Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Anoop Chitkara, J. entertained a criminal revision petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of the order passed by the lower Court.

The factual matrix of the case is that the victim worked as a Junior Engineer and she accused the petitioner who was a Contractor, of unnecessary calling and demanding sexual favors. The victim contended that the petitioner was continuously harassing her for many months. The victim further accused the petitioner of stalking her on social media and sending inappropriate messages. She further alleged that he used to chase her and when she strictly warned him not to indulge in these activities, then, he in connivance with some officials, got committed theft of two measurement books from her office and started blackmailing her. In this regard, he also filed one RTI application and under that pretext, he had stated that he will get everything resolved if she agrees to establish sexual relations with him. FIR was registered under Sections 354-A, 354-D, 379 and 506 IPC, 1860. After investigation, police filed a report under Section 173 CrPC and consequently, accused faced the trial. During the pendency of the trial, the victim through Public Prosecutor filed an application under Section 311 CrPC for placing on record one CD containing some vulgar remarks made by the accused. In the application, it was mentioned that such vulgar remarks had been made in the presence of one individual who was also a Government Contractor. The victim in the application contended that the CD was very material and necessary for the proper adjudication of the trial and similarly examination of the individual witness was also necessary to corroborate the allegation recorded in the CD.

Subsequently, the trial court had ordered the examination of the witness under Section 311 CrPC and also to put the electronic evidence on record about which the victim had already given reference. The petitioner challenged the order. 

The counsel for the petitioner Peeyush Verma, submitted two limbs of arguments, and the first was scope and power under Section 311 CrPC to summon such evidence at a belated stage and the second limb was that the application was simply a tactics played by the victim to drag on the prosecution and delay the outcome of the trial. On the contrary the counsel for the victim had placed reliance on Zahira Habibullah Sheikh v. State of Gujarat, (2006) 3 SCC 374, where it was held that, “The object underlying Section 311 of the Code is that there may not be failure of justice on account of mistake of either party in bringing the valuable evidence on record or leaving ambiguity in the statements of the witnesses examined from either side. The determinative factor is whether it is essential to the just decision of the case.

It was observed by the Court that, powers to summon any witness can be invoked even if the evidence of both the sides were closed so long the Court retains the seasons of the criminal proceedings. Hence, the Section was not only limited for the benefit of the accused, but the Section was also a general provision which applied to all proceedings, enquiries and trials. 

To counter the arguments of the victim the counsel for the petitioner placed reliance upon Section 65 of the Evidence Act, wherein the mandatory requirement of Certificate being annexed with the electronic record was missing. The other contention was that the main allegation of the victim in the complaint was that the accused conducted theft of measurement books, whereas the police did not find any substance in her allegations and cancellation report was filed.

To repeal the above-mentioned contention, the Additional Advocate General, submitted that the aforementioned case the victim had made a false complaint, and then they can always take recourse to Section 182 of the Penal Code. He further contended that this was no ground to deny the leading of the additional evidence which related to vulgar remarks, it was also well noted that bare reading of this application under Section 311 CrPC which led to the passing of the impugned order was cryptic and did not contain the transcript of the CD. 

Court was of the opinion that there was no necessity to refer all the vulgar remarks in such kind of application because the victim had placed on record CD, which can always be played by the Court to decipher the allegations. This was not an order, but allegations of vulgar remarks by a lady and the possibility cannot be ruled out that to save her dignity, she might have restrained from reproducing the text of the audio recording. Even otherwise, in the absence of hearing the CD, no conclusion can be drawn that it did contain obscene language or not. Hence, the Court dismissed the petition as it did not find any merits. [Sham Singh v. State of Himachal Pradesh, CrMMO No. 155 of 2019, decided on 09-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: R. Narayana Pishardi, J. allowed a petition seeking the quashing of prosecution proceedings in view of the settlement of the matter between the petitioners and the respondent.

The petitioners and some other persons had trespassed into the second respondent’s property and threatened her and committed theft of some trees from the property. After completing the investigation of the case, a chargesheet was filed against the petitioners for offences punishable under Sections 447 (criminal trespass), 379 (punishment for theft) and 506 (criminal intimidation) read with Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Penal Code, 1860. The Magistrate took cognizance of the aforesaid offences. The prayer in this petition was to quash the entire proceedings in the case against the petitioners.

