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, Criminal Miscellaneous Case No. 7653 of 2018, 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] 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ. allowed an appeal filed against the judgment of the Delhi High Court whereby it had dismissed appellant’s writ petition seeking to quash the FIR filed against them.

The case arose out of a property matter between the appellants and the complainant. The parties had entered into an agreement for the development of appellants’ property. However, the said agreement could not be performed due to the statutory ban on new construction in the area. It was the complainant’s case that the appellant was not returning a deposit of Rs 1 crore made at the time of entering into the agreement. Therefore, an FIR under Section 406 IPC was lodged against the appellants. The appellants’ filed a writ petition before the High Court seeking to quash the said FIR; however, the petition was dismissed. Aggrieved thereby the appellants preferred the instant appeal. The complainant opposed the appeal on the ground that the chargesheet had already been filed in the case and therefore the FIR could not be quashed at this belated stage.

The Supreme Court turned down the said contention of the complainant while referring to High Court’s power under Section 482 CrPC. After referring to Joseph Salvaraj A v. State of Gujarat, (2011) 7 SCC 59, the Court observed that “there is nothing in the words of Section 482 which restricts the exercise of the Court’s power to prevent the abuse of process of court or miscarriage of justice only to the stage of the FIR. The power is undoubtedly conferred to prevent abuse of process of any court.” Furthermore, on the facts of the case, the Court held that the money deposited with the appellant could not be said to be an entrustment. In any case, if there was a misappropriation, the remedy was available in a civil court. In the opinion of the Court, the FIR filed under Section 406 IPC was not tenable and therefore it was quashed. The appeal was thus allowed and the judgment impugned was set aside. [Anand Kumar Mohatta v. State (NCT of Delhi),2018 SCC OnLine SC 2447, decided on 15-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: An application was filed before a Single Judge Bench of Rajendra Kumar Srivastava, J., under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing and setting aside of FIR filed under Sections 323, 294, 384, 506, 354, 342 and 355 read with Section 34 IPC.

The present matter occurred as a consequence of a fortress checking programme organized by Railway Board initiated in order to stop the passengers traveling without ticket. During the drive, few people were found ticketless which they justified by stating that they always travel without ticket and they were going to attend a rally organized by Bhartiya Kisan Union in Uchehehra. They were charged with fine in addition to the ticket amount. Later, FIR was filed against the railway checking staff and police alleging them of offences under the above-mentioned provisions.

Petitioner submitted that complaint filed was with malafide intention and false allegation were made suggested by the fact that necessary ingredients for the offences were not found. High Court after perusing the submission made by the parties observed that the petitioner were performing their duty under the fortress checking the drive and had no enmity with the passengers caught without the ticket. In view of the fact that a number of ticket checkers and RPF force were deployed it was found that the petitioner i.e. Chief Ticket Inspector had no necessity to have involved personally. In addition to the above due process was followed by the petitioner by charging the ticketless passengers with fine.

High Court referred to the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 where guidelines to be exercised during process of Section 482 CrPC was provided and observed that the allegations made under FIR were prima facie absurd and improbable. Therefore, writ petition was allowed and the impugned FIR filed against the petitioner was quashed. [Prabhat Kumar Hazare v. State of M.P.,2018 SCC OnLine MP 814, Order dated 02-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, JJ. dismissed a petition filed by the petitioner-husband invoking inherent powers of the Court under Section 482 CrPC to assail the order of the first appellate court.

The facts of the matter were that the respondent-wife had filed a case against the husband and his parents under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. He sought various reliefs including protection orders under Section 18 and an order as to right to residence under Section 19 besides other monetary reliefs. As to the residential house which was in question, the husband challenged the claim of the wife on the ground that the said residential house was his father’s property. On the issue of the wife’s interest in the said property, the Magistrate accepted husband’s submission. The wife, thereafter, moved an application under Section 91 CrPC before the Magistrate asserting that the husband made false representations. She prayed for the summoning of certain relevant documents that would show that the said property was transferred in a clandestine manner only to defeat her rights. Pursuant thereto, the husband was directed to file an affidavit disclosing his bank account details along with account statements. The husband approached the Sessions Court against the order of the Magistrate on the contention that the Magistrate had found against the wife on the issue of her interest in the said property. However, his appeal was dismissed. Aggrieved thereby, the instant petition was filed.

