Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Ravindra Maithani, J., dismissed an appeal filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 against the order passed in Criminal Revision No. 66 of 2016, Hemant Chaudhary v. Poonam Rani.

Respondents had filed complaint against the petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 120B, 406, 420, 384, 504 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860 according to which petitioner’s 2 and 3 had persuaded the respondent 2 to marry with petitioner 1 and very hurriedly both were got married and after marriage respondent 2 noticed that petitioner 1 would speak to some person at odd hours and after inquiry, it was found that the petitioner was already married and a complaint was made and the trial court had dismissed the complaint which was yet again challenged in criminal revision where the trial court had directed to take the matter afresh.

The Court while dismissing the petition relied on the evidence that had been presented like that of the photographs and recorded the conversation and also the admission of the petitioners of the fact that the petitioner was already married thus the trial court was right in observing that an offence punishable under Section 494 was committed.[Poonam Rani v. State of Uttarakhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 82, decided on 03-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Sikkim High Court: Bhaskar Raj Pradhan, J., while exercising inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC quashed the criminal complaint filed against the petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 405, 420 and 441 read with Section 120-B IPC. Warrants issued against the petitioners by the Magistrate in the same case were also quashed.

The parties were involved in a landlord-tenant dispute, pursuant to which the said complaint was filed by the landlord. Magistrate took cognizance and issued process against the petitioners. Aggrieved, they filed the instant petition. It was an admitted fact that the petitioners resided beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Magistrate concerned.

Dismissing Chapter 15 of CrPC which deals with complaints to Magistrates, the High Court relied on Birla Corpn. Ltd. v. Adventz Investments & Holdings Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine SC 682, wherein the Supreme Court held that under the amended sub-section (1) to Section 202 CrPC, it is obligatory upon the Magistrate that before summoning the accused residing beyond its jurisdiction. he shall inquire into the case himself or direct the investigation to be made by a police officer or by such other person as he thinks fir for finding out whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. The Supreme Court also held that the order of the Magistrate must reflect that he has applied his mind to the facts of the case and the law applicable thereto. It was also held that the application of mind has to be indicated by disclosure of mind on the satisfaction and considering the duties of the magistrates for issuance of summons to accused in a complaint case, there must be sufficient indication of it. The Supreme Court after referring to a catena of its previous judgments held that summons may be issued if the allegations in the complaint, the complainant statement and other materials would show that there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against the accused.

The records of the instant matter, however, did not reveal that the Magistrate had complied with the provisions of Section 202 CrPC and applied her mind to the facts of the case and the law applicable thereto. The order of taking cognizance stated that “cognizance of the matter is taken against accused no. 1, 2, 3 and 4”. Section 190 CrPC deals with cognizance of offence by Magistrate, which provides that the Magistrate “may take cognizance of any offence.” It is settled law that cognizance is taken of the offence and not the offender. The Magistrate did not even mention which of the offences she had taken cognizance of.

It was, thus, held that the Magistrate failed to exercise her discretion to issue summons against the petitioners residing beyond her territorial jurisdiction in the manner required. Even otherwise, considering the allegations, it was found that there was no material before the Court to proceed under criminal jurisdiction. [Mohd. Yusufuddin Ahmed v. Ruth Karthak Lepchani, 2019 SCC OnLine Sikk 198, decided on 07-12-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Applicant filed an application under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code which was contemplated by Dinesh Kumar Singh, J. where the prayer was to quash the Charges under certain Sections of Penal Code, 1860.

The applicant was charged under Sections 366, 376, 328, 506, 406 of IPC, in which the Chief Judicial Magistrate had taken cognizance. Santosh Yadav, counsel for the applicant argued that the accused was falsely implicated by the respondent-complainant who was the mother of the victim, the main reason cited by the counsel behind such baseless complaint was alleged desire to the victim to marry applicant. The counsel submitted the statements of the complainant and highlighted that she had stated that ‘she suspected the involvement of accused in the instant case.’ Another issue highlighted was alleged kidnapping by the accused-applicant, it was submitted that the victim was never abducted as she herself went to the police station to register the complaint. The attention of the Court was also drawn towards the other statement of the victim, recorded under Section 161 of CrPC. where the allegation of rape had been made upon the accused applicant who after committing rape had given assurance to marry her and subsequently when she asked to marry he committed assault and refused to marry.  In addition to these aforementioned evidences the applicant submitted an injury report, where it was stated that no marks to injury were found on the victim. Lastly, it was submitted by the learned counsel for the applicant that many facts were ignored by the Investigating Officer and the charge-sheet had been submitted in a routine manner, which was nothing but an abuse of the process of Court and in the interest of justice, the charge sheet deserved to be quashed.