The learned counsel for the petitioners, V.G. Arun, produced an affidavit in which the respondent stated that the matter had been compromised with the accused in the presence of mediators and that she did not want to prosecute the case further and that she had no objection to quash further proceedings in the case.

The counsel for the respondent, Dileep D Bhat, did not dispute the genuineness of the said affidavit or the contents therein. The learned Public Prosecutor produced before the Court, a copy of the statement given to the police by the second respondent on 06-12-2017 in which it was mentioned that the person who had really caused trouble to her was no more and that she had got no complaint against the other person.

The Court observed that the offences alleged against the petitioners were not heinous and had no serious impact on society. The Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, to hold that under the given circumstances, though the offences were non-compoundable, prosecution proceedings could be quashed by invoking the power of the Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

In view of the settlement of the matter between the petitioners/accused and the second respondent, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the entire proceedings pending before the lower court.[Stanly v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1614, decided on 23-05-2019]

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

Kerala High Court: R. Narayana Pisharadi, J. allowed a petition filed by bank official praying for quashing proceedings initiated against him for abetting suicide of a student who had applied for an education loan to the bank where he was working, holding that there was no mens rea involved on his part.

In the present case, a student named Sruthi, from a financially backward family approached a bank several times for education loan. The bank rejected her applications for education loan and in despair, she committed suicide. Later, two bank officers (manager and the deputy manager of the bank) had to face prosecution for abetting her suicide by rejecting her application for loan and it was also stated by the father of the deceased that when the deceased was brought to the hospital she told him that she met the petitioner before the accident and the petitioner told her that if her loan was not sanctioned then she had no option other than dying. The brother (respondent) of the deceased gave the first information statement to the police and the case was registered under Section 306 of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). After investigation, a final report was filed by the police under Section 306 IPC read with Section 34 of IPC. The concerned Magistrate committed the case to the Court of Session. The petitioner approached this Court to quash all the proceedings in the instant case under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC).

Learned counsels on behalf of the petitioners, S. Sreekumar, P. Paulochan Antony, M.A. Mohammed Siraj, P. Martin Jose, P. Prijith and Thomas P. Kuruvill, submitted that even if allegations raised against the petitioner in the final report were true, no offence was committed under Section 306 IPC as there was no direct nexus between the rejection of the application of loan by the petitioner and the suicide committed by the deceased. There was no proximity of time between the alleged act committed and the act of the victim. Non-sanctioning of education loan by the petitioner to the deceased could not be considered as facilitation of commission of suicide on their part as there was no malicious intention or instigation. Further, according to the copy of norms, loan application had to be disposed of within fifteen days but the deceased committed suicide without even waiting for the fate of her loan application. Lastly, no material was produced by the prosecution to prove that the petitioner told the deceased to commit suicide

Learned counsel on behalf of the respondent S. Manu, and Public Prosecutor M.N. Maya, contented that allegations in the final report along with the materials produced by the prosecution showed that the petitioner had abetted the commission of suicide by the deceased.  

The Court opined that the prosecution had not made any prima facie case against the petitioner for committing an offence punishable under Section 306 IPC and continuance of the proceedings against the petitioners would be an abuse of process of the Court. The Court also observed that even according to the prosecution case, only when the deceased told the first petitioner that in case the loan was not sanctioned she would have no option other than to die, that the first petitioner told her to go and do so. Thus, the remark regarding death was initially made not by the first petitioner, but by the deceased. The fact that the first petitioner had retorted to the deceased in such a manner in such a situation, in a fit of anger or emotion or at the spur of the moment, did not lead to an inference that he had instigated the deceased to commit suicide. Reliance in this regard was placed on Pawan Kumar v. State of Himachal Pradesh, (2017) 7 SCC 780. Thus, all proceedings against the petitioners were quashed.[Harikrishnan v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1767, decided on 10-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Rajbir Sehrawat, J. quashed the FIR after the parties entered into the compromise as same was held to be done with the free consent and without any pressure.

