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Grounds For Quashing of FIR

The purpose of Law is not only to punish the guilty but also to rescue the innocent. Sometimes false cases are being filed on the innocent. These cases are frivolous and should not be pursued against the alleged person. Supreme Court and High court has power to quash a FIR such cases. The Apex court has to quash a FIR very cautiously and sparingly and has to see many reasons in the case for quashing an FIR. Inherent Powers are in Section 482 CrPC.

Grounds for Quashing of FIR

The CrPC, 1973, Section 482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court says that, Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

In State of Haryana v. Bhajan lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 and Indian Oil Corpn. v. NEPC India Ltd. (2006) 6 SCC 736, The Supreme Court considered in detail the provisions of Section 482 and the power of the High Court to quash criminal proceedings of FIR. The Court summarized the legal position by laying down the guidelines to be followed by High Courts in exercise of their inherent powers to quash a criminal complaint. This land mark cases are often quoted as reference and precedents in pleas for quashing FIR.

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In the recent case of Parbatbhai Aahir @ Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur & Ors. v. State of Gujarat & Anr., 2017, Broad principles were laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court after discussing various precedents on the subject and summarized the following broad principles in relation to Section 482 for quashing FIR:

  1. Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers. It only recognises and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court;
  2. 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. The power to quash under Section 482 is attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable;
  3. In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power;
  4. While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised;           i.) to secure the ends of justice or           ii.) to prevent an abuse of the process of any court;
  5. 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;
  6. 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;
  7. 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;
  8. 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;
  9. 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; and
  10. There is yet an exception to the principle set out in propositions (viii) and (ix) above. 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.

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In the same case, the Supreme Court laid down that, the High Courts should not quash the FIR, even though the parties might have settled their disputes in heinous crimes involving serious frauds such as duping the banks as it affects the public at large.

 

In the case of State by Lokayuktha Police v. H.Srinivas, 2018, the High Court quashed the FIR on the grounds that the preliminary report conducted by the police was done without any entries made in the Station Diary as to the conduction of the preliminary enquiry.

In the case of Vinay Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi), Crl. MC No. 174 of 2019, the Delhi High Court rejected the plea of quashing the FIR on the basis of settlement reached between the parties. The Court noted the allegations against the petitioner related to outraging the modesty of women, in which, petitioner did not explain the incident in question. So Court opined that, such crude settlements are not acceptable, as it will send a wrong signal to society and doesn’t fit case to quash the FIR.

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In the case of Narayanan Nair v. Station House Officer, 2018 SC Ker 506, the Kerala High Court noted the argument on behalf of the petitioners that the dispute was purely personal in nature and would not affect public peace or tranquillity; and the respondents stated that they had no subsisting grievance. The Court while allowing the petition 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.

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In the case of Anand Kumar Mohatta & Anr.  v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) Department of Home & Anr., 2018, The High Court refused to quash the FIR lodged against the Appellants when the proceedings of the case have resulted in a charge sheet. Supreme Court while allowing the plea reiterated that, there is nothing in the words of this Section which restricts the exercise of the power of the Court to prevent the abuse of process of court or miscarriage of justice only to the stage of the FIR. It is settled principle of law that the High court can exercise jurisdiction under Section 482 of Cr.P.C even when the discharge application is pending with the trial court.

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In the case of Anup Kumar v. State & Anr., 2018, the Delhi High Court has quashed FIR in the exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 CrPC in view of the admitted fact that the informant had registered two FIR’s for same allegations and the earlier FIR in the case had already been quashed on the basis of its merits by the Allahabad High Court. Whereas in the case of Om Prakash Singh v. The State of Bihar & Ors., 2018 the High Court quashed the first FIR. Then the appellant filed second FIR with new facts, however, it was also quashed. The Supreme Court while setting aside the High Court’s order observed that, the law does not prohibit filing second complaint where the complainant came to know certain facts after disposal of the first complaint which could have tilted the balance in his favour.

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The Supreme Court and High Courts are given wide powers to adjudicate legal disputes, provide justice, and help protect our rights. Section 482 CrPC is an important statute under the ambit of inherent powers includes the grounds for quashing the FIR. With the changing times, Section 482 has undergone sundry changes as per the needs of the hour. As it is quoted “With great power comes great responsibility”, the courts must follow the framed guidelines and act wisely so that the laws are not abused. It is the duty of the court to provide justice by curbing false complaints, where the innocent are being convicted. The purpose of this law is to safeguard the innocent from the clutches of such impersonators playing the victim.

You can seek assistance from best/expert criminal lawyer for quashing of your FIR in Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh.

This post is written by Avinash Medidhi from University of Delhi (Faculty of Law).

Dial 99888-17966 for more info.

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