Karnataka HC quashed FIR against Nityananda Swami on the grounds of vague allegations and abuse the process of law
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BANGALORE
Nithyananda Swamy vs State Of Karnataka
CRIMINAL PETITION NO.2974/2012
DATED: 15TH MARCH 2013
BEFORE: THE HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE K.N.KESHAVANARAYANA
Formerly known as Tiru Rajashekaran,
Aged about 34 years,
S/o. Sri. Arunachalam,
R/o. Nithyananda Dhyana Peetam,
Nithyanadapuri, Kallugoppanahalli Village,
Ramanagar District. …Petitioner
[By Shri Ravi B. Naik, Senior Counsel for
M/s. Ravi B. Naik Associates]
1. State of Karnataka,
By Bidadi Police Station,
Ramanagar Rural Circle,
2. Ajit Hanamakkanavar,
Suvarna News 24X7,
Bangalore – 560 001. …Respondents
[By Shri S. Dorai Raju, Spl. SPP for R-1,
Shri Sajjan Poovaiah, Adv. for R-2]
Reserved on : 28.02.2013
Pronounced on : 15.03.2013
This Criminal Petition is filed under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. by the Advocate for the petitioner praying that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to call for records in relation to the case in Crime No.293/2012 registered at Bidadi Police Station, Ramanagar District for the offences which are made penal under Sections 143, 323, 341, 504, 506 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of the complaint of the 2nd respondent which case is presently pending on the file of the Addl. Civil Judge and JMFC, Ramanagar and further be pleased to quash the FIR filed in the case, in
the ends of justice.
This Criminal Petition having been heard and reserved for orders, coming on for pronouncement of
order this day, the Court delivered the following:
In this petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the petitioner arraigned as accused No.1 in Crime No.293/2012 of Bidadi Police Station, registered for the offences punishable under Sections 143, 341, 323, 504 and 506 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, has sought for quashing of the F.I.R. as against him, inter alia on the ground that the allegations made in the F.I.R. do not make out any of the offences against him and that the continuance of the proceedings is abuse of process of the Court, therefore, it is liable to be quashed.
2. According to the Police, the aforesaid case came to be registered on the basis of a report lodged by respondent No.2 – Ajit Hanamakkanavar on 07.06.2012. In the said report, lodged by respondent No.2, it is inter alia alleged that on 07.06.2012 at about 02:00 p.m., the petitioner had convened a press meet in Dhyana Peetam Ashram near Bidadi, therefore, the complainant as head of the criminal cell of Suvarna News 24 X 7 channel, he along with cameraman and other staffs went to the Dhyana Peetam Ashram of the petitioner; that on that day morning, one of his informant had handed over an envelope stating that it contains summons issued by an American Court against the petitioner herein and the person who went thereto serve the summons on the petitioner was not allowed inside; that thereafter, he along with the said summons copy, went to the Ashram at 02:00 p.m. and during the press meet, after few initial questions to the petitioner he was asked whether Court in America has issued summons against him for which the petitioner replied in the negative and when the complainant by showing the paper in is hand stated that he has copies of the summons issued by the American Court, at that juncture, it is alleged that the petitioner became angry and asked the complainant not to come near him lest it would amount to trespass and asked his followers to drive the complainant out; that immediately, the disciples of the petitioner threatened the complainant to go out and when the complainant by placing the copy of the summons in the hands of someone stated that the summons have been served, those disciples of the petitioner pushed him out of the place of the press meet, dragged him, abused him in filthy language and by threatening the cameraman and other staffs of the complainant, sent them out of the Ashram and while the complainant alone was proceeding towards the main gate of the Ashram, suddenly four devotees of the petitioner, attacked him, assaulted him by hands on the stomach, abused him and threatened to kill him, if he found anywhere near the Dhyana Peetam and also threatened to ransack the office of the Suvarna News Channel, if the incident is telecasted in the channel.
3. After service of notice of this petition, respondent No.2 appeared through his counsel. I have heard Shri Ravi B. Naik, learned senior counsel for the petitioner and Shri S. Dorai Raju, State Public Prosecutor for respondent No.1 and learned counsel for the respondent No.2.
4. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that even the allegations made in the complaint lodged by respondent No.2 are taken to be true at its face value, it does not make out any offence against this petitioner for any of the offence alleged, therefore, this is a case which warrants exercise of the inherent power of this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash the F.I.R. as the continuance of the investigation, against this petitioner would amount to abuse of the process of law.