The High Court, on consideration of facts, noted that any interim order was denied to the wife by the Magistrate as well as the first appellate court. It was observed that the wife having been denied any interim order could not be deprived of the right to prove her case by leading evidence so as to demolish and discredit the defence set up vis-a-vis the said property. It was her contention that the property was acquired by the husband availing of his own resources, though in the name of the father and, therefore, benami. It was her burden to prove her contention in such regard. In such circumstances, the Court held that her right to bring requisite evidence, by having the necessary records summoned with the assistance of the court, could not be taken away. The High Court found no error in the reasoning of the Session Court which held that order of the Magistrate was purely a procedural order which did not decide or determine the rights or liabilities of the parties. In view of the aforesaid, the petition filed by the husband was dismissed. [Dinesh Kumar v. Ruchi Ahuja,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11973, decided on 03-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a criminal petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of criminal proceedings against the petitioners under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

The respondents had invoked the provision contained in Section 12 of the Act against one Lalit Mohan Joshi, husband of Respondent 1, since deceased. The provision was also invoked against family members (present petitioners) of the husband. The petitioners approached the Court seeking quashing of the said proceedings on the grounds, inter alia, that they were senior citizens, the allegations against them were small and bald, no case of domestic violence was properly brought out, intention of the respondent was to cause harassment and to gain wrongful possession of their property.

The High Court, at the outset, observed that to say the least, the petition was wholly misconceived. Questions of facts cannot ordinarily, and in absence of evidence of unimpeachable character to the contrary, be properly inquired into or adjudicated upon in jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC. Reference in this connection was made to Rajiv Thapar v. Madan Lal Kapoor, (2013) 3 SCC 330. Furthermore, it was observed that the fact of death of the husband cannot result in the criminal proceedings coming to an end. After all, allegations were also made against the petitioners who were related to the respondents by marriage or birth. The Court held that the claim of the respondents for compensation for the injuries suffered as a result of alleged acts of domestic violence could not be brushed aside; it would need to inquired into and adjudicated upon in accordance with law. The petition was, thus, dismissed. [Vijay Laxmi v. Madhu Joshi, Crl. MC No. 4352 of 2015, dated 06-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC invoking the inherent powers of the Court, seeking the quashing of FIR filed against the petitioner, on the ground of compromise entered into between the parties.

The petitioner was facing prosecution for offences punishable under Section 420 read with Section 511, and Sections 471, 474, 419 and 381 IPC. The allegation against the petitioner was that he was an employee of Kundan Edible Oil Mills. It was stated that the petitioner, in his capacity as the said employee, dishonestly removed a cheque leaf of the said entity against its bank account with HDFC bank. The said cheque was forged and fabricated purporting it to be a cheque issued for the sum of Rs 6 lakhs and was presented to the bank for obtaining payment thereagainst. The cheque, on scrutiny by the Bank, was found to be forged and fabricated. Consequently, an FIR was registered. The petitioner prayed for quashing of FIR and consequent proceedings on the basis of compromise entered into between the petitioner and the respondents.

The High Court noted that during the investigation, the petitioner was unable to account for possession of the cheque which was forged, grave suspicion arising that he knew fully well that it was a forged instrument. Even then, he attempted to use it to commit the offence of cheating by presenting it dishonestly. The Court relied on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641 and held that the facts of the case rendered it beyond a dispute that is private in nature. It involved serious economic offence which concerns not only the entity against the account of which the forged cheque was attempted to be encashed but also the bank where the account was maintained. The Court was of the view that this was not a case meriting exercise of inherent powers to bring an end to the prosecution. The petition was, thus, dismissed. [Pawan Gupta v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 11121, dated 23-08-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Classic case of taking revenge by the husband against the wife on being aggrieved by the maintenance petition filed.”

