Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. dismissed a hotel owner’s petition assailing dismissal of the application for his discharge, holding that since couples were found in semi-naked condition in hotel rooms adjacent to petitioner’s room, it was a matter requiring a complete trial.

A case of immoral trafficking was registered against the petitioner, pursuant to which he filed an application for discharge under Sections 227 and 228 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The said application was rejected by the Magistrate. Hence, the instant petition was filed under Section 482 CrPC.

Learned counsel for the petitioner, Mr Shri Prakash Srivastava, submitted that as per Section 15 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 only a special police officer is empowered to search without a warrant. Since the raid at petitioner’s hotel was not conducted by a special police officer, the whole search was vitiated in law and no criminal prosecution based on the same was permissible. Further, no medical examination was done on the couples produced before the Magistrate to establish any scientific evidence relating to there being immoral trafficking.

Learned counsel for the respondent, Mr Pramod Kumar, submitted that the raid was conducted in presence of Additional/Assistant Superintendent of Police who is notified as a ‘special police officer’ under the Act. Further, Section 15(5-A) of the Act provides for examination by a registered medical practitioner only for the purposes of determination of age, or detection of any injuries. Lastly, the petitioner, being the owner, was in the room adjacent to rooms where couples were recovered in semi-naked condition and, thus, he could not take the plea of innocence or ignorance.

The Court opined that no legal provision had been violated. Petitioner being the owner of hotel, and being present in the room adjacent to rooms from where couples were found in semi-naked condition, at this stage, could not be said to be innocent. Thus, the petition was dismissed holding that a full-fledged trial was required in the matter.[Sudhir Kumar v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 289, Order dated 06-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: R.K. Gauba, J. laid down guidelines for the criminal courts and mediation centers to be followed while dealing with the criminal cases that are to be or which have been referred for mediation.

The High Court was considering petitions under Section 482 CrPC concerning cases of serious nature, sought to be quashed on the premise of “settlement” of the dispute entered into between the parties. The question that arose was: whether the process of mediation, particularly one under the aegis of the court, should be permitted or encouraged to be availed of for bringing about such settlement as may possibly not to be taken by the court to be just or sufficient reason for such intervention, this having regard to the nature of the crime involved?

There were five criminal cases before the Court in the present petitions. Four of them related to credit card frauds and the last one was a case of obscene calls and IT offences. Denouncing the manner in which these cases were dealt with by the lower courts and mediation authorities in registering settlements between the parties in such serious offences, the Court went on to lay guidelines for the criminal courts and mediation authorities to be followed in such cases.

The Guidelines

(i) The court while considering reference of the parties to a criminal case to the mediation must before even ascertaining as to whether elements of settlement exist first examine, by preliminary scrutiny, the permissibility in law for the criminal action to be brought to an end either because the offence involved is compoundable or because the High Court would have no inhibition to quash it, bearing in mind the broad principles that govern the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC.

(ii) The mediator (before commencing mediation) must undertake preliminary scrutiny of the facts of the criminal case and satisfy himself as to the possibility of assisting the parties to such a settlement as would be acceptable to the court, bearing in mind the law governing the compounding of the offences or exercise of power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC. For this, an institutional mechanism has to be created in the mediation centers so that there is consistency and uniformity in approach. The scrutiny in above nature would also need to be undertaken, as the mediation process continues, should any such criminal case, as mentioned above, be brought on the table by the parties (for being included in the settlement), as takes it beyond the case initially referred.

(iii) The system of vetting, at the conclusion of the mediation process, needs to be institutionalised so that before a settlement vis-a-vis a criminal case is formally executed by the parties, satisfaction is reached that the criminal charge involved is one which is either compoundable or one respecting which there would  be no inhibition felt by the High Court in exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 CrPC, bearing in mind the relevant jurisprudence.

The Court added that the above guidelines will apply mutatis mutandis to other ADR methods. It was expected that the criminal courts and mediation centers shall abide by the above guidelines.