5. On the other hand, learned State Public Prosecutor and also learned counsel appearing for the respondent No.2 contended that the allegations made in the complaint, read as a whole prima facie make out that the incident alleged took place on account of instigation by this petitioner, therefore, this is not a case warranting exercise of the inherent power of this Court to quash the F.I.R.
6. The law as to the circumstance under which the High Court in exercise of the inherent power saved under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure could quash the complaint and F.I.R. is now very much crystallized. In State of Haryana and Others vs. Ch. Bhajan Lal and Others, AIR 1992 SC 604, the Apex Court has set out the categories of cases in which the High Court may exercise the power under article 226 of the constitution of India under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and interfere in proceedings relating to cognizable offence to prevent abuse of process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. In this decision, the Apex Court has given a note of caution that power should be exercised sparingly that too in rarest of rare cases. The categories of cases set out in the said decision which are relevant for our purpose are as under: –
“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 the materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under S.155(2) of the Code.
3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the F.I.R. 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.
5) Where the allegations made in the F.I.R. 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.
7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with malafide 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.”
7. It is well settled that while considering the pray for quashing the complaint or the F.I.R. only the averments made therein as well as the documents if any produced therein are to be looked into to find out as to whether the allegations therein constitute any offence. For this purpose, the allegations made therein will have to be accepted at its face value without ascertaining whether the allegations made are true in fact. It is also well settled that at that stage, the Court cannot look into the documents relied upon by the defence unless the documents so relied upon by the defence is beyond suspicion or doubt. Keeping these principles in mind, let me proceed to consider the case on hand. Even according to the allegations made in the complaint lodged by respondent No.2 before the jurisdictional Police, he went to attend the press meet convened in the Ashram of the petitioner. He stated to have gone there with a copy of the summons said to have been issued by a Court in America against the petitioner. During the said press meet, the complainant said to have asked the petitioner about the summons issued by the American Court and when the petitioner answered in the negative, the complainant tried to show a copy of the summons and at that juncture, the petitioner said to have became angry and asked his followers to drive the complainant out of the place. The rest of the allegations in the complaint regarding alleged assault, abuse etc. are against the disciples of this petitioner. Without going to the question as to whether or not, the complainant was authorized to serve the summons said to have been issued by an American Court against the petitioner, the alleged incident said to have occurred in a press meet convened in the Ashram of the petitioner. The overt acts attributed against this petitioner is that when the complainant wanted to show a copy of the summons said to have been issued by an American Court against the petitioner, the petitioner become angry and asked the complainant not to go near him, as it would amount to trespass and asked his followers to drive the complainant out of the place and accordingly, he was driven out of the place where the press meet was going on. It is not stated in the complaint that the alleged subsequent acts of assault and abuse on the complainant was at the instance or instigation of the petitioner. Even if the allegation against the petitioner that when the complainant tried to show a copy of the summons issued by an American Court, the petitioner became angry, asked the complainant not to come near him, as it would amount to trespass and asked his devotee/disciples to drive the complainant out of the place, are accepted as correct, in my opinion, it does not constitute any offence against the petitioner. At the first place, it is not forthcoming as to what was the right of the complainant to serve summons purported to have been issued by American Court on the petitioner in such press meet. If the complainant tried to go near the petitioner who was addressing the press meet and if the petitioner asked the complainant not to go near him stating that it would amount to trespass that by itself cannot constitute an offence. If the complainant tried to go near the petitioner and the petitioner had asked his disciples to drive the complainant out of the place, that also would not constitute any offence. Merely because the petitioner is the head of that Ashram where the alleged incident occurred, in the absence of any specific allegations in the complaint that the petitioner instigated his disciples to assault or abuse the complainant, no offence is made out against the petitioner.
8. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the allegations made in the F.I.R. against the petitioner is highly vague and in my opinion, this is a case which falls under the first category of cases referred to set out in Bhajan Lal’s case, referred to supra.
9. Regard being had to the allegations made in the F.I.R., continuance of the investigation against the petitioner would be abuse of process of law.
10. Therefore, it is a fit case for exercise of inherent power of this Court to quash the F.I.R. as against the petitioner.
Accordingly, the petition is allowed. The F.I.R. and the investigation in Crime No.243/2012 of Bidadi Police Station, as against the petitioner is hereby quashed.
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