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana and M.M. Shantanagoudar, JJ., allowed a petition while setting aside the order passed by Allahabad High Court under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of proceedings.

Appellant 1 was the wife of Respondent 2, in accordance to the facts stated, Appellant 1 was in her final year of MCA and Respondent 2 had completed his MBBS at the time of marriage. Appellant had taken admission in an institute to pursue MBA but after a while she moved back to her parent’s house due to the demand of dowry being placed by Respondent 2. In February, 2008 Respondent 2 while working as an ad-hoc medical officer in M.P. stayed with Appellant 1 at her parent’s house and thereafter moved to U.P. in order to continue as a permanent medical officer. Appellant 1 on giving birth to her first child moved with Respondent 2 but again after some time she returned to her parent’s house due to harassment by Respondent 2.

It was alleged by the Appellant 1 that continuous dowry demands and harassment by Respondent 2 compelled her to go before the Concilliation centre which also proved to be a failed move as the respondent did not change, thereafter, appellant filed a maintenance petition under Section 125 CrPC. Respondent 2 as a counterblast filed an FIR against appellant 1 under Sections 420 and 504 IPC for cheating and intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace. Further, appellant filed a petition under Section 482 CrPC which was dismissed by the High Court.

The Supreme Court observed that the primary allegation submitted by the respondent against the appellant was that Appellant 1 had wrongly represented that she had completed her MCA at the time of marriage and merely on the said basis, it cannot be said that appellant had cheated upon the respondent and therefore, Court found that absolutely no offence could be found under Section 420 IPC and the FIR is just a counterblast against the maintenance proceeding against the appellant. The petition is allowed. [Anupriya Pal v. State of U.P.,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1316, Order dated 13-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of FIR registered under Sections 354-A, 354-D and 509 IPC.

The first informant was a married woman. Her husband was running a bad health and she was constrained to look for gainful employment. With help of the petitioner, she started working in a private company where the petitioner was also employed as a supervisor. In the FIR, the first informant narrated incidents where the petitioner made indecent proposals to her; made unwanted physical contacts and advances with sexual overtures; and passed sexually coloured remarks. Such acts amount to sexual harassment under Section 354-A IPC. The allegations also indicated assault on the person of first informant, knowing fully well that thereby her modesty was being outraged.

The High Court took note of the new criminal law as amended after the public outcry in wake of certain serious crimes involving sexual assaults. The Court was of the view that such offences, as mentioned in the FIR reflect mental depravity, to say the least. The petitioner was trying to take undue advantage of a helpless and hapless woman. Women and girls cannot be allowed to become easy prey for lecherous kind in civilised society. Relying on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Ahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641, the Court held that the first informant, having done her duty as an awakened citizen, cannot now put a lid on the matter. The case goes beyond her personal grouse. Allowing such charges to be quashed only because the petitioner may have apologised to her would not only trivialize the issue but also set a bad precedent. Having regard to the aforementioned, the Court declined to entertain the prayer in the petition. The petition was, hence, dismissed. [Roshan Lal v. State (NCT of Delhi),2018 SCC OnLine Del 10704, dated 27-07-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ. allowed a criminal petition filed against the judgment of Hyderabad High Court whereby appellants’ petition under Section 482 CrPC was dismissed.

Respondent 2-wife filed a complaint alleging harassment by her husband and his relatives including the appellants herein. The appellants were maternal uncles of the husband. Pursuant to the said complaint, an FIR was filed under Section 498-A IPC. The appellants filed the petition before the High Court for quashing the FIR. However, the High Court, vide the judgment impugned, dismissed the petition of the appellants. Aggrieved thus, the appellants filed the instant appeal.