A petition was filed under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing the FIR and all consequential proceedings as parties have entered into compromise against the offence committed under Section 420 of the Penal Code, 1860.

A report was received from the Judicial Magistrate in which it had been noticed that the matter has been compromised with the intervention of respectable and friends of both the parties, compromise has been affected with their free consent and without any pressure or undue influence from any quarter.

High Court while allowing the petition discussed resolving the civil and criminal dispute by giving absolute freedom to the parties to settle their dispute by compromise with certain legal consequences. The court with regard to the compromised in criminal cases said that In criminal cases as tend to cast their effect and consequences even upon the society at large. Therefore, the law prescribes punishment, severe punishments and extreme punishments, including the death penalty for criminal acts. The criminal law provides for the compromise between the parties under Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which permits compounding even at the appellate and revisional stage but this section relates only to the offences prescribed under the Indian Penal Code. For other offences the power lies with the High Court in order to maintain the sanctity of the procedure prescribed for a criminal trial.

Further, the Court also put forth the case of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 in which the Supreme Court had amply clarified the legal position in recognizing the position of compromise. The court in the above mentioned case held that the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.”

Thus the Court held that no useful purpose would be served by keeping the proceedings alive. It will be in the interest of justice, if the settlement reached between the parties is accepted.[Harmesh Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1322, decided on 29-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Rekha Dikshit, J. while disposing of this petition directed the lower court to consider the bail application (if moved by the petitioners) in the light of the judgment passed by the seven Judges’ Bench of this Court in Amarawati v. State of U.P., 2004 SCC OnLine All 1112, as approved by the Supreme Court in Lal Kamlendra Pratap Singh v. State of U.P., (2009) 4 SCC 437.

In the instant case, the petition was filed to quash the summoning order by 2nd Additional Sessions Judge/Special Judge, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Raebareli in Complaint Case No. 73 of 2018 of Mahavir v. Devendra Bahadur Singh.

Counsel for the Petitioners, Vinod Kumar Pandey submitted that the petitioners have not committed any offence and have been falsely implicated and moreover there are no independent witnesses to support the case at hand. It was further submitted that the petitioners were willing to surrender and asked for protection.

Counsel for the Respondent, the AGA submitted that the summoning order was passed on the basis of the evidence recorded under Sections 200 and 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Court after analyzing the submissions of the parties cited some relevant cases helpful in understanding the matter at hand.

In Nirmaljit Singh Hoon v. State of W.B., (1973) 3 SCC 753, it was held that Section 203 CrPC does not entail that a regular trial for adjudging the truth or otherwise by the accusation made against the accused should take place at this stage.

In Chandra Deo Singh v. Prokash Chandra Bose, 1964 (1) SCR 693 was held that at the stage of enquiry under Section 202 CrPC, the test was whether there was sufficient ground for proceeding and not whether there was sufficient ground for conviction.

In Nagwwa v. Veeranna Shivalingappa, Konjalgi, 1976 (1) ACC 225 (S.C.) while considering the scope of enquiry under Section 202 CrPC, the Supreme Court held that the order of issuing process can be quashed where the allegations made in the complaint or the statements of the witnesses recorded in support of the same taken at their face value makes absolutely no case against the accused or the complaint does not disclose the essential ingredients of an offence which is alleged against the accused.

In S.W. Palanitkar v. State of Bihar, (2002) 1 SCC 241, the Supreme Court held that when the Magistrate has to pass an order under Section 203 CrPC searching sufficient ground to convict is not necessary.

The Court observed that in the instant case, the Magistrate after considering the evidence recorded under Sections 200 and 202 CrPC, concluded that the applicants have, prima facie, committed offence and in these circumstances, it cannot be held that the Magistrate has committed any illegality or impropriety in passing the impugned order.