Present petitions

As far as the present petitions were concerned, the Court was of the view of that the four cases of credit card frauds have a serious adverse impact on the financial and economic well-being of the State and its banking institutions. The gravity and seriousness of the offences, the conduct of the accused persons and the impact on society were good reasons to reject the settlement as ill-conceived and unworthy. The fifth case involving pornographic and obscene call offences under IT Act similarly was a case involving mental depravity and could not be quashed on the basis of a settlement. Accordingly, all five petitions filed before the Court were dismissed.

Other concerns

— The criminal court is not a room with a revolving door where the accused can enter into or exit from at his own whims or fancies. The Judge presiding over a criminal trial must keep everyone in discipline, particularly in the matter of appearance in time.

— There can be a denial of the ground reality that in the criminal law process of this country, protracted trials have become the rule and expedition is an exception. There seems to be no system, check or discipline, or accountability, on the part of the defence counsel.

— This Court has been laying emphasis from time to time on timely conclusion of old cases in a time bound manner. But, treating serious fraud cases as one meant for recovery through the process of mediation is no answer to the challenge of huge pendency of old cases in the criminal jurisdiction.

— There is a need for the creation of additional criminal courts so that each such court carries only such optimum number of cases as can be expeditiously moved through the procedure to a conclusion. But, such endeavour would depend on infrastructural support from other agencies of the State.

Noting such concerns, the Court requested the Chief Justice have the above issues examined on the administrative side for such directions to be issued and such steps to be undertaken as may be deemed proper.

Instructions were issued in regard to the credit card fraud cases. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate was directed to take up the matter on a day-to-day basis and reach a conclusion preferably within 6 months of the receipt of the present order. The progress of the case was directed to be periodically monitored by the Sessions Judge. [Yashpal Chaudharani v. State (NCT of Delhi, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8179, dated 22-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Bench of R. Narayana Pisharadi, J. quashed criminal proceedings against a person accused of cheating a bank holding that the case against him would be an abuse of process of the Court.

Petitioner herein was a customer of Bank of Baroda for many years. He introduced accused’s 1 to 3 to the said bank to enable them to open an account therein. Subsequently, the accused used credit/purchase facility given to them by the bank and obtained approximately Rs 1 crore from it. It was alleged that the accused had hatched a conspiracy to cheat the bank and cause loss to it. A case was registered against the accused and the petitioner under Section 120B, and Sections 420 and 406 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code, 1860. The instant petition was filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 requesting quashing of proceedings against petitioner.

The Court noted that the only allegation against the petitioner was that he introduced accused to the bank to enable them to open an account. He did not falsely misrepresent the bank; there was no material indicating any transaction between the petitioner and other accused. No material was produced by the prosecution to prove that the introduction of accused to the bank, by the petitioner, was part of a conspiracy to cheat the bank. Therefore, no question of dishonest misappropriation of any amount by him arose.

It was held that it is a normal banking practice that a person who wants to open an account in a bank will have to get himself introduced by another account holder in the same bank. The mere act of introducing a person to a bank to enable such person to open an account in the bank, without anything more, does not attract the offence of cheating punishable under Section 420 IPC against the person who makes the introduction, even when the person introduced by him subsequently commits an act of cheating against the bank. Reliance in this regard was placed on Manoranjan Das v. State of Jharkhand, (2004) 12 SCC 90.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed. [K.J. Hubert v. Sub Inspector of Police, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1122, Order dated 04-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sunil Gaur, J. allowed a petition for quashing an FIR filed under Sections 498-A and 406 read with Section 34 IPC and the proceedings arising therefrom.

The quashing of FIR was sought on the basis of mediated settlement reached at between the parties. The complainant was present in the Court and she was identified by the Assistant Sub-Inspector on the basis of her identity proof. She submitted that the dispute between the parties had been amicably resolved vide mediated settlement dated 20-3-2018 and the terms thereof had been fully acted upon. She affirmed the contents of her affidavit filed in support of the present petition and submitted that now no dispute with the petitioners survive and therefore, the proceedings arising out of the FIR in question may be brought to an end.

