Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Harnaresh Singh Gill, J.,quashed the criminal proceedings against the appellant accused of using abusive language against the complainant over a phone call in the name of his caste.

Petitions were filed against the order passed by Additional Sessions Judge (Exclusive Court for Heinous Crime against Women), Kurukshetra wherein it was observed that prima facie offence punishable under Section 506 read with Section 34 Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 3 (i) (r), 3 (i) (s) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was made out.

Respondent alleged that petitioners had used abusive language against him on his mobile phone in the name of his caste and also gave threat to kill him.

Complainant alleged that Sandeep Kumar under the influence of Pardeep Kumar said ‘you sister fucker chamaar how dare you take possession from us and fill the firni with soil, we will kill you’. 

Petitioners counsel submitted that allegations made against the petitioners do not fall within the provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as the telephonic call is not in a public view. Hence, the ingredients of offence under the SC/ST Act and Section506/34 IPC are not made out.

Allegations in the present matter were with regard to the usage of caste based remarks over a mobile phone call to the informant, or a member of Scheduled Castes, of which there are no records.

Decision

To constitute the offence under the Act, it must be alleged that the accused intentionally insulted or intimidated with intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Schedule Tribe in any public place within public view.

In Court’s opinion with regard to the present matter, once it’s admitted that the alleged conversation over the mobile phone was not in a public gaze nor witnessed by any third party, the alleged use of caste words cannot be said to have been committed within the public view.

Court added to its observation that,

Merely uttering such wrong words in the absence of any public view does not show any intention or mens rea to humiliate the complainant who besides being Sarpanch, belongs to Scheduled Caste community.

Basic ingredients of the offence in the FIR are that there must be intentional insult, secondly the insult must be done in a public place within public view, which is not in the present case.

Thus, the essential ingredients which must be fulfilled, are not found in the present case.

Since no offence under Section 3 of the SC & ST Act is found to be made out, the offence under Section 506 IPC read with Section 34 IPC, which stemmed out of the alleged offence under Section 3 of the SC and ST Act, is also not made out. [Pardeep Kumar v. State of Haryana, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 671 , decided on 14-05-2020]

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

Jharkhand High Court: Anubha Rawat Choudhary, J., dismissed the criminal petition seeking exoneration from criminal proceedings.

In the present case, the petitioner was caught red-handed with bribe money. The petitioner herein seeks to quash all the criminal proceedings in connection with Vigilance Case No. 39/2017 arising out of A.C.B. P.S. Case No. 06/2016 lodged under Section 7/13(2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The advocate representing the petitioner, Mahesh Tewari, submitted that the petitioner has already been exonerated in the departmental proceedings on the same set of allegations. The advocate also relied on judgments passed by the Supreme Court and submitted that considering the aforesaid judgments, the entire criminal proceeding against the petitioner is fit to be set aside.

The advocate for the State,  T. N. Verma contended that the petitioner was caught red-handed with bribe money of Rs 4,500 and the present criminal case arises out of a trap case. The advocate further contended that the allegation in contention in with the departmental proceeding has nothing to do with the trap case and the judgments relied upon by the petitioner, P.S. Rajya v. State of Bihar, (1996) 9 SCC 1  and Lokesh Kumar Jain v. State of Rajasthan, (2013) 11 SCC 130 does not relate to the facts and circumstances of the instant case.

The Court upon perusal of the circumstances and materials placed on record stated that the allegation levelled against the petitioner in the criminal proceeding has nothing to do with any departmental proceedings and also the allegation regarding the trap case has nothing to do with the departmental proceedings.