Bhaiya Ghanshyam Singh, Advocate General for the state, had vehemently opposed the prayer for quashing of the charge- sheet and had stated that the evidence which was collected by the Investigating Officer cannot be looked into in this Application under Section 482 CrPC as the same will be required during the trial. It was submitted that High Court had no jurisdiction to appreciate the evidence of the proceedings under Section 482 of CrPC. “because whether there are contradictions or/and inconsistencies in the statements of the witnesses is essentially an issue relating to appreciation of evidence and the same can be gone into by the Judicial Magistrate during trial when the entire evidence is adduced by the parties.”

The Court held that the Investigating Officer had recorded the statements of as many as five witnesses have submitted the charge-sheet. It further opined that “the truthfulness of the statements of the witnesses cannot be scrutinized in Application under Section 482 CrPC” The Court relied upon the Judgment in Anurag Singh v. Chhatisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 509, where the Supreme Court had held that ‘position of law, was apparent that whether accused wanted to marry the victim right from very beginning or not and whether consent given by victim for sexual intercourse was a free-consent or not, was a subject matter of evidence, which is only possible to be decided after trial.’

Hence, the prayer for quashing the FIR was refused and the application was dismissed.[Kamal Pal v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 3539, decided on 25-09-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT): A Bench of Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Chairperson and Kanthi Narahari, Member (Technical), allowed an appeal seeking to quash the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process against the Corporate Debtor.

The Operation Creditor had filed an application under Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 which was admitted by the Adjudicating Authority and Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process was initiated against the Corporate Debtor.

Rajiv Shukla, Shivani Kapoor and Gorang Goyal, Advocates for the appellant submitted that the matter had been settled with the Operation Creditor. It was submitted that the Corporate Debtor had paid the entire amount shown in the Demand Notice before the Committee of Creditors was appointed.

The fact of settlement between the parties before the constitution of Committee of Creditors was accepted by Nikshubha Sethi, Advocate appearing for the Operational Creditor and Syed Sarfaraz Karim, Advocate appearing for the Interim Resolution Professional.

In view of the admitted settlement reached between the parties, the Appellate Tribunal exercised inherent powers under Rule 11 of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal Rules, 2016 and set aside the impugned order whereby the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process was initiated against the Corporate Debtor. The application under Section 9 IBC filed by the Operational Creditor was dismissed as withdrawn.[Girish Agarwal v. Lavis Signature Panel (P) Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine NCLAT 490, decided on 13-09-2019]

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

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]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of M.K. Hanjura, J., allowed a petition under Section 561-A of CrPC, 1989 [Jammu & Kashmir], whereby petitioner sought quashing of FIR against him.

The main question that arose for consideration was whether a High Court exercising its inherent powers can quash an FIR without conducting a proper trial.

The Court observed that a High Court is entitled to quash a proceeding if it comes to the conclusion that allowing the proceeding to continue would amount to abuse of the process of the Court or that the ends of justice require that the proceeding ought to be quashed. Further, the Court referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, wherein the Supreme Court elaborately considered the scope of Section 482 Cr. P.C. In that case, the Supreme Court held that inherent powers can be used by the High Courts to prevent the abuse of process of the Court and to secure the ends of justice.

The Court held that the list of cases where a High Court can exercise inherent powers under both civil and criminal laws is not exhaustive in nature. The Courts have the inherent powers apart from express provisions of law which are necessary for proper discharge of functions and duties imposed upon them by law. The Court concluded by holding that Courts are invested with all such powers as are necessary to do right and to undo a wrong in the course of administration of justice on the principle of “Quando lex aliquid alicui concedit, conceditur et id Sine quo res ipsa esse non protest” (When the law gives the person anything, it gives him that without which it cannot exist). The petition was allowed and the impugned FIR was quashed.[Nisar Ahmad v. State of J&K,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 516, order dated 24-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge bench comprising of John Michael Cunha, J. decided a criminal petition filed under Section 482 CrPC, wherein the Court declined to quash the charge-sheet filed against the petitioner under Sections 417, 201, 504 and 506 of IPC.

The petitioner was accused of offences under the above-mentioned sections. It was alleged that he had regular sexual relation for more than six years with the complainant on the pretext of marrying her. However, the petitioner breached the promise and married someone else and hence, the complainant was constrained to initiate criminal action against him. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the criminal prosecution initiated against the petitioner was ulteriorly motivated. Further, the charge-sheet does not make out any offence against the petitioner. He prayed that the charge-sheet filed against the petitioner may be quashed.

The High Court, after perusing the record and considering the submissions made on behalf of the parties, found that prima facie material was available in proof of the allegations made against the petitioner. The material collected in evidence by the prosecution make out the ingredients of the offences alleged against the petitioner. The contentions raised by the counsel for the petitioner had to be considered during course of the trial. The Court held it to be a settled law that the inherent powers under Section 482 should not be exercised to stifle a legitimate prosecution. From the material available on record it could not be said that the prosecution initiated against the petitioner was either false, vexatious or an abuse of the process of court.