The Court held that there is no substantial ground to justify interference by this Court under Section 482 CrPC Though, the applicants have a right to be discharged under Sections 239,227,228 and 245 CrPC. [Devendra Bahadur Singh v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 2743, decided on 25-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: R. Narayana Pisharadi, J. dismissed a petition seeking to quash a complaint filed under Section 142 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The complainant and the accused were close relatives. The accused had borrowed an amount of Rs 35,00,000 from the complainant. The cheque given by the accused to repay the money was dishonored due to insufficient funds. The complainant received intimation of this on 13-02-2014 and he sent a notice regarding the same to the accused on 15-02-2015 which was received by him on 17-02-2014.

The learned counsel for the petitioner, K.B. Pradeep, submitted that no demand for payment of the amount of the cheque was made by the complainant as per the notice sent by him under clause (b) of the proviso to Section 138 of the Act and therefore, the notice was defective and the proceedings initiated against the petitioner pursuant to such notice could not be sustained.

The counsel representing the complainant, K.K. Dheerendrakrishnan, contended that the requirement under clause (b) of the proviso to Section 138 of the Act had been complied with.

The High Court observed that a demand for payment of the amount of the cheque by sending a notice in writing was an essential condition for filing such a complaint was a condition precedent for filing a complaint about an offence under Section 138 of the NI Act. The Court relied on K.R. Indira v. G. Adinarayana, (2003) 8 SCC 300 in which it was held that if no demand for payment of amount was made, the notice would fall short of its legal requirement. The Court, on a perusal of the said notice, found that demand of payment of the amount was made in the notice sent by the complainant. In view thereof, the Court held that the impugned notice was meeting the requirements as under Section 138(b) of the Act. The Court also declined the petitioner’s contention that the notice was defective as the nature of the debt or liability was not mentioned. It was held that there was no statutory mandate that the notice should narrate the nature of debt or liability. All the other pleas of the petitioners were not sustained as they were pertaining to questions of facts and the Court held that it would not express its view on disputed questions of fact in a petition under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1974.

In view of the above, the Court held that the impugned notice met the requirement under Clause (b) of the proviso to Section 138 of the Act and hence the petition to quash the said complaint was dismissed.[B. Surendra Das v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1624, decided on 20-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J. dismissed a petition filed by Prisoners Right Forum against the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate whereby he had dismissed a complaint filed in the matter of the death of a prisoner in judicial custody. It was held that the forum, being a third party who was neither a victim not an aggrieved person, had no locus standi to file the present petition.

The deceased, a prisoner, died in judicial custody in April, 2014. An FIR was registered, enquiry conducted, and criminal proceedings initiated against the respondent officials. However, ultimately, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate came to the conclusion that no offence was established against the accused persons, and therefore he dismissed the complaint. The said order was challenged by the Forum in the present petition under Section 482 CrPC.

The High Court was of the opinion that the preliminary issue to be decided was as to the locus standi of the petitioner Forum to file the petition. M. Radhakrishnan, Advocate led arguments on behalf of the Forum. Per contra, the respondents were represented by C. Emilias, Additional General, assisted by M. Mohamed Tiyaz, APP; and Senior Advocate N.R. Elango; and A. Gokulakrishnan, Advocate; all of whom opposed the petition.

The Court noted that the term locus standi is commonly understood as the right or the capacity to bring an action or to appear in a Court. The march of law, more particularly by way of public interest litigations, has now allowed anyone from the society, not related to the cause of action to approach the Court seeking justice for those who cannot or who could not approach themselves or in cases which involves the public interest at large. However, it was held that such right cannot be extended in a criminal case to a third party who is not in any way related to the case. It was observed: “If this practice is permitted in a casual manner, a meddlesome bystander can easily decide to attack a person who has been held to be not guilty by a Subordinate Court, by initiating a frivolous proceeding and thereby cause irretrievable injury to the life and liberty of the accused person.” The only exception that has been created in this regard is by the Supreme Court which has held that third parties will have right, in very exceptional cases, to approach the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. Reference was made to Amanullah v. State of Bihar, (2016) 6 SCC 699; National Commission for Women v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2010) 12 SCC 599; Harsh Mandar v. Amit Anilchandra Shah, (2017) 13 SCC 420.

