship with another woman. He has contended that there was an application filed for restitution of conjugal rights in view of the amicable settlement between the parties under which the petitioner would pay monthly maintenance to the opposite party and her son. Hence when a compromise on mutual terms has been arrived upon between the parties the criminal case shall not be followed upon.

Accordingly, having considered the facts of the case the Court was of the view that the court by using its inherent powers in order to reach the ends of justice simply when it was in the interest of both the parties shall allow for the above application.[Dhananjay Paswan v. State Of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 11, decided on 03-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. quashed a criminal complaint as its jurisdiction purely fell within the ambit of a Civil Court.

The petitioners have approached this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash a complaint filed for cheating under Section 420 IPC.

The complainant has alleged that despite having received the money consideration for the supply of 390 bags of Masoor the same was not delivered to the complainant. The petitioners through their counsel Sandeep Kumar and Rohit Raj have submitted that the above dispute relates to a financial transaction arising out of a commercial agreement between the parties and subsequent institution of a criminal case was an abuse of the process of the Court when a remedy has been given under the common civil law.

The Court was of the view that this does not call for any interference as an offence under Section 420 IPC cannot be instituted when the case was purely of a civil nature. Also, failure of payment or non-performance falls under the competent jurisdiction of the civil Court. Thus the application stood allowed. [Raj Kumar Gupta v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 10, decided on 03-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Narayan Singh Dhanik, J. partly allowed a petition as a prima facie case was made out against the accused.

The applicant has prayed for quashing the Criminal Case filed under Sections 147, 148, 149, 452, 504, 323, 427 IPC and one under Section 3(1)x of the SC/ST Act.

The respondent through his counsel Pratiropp Pandey has filed an FIR by alleging that the applicant armed with a sword, pistol and lathi entered into his house and hurled abuses and caste indicating words “Neech” and “Chamar” and also assaulted him as well as his brother along with looting articles from his house. The applicant through his counsel Amit Kapri has contended that the provisions of the SC/ST Act were not attracted in this case as the FIR nowhere states that that the applicant does not belong Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe and that they intentionally insulted or intimidated the complainant and his brother with intent to humiliate them in a place within public view.

The Court here was of the view that the basic element needed to prosecute the applicant was missing here and thus the offence under the SC/ST Act cannot be sustained nonetheless the rest of the claim stood allowed.[Mahendra Bhatt v. State of Uttarakhand,2018 SCC OnLine Utt 1022, decided on 14-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The petitioner in the instant case had filed a petition before a Single Judge Bench of J.K. Maheshwari, J., being aggrieved by the order passed by the President, Board of Revenue, Gwalior, MP.

Facts of the case were that appointment of the petitioner was in question where Board of Revenue had set aside the order confirmed by SDO who recognized contesting parties for the post as sons of predecessors of the Kotwar. The qualifications required for appointment to the post in question were the same for both of them. The Board held that the petitioner was not entitled to the appointment on the post of Kotwar due to the fact that he was accused in a criminal case and had been convicted for the same. The petitioner referred to the impugned order urging that respondent knew Marathi as was seen in his mark sheet and according to the appointment criteria for Kotwar in the State of M.P., the language of transcription was required as Hindi, thus the appointment of the respondent was not proper. Thus, it was contended that the Additional Commissioner, as well as the Board of Revenue, committed an error by setting aside the orders passed by the Tehsildar and SDO.

High Court was of the view that just by the fact that in the mark sheet, one of the subjects of the respondent was Marathi did not show that he does not know the Hindi language. The Court observed that criminal antecedents of the petitioner had not been taken note of by the appointing authority which was rightly considered by Board of Revenue. Therefore, the petition, being without merits, was dismissed. [Supa v. Deepa,2018 SCC OnLine MP 804, dated 02-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of H.K. Hanjura, J., allowed a Writ Petition filed against the order of detention passed by the respondent authorities.

The petitioner was already in custody in connection with a criminal case and this formed the basis for passing of a detention order against the petitioner.

The Court, in this case, observed that the custody of petitioner in the concerned criminal case had been converted into detention as per the impugned order. Such an order was passed on an assumption that if the detenue applies for bail then he might succeed but if it was the case then the detaining authority could have resisted the bail application itself instead of taking the extreme step of passing a detention order. The respondent authorities could have taken recourse to the ordinary law of the land.

The Court held that life and liberty of citizens of the State are of paramount importance and a citizen cannot be deprived of personal liberty, guaranteed to him/her by the Constitution, except in due course of law and for the purposes sanctioned by law. The Court allowed the petition and quashed the order of detention passed by the respondent authorities. [Mohammad Younis Sofi v. State of J&K, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 669, Order dated 24-09-2018]