Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava, J. allowed a petition which was filed to quash FIR for offence under Sections 498-A, 506, 34 of IPC and other subsequent proceedings initiated therefrom.

The complainant (herein respondent 2) along with her brother made a written complaint stating therein, that her marriage was performed with the petitioner and her father had given sufficient dowry including spent of Rs.15 lac for her marriage and had given cash of Rs.15 lac at the time of ”Tika”. After some days of her marriage, her in-laws started demanding dowry and also, committed ”marpeet” and thereafter, turn out of her in-laws house. A complaint was also made in the conciliation centre but no fruitful purpose could be served. It was further alleged that petitioner 1, 2,3 and 4 were demanding Rs. 15 lac for purchase of a flat and if she did not fulfill the same, they could not keep her in house and would kill her.

Counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that the entire allegations are completely false and FIR itself lodged with clear motive to harass and pressurize the petitioners. It was submitted that the complainant was a quarrelsome lady and used to quarrel with her in-laws as she has no interest to live peacefully with them and even she does not want to live with her husband. The attitude as well as conduct of complainant towards her in-laws is not good since the date of marriage. On account of conduct and behaviour of complainant petitioner 1 filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act for dissolution of marriage before Family Court, petitioner 3 had also filed a complaint before the Court of AJCM under Sections 406, 504 of IPC against the complainant and her family and on the basis of counter-blast, the complainant had falsely lodged the present FIR against the petitioners.

The controversy involved in the present matter was as to whether impugned FIR has been lodged by complainant with a revengeful intent or only to wreck vengeance as against the petitioners or not?

The Court relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 wherein it has been held that where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceedings is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wrecking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge, then criminal proceeding can be quashed exercising the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code. Similar judgment was also given by the Supreme Court in Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 443.

The Court was of the view that allegations made against petitioners were general and omnibus, therefore, they cannot be prosecuted under Section 498A of IPC. It was further stated by the Court that in the case at hand, earlier a petition under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act was filed by husband of complainant and then a complaint was also filed by father-in-law of complainant where-after, the conciliation proceedings could not be succeeded due to difference of thoughts whatsoever between complainant and her husband. The Court believed that the FIR made by complainant was nothing, but only to wreck vengeance so also with a revengeful intent in order to pressurize and harass the petitioners.

The Court allowed the petition and held that the fact that respondent 2 had left her matrimonial home voluntarily without any rhyme and it was a fault on the part of the complainant to live separately prior to filing of the impugned FIR and in absence of specific allegation of demand of dowry or harassment, the impugned FIR deserves to be quashed.[Alok Lodhi v. State of M.P.,  2022 SCC OnLine MP 750, decided on 07-04-2022]


Shri Prasun Maheshwari, counsel for petitioners.

Shri Nitin Goyal, Panel Lawyer for respondent 1/State.

Shri Suresh Agrawal, counsel for respondent 2.


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Atul Sreedharan, J. allowed a petition which was filed for quashing of Crime which was registered for an offence under Section 420 of IPC.

The FIR was filed by Sunita Singh daughter of late Vishwanath Singh, Villa Mohidpur, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh wherein she stated that she and her brother (current petitioner) had equal share in the property of her late father and in this respect her brother had given her some cheques after taking her signature on some paper. She deposited the seven cheques but all the seven cheques had been dishonoured due to closure of account. Thus, her case was that her brother cheated her of total of 64 lakhs.

Counsel for the State has read out from the 161 statement of the complainant and contended that in addition to what was stated in the FIR she suffered the loss of her Chequebook against which she has given stop payment instructions to her Bank and thereafter she says, that she suspects that perhaps, it is her brother i.e., the petitioner no.1 and her sister-in-law, the petitioner no.2 who may have taken away these chequebooks with the intent of defrauding her. it was brought to the notice of the Court that she does not say that any of the cheques from the said chequebook have been used by anyone on account of which she suffered a loss. The second set of allegations in the 161 statement was conspicuous by its absence in the FIR and appears to have been introduced in the police statement as an afterthought so as to implicate the petitioners for theft.

Counsel for the petitioners has submitted that the petitioner 1 and the petitioner 2 were related to each other. Father of the petitioner 1 and the respondent 2 had two wives. From the first wife, a son (Jai Prakash Singh) was born. The second wife was Saraswati Singh, from whom the petitioner 1 and the respondent 2 were born. There was a partition in 2006 by which 50% of the share in the father’s property went to Jai Prakash Singh and 25% went to the petitioner 1 Shree Prakash Singh and the remaining 25% went to second wife, the mother of the petitioner 1 and the respondent 2, Saraswati Singh. Subsequently in 2009, there was an MOU between Shree Parkash Singh (the petitioner 1) and Sunita Singh (the respondent 2). As per which Shree Prakash Singh got 60% share in the property of Saraswati Singh and 40% of the share went to Sunita Singh.