The Court also stated that the judgments relied upon by the petitioner will not be applicable to the present case since in P.S. Rajya v. State of Bihar, (1996) 9 SCC 1  there was no dispute that the allegation which was there in the departmental proceeding was identical with that of the criminal case and in Lokesh Kumar Jain v. State of Rajasthan, (2013) 11 SCC 130 the petitioner was exonerated in the departmental proceeding and in the criminal case, the records were not available due to which the investigation was delayed and there was no likelihood of tracing out the records and considering the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Supreme Court had quashed the criminal proceeding against the accused of the said case. [Lal Babu v. State of Jharkhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Jhar 195, decided on 17-02-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: P.G.M. Patil, J. heard a Criminal Petition under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 appealing to quash Judicial Magistrate First Court’s (JMFC), Hubballi order which resulted in registering of cases under Sections 307, 120 (B), 114 of Penal Code (IPC), 1860 and under Section 25 of Arms Act, 1959.

The petitions were filed by Vijay and Dr Mallikarjun, two of the accused in the above-mentioned Crime Number. On the night of 10-12-2007, the complainant’s husband Dr Shivanand Doddamani was shot by two people. The victim was called out citing a medical emergency. Later on 11-12-2007, the police station of Vidyanagar registered under Sections 307, 120 (B), 114 of IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act, 1959. The police submitted the ‘C’ report and it was accepted by JMFC against accused 1 and 3 and rejected for accused 3, 5 and 6. Accused 4 and 7 were discharged. The High Court heard two petitions filed by accused 3 and 6 under Criminal Petition Number 101613/2017 and 101612 respectively.

The counsel for petitioners K.S. Patil, R.V. Naik and G.R. Gurumath submitted that trying accused 3 and 6 after accepting C report against accused 1 and 2 was a futile exercise. They also submitted that the guidelines mentioned under Selvi v. State of Karnataka, (2010) 7 SCC 263 had not been followed while subjecting the petitioners to Narco analysis tests and other tests as the consent was not taken, the lawyer was not present during the tests. They also relied on the judgments in Veerappa v. Bheemareddappa, 2001 SCC OnLine Kar 447 in the support of the contentions made by them. They further submitted that the petitioners were not alleged but were merely suspects. They prayed to quash the orders of JMFC.

The Counsel appearing for respondents, S.S. Naik and M.H. Patil submitted that the petition should have been filed under Section 227 of CrPC. instead of filing under Section 482 CrPC. Also, the Counsel supported the C report.

The Court observed that the impugned order was passed based on Polygraphy Test, Brain Mapping Test and Narco Analysis Test. Therefore, it has to be considered that whether all the guidelines in paragraph 263 of the judgment of Selvi v. State of Karnataka case were followed by the investigating officer and independent agency or not. The report did not state that the guidelines have been followed; therefore the Court found it clear that none of the guidelines mentioned by Court in the aforesaid case has been followed. The Court also observed that Magistrate should not have relied on such a report which has no evidentiary value. The Court opined that in the absence of the main culprits who had shot the victim, initiating criminal proceedings against the petitioners would amount to an abuse of law.

Therefore, the Court quashed the impugned order and allowed the petition. [Vijay v. State of Karnataka, 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 98, decided on 10-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: R. Narayana Pisharadi, J. dismissed a petition praying for quashing the criminal proceedings against the petitioner initiated under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 when a simultaneous arbitration proceeding was going on against the petitioner in a civil court.

The petitioner was a surety for one, M.L. George, who had subscribed for four of the respondent company’s chitties and defaulted in paying a certain balance amount. As surety for George, the petitioner was supposed to pay the balance amount to the respondent company on his default. The petitioner failed to pay the amount owed by Mr George to the respondent company and hence a complaint was filed against the petitioner under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The counsels for petitioner P.V. Kunhikrishnan and P.V. Anoop contended that the averments in the complaint do not constitute the ingredients of the offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. Further, it was contended that the initiation of the arbitration proceedings at the instance of the respondent affected the maintainability of the complaint filed against the petitioner for an offence punishable under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The Court did not find any merit in the contentions of the petitioner and hence rejected the petitioner’s contentions. Reliance was placed on the case of Sri Krishna Agencies v. State of A.P., (2009) 1 SCC 69 where the Supreme Court, setting aside the order of the High Court for quashing proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, on the grounds of simultaneous arbitration proceeding, held that disputes to arbitration could not be an effective substitute for a criminal prosecution when the disputed act is an offence. It must, however, be elementary that the two are based on the independent cause of action.

