Powers under Section 482 CrPc

Aug31,2020
DELHI HIGH COURT LAW INSIDER IN
DELHI HIGH COURT LAW INSIDER IN

By Kusumkali Mitra

Section 482 of CrPC(hereinafter referred to as the Code) says,
“Saving of inherent powers of High Court 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.”

Basically, section 482 of CrPC provides for quashing of FIR. Let us look further as to what we mean by quashing.

Black’s law dictionary characterizes quashing as to overthrow / to abate / to vacate / to annul / to make void. In least complex terms, quashing of FIR would mean stopping the legitimate machinery which had been undertaken against the concerned person. This is typically done after a First Information Report (hereinafter referred to as FIR) is filed, before the chargesheet-recording stage. All things considered, proceedings can be revoked considerably after the chargesheet has been recorded.

SCOPE OF SECTION 482

Section 482 of CrPC, which deals with the power of court to quash criminal proceedings, has not given the subtleties of what precisely comprises the “inherent power of court”. In that sense, the Code is obscure as it does not lay out the grounds on which the establishments of the inherent power of court lay.

Moreover, there has been predictable irregularity in the decisions of the Supreme Court of India with respect to the utilization of Section 482 of CrPC. Thusly, the utilization of section 482 of CrPC is an unsettled issue in case alongside being an emphatically discussed idea in the legal scholastic circles.

By the by, there are a few cases which have wide acknowledgment in the legal fraternity and henceforth, are utilized as the minor core values (milestone cases being the significant ones) overseeing the instances of quashing of criminal procedures.

AMBIT OF SECTION 482

This section has not given expanded capacity to High Court which it didn’t have before the section was sanctioned. It gives no new powers. It just gives that those which the court as of now naturally inherited will be protected, and is embedded in case it ought to be viewed as that the main powers vested in the courts are the ones that are explicitly presented by the court.[1]

In spite of the fact that the jurisdiction exists and is wide in its extension it is a rule of practice that it may be utilized in exceptional cases[2], in rarest of rare cases[3]. The power under section 482 are to be practiced sparingly and not as an appellate /revisional court. The Supreme Court has held that the following standards would administer the activity of the inherent power of a High Court given by Section 482:

(1) the power is not to be resorted to if there is a specific provision in the Code for the redress of the grievance of the aggrieved party;

(2) it should be exercised very sparingly to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice;

(3) it should not be exercised as against the express bar of law engrafted in any other provisions of the Code.[4]

The inherent power abrogates the express bar against revision given under S. 341 of the Code. Correspondingly, the power under S. 382 isn’t subject to the limitations on the power of revision given by S. 397.[5]

It can’t be summoned as for any issue secured by the particular provisions of the Code or if its activity would be in contrast to any other provision of the Code, or when there is another remedy accessible, for example a civil case or revision, or when a cure is accessible to the applicant to approach the Supreme Court under Article 137 of the Constitution to review High Court’s order dismissing appeal for special leave, or when the powers of the High Court are explicitly constrained to a specific issue under an Act.

The powers possessed by the High Court under Section 482 of the Code are exceptionally wide and the very abundance of the power requires extraordinary caution. Hence Court must be mindful so as to see that its choice in the use of this power depends on sound principles/.

QUASHING OF FIR IN MATRIMONIAL CASES

Section 498 – A was begotten by the Indian legislature to help the hapless ladies who were most noticeably the worst victims of their spouses rage. Be that as it may, recently, there have been endless occasions of abuse of Section 498 – A. The circumstance has become so extreme that there are devoted non-government associations (NGOs) which exclusively centre around supporting the annulment of Section 498. Additionally, there have been various cases in India, where the courts have scrutinized the provisions of Section 498 A, denounced its utilization, and goaded the law making body to view the issue.

For example, the Supreme Court of India saw on account of Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of India[6] that the object of the provision is prevention of the dowry menace. Be that as it may, as has been appropriately contended by the petitioner on numerous occurrences that on many instances the complaints are not genuine and have filed the cases with oblique intention. In such cases acquittal of the accused doesn’t in all cases clear out the ignominy endured during and preceding trial. Now and again unfriendly media coverage adds to the misery.

The Supreme Court of India has, numerous times, held that the procedures being sought after under Section 498 – A of IPC should be suppressed if the odds of conviction are exceptionally distressing or the case has been documented with ulterior motive (much of the time, the ulterior intention is to dole out personal grudges).