Only point to be considered by this Court was whether the dishonour of the cheques could have only given a cause of action to register an FIR for an offence u/s. 420 IPC or whether the cause of action was only for the filing of an offence u/s. 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act?

The Court stated it is a well settled principle of law that the general law will not prevail over the Special Law as enshrined in the maxim generalia specialibus non derogant. The Court was of the opinion that relief available to respondent 2 may be under the civil law by way of a suit for specific performance, rather than to contort and strain the facts to bring it under the purview of the criminal process. Under the circumstances, the registration of this case was ex-facie malicious and deserves to be quashed.

It was also noted that husband of respondent 2 is a senior police officer in the Indian Police Service belonging to the Madhya Pradesh Cadre and that the possibility of the FIR having been filed under his influence cannot be discounted. The Court in this aspect observed that where the police is reluctant to register the FIR if a poor man approaches the police station with a genuine grievance, the registration of an FIR in a case like the one at hand is rather unthinkable to which Senior Counsel Shri Mrigendra Singh retorted by saying that this Court should rescue itself because of bias.

The Court took great umbrage to the conduct of the senior counsel who has cast aspersions on the neutrality of the Court without adequate cause however it refused to recuse itself and condemned his conduct in strongest possible terms. The Court ordered before the Chairman of the Madhya Pradesh State Bar Council with a request to take the strictest possible action against the senior counsel for his intemperate and unpardonable conduct.

The petition was allowed and the FIR was quashed.[Prakash Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2022 SCC OnLine MP 670, decided on 07-04-2022]


For petitioners: Mr Surendra Singh Sr. Adv, Mr Simon Benjamin, Mr Sivam Singh

For respondents: Mr A.S. Pathak Govt. Adv., Mr Mrigendra Singh Sr. Adv., Ms Guncha Rasool


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: Sashikant Mishra J. allowed the criminal petition and quashed the FIR and the criminal proceeding due to inordinate delay on the part of investigating authorities.

The facts of the case are such that an FIR was lodged against the present petitioner on by the then Tahasildar, Chhendipada before the Officer-in- Charge, Chhendipada Police Station leading to registration of case for the alleged commission of offence under Sections 447/379/188/294/535/506 of Penal Code, 1860 i.e. IPC. The said case is presently pending in the Court of J.M.F.C., Chhendipada. Final Report was submitted in the case after more than 15 years. The inaction of the investigating agency complied with inordinate delay was cited as a ground by the petitioner for quashment of the FIR and the consequential criminal proceedings in the present application filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

Counsel for the petitioner M/s. Anirudha Das, A Das,S.C. Mishra, A. Das and A. Sahoo submitted that that continuance of the case without Final Form being submitted for as long as 15 years by itself is an abuse of the process of Court. It is further argued that the petitioner is presently aged about 72 years and has been going through tremendous mental strain and anxiety because of pendency of the criminal case and the uncertainty attached to it. Since right to speedy trial is also a part of fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it was contended that inaction of the investigating agency for an inordinately long period of time directly violates such right, for which the proceedings need to be quashed.

Counsel for respondents Mr. P. K. Maharaj admitting that the Final Form was not filed for as long as 15 years, however, contends that no time limit being prescribed for conclusion of a criminal proceeding, mere delay in submission of Final Form or Final Report, as the case may be, cannot be a ground to quash the Proceedings.

The Court observed that this is a case of a man against whom an FIR was lodged and investigation continued for as long as 15 years to ultimately end in a Final Report being filed. One can only imagine the stress that the petitioner would have undergone during all these years with the “Sword of Damocles” hanging over his head.

The Court further observed that pendency of a criminal proceeding, irrespective of the nature of the offence alleged, are sufficient to cause concern, anxiety and apprehension in the mind of the accused not to speak of the expenses that he may have to incur in defending himself. What is a matter of greater concern to note is that there is no explanation whatsoever from the side of the investigating agency as to the reasons for non-completion of investigation for all these years.

The Court also took note of the fact that save and except the offence under Section 506, all the other offences alleged to have been committed by the accused namely, Sections 447/379/188/294/353 of IPC, are punishable with imprisonment for terms ranging from one year to three years at the most. So even if a Final Form had been submitted, the concerned Magistrate would have been hard put to take cognizance keeping in view the provisions under Section 468 of Cr.P.C. However, that is besides the point. The crux of the matter is inordinate delay in completion of the investigation.

The Court held that the inaction of the investigating agency to conclude the investigation for as long as 15 years, that too, without offering even a semblance of explanation is a direct affront to the cherished principle of right to speedy trial ingrained in the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Court held this is a fit case to exercise its inherent powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. to put an end to the fiasco, once for all, moreso, as the investigation has ended in Final Report True being submitted.