Hence, the Court consequently dismissed the petition and allowed both criminal and civil proceedings simultaneously against the petitioner. [Bindhu A.V. v. Sree Gokulam Chit And Finance Co. (P) Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 198, decided on 17-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Sanjay Kumar Singh, J. allowed the instant application in terms of compromise and quashed the chargesheet as well as the entire proceedings.

This instant application was filed for the quashing of the chargesheet. The applicant, Gomti Devi purchased a plot that it got in a dispute with Madhu Sharma, daughter-in-law of Opposite Party 2. An FIR was lodged against Madhu Sharma by Opposite Party 2 under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for wrongly and illegally executing a sale deed which is in dispute. Investigating Officer filed the chargesheet under Section 420 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Counsel for the applicants, Vinod Sinha, submitted that during the pendency of the trial both the parties entered in compromise and all things were settled outside the court. So an affidavit was filed for cancellation of sale deed dated 12-12-2011. Since the compromise was made the continuance of criminal proceedings pursuant to impugned charge-sheet against the applicants after compromise arrived at between the parties would be a futile exercise.

The issue before the Court was whether the Court can quash the proceedings of a non-compoundable offence under Section 482 CrPC.

This Court relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of State of M.P. v. Laxmi Narayan, (2019) 5 SCC 688  where it laid down the guidelines for exercising the inherent power of the court under Section 482 of Code of Criminal.

The Court after considering the facts and circumstances of this case observed that this is a fit case, where this Court can exercise its inherent power to secure the end of justice. Accordingly, the Court quashed the subject proceedings. [Gomti Devi v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 4269, decided on 30-10-2019]

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Karnataka High Court: Mohammad Nawaz, J., while allowing the petition quashed the entire proceedings.

This instant petition was filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing the proceedings under Sections 143, 147, 498-A, 323, 504, 506 read with Section 149 of the Penal Code and Sections 3, 4 and 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Respondent 2 is the complainant and she is the wife of the petitioner 1.

Counsel for the petitioner, Arunkumar Amargundappa, submitted that complainant and petitioner had settled the matter by resolving their differences. Hence, the complainant did not want to prosecute the petitioners.

Respondent 2 and petitioner 1 had amicably settled their disputes. Therefore, the Family Court-dissolved their marriage by a decree. Hence, the proceedings which were then pending before JMFC-II were supposed to be quashed.

By analysing the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court observed that entire allegations in the complaint revolve around family issues, which after the settlement is resolved and both the parties after the dissolution of marriage had re-married. Respondent 2 had also received permanent alimony.

The Supreme Court in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 held that ‘power to quash a criminal proceeding may be exercised where the parties have settled particularly their matrimonial disputes’.

Hence, a continuation of criminal proceedings against the petitioners would tantamount to abuse of the process of law. [Girish v. State of Karnataka, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 2094, decided on 10-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Hari Pal Verma, J. allowed the petition filed for quashing of FIR under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on the ground that the matrimonial dispute had been resolved by mediation.

An FIR was filed against the petitioner’s husband accusing him of cruelty and breach of trust against her under Sections 498-A, 406 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The parties were directed for the process of mediation and they further decided to compromise before the Mediation and Conciliation Center, Barnala. The complainant agreed upon the settlement agreement and stated that she had no objection on quashing of the all the proceedings against the petitioner.

The present court directed the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Barnala to get the statements recorded and send its report in order to check the genuineness of the compromise. Further the same was received by the Court and it stated that it was unnecessary to continue the proceeding before the trial court.