The Supreme Court perused the charge sheet and found that the appellants were not the immediate family members of the husband. Except for the statement that they support the husband who was harassing the wife, nothing showed their involvement in the offence alleged. The Court referred to Kans Raj v. State of Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 207 and Kailash Chandra Agarwal v. State of U.P., (2014) 16 SCC 551 and observed that the relatives of the husband should not be roped in on the basis of omnibus allegations unless specific instances of their involvement in the crime are made out. On the facts and circumstances of the present case, the Court held that not even a prima facie case was made out against the appellants. Resultantly, the appeal was allowed; the judgment impugned was set aside; and criminal proceedings qua the appellants, in the matter concerned, were quashed. [K. Subba Rao v. State of Telangana, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1080, dated 21-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mir Alfaz Ali, J., dismissed a criminal petition filed under Section 482 CrPC wherein the petitioners sought quashing of charge-sheet and proceedings in criminal cases.

The petitioners were alleged to have trespassed into the land of Respondent 2 and caused damages to the fencing and RCC post. A criminal case was registered and charge-sheet was submitted under Sections 447, 427, 452 IPC against the petitioners.

The High  Court observed that witness statements under Section 161 CrPC clearly show that petitioners trespassed into the land of Respondent 2. A prima facie case for the said was made out. It was noted to be a trite law that for the purpose of exercising inherent power under Section 482, the Court needs to see whether allegations made in the FIR or evidence collected, on its face value, make out any offence. The Court relied on Radhey Shyam Khemka v. State of Bihar, (1993) 3 SCC 54, wherein it was held that the High Court while exercising such power cannot usurp the jurisdiction of trial court. The power has to be exercised to quash prosecution that amounts to abuse of process of court. It cannot be used to hold a parallel trial. In the instant case, having found that there was a prima facie case, the Court declined to interfere with the proceedings impugned. [Promod Adhikari v. State of Assam,2018 SCC OnLine Gau 822, dated 27-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Goutam Bhaduri, J. allowed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC by a senior citizen couple.

The petitioners, aged 89 and 77 years, were father and mother of Respondent 1. They invoked jurisdiction of the Court by moving an application under Section 24 of Maintenance and Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 for vacating the house by removing their son and daughter-in-law. A police complaint was filed alleging that the petitioners were subjected to torture, cruelty and misbehavior; they were isolated and cornered; made to live in captivity in their own house. The petitioners sought for help. The trial court dismissed the application on the ground that the eviction prayed for was of a civil nature, therefore, the application could not be entertained. The petitioners filed a revision before District and Sessions Judge which was also dismissed. Aggrieved thus, the petitioners were before the High Court.

The High Court referred to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act. It was noted that by virtue of Section 3, the Act has an overriding effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other statute. In the instant case, the ownership of the house belonged solely to the petitioner. The Court perused Section 24 and noted that the object is to protect the senior citizens and the provision is intended to provide a preventive remedy which can be granted quickly. Finally, it was observed, the anxiety to stop the right of the abuse of senior citizen(s) is to be made effective, as otherwise, it would be a symbolic collapse of the legal system by not responding to the request or by adhering to the dummy mode by courts. Under the circumstances of the case, the interim application filed by the petitioners seeking eviction of respondents was allowed. District Magistrate was directed to evict the respondents within 30 days. The petition was, thus, allowed. [Pramod Ranjankar v. Arunashankar, 2018 SCC OnLine Chh 548, dated 18-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A criminal revision petition filed under Section 320 read with Section 482 CrPC for compounding the criminal case pending against the petitioners was allowed by Single Judge Bench comprising of Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J.

The petitioners were allowed to have assaulted the complainant out of the previous enmity between them. They were tried and sentenced by the trial court under Sections 324 and 477 read with Section 34 IPC. Petitioners filed the present petition submitting that they have entered into an amicable settlement with the complainant. It was further submitted that the parties have buried their differences and disputes; they have good relations and live in peace and harmony; the complainant did not want to prosecute the matter any further.

The parties were present before the High Court and they submitted the deed of settlement by which it was clear that the complainant did not want to pursue the case further. The Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab; (2012) 10 SCC 303, wherein it was held that the powers of the High Court under Section 482 are wider than the power of a criminal court to compound an offence under Section 320 CrPC. Considering the fact that the offence for which the petitioners were charged cannot be stricto sensu held to be an offence against the State, and also that the parties have settled the suit amicably; the High Court held it to be a fit case to exercise powers under Section 482. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the matter was ordered to be compounded. [Sunit Singh v. State of H.P,2018 SCC OnLine HP 606, dated 15-05-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ, explaining the principles governing the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC, said that while the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised to secure the ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of the process of any court.