In such circumstances, the Court declined to grant relief as prayed for by the petitioner and the petition was accordingly dismissed. [Kiran v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Petition No. 102483 of 2017, dated 16.04.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: In the order passed by Indermeet Kaur, J., quashed the FIR i.e. FIR No. 0282/2016 registered under Sections 376/366/315/344 of the IPC, 1860 at Sonia Vihar Police Station.

The FIR was quashed on the submission that the FIR registered on 11.08.2016 contained same allegations which were the subject-matter of an earlier FIR i.e. FIR No. 0094/2016 registered at Salon District Police Station, Raebareli under Sections 376/315 of the IPC, which had earlier been quashed on merits by the Bench of Allahabad High Court on 04.07.2016 in Misc. Bench No. 8950 of 2016, as the investigation did not reveal commission of any offence, whereby the Court concluded that the subject-matter of both the FIRs are same, with the only difference being jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the Court held that it is a perfect case where High Court can exercise its inherent powers under Section 482 of CrPC, 1973 and that the entire scenario is nothing but an abuse of the process of court. Accordingly FIR No.0280/2016 stands quashed. [Anup Kumar v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 7069 , decided on 29.01.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, J dismissed a petition filed under Section 439(2) r/w Section 482 of the CrPC before it. The petition was filed against the anticipatory bail granted to the Respondent 2 by the Learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Special Judge, Special Fast Track Court, Rohini Courts, Delhi against an FIR under Sections 354, 354-A, 509, 506, 323 and 34 of the IPC.

The petitioner, on 25.03.2017, was on her way to her parental home along with her sister aged 10 years and son aged 2 ½ years. Along the way, allegedly, Respondent 2 along with 3 other co-accused molested her en route and Respondent 2 then took off his clothes and tried to rape her but she was saved by the public. Meanwhile, the petitioner’s father reached the spot to save her but was beaten up by Respondent 2 and the other co-accused. Subsequently, the FIR was recorded at the hospital.

The accused filed two petitions for grant of anticipatory bail. While the first was rejected, the second was granted by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge. Aggrieved by this order dated 27.04.2017, the petitioner had approached the High Court. Learned Counsel for the petitioner contended that the trial Court has erred in passing the order as it is based on conjectures and surmises, and that the second application granted had no new grounds compared to the first one, and hence, should be set aside. Per contra, learned counsel for Respondent 2 contended that the prosecution case was a complete fabrication and it was he who was the victim of a public beating by the petitioner and her family. Moreover, it was further contended that the petitioner has various FIRs against her by various persons of the locality, and in contrast, Respondent 2 is an educated boy aged 23 years having a whole career ahead of himself.

The Court considered the facts and circumstances of the case and went over the established principles regarding anticipatory bail. It noted that the court granting bail should exercise it’s discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course. However, during granting of bail, a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of merit of the case is not required to be undertaken. Another principle is that enlargement on bail is the rule and committal to jail is an exception.

Moving ahead, the Court looked into the behaviour of Respondent 2. There were no allegations that the during this period he had tried to influence or threaten the witnesses. The mobile phone sent for investigation returned a ‘simple’ result. The Court moved on to hold that even when there is a serious charge leveled against the appellant, it by itself cannot be the reason to deny anticipatory bail. Also, the inherent powers of the Court under Section 482, under which the bail could be quashed, has to be exercised with caution and prudence. The Court found no need to interfere with the impugned order passed by the trial court. Petition dismissed. [Shivali Sharma v. State, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 11882,  decided on 20.11.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Dealing with a pivotal question as to whether the High Court while refusing to exercise inherent powers under Section 482 of the CrPC to interfere in an application for quashment of the investigation, can restrain the investigating agency not to arrest the accused persons during the course of investigation, the Court said that this kind of order is really inappropriate and unseemly and has no sanction in law.

Stating that such direction “amounts” to an order granting anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC, albeit without satisfaction of the conditions of the said provision, the bench of Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy, JJ said that the court cannot issue a blanket order restraining arrest and it can only issue an interim order and the interim order must also conform to the requirement of the section and suitable conditions should be imposed.

It was held that the High Court should be well advised that while entertaining petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution or Section 482 CrPC, exercise judicial restraint. The Court, if it thinks fit, regard being had to the parameters of quashing and the self-restraint imposed by law, has the jurisdiction to quash the investigation and may pass appropriate interim orders as thought apposite in law, but it is absolutely inconceivable and unthinkable to pass an order of the present nature while declining to interfere or expressing opinion that it is not appropriate to stay the investigation.  The Courts should oust and obstruct unscrupulous litigants from invoking the inherent jurisdiction of the Court on the drop of a hat to file an application for quashing of launching an FIR or investigation and then seek relief by an interim order. It is the obligation of the court to keep such unprincipled and unethical litigants at bay. [State of Telangana v. Habib Abdullah Jeelani, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 23, decided on 06.01.2017]