Relying on the decision of Supreme Court in Gold Quest International (P) Ltd. v. State of Tamil Nadu, (2014) 15 SCC 235 which held that under matrimonial or civil property disputes of criminal nature if the parties have entered into settlement then it is legal to quash the proceeding under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure along with Article 226 of the Constitution of India; this Court allowed the petition for quashing of FIR and all subsequent proceedings as per compromise entered between the parties. [Sheenu Gupta v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1399, decided on 02-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: R. Narayana Pishardi, J. allowed a petition seeking the quashing of prosecution proceedings in view of the settlement of the matter between the petitioners and the respondent.

The petitioners and some other persons had trespassed into the second respondent’s property and threatened her and committed theft of some trees from the property. After completing the investigation of the case, a chargesheet was filed against the petitioners for offences punishable under Sections 447 (criminal trespass), 379 (punishment for theft) and 506 (criminal intimidation) read with Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Penal Code, 1860. The Magistrate took cognizance of the aforesaid offences. The prayer in this petition was to quash the entire proceedings in the case against the petitioners.

The learned counsel for the petitioners, V.G. Arun, produced an affidavit in which the respondent stated that the matter had been compromised with the accused in the presence of mediators and that she did not want to prosecute the case further and that she had no objection to quash further proceedings in the case.

The counsel for the respondent, Dileep D Bhat, did not dispute the genuineness of the said affidavit or the contents therein. The learned Public Prosecutor produced before the Court, a copy of the statement given to the police by the second respondent on 06-12-2017 in which it was mentioned that the person who had really caused trouble to her was no more and that she had got no complaint against the other person.

The Court observed that the offences alleged against the petitioners were not heinous and had no serious impact on society. The Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, to hold that under the given circumstances, though the offences were non-compoundable, prosecution proceedings could be quashed by invoking the power of the Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

In view of the settlement of the matter between the petitioners/accused and the second respondent, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the entire proceedings pending before the lower court.[Stanly v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1614, decided on 23-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: Dhiraj Singh Thakur, J. directed the respondents to ensure the protection of life and liberty of the petitioners as they were under constant threat of their family members for marrying outside their castes.

The petitioners had attained the age of majority and were married out of their own free will and without any undue threat or coercion. They had documents reflecting the marriage on record and their age proof. They stated that despite having married each other with their own free will and consent, the private respondents through the agency of police may try to harass them and get them framed in false cases.

The Court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Lata Singh v. State of U.P., (2006) 5 SCC 475 and held that the petitioners were free to marry anyone they like. There is no bar to an inter-caste marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act or any other law.

The Court held that, “disturbing news are coming from several parts of the country that young men and women who undergo inter-caste marriage, are threatened with violence, or violence is actually committed on them. In our opinion, such acts of violence or threats or harassment are wholly illegal and those who commit them must be severely punished.”  The Court further directed the administration/police authorities to see to it that the couple is not harassed by anyone nor subjected to threats or acts of violence. Anyone who gives such threats or harasses or commits acts of violence either himself or at his instigation is taken to task by instituting criminal proceedings by the police against such persons and further stern action is taken against such persons as provided by law.[Vinod Kumar v State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 669, decided on 22-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J. dismissed a petition filed by Prisoners Right Forum against the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate whereby he had dismissed a complaint filed in the matter of the death of a prisoner in judicial custody. It was held that the forum, being a third party who was neither a victim not an aggrieved person, had no locus standi to file the present petition.

The deceased, a prisoner, died in judicial custody in April, 2014. An FIR was registered, enquiry conducted, and criminal proceedings initiated against the respondent officials. However, ultimately, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate came to the conclusion that no offence was established against the accused persons, and therefore he dismissed the complaint. The said order was challenged by the Forum in the present petition under Section 482 CrPC.

The High Court was of the opinion that the preliminary issue to be decided was as to the locus standi of the petitioner Forum to file the petition. M. Radhakrishnan, Advocate led arguments on behalf of the Forum. Per contra, the respondents were represented by C. Emilias, Additional General, assisted by M. Mohamed Tiyaz, APP; and Senior Advocate N.R. Elango; and A. Gokulakrishnan, Advocate; all of whom opposed the petition.

