Lawyers in Chandigarh regularly file petitions in Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh for quashing of First Information Report or criminal complaint. These are filed under section 482 of CrPC. Under section 482, wide extraordinary power of quashing of FIR is vested in the High Court. This discretionary remedy is to be exercised sparingly and with caution and not to stifle legitimate prosecution. Such a power is required to be exercised in a case where the complaint does not disclose any offence and it is frivolous, vexatious or oppressive. Advocates practiving in High Court Chandigarh have to prove these conditions to get relief from High Court. At that stage, there cannot be meticulous analysis of the case.
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Supreme Court of India observed in an SLP that in the appeal the appellant had impugned the order of the High Court whereby the application filed by the appellant for quashing of the proceeding was rejected with the observation, “In view of the fact that matter is pending at charge stage, I do not deem it proper to interfere at this stage”. Without expressing any opinion in the matter, the Apex Court directed the High Court to hear the parties and pronounce a reasoned order.
How Chandigarh High Court advocates argue that FIR should not be quashed?
Lawyers in Chandigarh appearing for respondents while defending the lodging of FIR or criminal complaint plead that while exercising the powers under the section 482 of the Court does not function as a Court of appeal or revision. Inherent jurisdiction under the section, though wide has to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution and only when such exercise in justified by the tests specifically laid down in the section itself. It is to be exercised ex debito justitiae to do real and substantial justice for the administration of which alone the Courts exists. Authority of the Court exists for advancement of justice and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority so as to produce injustice, the Court has the power to prevent abuse. It would be an abuse of process of the Court to allow any action which would result in injustice and prevent promotion of justice. In exercise of the powers the Court would be justified to quash any proceeding if it finds that initiation/continuance of it amounts to abuse of the process of Court or quashing of these proceedings would otherwise serve the ends of justice.
When no offence is disclosed by the FIR, the court may examine the question of fact. When a report is sought to be quashed, it is permissible to look into the materials to assess what the report has alleged and whether any offence is made out even if the allegations are accepted toto. The inevitable conclusion in one such case filed by lawyer in punjab and haryana high court chandigarh was that the High Court was not justified in rejecting the application in terms of section 482 of the Code. This was a case when recognizance was taken, summons were issued by mistake and the names of the appellants were also mentioned in the order. Since the police had not found any material against the appellants, the CJM without following the procedure could not have directed issuance of summons so far as they are concerned. There was no indication that CJM disagreed with the opinion of the investigating agency and therefore ordered issuance of summons. On the contrary CJM stated that it was a mistake and therefore, he had ordered to strike of the names of the appellants. The High Court order was set aside. The names of the appellants were struck off from the array of accused persons.
View of High Court Chandigarh about quashing of FIR
Section 482 Cr. P.C. saves inherent powers of the High Court and such a power can be exercised to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. This power can be exercised to quash criminal proceedings pending in any Court but the power cannot be exercised if interfere with the statutory power of the police to conduct investigation in a cognizable offence.
The powers possessed by the High Court under section 482 CR.P.C are very wide and the very plenitude of the power requires great caution in its exercise. The court must be careful to see that its decision in exercise of this power is based on sound principles. The inherent power 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 prima facie decisions in a case where the entire facts are 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 not magnitude and cannot be seen their true perspective without sufficient material. Of course, no hard-and-fast role can be laid down in regard to cases in which the High Court will exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction of quashing the proceeding in any stage.
Lawyers in Chandigarh who seek quashing of FIR from Punjab and Haryana High Court generally argue that in exercise the powers under Sec. 482 CrPC the Court would be justified in quashing any proceeding if it finds that its initiation/continuance amounts to an abuse of the process of Court or quashing of these proceedings would, otherwise, serve the ends of justice. When no offense is disclosed by the complaint the Court can examine the question of fact. When a complaint is sought to be quashed it is permissible for the Court to look into the materials to assess what the complainant has alleged and whether any offense is made out even if the allegations are accepted in toto.
Where the magistrate has not disposed the prayer of the accused to discharge them and the same is still pending for disposal before the Court below ordinarily it is highly undesirable to usurp the power of Magistrate by High Court in its extraordinary jurisdiction. Similarly when the question of quashing the proceedings depends entibank on appreciation of evidence, the High Court should not exercise its power of quashing the proceedings.
It is now well settled that interference under Sec. 482 CrPC for quashing a criminal proceeding should be done very sparingly and in exceptional cases. In the case of State of Haryana v Bhajan Lal, it has been laid down by a two member Bench of Supreme Court speaking through Pandian J., that the power of quashing a criminal proceeding should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases. The extraordinary or inherent powers do not confer an arbitrary jurisdiction on the High Courts to act according to its whim or caprice. The Court will not be justified in embarking upon an enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness or otherwise of the allegations made in the F.I.R or the complaint. In the instant case, there is no allegation in the complaint that the petitioner was in any manner responsible for the offence committed by the company which owned the shop. Therefore, there were no sufficient grounds to proceed against the petitioner under Sec. 204 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the offence under Sections 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act committed by the company. Therefore, it must be held that “the continuance of the proceedings against the petitioner amounts to abuse of the process of the Court and it is a fit case in which the proceedings which were initiated against the Petitioner should be quashed. While considering the case for quashing of a criminal proceeding the statement made in the complaint petition as to prima facie is accepted, it is not necessary to individually refer to the cases relied on by the advocate in Chandigarh. Having negatived all the submissions made by the advocate in Chandigarh for petitioners, His Lordship does not find any merit in the case. The revisions application stands dismissed.”
It is true that the powers of Sec 482, CrPC . are to be exercised very sparingly but it is also true that the power must be exercised to check unwarranted criminal proceedings when it springs not from a suggested commission of an offence but palpably from any other mental attitude. Example – the prior proceedings between the parties, the undisputed divorce between them prior to the lodging of the complaint, non-demand of the properties under Sec. 27 of the Hindu Marriage Act by the wife in the divorce proceeding suggested that the complaints was but a vent of vengeance against the husband. The complaint in question and all proceedings that had been taken on it were, therefore, quashed. Since these powers are vested in High Court only, advocates in district courts in punjab, haryana, chandigarh, mohali and panchkula can not seek quashing of FIR from district courts.
Criminal Lawyers who seek quashing of FIR also regularly conduct cases like those mentioned below in Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh and file SLPs under Article 136 of the constitution of India in Supreme Court of India.
- Anticipatory and Regular Bails
- Bank/Financial Institutions Fraud and Forgery
- Cheating cases
- Criminal Appeals
- Criminal Breach of Trust
- Criminal Revisions
- Criminal Writs contested
- Criminal proceedings initiated for violation of Intellectual Property Rights/Cyber Laws and Piracy
- Dishonour of Cheques (s.138 of Negotiable Instuments Act)
- Domestic Violence
- Filing Criminal complaints and FIRs contested
- Misappropriation of funds contested
- NDPS Act
- Narcotics and Drugs violations cases
- Quashing of FIR (First Information Report) and Criminal Complaints
- Suspension of Sentence
- Trial and Evidence