The High Court relied on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641 wherein the parameters for exercising inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of FIRs/complainants were reiterated. Allowing the petition, the Court stated, “Since the subject matter of this FIR is essentially matrimonial, which now stands mutually and amicably settled between parties, therefore, continuance of proceedings arising out of the FIR in question would be an exercise in futility.” The petitioners were directed to deposit costs of Rs 25,000 with the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. [Vipin Mittal v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7635, decided on 15-3-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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

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

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

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

Tripura High Court: S. Talapatra, J., relying on the Supreme Court decision in Azghar Khan v. State of U.P., 1981 Supp SCC 78, dismissed a criminal revision petition filed against the order of Additional Sessions Judge.

Genesis of the grievance was noted in a complaint filed by petitioner alleging that respondent stole the cheque in controversy which was dishonoured in due course. A case was registered and after investigation, the police submitted the report of terminating the investigation as there was no foundation for allegations made in the complaint. Petitioner challenged the report by filing a protest petition but Sub-Divisional Magistrate refused to direct further investigation. Being aggrieved, the petitioner preferred a criminal revision petition which was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge observing that there was no ground to interfere in the report. This order was challenged in the present revision petition under Section 482 CrPC.

At the outset, the High Court observed, “By all traits, this is a second revision petition. On the face of it, it is barred by sub-section (3) of Section 397 CrPC.” Reliance was placed on Azghar Khan case which laid down that a second revision petition would not be competent in view of Section 397(3). Moreover, the High Court did not find any failure of justice which could persuade it to interfere in the matter. [Bikash Chandra v. State of Tripura, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 40, dated 01-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: R.K. Gauba, J. allowed a petition filed against the order of Sessions Court whereby proceedings in a case filed under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 were stayed.

Petitioner had filed a case against respondents alleging commission of an offence under Section 138. It was alleged that he had advanced a loan to the respondents, for the repayment of which, the respondents had issued a cheque in his favour drawn on Axis Bank Ltd. However, on presenting the cheque, it was returned unpaid with remarks “payment stopped by drawer.” After a preliminary enquiry, Metropolitan Magistrate issued summons to respondents. Thereafter the respondents reached the Sessions Court which granted a stay on summons order till final decision in another case arising out of an FIR filed by respondents against the petitioner. Aggrieved thereby, petitioner filed the present petition under Section 482 CrPC.

The High Court noted that in the FIR filed, respondents alleged that the cheque in question was stolen and misappropriated by the petitioner. It was also noted that revisional court stayed the proceedings under Section 138 on the ground that the same would unnecessarily prejudice the trial in the case arising out of the FIR. The High Court held this to be totally unjust and unfair. It was stated “Though questions would arise in the criminal case under Section 138 NI Act as to whether cheque in question had come in the hands of the petitioner legitimately or not, the contentions of the respondents are a matter of defence which will have to be raised by them, the burden of proof of the requisite facts in such regard being placed on them. There is no reason why the case arising out of above-mentioned FIR should have primacy or priority over the case of the petitioner against the opposite party.” The petition was thus allowed and the impugned stay order was allowed. [Mukesh Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6843, decided on 28-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a husband’s petition filed against the order of Metropolitan Magistrate as confirmed by Additional Sessions Judge whereby he was directed to pay interim maintenance allowance of Rs 3500 to his wife and Rs 2000 for his minor daughter.

The parties were married to each other and a daughter was born to them from the wedlock. On account of certain circumstances, the wife left the matrimonial home along with the daughter. Subsequently, she filed a petition under Section 12 of the Protection of Women and Domestic Violence Act, 2005. On her application, the Metropolitan Magistrate directed the husband to pay the interim maintenance allowance as mentioned above. The husband challenged the order in an appeal which was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge, Aggrieved thereby, he filed the present petition under Section 482 CrPC.

S.C. Singhal, Advocate for the husband submitted that he was unemployed and therefore unable to pay the allowance. It was also submitted that the wife was gainfully employed in a beauty parlour for the proof of which certain photographs were produced.

The High Court held that mere photographs showing the wife’s presence in a parlour were not sufficient to prove that she had a regular income sufficient to maintain herself and the minor daughter, Furthermore, the husband made a cursory statement that he was unemployed, but did not disclose as to how he had been surviving all along. The Court was of the view that he was concealing facts and intentionally withholding information about his income. In such a situation, the Court approved the course adopted by Metropolitan Magistrate as per which he assumed husband’s income notionally on the basis of minimum wages and passed the order of interim maintenance. Resultantly the petition was dismissed. [Khem Chand v. Bhagwati, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6776, Order dated 22-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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

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

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

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of Sunil Gaur, J. refused to invoke the inherent extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC.