The Court noted that the term locus standi is commonly understood as the right or the capacity to bring an action or to appear in a Court. The march of law, more particularly by way of public interest litigations, has now allowed anyone from the society, not related to the cause of action to approach the Court seeking justice for those who cannot or who could not approach themselves or in cases which involves the public interest at large. However, it was held that such right cannot be extended in a criminal case to a third party who is not in any way related to the case. It was observed: “If this practice is permitted in a casual manner, a meddlesome bystander can easily decide to attack a person who has been held to be not guilty by a Subordinate Court, by initiating a frivolous proceeding and thereby cause irretrievable injury to the life and liberty of the accused person.” The only exception that has been created in this regard is by the Supreme Court which has held that third parties will have right, in very exceptional cases, to approach the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. Reference was made to Amanullah v. State of Bihar, (2016) 6 SCC 699; National Commission for Women v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2010) 12 SCC 599; Harsh Mandar v. Amit Anilchandra Shah, (2017) 13 SCC 420.

Holding that the petitioner had no locus standi to maintain the present petition, the Court dismissed the same.[Prisoners Right Forum v. State of T.N., 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 2476, decided on 22-07-2019]

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Uttaranchal High Court: A writ petition was entertained by a Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, JJ. and subsequently dismissed in limine. 

The petitioner filed a writ seeking protection against a rival businessman; the protection was requested from the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of the said area. The learned counsel for petitioner Mr Sandeep Kothari, submitted that the accused businessman is a well known and powerful personality in the area and has instigated the local police officers and therefore they are putting a hindrance on the petitioner to carry on his business in a peaceful manner.  

The Court was concerned about the rights and safety of the petitioner but before granting any relief and for balancing of interest, the Court demanded a preliminary inquiry report from the learned Deputy Advocate General of State. The report stated that no FIR or complaint is lodged against the petitioner in the State of Uttarakhand but it was found that a criminal case was filed under Section 420 IPC and Section 5 of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Scheme Act, 1978, in Assam and Madhya Pradesh. 

The petitioner contended that although the said cases are lodged against him, there is no veracity in it and the allegations are denied specifically by him. The learned counsel of petitioner further submitted that at the time of filing of the said petition he was not informed by the petitioner about the pending criminal proceedings against him, so he was unable to answer the questions of the Court with respect to the alleged report. 

The Court observed, petitioner has not approached this Court with clean hands, “He should have disclosed all these facts to this Court before seeking any relief from the Court.” The Court dismissed the aforementioned relief by the petitioner and refused to interfere in this regard due to the questionable character of the petitioner. [A. Tajuthin v. State of Uttrakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 345, decided on 01-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Karuna Nand Bajpayee, J., dismissed an application filed seeking the quashing of summoning order and the entire complaint which was pending in the court of Special Judge.

The question under determination was the testimonial worth of prosecution evidence. The veracity and credibility of material furnished on behalf of the prosecution was questioned and false implication had been pleaded.

The High Court relying on a plethora of cases observed that the cases where the allegations made against the accused or the evidence collected by the Investigating Officer do not constitute any offence or where the allegations are absurd or extremely improbable impossible to believe or where prosecution is legally barred or where criminal proceeding is malicious and malafide instituted with ulterior motive of grudge and vengeance alone may be the fit cases for the High Court in which the criminal proceedings may be quashed. However, in the present case on perusal of record, the Court found a prima facie case established against the accused and therefore declined to quash the complaint. [Anil v. State of U.P., 2018 SCC OnLine All 3366, decided on 01-10-2018]

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Tripura High Court: A Bench of Arindam Lodh, J. allowed a petition for quashing of criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner.

The petitioner was arrested with other co-accused in connection with a crime under Sections 364-A, 302 and 201 IPC along with Section 27 of Arms Act. The petitioner through his counsel D. Bhattacharya, Advocate submitted that after investigation, the chargesheet submitted by the Investigating officer did not show his name. Further, that the IO specifically observed that there was no evidence against the petitioner. However, after taking cognizance of the case, the Judicial Magistrate (First class), Sonamura issued an arrest warrant against all the accused including the petitioner. Aggrieved thereby, the present petition was filed.