Holding that the petitioner had no locus standi to maintain the present petition, the Court dismissed the same.[Prisoners Right Forum v. State of T.N., 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 2476, decided on 22-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Hari Pal Verma, J. quashed the criminal proceeding as there was a compromise signed between the parties.

A petition was filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing the FIR registered under Sections 406, 498-A of the Penal Code, 1860.

The records of the case are such that the parties appeared before the Judicial Magistrate 1st Class in which it was submitted that compromise was effected between the parties voluntarily without any coercion or undue influence. The complainant/respondent made a joint statement in which she had made the statement regarding the compromise between the two.

Gaganpreet Kaur, counsel for State had not disputed the fact of the compromise between the parties.

The Court thus opined that no useful purpose would be served to continue with the proceedings before the trial court. The Court reiterated the case of Gold Quest International (P) Ltd. v. State of T.N., 2014 (4) RCR (Criminal) 206, in which the Supreme Court held that “disputes which are substantially matrimonial in nature, or the civil property disputes with criminal facets, if the parties have entered into settlement, and it has become clear that there are no chances of conviction, there is no illegality in quashing the proceedings under Section 482 CrPC read with Article 226 of the Constitution.” Thus, all the proceeding was quashed qua the petitioner on the basis of the compromise entered between the parties.[Pankaj v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1112, decided on 04-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: Dr A.K. Mishra J., allowed a criminal miscellaneous appeal to quash an on-going proceeding and also a cognizance order dated 07-02-2011 passed by the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate on the ground of settlement reached between the parties.

In the instant case, the petitioner, husband and the opposite party 2, the wife, had settled their marital dispute and had reached a divorce. However, the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, on finding sufficient grounds had taken cognizance of the matter on police report under Sections 498-A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and  406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Penal Code, 1860. The parties thereafter reached a settlement and approached the High Court under Section 482 (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash the criminal proceedings and the impugned order of the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate.

The Learned Additional Government advocate representing the opposite party 1, S. Pattnaik did not dispute the fact of settlement between the parties. The Learned advocate also brought to the High Court’s notice the joint memorandum filed in the Family Court, Srikakulam, that the wife should take necessary steps to withdraw the Criminal Case in order to maintain amity.

Counsel representing the petitioner, Samir Ku. Mishra agreed to the fact of settlement between the parties.

The High Court, felt justified to quash the criminal proceeding and the impugned judgment to prevent oppression and prejudice. The Court also placed reliance on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641, and quoted “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.” The Supreme Court laid down that the serious offences under criminal cases shall be distinguished from criminal cases having an “overwhelming or predominant element of civil dispute” and in such cases, the High Court shall be able to exercise power under Section 482 CrPC.

Thus, in the present case the High Court reiterated the position and stated that noting the gravity of the offence having a civil element, the Court exercised its power under Section 482 CrPC.[Ashish Kumar Rout v. State of Orissa, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 222, decided on 02-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. dismissed an application filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 praying for quashing of cognizance taken against petitioner, in a case pertaining to demand of dowry and torture therefor.

Petitioner, along with eight others, was charged with offence of torture, assault, demand of dowry and conspiracy to kill the opposite party 2 (daughter-in-law of the petitioner herein). In a complaint case filed by opposite party 2, the learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate passed an order taking cognizance of offences under Sections 323, 498-A of Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Aggrieved thereby, the instant application was filed praying for quashing of the said order.   

Learned counsel for the petitioner, Sanjay Kumar Ojha, contended that the opposite party 2 did not reside in the matrimonial home and she had got divorced from the petitioner’s son in 2011.

Learned Assistant Public Prosecutor, Jharkhandi Upadhyay contended that the matrimonial case wherein divorce was granted to opposite party 2, was filed in the year 2010 while the complaint case in question was filed in 2004. Thus, the opposite party 2 was still the petitioner’s daughter-in-law when the complaint case was filed. Hence, the petitioner’s main contention of divorce was of no relevance. Further, the cognizance order in complaint case, was passed in the year 2003, i.e., ten and a half years ago, which made the application unfit for consideration. 

