Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Vivek Singh Thakur, J. contemplated a petition filed under Section 482 of CrPC, where the petitioner arrived at a compromise with the respondent for quashing of the FIR filed under Sections 279 and 337 of IPC along with allegations under Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.

Factual matrix of the case was that the complainant-respondent was crossing the road and he was hit by a motorcycle which was driven by the petitioner. The complainant fell unconscious and he did not know the main cause of the accident. He subsequently lodged an FIR on the basis of the information which was supplied by the people present at the site of the accident. The contention of the complainant was that it is not known to him that how the accident had occurred and as to whether petitioner was at fault or not and that after the accident petitioner along with his family had approached him in his village and had taken care of his injuries and further that petitioner was a young graduate engineer and even if had it been fault on his part, he would have forgiven him, as he was feeling guilty for hitting him with his Motor Cycle, therefore, he did not intend to continue criminal proceedings against him and had prayed for compounding the case.

The submissions of the petitioner had also been made he had stated that he was feeling guilty for hitting the complainant and therefore had repentance for the same and had apologized to the complainant, who had agreed to forgive him. He undertook to be more careful in the future. He further deposed that at the time of the accident he was not in possession of documents of the vehicle as well as driving license, but now he possesses the same. He had also stated that he has deposed in the Court out of his free will, consent and without any coercion, pressure or threat.

But the main issue in the instant petition was that the State contended that accused was not entitled to invoke inherent jurisdiction of this Court to exercise its power on the basis of compromise arrived at between the parties with respect to an offence not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC, reliance was placed on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, where the Supreme Court explained the power of the High Courts under Section 482 CrPC. and had held that, “these powers are to be exercised to secure the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of process of any Court and these powers can be exercised to quash criminal proceedings or complaint or FIR in appropriate cases where offender and victim have settled their dispute and for that purpose no definite category of offence can be prescribed.” However, it was also observed that Courts must have due regard to nature and gravity of the crime and criminal proceedings in heinous and serious offences or offence like murder, rape and dacoity, etc. should not be quashed despite victim or victim family have settled the dispute with the offender. Jurisdiction vested in High Court under Section 482 CrPC is held to be exercisable for quashing criminal proceedings in cases having overwhelming and predominately civil flavor particularly offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil partnership, or such like transactions, or even offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc., It was also held that no category or cases for this purpose could be prescribed and each case has to be dealt with on its own merit but it is also clarified that this power does not extend to crimes against society.

The Court observed that though Section 279 is not compoundable under Section 320 of CrPC, however the contentions in Gian Singh’s case where the power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC was not inhibited by the provisions of Section 320. the Court further observed that the type of offence dealt in the instant petition was not expressly barred or prohibited by the general view for compounding hence, the petition was allowed. [Rohit v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 1333, decided on 22-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: N.S. Dhanik, J. entertained a Criminal miscellaneous application filed under Section 482 CrPC, where the petitioner had prayed for quashing for the entire proceeding of Session Trial under Sections 504 and 506 of IPC as well as Section 3(1)(X) of ST/SC Act. 

The instant application was filed on the basis of the compromise between the parties, hence, the applicant requested for quashing of the proceedings, summoning and further pending proceedings. 

The complainant through his counsel Deep Prakash Bhatt, submitted that the differences were buried and the dispute was to be amicably settled between the two parties. It was further contended that he was no more interested in prosecution. The counsel relied on the judgment in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2013) 1 SCC (Cri) 160, where the Supreme Court held that “The position that emerges from the above discussion can be summarized thus: the power of the High Court in quashing a criminal proceeding or FIR or complaint in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power given to a criminal court for compounding the offences under Section 320 of the Code.”  

Learned counsel for the applicant, Pankaj Sharma, submitted that even if the contents of the FIR be conceded to be true, no ingredients of Section 3 (1)(X) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act were prima facie made out against the applicant, in the sense that informant nowhere said that the accused himself was not a member of SC/ST and he used those words intentionally in order to humiliate him (victim) in a place within the public view knowing it that he (victim) belonged to a community of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.

Hence the Court observed that both the parties had prayed that since no offence under Section 3(1) (X) of the Act was made out even in the FIR, they were to be permitted to compound the offence. Hence, the Court granted compounding of offence under Sections 504 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860 It was advised to permit the complainant/victim to compound the offences alleged against the applicant in the larger interest of the society.

While dealing with the inherent jurisdiction, timings of settlement play a crucial role. Those cases where the settlement was arrived at immediately after the alleged commission of offence and the matter was still under investigation, the High Court may accept the settlement to quash the criminal proceedings. It was because of the reason that at this stage the investigation was still on and even the charge-sheet had not been filed. Likewise, those cases, where the charge was framed but the evidence was yet to start, the High Court exercised its powers, but after prima facie assessment of the circumstances/material mentioned therein. The Court was of the opinion that matter deserved to be given a quietus as the continuance of proceedings arising out of the first information report in question would be an exercise in futility.[Karnail Singh v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 691, decided on 29-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of A.P. Thaker, J., allowed the petition filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code for quashing and setting aside the FIR filed under Sections 304(A) read with Section 114 of the Penal Code, Sections 3(1)(j), 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and Sections 5, 6, 7 and 9 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

The brief facts of the case were that the complainant was a member of a scheduled caste who on the date of the incident received a message that his father died when he went to clean drainage in the society of the petitioners. He went there and found his father dead. The petitioners contended that the deceased never entered into said side drainage and he died due to heart problem and not by any negligence on the part of the petitioners. Further, they stated that the complainant had filed the complaint because he wanted compensation from the government. It was also contended that they had never called the deceased for any work nor were they present at the time of the alleged incident. Mr. Manish Patel, advocate for the petitioners, stated that the cause of death as revealed from the postmortem report was natural death due to cardiac-respiratory failure.

The Court while deciding the case emphasized on the settled law that for considering the petition under Section 482 of the Code, it was necessary to consider as to whether the allegations in the complaint prima facie make out a case or not and the Court was not to scrutinize the allegations for the purpose of deciding whether such allegations were likely to be upheld in trial. It was held that a criminal proceeding could be quashed where the allegations made in the complaint did not disclose the commission of an offence under the Penal Code. The complaint must be examined as a whole, without evaluating the merits of the allegations. Though the law does not require that the complaint reproduce the legal ingredients of the offence verbatim, the complaint must contain the basic facts necessary for making out an offence under the Penal Code. It was further stated that a Court exercising its inherent jurisdiction must examine if, on its face, the averments made in the complaint constitute the ingredients necessary for the offence. The FIR was registered on the basis of hearsay and relying on the postmortem report the application was allowed. [Jaykarbhai Kiritbhai Agnihotri v. State Of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 761, Order dated 25-04-2019]