After carefully perusing the record, the High Court expressed serious dissatisfaction to the conduct of JMFC who did not think it necessary to go through the chargesheet itself. This, according to the court, is unexpected from a Judicial Officer. The JMFC was cautioned that any such mistake in future would draw appropriate action. It was observed, “It is the solemn duty of the court to protect the life and liberty of a citizen and none should be harassed unnecessarily”. The Court was satisfied that the petitioner was discharged by the IO and therefore it allowed the petition by quashing the proceedings pending against the petitioner. [Priyalal Debbarma v. State of Tripura, 2018 SCC OnLine Tri 261, Order dated 05-12-2018]

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Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of R.K. Gauba, J. allowed a petition for quashing of criminal proceedings pending against in light of the settlement between the parties.

Disputes arose between the petitioner and his wife which led to FIRs being lodged against each other. Subsequently, the parties entered into a settlement. They approached the matrimonial court for divorce by mutual consent. Recording the joint statement by the parties, the matrimonial court decreed the divorce by mutual consent. On the basis of the resolution between the parties, the petitioner and his relatives approached the High Court under Section 482 CrPC for quashing criminal cases against them. However, owing to such framing of the petition, the case under one of the FIRs only was quashed. Notably, the wife submitted no objection thereto. Now, the petitioner was before the Court praying the quashing of the case under the second FIR but the wife raised an objection that there being no fresh settlement, the present petition could not be entertained.

The High Court perused the record and did not agree with the objection. It noted that the settlement leading to divorce and quashing of criminal case was comprehensive, the parties specifically referred to all litigations including the second FIR. The intent of parties was to bring an end to all litigations. As such, the continuation of proceedings would be an abuse of process of the Court. Therefore, the petition was allowed and the proceedings under the second FIR were quashed. [Sandeep Dutta v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13029, dated 11-12-2018]

 

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Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Raja Vijayaraghavan V, J. invoked its extraordinary powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and quashed criminal proceedings pending against the petitioners in view of resolution of dispute between the warring parties.

The petitioners herein were accused of committing offences punishable under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Since the disputes between parties to the case had been amicably resolved, the instant petition was filed praying for quashing of proceedings pending against petitioners. It was urged on behalf of the petitioners that the dispute was purely personal in nature and would not affect public peace or tranquility; and the respondents stated that they had no subsisting grievance.

The Court took note of Apex Court’s rulings in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 and Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466 where it had been laid down that in appropriate cases, the High Court can take note of amicable resolution of disputes between the victim and wrongdoer to put an end to the criminal proceedings.

It was observed that the offence committed by petitioners was not grave or serious having ingredients of extreme mental depravity. It appeared that the offence would not have a serious impact on society. Persisting with the prosecution would be nothing but a waste of time as the prospects of conviction were bleak; while on the other hand quashing of proceedings on account of compromise would bring about peace and secure the ends of justice. In view thereof, the petition was allowed.[Narayanan Nair v. Station House Officer, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5067, Order dated 28-11-2018]

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Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. allowed a petition for quashing of an FIR registered under Section 498-A, 406 and 34 IPC.

The petitioner, who was the complainant in the above said FIR, contended that she had reconciled her disputed with the respondents- her husband and his family– and had started residing with them. She was present in-person before the Court and submitted that if the said FIR continued, it may cause disruption to her family life once again. As such, she approached the Court for quashing the said FIR.