The Court noted that the complaint case was of the year 2004 and the order of cognizance was also of the same year. Thus, the present application, filed in the year 2015, challenging cognizance order of the year 2004 was clearly unfit to be entertained on the ground of gross delay and laches. Further, the main contention of the petitioner that her son and opposite party  2, were already divorced, was of no consequence, as the matrimonial case (for divorce) was filed in the year 2010 by opposite party 2; and that itself was proof of the fact that she was tortured in the matrimonial home. 

In view of the above, it was held that the cognizance order did not suffer from any infirmity, and it did not warrant any interference by the Court in exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 CrPC.[Sushila Devi v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 653, decided on 13-05-2019] 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The Division Bench of Daya Chaudhary & Sudhir Mittal, JJ. allowed the application for the enhancement of compensation to minor rape victim under Punjab Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017.

An application for enhancement of compensation was made in this case which was awarded by Sessions Judge.

The victim child was awarded compensation of Rs 6000 out of the amount of fine. The appeal was filed for enhancement of compensation which was earlier admitted. Victim (minor) through her natural guardian and mother also filed an application under Section 482 CrPC read with Section 357-A CrPC seeking recommendation to Respondent 2 i.e. District Legal Services Authority to grant compensation to her under the Punjab Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017 framed under Section 357-A of CrPC.

Ravinder Kaur Manaise, Counsel for the applicant submitted that applicant-victim was five years of age at the time of occurrence and suffered injury. It was submitted that for her physical and mental rehabilitation adequate compensation is required to be awarded to her as per Punjab Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017.

H.S. Sullar, DAG, Punjab for the respondent contended that the amount of compensation can be recovered from the accused, later on as he was in custody.

The Court referred to the Punjab Victim Compensation Scheme and noted the relevant clause of the said scheme as “the applicant is entitled to compensation, which is to be disbursed through the Bank account of the victim or through a designated person to be nominated by the Punjab Legal Services Authority or District Legal Services Authority as the case may be. The compensation is required to be paid in lump sum or in two installments as decided by the Punjab Legal Services Authority or District Legal Services Authority.” Regarding the amount of the compensation it was directed that “in case victim is less than 14 years of age, the amount of compensation is to be increased by 50% over the amount specified in the schedule, meaning, thereby, she is entitled to Rs 4,50,000.”  Thus, the petition was allowed and respondents were directed to grant the compensation to minor as per Punjab Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017. It was further directed that the Punjab State Legal Services Authority was at liberty to recover the amount so paid to the victim from the accused. [‘X’ v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1026, decided on 22-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Dinesh Kumar Singh, J. disposed of the petition on the ground that no substantial ground was made for exercising the power under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

A petition was filed in order to quash the summoning order passed by 1st Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate under Section 498-A, 323, 504 and 506 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Rajendra Prasad, counsel for the petitioner submits that First Information Report had been lodged against the petitioner on the basis of false and fabricated facts. It was also submitted that the petitioner was ready to surrender before the court below and some protection may be granted to him.

The Additional Government Advocate had opposed the petition. It was discussed that the  power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 was not to be exercised in a routine manner, but it is for limited purposes, namely, to give effect to any order under the Code, or to prevent abuse of process of any Court or otherwise to secure ends of justice. It was reiterated that according to the precedents the power under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 should not preempt a trial and cannot be used in a routine manner so as to cut short the entire process of the trial before the courts below.

Case of  Lee Kun Hee v. State of U.P., JT 2012 (2) SC 237, was brought in light,  in which it was held that “Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC cannot go into the truth or otherwise of the allegations and appreciate evidence, if any, available on record. Interference would be justified only when a clear case of such interference is made out. Frequent and uncalled interference even at the preliminary stage by High Court may result in causing an obstruction in the progress of inquiry in a criminal case which may not be in public interest”

High Court after perusal of matter on record opined it cannot be said that a cognizable offence was not made out and thus there was no sufficient ground to quash the impugned proceedings, although it was directed that if the petitioner surrenders before the court within ten days with an application for bail the same shall be considered and disposed of expeditiously in accordance with the law.[Anil Kumar Srivastava v. State of U.P, 2019 SCC OnLine All 2299, decided on 01-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of T.V. Nalawade and K.K. Sonawane, JJ. refused to exercise jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC in favour of the petitioners, even though the parties had resolved the dispute amicably in between them.

