Meaning of Inherent power of High Court applying criminal Jurisdiction

It is evident that inherent powers can be exercised only to prevent the abuse of the process of the court and to secure the ends of justice. However, powers can be used provided there is no prohibition for passing such an order under the provisions of Code of criminal Procedure. and there is no provision under which the party can seek redressal of its grievance. Under the garb of exercising inherent powers, the criminal Court cannot review its judgment. Such powers are analogous to the provisions of Section 151 Code of Civil Procedure and can be exercised only to do real and substantial justice. The rule of inherent powers has its source in the maxim ‘Quadolex aliquid alicui concedit, concedere videtur id sine quo ipsa, ess uon potest’ which means that when the law gives anything to anyone, it gives also all those things without which the thing itself could not exist. The order cannot be passed by-passing the procedure prescribed by law. The court in exercise of its power under Section 482 Code of criminal Procedure. cannot direct a particular agency to investigate the matter or to investigate a case from a particular angle or by a procedure not prescribed in Code of criminal Procedure. Such powers should be exercised very sparingly to prevent abuse of process of any court. Courts must be careful to see that its decision in exercise of this power is based on sound principles.

To inhere means that it forms a necessary part and belongs as an attribute in the nature of things. The High Court under Section 482 Code of criminal Procedure. is crowned with a statutory power to exercise control over the administration of justice in criminal proceedings within its territorial jurisdiction. This is to ensure that proceedings undertaken under the Code of criminal Procedure. are executed to secure the ends of justice. For this, the Legislature has empowered the High Court with an inherent authority which is repository under the Statute. The Legislature therefore clearly intended the existence of such power in the High Court to control proceedings initiated under the Code of criminal Procedure. Conferment of such inherent power might be necessary to prevent the miscarriage of justice and to prevent any form of injustice. However, it is to be understood that it is neither divine nor limitless. It is not to generate unnecessary indulgence. The power is to protect the system of justice from being polluted during the administration of justice under the Code. The High Court can intervene where it finds the abuse of the process of any court which means, that wherever an attempt to secure something by abusing the process is located, the same can be rectified by invoking such power. There has to be a nexus and a direct co-relation to any existing proceeding, not foreclosed by any other form under the Code, to the subject matter for which such power is to be exercised.

Application under Section 482 Code of criminal Procedure. lies before the High Court against an order passed by the court subordinate to it in a pending case/proceedings. Generally, such powers are used for quashing criminal proceedings in appropriate cases. Such an application does not lie to initiate criminal proceedings or set the criminal law in motion. Inherent jurisdiction can be exercised if the order of the Subordinate Court results in the abuse of the ‘process’ of the court and/or calls for interference to secure the ends of justice. The use of word ‘process’ implies that the proceedings are pending before the Subordinate Court. When reference is made to the phrase ‘to secure the ends of justice’, it is in fact in relation to the order passed by the Subordinate Court and it cannot be understood in a general connotation of the phrase. More so, while entertaining such application the proceedings should be pending in the Subordinate Court. In case it attained finality, the inherent powers cannot be exercised. Party aggrieved may approach the appellate/revisional forum. Inherent jurisdiction can be exercised if injustice done to a party, e.g., a clear mandatory provision of law is overlooked or where different accused in the same case are being treated differently by the Subordinate Court.

An inherent power is not an omnibus for opening a pandorabox, that too for issues that are foreign to the main context. The invoking of the power has to be for a purpose that is connected to a proceeding and not for sprouting an altogether new issue. A power cannot exceed its own authority beyond its own creation. It is not that a person is remediless. On the contrary, the constitutional remedy of writs are available. Here, the High Court enjoys wide powers of prerogative writs as compared to that under Section 482 Code of criminal Procedure. To secure the corpus of an individual, remedy by way of habeas corpus is available. For that the High Court should not resort to inherent powers under Section 482 Code of criminal Procedure. as the Legislature has conferred separate powers for the same. Needless to mention that Section 97 Code of criminal Procedure. empowers Magistrates to order the search of a person wrongfully confined. It is something different that the same court exercising authority can, in relation to the same subject matter, invoke its writ jurisdiction as well. Nevertheless, the inherent powers are not to provide universal remedies. The power cannot be and should not be used to belittle its own existence. One cannot concede anarchy to an inherent power for that was never the wisdom of the Legislature. To confer un-briddled inherent power would itself be trenching upon the authority of the Legislature.[ State of Punjab Versus Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Others 160621 : (2011) 13 SCALE 394]