The High Court, on considering the submissions, held that keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and the fact that the complainant herself approached the Court for quashing of the subject FIR in the interest of protecting her family ties, continuation of criminal proceedings would be an exercise in futility; and justice in the case demanded that the dispute between parties be put to an end and peace restored. Furthermore, securing the ends of justice being the ultimate guiding factor, the Court held that it would be expedient to quash the subject FIR and the consequent proceedings emanating therefrom. The petition was allowed accordingly. [Pooja Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi),2018 SCC OnLine Del 12040, dated 23-10-2018]

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Karnataka High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of N.K. Sudhindrarao, J. while hearing a civil writ petition praying for quashing of criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner, held that relief under writ jurisdiction cannot be used to scuttle the investigation of a case.

The present petition had been filed praying for quashing of criminal proceedings instituted against the petitioner in the trial court. Background of the matter is that the complainant (who had filed the case in trial court) alleged that the petitioner had falsely promised him to double a certain sum of money and on that pretext sent two people to obtain Rs. 15 lakhs from the complainant. It was alleged that those two people had fled away with the said money. On realizing that he had been duped, the complainant registered a criminal case for cheating against the petitioner for offence punishable under Section 420 of the  Penal Code, 1860.

Submission on behalf of the petitioner was that neither a complaint was filed nor an FIR was registered against him, but the petitioner was directly arrested and proceedings were started against him. The respondent submitted that since the matter was still under investigation, the proceedings against petitioner need not be quashed at this stage.

The High Court noted that a criminal proceeding starts with a complaint to set the criminal law in motion. Thereafter, an FIR is registered to register the commission of offence. However, it is not mandatory to mention the identity of accused in the FIR. It was observed that the scope of investigation and steps for investigation cannot be guided, controlled or stalled by filing a writ petition. Thus the Court held that a writ remedy cannot be resorted to in order to scuttle the investigation of a criminal case. [Ravi M.V. v. Amruthur Police, WP No. 49297 of 2018, decided on 16-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Judge Bench comprising of Ranjit More and Bharati H. Dangre, JJ., quashed the criminal proceedings for the offence punishable under Sections 354, 504, 506 and 509 of IPC,1860 on dispute being settled amicably by the parties.

The case was filed against Ness Nusli Wadia by the actress Preity Zinta for the offence under Sections 354, 504, 506 and 509 of IPC, 1860. It was stated that during the pendency of the case, the well-wishers, friends and family of the parties intervened for an amicable settlement after which the respondent 2 filed an affidavit in which it was expressed that she has no objection to quash the criminal proceeding.

Therefore, the Court on noting the affidavit filed for quashing the criminal proceeding with her own free will and respondent stating that the dispute is settled and she wants to move in life by not further proceeding for the case, the High Court quashed the subject criminal proceedings.

Further, the High Court by placing reliance on the decision of Supreme Court in Madan Mohan Abbot v. State of Punjab, (2008) 4 SCC 582 stated that no purpose would be served by keeping the subject FIR alive except ultimately burdening the Criminal Courts. The petition stands allowed. [ Ness Nusli Wadia v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 3361,  dated 10-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of V.K. Bisht, J. allowed a criminal miscellaneous petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of the proceedings pending against the petitioner before the trial court in a criminal case.

The petitioner was booked as a co-accused in a criminal case registered for the commission of offences punishable under Sections 147, 323, 420, 468, 471, 504, 506 IPC. Along with the petition, a joint compounding application was also filed. The compounding application was supported by the affidavits filed by the petitioner-accused and the respondent-complainant. It was stated that the petitioner and the respondent had entered into an amicable settlement, and the respondent did not want to prosecute the case any further.

The High Court noted that the petitioner and the respondent were present in the Court and they were duly identified by their respective counsels. The parties admitted to an amicable settlement. The High Court relied on the Supreme Court decision in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, wherein it was held that criminal proceedings can be quashed by the Court, if the Court is satisfied that the matter has been settled between the parties amicably and the parties are interested to restore peace and harmony between them. Having considered the submissions and after going through the entire record, the High Court was satisfied that the parties had settled the dispute amicably. Thus, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner before the trial court. The compounding application was disposed of accordingly. [Dilbagh Singh v. State of Uttarakhand,2018 SCC OnLine Utt 569, dated 19-6-2018]