The Court also observed that the higher police authorities should take note of such inaction on the part of the investigating officer (s) and pass appropriate orders to be followed by all concerned so as to prevent the same from recurring in future.[Binod Bihari Shetty v. State of Orissa, CrlMC No. 112 of 2020, decided on 03-01-2022]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Rajendra Chandra Singh Samant, J., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are such that the petitioner and respondent 5 are husband and wife who are unhappy together and want no reconciliation. An FIR has been lodged against the petitioner alleging the commission of offences under Sections 498A, 377, 323, 34 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The instant petition was filed under Article 226 of Constitution of India seeking quashing the said FIR.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that subsequent to lodging of FIR, the petitioner and respondent negotiated a compromise through a certain amount to be given to respondent 5 as there is no possibility of reconciliation and a petition for divorce will be filed and the cases will be withdrawn. It was further submitted that as the agreement still exists it is a fit case in which the FIR with respect to offences under Section 498A, 377, 323 and 34 of IPC and Section 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act is liable to be quashed.

Counsel for the State submitted that a prima-facie case is made out, which reflects the commission of offences registered against them. The offences under Section 498A, 377, 323 and 34 of IPC and Section 4 and 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act are not compoundable. There may be an agreement between the parties for settlement of the disputes, but that cannot be made a ground for quashment of the FIR against the petitioner.

Section 24 of the Contracts Act provides as follows:-

“24. Agreements void, if considerations and objects unlawful in part. —If any part of a single consideration for one or more objects, or any one or any part of any one of several considerations for a single object, is unlawful, the agreement is void.”

The Court observed that in view of the provision under Section 24 of the Contracts Act one of the terms of the agreement was that the Respondent 5 wants to withdraw the criminal complaint against the petitioner after receiving payment for the same, which cannot be regarded as any lawful term as the agreement cannot be enforced under any law.

The Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303. and observed that “In respect of serious offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc; or other offences of mental depravity under IPC or offences of moral turpitude under special statutes, like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity, the settlement between offender and victim can have no legal sanction at all. However, certain offences which overwhelmingly and predominantly bear civil flavour having arisen out of civil, mercantile, commercial, financial, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony, particularly relating to dowry, etc. or the family dispute, where the wrong is basically to victim and the offender and victim have settled all disputes between them amicably, irrespective of the fact that such offences have not been made compoundable, the High Court may within the framework of its inherent power, quash the criminal proceeding or criminal complaint or F.I.R if it is satisfied that on the face of such settlement, there is hardly any likelihood of offender being convicted and by not quashing the criminal proceedings, justice shall be casualty and ends of justice shall be defeated.”

 The Court observed that the terms of agreement in the compromise may be a ground of defence for the petitioner, but that cannot be a ground for quashment of the whole criminal case against them. Without there being any reason to believe that the settlement is complete between the parties, this Court cannot hold that the continuation of proceedings will be an exercise in futility, as the respondent No.5 is intent in prosecute the petitioner and others on the basis of a complaint against them

The Court thus held that one of the charges against the petitioner is the charge under Section 377 of I.P.C. regarding commission of unnatural sexual intercourse with the respondent 5, which is a ground connected with the offence under Section 498 (A) of I.P.C. regarding imparting cruel treatment to the respondent 5 by the petitioner, therefore, after overall consideration of the facts and circumstances and the case law cited, I am of this view that this is not a fit case, in which the petitioner can be granted relief as prayed by him, therefore, this petition is dismissed and disposed off.

[Nimish Agrawal v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2021 SCC OnLine Chh 3202, decided on 25-10-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearances

For Petitioner: Mr. Manoj Paranjpe

For respondent 01 to 04: Mrs. Hamida Siddiqui.

For respondent 05: Mr. Jaydeep Singh Yadav

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: C. Hari Shankar, J., addressed a petition with regard to quashing of FIR wherein petitioner was in custody for loitering around without wearing mask and assaulting a police constable, and held that,

charges against the petitioners are unquestionably serious.

Petitioner sought quashing of FIR for offences committed under Sections 188/269/186/353/332/506 read with Section 34 of penal Code, 1860.

Rahul (Petitioner 2) was seen loitering without wearing a mask in violation of Compliance Advisory issued by Centre in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

On the complainant intercepting Rahul and querying him in that regard, Rahul retorted that the complainant had no right to stop him from walking in the area without a mask.

Further when the complainant with the help of a constable tried to control Rahul, he caught hold of the collar of the shirt being worn by the complainant and tore the shirt. Rahul also assaulted the constable by kicking him.

Rahul’s brother Petitioner 1 also joined him and started assaulting the complainant. Later both of them were take into custody and FIR was lodged.

Quashing of criminal proceedings by eviscerating them from their very inception, is an extreme step, to be taken with due circumspection.

