CIVIL

Limitations in exercising the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution or under Section 482, Cr. P.C. to quash the criminal proceedings at the stage of F. I. R.

In State of Haryana v. Ch.Bhajan Lal, (1992) 1 Suppl. SCC 335, this Court has exhaustively considered after having referred to a number of decisions, the limitations in exercising the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution or under Section 482, Cr. P.C. to quash the criminal proceedings at the stage of F. I. R. with a view to prevent abuse of process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. It was held thus:

“In the backdrop of the interpretation of the various relevant provisions of the Code under Chapter XIV and of the principles of law enunciated by this Court in a series of decisions relating to the exercise of the extraordinary power under Article 226 or the inherent powers under S. 482 of the Code which we have extracted and reproduced above, we give the following categories of cases by way of illustration wherein such power could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, though it may not be possible to lay down any precise clearly defined and sufficiently channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and to give an exhaustive list of myriad kinds of cases wherein such power should be exercised.

(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

(2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of S. 155(2) of the Code.

(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under S. 155(2) of the Code.

(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and /or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/ or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to Private and personal grudge.”

To the same effect is the ratio laid down in Janta Dal v. H. S. Chowdhary, (1992) 4 SCC 305. In the above, case this Court has exhaustively dealt with the scope of inherent powers conferred by S. 482, Cr. P.C. and it was held thus: “This inherent power conferred by S. 482 of the Code should not be exercised to stifle a legitimate prosecution. The High Court being the highest Court of a State should normally refrain from giving a premature decision in a case wherein the entire facts are extremely incomplete and hazy, more so when the evidence has not been collected and produced before the Court and the issues involved Whether factual or legal are of great magnitude and cannot be seen in their true perspective without sufficient material. Of course, no hard and fast rule can be laid down in regard to the cases in which the High Court will exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction of quashing the proceedings at any stage. This Court in State of Haryana v. Ch. Bhajan Lal. (1992) 1 Suppl. SCC 335, to which both of us were parties have dealt with this question at length and enunciated the law listing out the circumstances under which the High Court can exercise its jurisdiction in quashing proceedings.”

It is also further reiterated that at the stage of the FIR the Courts should refrain from interfering when the FIR discloses the commission of a cognizable offence and statutory power of police to investigate cannot be interfered with in exercise of the inherent power of the Court.

 

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