The Court summarised the elaborate principles laid down by the Supreme Court in various cases. Below is the summary of the principles:

  • The invocation of the jurisdiction of the High Court to quash a First Information Report or a criminal proceeding on the ground that a settlement has been arrived at between the offender and the victim is not the same as the invocation of jurisdiction for the purpose of compounding an offence. While compounding an offence, the power of the court is governed by the provisions of Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Also, the power to quash under Section 482 is attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable.
  • In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence. Heinous and serious offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute. Such offences are, truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact upon society. The decision to continue with the trial in such cases is founded on the overriding element of public interest in punishing persons for serious offences.
  • As distinguished from serious offences, there may be criminal cases which have an overwhelming or predominant element of a civil dispute. They stand on a distinct footing in so far as the exercise of the inherent power to quash is concerned.
  • Criminal cases involving offences which arise from commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or similar transactions with an essentially civil flavour may in appropriate situations fall for quashing where parties have settled the dispute. In such a case, the High Court may quash the criminal proceeding if in view of the compromise between the disputants, the possibility of a conviction is remote and the continuation of a criminal proceeding would cause oppression and prejudice.
  • Economic offences involving the financial and economic well-being of the state have implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere dispute between private disputants. The High Court would be justified in declining to quash where the offender is involved in an activity akin to a financial or economic fraud or misdemeanour. The consequences of the act complained of upon the financial or economic system will weigh in the balance.

The Court, however, said that the decision as to whether a complaint or First Information Report should be quashed on the ground that the offender and victim have settled the dispute, revolves ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case and no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be formulated. [Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1189, decided on 04.10.2017]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The petitioner was an IAS officer appointed in 1982 and served in MP cadre from year 2000 to 2004 as an MD of a government company incorporated under Companies Act, 1956. The Corporation had been borrowing money from various sources to advance the same in the shape of inter corporate deposits to various companies in order to facilitate industrial development in the State of Madhya Pradesh. However, after some time, corporation suffered loss and after inquiry, it was observed that Directors, Managing Directors of the Corporation had not acted bona fide leading to losses in company.

An FIR was lodged in the same respect at State Economic Offices Investigation Bureau, Bhopal under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468 and 120-B  IPC. The petitioner challenged the registration of FIR against him under Section 482 CrPC.  The High Court in 2005 had quashed the FIR against which there was an appeal in Supreme Court. The appeal was allowed directing the Economic Offence Wing every mistake or error committed by an officer need not amount to a criminal act and that in the normal course of official duties mistakes may and do occur and that the petitioner be given reasonable opportunity of projecting his own views over the matter by furnishing all the documents as are necessary for the same.

The petitioner questioned the investigation by the EOW and alleged that the same is not being done in consonance of the directions issued by the Apex Court. The petitioner contended that EOW has not conducted any ‘afresh investigation’ and relying on the earlier investigation, completed some formalities and forwarded the matter to the Union Government to accord sanction which he said is contrary to law and also, the mandate of the Apex Court as it had directed to conduct a de novo investigation referring to Vinay Tyagi v. Irshad Ali, (2013) 5 SCC 762 in which the Court had observed that fresh investigation and de novo investigation could be ordered by the higher courts.

The Court observed that in the case of Rama Chaudhary v. State of Bihar, (2009) 6 SCC 346, it has been held that fresh investigation or re-investigation to be started ab-initio wiping out the earlier investigation altogether and has specifically held that re-investigation or further investigation means additional more or supplementary investigation. Making these observations, the Division Bench held that the investigating agency has committed an error in concluding the investigation and the process of investigation adopted by the investigating agency is also contrary to the mandate of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and directed to conduct investigation in accordance with the mandate of the Supreme Court. [Sudhi Ranjan Mohanty v. UOI, 2017 SCC OnLine MP 216, dated 01.03.2017]

 

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]