Petitioners, represented by Akshay Bhatia and Avinash Das Advocates, had prayed for quashing of complaints filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (for dishonour of cheque). The quashing was sought on merits.

N.K. Aggarwal and Priya Pachouri, Advocates appeared for the respondents. It was informed to the Court that notice under Section 251 CrPC had been already framed and petitioners had also given their defence.

Since petitioners had an efficacious remedy to assail the notice framed under Section 251, the High Court refrained from invoking its inherent extraordinary jurisdiction under Section 482. The petitioners were given liberty to assail the notice before the Revisional Court within a period of four weeks. The petition was disposed of accordingly without commenting on merits. [Anand and Associates v. Jugal Kishore Jain, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6708, Order dated 15-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. dismissed an application filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 praying for quashing of trial court’s order whereby prayer made by the petitioner regarding the release of a vehicle was dismissed.

In the instant case, OP-3 had filed a complaint alleging that opposite party 2 (OP-2) had taken a Scorpio vehicle belonging to him on the pretext of marriage in family assuring that he would return it. The vehicle was not returned and OP-3 was told by OP-2 that it had been stolen. OP-3 was assured that the vehicle would be located or OP-2 would pay him money for the same. On enquiring, OP-3 found that the vehicle had been allegedly sold to the petitioner and was with him. The vehicle was seized by the police pursuant to the lodging of FIR by OP-3.

The Court noted that the purported agreement of sale of vehicle relied upon by the petitioner was not even duly registered. Further, the certificate of registration for the vehicle was still in the name of opposite party 3.

It was held that the only document to prove ownership of a vehicle is a certificate issued by the transport department, i.e., the certificate of registration. Till such time the name of any other person is not duly entered in the official records and reflected in the certificate of registration with regard to the vehicle, vehicle could not be released in favour of a person who comes before with an unregistered agreement for sale of vehicle. [Md. Abdullah v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 51, Order dated 17-01 2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of Sonia Gokani, J., allowed a petition seeking quashing of the FIR registered with Mahila Police Station under Sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506(2) and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the ground that the parties had settled all their disputes.

The facts of the case are that the respondent had been residing along with her husband-petitioner for last about four months and due to the intervention of the family members and friends and also for the better future of their child they chose to bury all their disputes.

The Court placed reliance on the case of Gian Singh v. State Of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 and held that in view of the nature of disputes being matrimonial and when the parties had voluntarily chosen to end all their grievances by mutual understanding, the Court should show indulgence and invoke the powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for bringing lasting peace between the parties. The application was thus allowed. [Namoribhai Mudjibhai Maheshwari v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 25, decided on 10-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Bench of Raja Vijayaraghavan V, J. allowed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC.

In the present petition, the facts of the case are stated as, the petitioner is a mathematics teacher of the daughter of respondent 3 a class II student. It has been stated that while learning addition and subtraction, child committed a minor mistake for which the petitioner is alleged to have jabbed on her shoulders with his fist.

For the above-stated act child was taken to the hospital and the father of the child lodged the FIR statement leading to the registration of the crime. After the investigation, final report was laid under Section 323 IPC and Section 23 of JJ Act, 2000.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the prosecution allegations, even if admitted as true in its entirety, would not make out an offence against the petitioner. As petitioner was in the process of teaching the child the nuances of mathematics and in order to keep her alert had only jabbed on her shoulders. The act committed by the petitioner cannot be said to be an act motivated by malice.

It was noted that, “the applicant herein is a school teacher and the victim is his student. Parents, teachers and other persons in loco parentis are entitled as a disciplinary measure to apply a reasonable degree of force to their children or pupil old enough to understand the purpose to which the act was done.”

Thus the Bench stated that the act of the petitioner cannot be said to have been preceded with malice and the proceedings are manifestly attended with mala fide and has been instituted merely for harassing the petitioner. Quoting the Apex Court, summoning the accused to the criminal court is a serious matter and a court proceeding cannot be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment or persecution.