The petitioners were booked for various offences including Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), etc. read with Section 34 IPC, and Sections 4 and 25 of the Arms Act. The petitioners preferred the present petition to quash the criminal proceedings in the case registered against them, on the ground that the dispute had been settled amicably between the petitioners and the complainant.

The High Court noted that the allegations against the petitioners were serious and heinous in nature. The petitioners attacked the complainant with lethal weapons like sword, knife, iron rod, etc. and inflicted fatal injuries on the vital part of the body. It was observed that the offences under Sections 307 and 326 are held serious and heinous offences in the eye of law, which would cause social impact. It is a rule of law that while dealing with the application to compound the offences, on the ground of compromise, it is essential to take into consideration the distinction between the personal and private offences and its impact on the society at large.

Referring to a plethora of judicial precedents on the subject, the Court reached the conclusion that the petition needs to be dismissed. It was held: “The gravity of offences and the conduct of the petitioners do not persuade ourselves to quash the proceeding in exercise of powers under Section 482 CrPC. As referred above, offences under Sections 307 and 326 are non-compoundable offences. While committing offences, the petitioners/accused used lethal weapons like sword/knife, iron rod etc.  Pending investigation, the petitioners anyhow managed to enter into the compromise with the complainant but it would not sub-serve the purpose. In case compromise is accepted , it may result in cynical disregard of law, which would have serious impact on the society at large and the people may lose faith in the justice delivery system. In such circumstances, the very purpose and object of legislation about deterrent punishment would be frustrated.”

In such view of the matter, the Court dismissed the petition and directed the prosecution to proceed further with criminal proceedings registered against the petitioners. [Yogesh v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 1039, decided on 13-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: N.S. Dhanik, J. contemplated a criminal application for quashing of the FIR filed against the applicant-husband by his wife for alleged cruelty and criminal intimidation under the relevant sections of IPC.

The respondent had filed an FIR against the applicant and his relatives for harassing and treating her with cruelty for an alleged dowry to an extent that the respondent had to leave her matrimonial house and reside somewhere else. On the impugned FIR the police conducted an investigation and thereafter filed a charge-sheet against the applicant. Applicant was duly summoned by the Magistrate. Charges against the applicant were under Sections 323, 498-A, 504, 506 IPC.

Vikas Kumar Guglani, learned counsel for the applicant submitted that it was a matrimonial dispute and was a private affair between the husband and wife but due to certain misunderstandings the FIR was registered, hence for the betterment of the institution of marriage the Court must quash the proceedings against the applicant.

The Court thus stated that it was settled law that the power under Section 482 CrPC should be exercised very sparingly and this power should not be exercised to stifle the legitimate trial and in cases where facts are hazy. Court doesn’t find reason to interfere in the proceedings against the applicant. However, it directed that if the accused-applicant surrendered him before the Magistrate concerned, his bail application was to be considered and decided as expeditiously as possible.[Ramesh Chandra Joshi v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 505, decided on 17-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The instant petition was entertained by Ravindra Maithani, J. where the petitioner under Section 482 CrPC applied for quashing of the chargesheet and impugned cognizance order for offence under Section 420 IPC, which was pending before Civil Judge. 

Petitioner had stated that an FIR was lodged in 2016 against him, where the petitioner was accused of cheating 52 students. In the FIR it was stated that, the petitioner took the educational documents, photos, identity card as well as income certificate of all those students and got them admitted in more than one colleges and thereby received the scholarship. In the FIR name of 41 such students have been mentioned. After investigation charge sheet was submitted against the petitioner. The Investigating Officer found the allegations levelled in the FIR as true.

Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that the allegations were not believable; It was categorically averred that one person cannot do such an act on his own; what was requested was that direction may be issued that bail application of the petitioner may be considered on the same day when it was presented before the court. 