Progress of the criminal law, once legitimately set in motion, should not be halted by judicial diktat, save in exceptional circumstances and with due cause.

Bench stated that, charges against the petitioners are unquestionably serious.

Breach of the lockdown restrictions, imposed by the Government, which, if permitted unchecked, may result in loss of lives of millions, and cannot be tolerated.

Court also added that the acts of petitioners are inherently inimical to public interest and may have catastrophic consequences and in these cases Courts cannot permit themselves to be carried away by the physical nature of the act as committed, unmindful of the results that would ensue, were such acts to be tolerated. [Sunder Kumar v. State, WP (Crl) No. 787 of 2020, decided on 06-05-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of Sunil Gaur, J. dismissed a petition seeking quashing of FIR filed for the offences punishable under Sections 354, 354-A, 506 and 34 IPC.

Petitioner, who was represented by Siddhartha Nanwal, Advocate, sought quashing of FIR on the basis of settlement reached between the parties. It was brought to Court’s notice that the trial court had also recorded the fact of settlement between the parties.

The High Court noted that allegations levelled against the petitioner related to outraging the modesty of woman. Also the incident in question was not explained by the petitioner. Furthermore, the court noted that the trial court in its order simply recorded that settlement had been arrived at between the parties. It was categorically observed, “Such crude settlements are not acceptable, as it will send a wrong signal to society.” The Court was of the considered opinion that the present was not a fit case to quash the FIR in question on basis of such crude settlement. Thus, the petition was dismissed; however, the Court refrained from commenting on the merits of the case.[Vinay Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi), Crl. MC No. 174 of 2019, dated 15-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court, dismissed a petition for quashing of FIR and criminal proceedings there under, under Section 482 of the CrPC. The FIR was registered under Section 304-A IPC against the accused who was attached with the petitioner company.

The Court noted that the accused was not named in the petition and hence, no quashment regarding him could be granted. Futher, payment of Rs 6.5 lakhs to the deceased’s legal heirs on humanitarian grounds were also found not sufficient grounds for quashment in a serious and grave offence. The Court relied on Bhajan Lal Sharma v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), 2016 SCC OnLine Del 4234 : 2016 (158) DRJ 493 to explain how granting quashment to the current facts would amount to setting an unhealthy precedent, giving wrong impressions to the whole society that builders, construction contractors etc can ignore safety precautions against foreseeable threat to life of workers as long as they pay compensation. Petition dismissed with order that observations shall have no impact on merits of the case. [Hitachi Payment Services (P) Ltd. v. State,  2018 SCC OnLine Del 8131, decided on 23.03.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ajay Mohan Goel, J., allowed a criminal petition filed by the accused-petitioner praying for quashing of FIR registered under Sections 353 and 506 IPC as well as the consequential proceedings arising therefrom.

The petitioner submitted that the issue which led to registration of the FIR, stood amicably resolved between the complainant and the petitioner. Further, the complainant stated before the Court that a compromise was arrived at between the parties as per which the complainant submitted that she was no more interested in pursuing the case against the petitioner. She categorically stated that she had no objection in case the FIR and consequential proceedings against the petitioner are quashed. She submitted that she entered into the compromise out of her own free will and not under threat or coercion. Learned Additional Advocate General also submitted that the matter has been amicably settled between the parties, and the State had no objection in case the petition was allowed and the FIR was quashed.

The Court considered the submissions made by and on behalf of the parties and was of the considered view that since an amicable settlement was arrived at between the parties and since the complainant was no more interested in pursuing the case against the petitioner, it would be in the interest of justice to quash the FIR registered against the petitioner as well as consequential proceedings arising therefrom. Orders were passed accordingly. [Ved Prakash v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 273, dated 21.3.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a recent appeal before the High Court, it has held that a compromise between the parties is never a concrete ground to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused. The appellant in this case was sentenced to a RI of two years for offence under Sections 326, 323 and 324 IPC by the trial court.

The appellant prayed before the Court that it was a family dispute which had been resolved amicably. On hearing both the parties and also making sure from the opposite party that it was ready to give effect to compromise, the Bench of Jitendra Chauhan, J. brought attention to Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466 in which the Apex Court had observed that the High Court may be somewhat liberal in accepting the settlement and quashing the proceedings/investigation keeping in mind the timing of the settlement.

The Court elucidated that it was not bound to quash the proceedings even if the compromise has been effected between the parties. However, it considered the fact that the appellant had already been suffering the agony of criminal trial and this very fact would act as the mitigating circumstance to reduce the sentence awarded to the appellant to the period already undergone further directing the parties to remain bound by the terms of the compromise. [Jagmohan Singh v. State of Punjab, 2017 SCC OnLine P&H 1798, decided on 03.07.2017]