Therefore, “Nature of the material on which the structure of the prosecution rests is so brittle that this Court will be justified in quashing the proceeding to prevent abuse of process of the Court.” [Rajan v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5774, Order dated 07-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: This Criminal Case was filed before a Single Judge Bench of Rajendra Kumar Srivastava, J., by petitioner under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code for quashing the charge sheet pending before the JMFC and order passed by Additional Sessions Judge under Section 3 and 22 of the Madhya Pradesh Vanopaj Abhivahan Niyam 2000, Section 26 (1)(6) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 and under Section 52/1 of the Kasht Chiran Adhiniyam, 1984.

Facts of the matter were that 14 doorposts made up of teak wood was found and seized by the Forest officials from the under-construction house of petitioner. For the above illegal activity, complaint was filed against petitioner. Petitioner had submitted that the teak wood doorpost was not illegal and showed the relevant document. The competency of the Range Officer was in question who had submitted the complaint against the petitioners. Revision court found that range officer was competent to file a complaint against petitioner under Section 76(d) of the Indian Forest Act.

High Court agreed with revision court that range officer was competent to file a complaint against petitioner. In addition to that in light of case of Krishnan v. Krishnaveni, (1997) 4 SCC 214 Court also observed that this petition filed under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code is in the nature of second revision, therefore, not a proper case in which inherent power could be invoked under Section 482 CrPC. Therefore, this petition was dismissed. [Ramgopal v. State of M.P.,2018 SCC OnLine MP 924, order dated 14-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. dismissed a criminal petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 praying for quashing of lower court’s order whereby a prima facie case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was made out against petitioner.

In the present case, respondent 2 had on petitioner’s persuasion, he invested in a company named Panjon Finance and an agreement was executed between the parties where it was stipulated that shares would mature after four years when repayment would be made to the respondent by the company. It is alleged that upon expiry of the term, despite several reminders and request to pay back the amount as per terms of the agreement, the same was not done leading to filing of a complaint under IPC. 

Learned counsels for the petitioner Mr Ajay Kumar Thakur, Mr Nilesh Kumar, Mr Pravin Kumar and Mr Udbhav submitted that the petitioner was merely an employee of the company and since he had only signed as a witness on the agreement, he could not be made criminally liable for non-performance of terms of the agreement. The dispute was purely a money dispute which could be resolved through civil law.

The Court opined that petitioner, in the capacity of the company’s local manager company, persuaded the respondent for investment.  Respondent 2 had relied on him and his trust was belied by the petitioner. As such, a prima facie case was made out against the petitioner. Relying on the dictum in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 it was held that there was no infirmity in lower court’s order and the petition was dismissed.[Dharmendra Kumar v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2218, decided on 13-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of Uday U. Lalit and Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ. allowed an appeal filed against the judgment of Bombay High Court whereby it had quashed criminal proceedings instituted against the respondent.

According to the FIR for offence under Section 306 IPC, the daughter and son-in-law of the appellant were teachers in a village Zila Parishad School where the respondent was also a teacher. He used to call appellant’s daughter on mobile and harass her. Despite efforts of his son-in-law, the respondent continued to call and harass the appellant’s daughter. There was a verbal altercation between his son-in-law and the respondent after which the son-in-law committed suicide leaving behind a suicide note naming the respondent. The respondent approached the High Court under Section 482 CrPC seeking quashing of the FIR. Observing that prima facie the respondent did not have the intention to aid or instigate the deceased to commit suicide, the High Court quashed the FIR. Aggrieved thereby, the appellant preferred the present appeal by special leave.

The Supreme Court noted that there were definite allegations against the respondent which were supported by statement of witnesses as well as the suicide note written by the deceased. The Court was of the opinion that the High Court was not justified in entering into question whether the respondent had requisite intent to aid, instigate or abate the commission of suicide at the stage where the investigation was yet to be completed. The Court found merit in submissions of the appellant and set aside the judgment impugned. The appeal was allowed and the authorities concerned were directed to complete the investigation.[Narayan Malhari Thorat v. Vinayak Deorao Bhagat,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2571, decided on 28-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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

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

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

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