The Court observed that the petitioner had filed the present application under Section 482, material that was also available at this stage before the Court was an FIR, which definitely discloses the commission of cognizable offence and a charge sheet, which stated that in fact, the offence as alleged in the FIR has been proved. In the absence of any other material, the Court didn’t presume that the story was not believable. Investigating Officer had found that the offence was committed. Therefore, there was no reason to make any interference and the petition deserved to be dismissed.[Chandra Kiran v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 506, decided on 29-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: R. Narayana Pisharadi, J. allowed the petition filed by the husband and directed the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class to stop all the proceedings against him under Section 376 of the Penal Code, 1860.

In the present case, the petitioner and the first respondent were in love with each other and petitioner had promised to marry her. Respondent had sexual intercourse with the petitioner on the basis of the promise of marriage. When the petitioner took her to the house of his relatives, they threatened her. Apprehending that they would harm her she escaped and reported the matter to police and charges under Section 376 of Penal Code, 1860 were set against him. After a short time span, both petitioner and respondent solemnized their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Petitioner sought to set aside the proceedings against him by invoking power of the Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The main question to be considered by the Court was whether the marriage between the accused and the victim can be considered as a sufficient ground to quash the prosecution proceedings against the petitioner.

The respondent submitted that she had no grievance against the petitioner and no objection in setting aside the proceeding against him. In the affidavit filed by the respondent she had stated that she was forced to sign the first information statement at the instance of her mother and other relatives and that she had no intention to implicate the petitioner in a case of rape.

The Court placed relevance on Anurag Soni v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 509 where the principle was laid that if it was found that from the inception the accused had promised the prosecutrix to marry her without any intention to marry and the consent for sexual intercourse was based on such promise then such consent could be said to be obtained on a misconception of fact as per Section 90 of IPC. It was also acknowledged that consensual physical relationship between the parties would not constitute an offence punishable under Section 376 of IPC and it must be carefully examined that whether the accused had actually wanted to marry the victim or had made a false promise of marriage only to satisfy his lust.

It was noted that in the present case, the petitioner had no fraudulent intention in promising marriage to the respondent. The promise made by him was not a false promise made only with the intention to satisfy his lust. This was evident from the fact that he married the victim lady within a short period after the incident.

Considering all the facts and circumstances it was a fit case for exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC, and proceedings against petitioner were set aside.[Denu P. Thampi v. X, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1639, decided on 27-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: Alexander Thomas, J. allowed a writ petition for quashing the criminal proceedings against rape accused who later on married the victim.

In the instant case, the petitioner (‘accused’ before the trial court) was alleged to have committed offences punishable under Section 366A, 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 3(a) read with Section 4 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

The counsels for the petitioner, C.S. Manu and S.K. Premraj, contended before the High Court that the petitioner had settled the disputes amicably with the respondent (‘victim’ before the trial court) by solemnizing marriage with her as per the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and they had a daughter aged four months out of the wedlock. The petitioner also produced a Marriage Certificate issued by the statutory Marriage Officer.

Anoop Joseph, counsel appearing for the respondent also pointed out that, since the respondent had already married the petitioner, it would be in her interest that the impugned criminal proceedings be quashed; otherwise her marital life would be put into jeopardy, and there would be no one to take care of her as well as her young child hardly aged 4 months.

The Court observed that, though the grave and serious offences as the one under Section 376 of the Penal Code could not be the subject matter for quashing on the ground of settlement between the accused and the victim; but relying on its judgment in Freddy @ Antony Francis v. State of Kerala, 2018 (1) KLD 558, it held that “the exception to the above approach could be in cases where the accused has married the defacto complainant and they have decided to settle all the disputes and for the predominant purpose of the welfare of the de-facto complainant/ victim, to ensure her better future life, it is only just and proper that this Court in exercise of the extra ordinary inherent powers under Section 482 of the CrPC could quash the impugned criminal proceedings on the ground of settlement between the parties in cases where the accused has married the defacto complainant and the de-facto complainant is insisting for quashing of the impugned criminal proceedings, etc.”

In the light of the above, more particularly in the light of the submission made by the respondent, the Court allowed the plea for quashing of impugned criminal proceedings.[Ashiq N.A. v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1731, decided on 23-05-2019]

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]