LANDMARK CASES

Prashant Bharti v. State of NCT of Delhi:[7]

In order to determine the veracity of a prayer for quashing the criminal proceedings raised by an accused under Section 482 of the CrPC, the following questions have to be analyzed by the High Court:

  • Whether the material relied upon by the accused is sound, reasonable, and indubitable, i.e., the material is of sterling and impeccable quality?
  • Whether the material relied upon by the accused is sufficient to reject and overrule the factual assertions contained in the complaint, i.e., the material is such, as would persuade a reasonable person to dismiss and condemn the factual basis of the accusations as false?
  • Whether the material relied upon by the accused, has not been refuted by the prosecution / complainant; and / or the material is such, that it cannot be justifiably refuted by the prosecution / complainant?
  • Whether proceeding with the trial would result in an abuse of process of the court and hence, would not serve the ends of justice?

If the answer to all the questions is in affirmative, the Court should quash the proceedings by exercising its power under Section 482 of CrPC.

Parbatbhai Ahir v. State of Gujarat:[8]
In this case, the Supreme Court referred to various precedents and summarised the following principles which ought to govern the power of High Court under Section 482 of CrPC.

  • 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.
  • 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 320of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The power to quash under Section 482 is attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable.
  • 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.
  • While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised:
    a) To secure the ends of justice.
    b) To prevent an abuse of the process of any court.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • There is yet an exception to the principles set out 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.

Indian Oil Corporation vs. NEPC India Ltd. and Others:[9]

A petition under Section 482 was filed to quash two criminal complaints. The High Court by a common judgment allowed the petition and quashed both the complaints. The order was challenged in appeal to this Court. While deciding the appeal, this Court laid down the following principles:

  • The High courts should not exercise their inherent powers to repress a legitimate prosecution. The power to quash criminal complaints should be used sparingly and with abundant caution.
  • The criminal complaint is not required to verbatim reproduce the legal ingredients of the alleged offence. If the necessary factual foundation is laid in the criminal complaint, merely on the ground that a few ingredients have not been stated in detail, the criminal proceedings should not be quashed.

Quashing of the complaint is warranted only where the complaint is bereft of even the basic facts which are absolutely necessary for making out the alleged offence. It was held that a given set of facts may make out:

(a) purely a civil wrong, or

(b) purely a criminal offence or

(c) a civil wrong as also a criminal offence.

A commercial transaction or a contractual dispute, apart from furnishing a cause of action for seeking remedy in civil law, may also involve a criminal offence.

B S Joshi v. State of Haryana:[10]

The Supreme Court justified the exercise of powers under Section 482 CrPC to quash the proceedings in matrimonial cases to secure the ends of justice in view of the special facts and circumstances of the case even where the offences alleged are non-compoundable.

Girish Pandey v. State:[11] 

The very judgment in the above case was used by the Delhi High Court to quash criminal proceedings which had been initiated under Section 498 – A of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as IPC) in this case.

Geeta Mehrotra v. State of Uttar Pradesh:[12]
It has been held in this case by the Supreme Court of India that making general allegations against husband without any conclusive proof is ground enough to quash criminal proceedings instituted under Section 498- A of IPC.

R P Kapur v. State of Punjab:[13] 

In this case, the Supreme Court of India held that criminal proceedings against a person can be quashed if the case being dealt with belongs to any one of the following three classes of cases:

  • Where there is a legal bar against institution or continuance of the criminal proceedings.
  • Where the allegations in the FIR do not constitute an offence, even if taken at face value and in their entirety.
  • Where the allegations made constitute an offence, but there is no evidence which can prove them.

CONCLUSION

Section 482 CrPC has a wide extension and it’s extremely significant for the courts to utilize it appropriately and shrewdly. Numerous a times it has been seen that when there is an issue of cash (with respect to case) the applicant as opposed to recording a common suit documents a FIR against the other individual just to annoy him. In such cases it turns out to be significant for the High Court to subdue such grievances as it prompts the maltreatment of the procedure of the lower courts.

Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 would empower the courts for giving appropriate equity and furthermore ought to be practiced to prevent people in general from recording invented protests just to satisfy their own feelings of resentment. Justice Dhingra in one of his decisions said that “while exercising powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. the Court has to keep in mind that it should not ordinarily embark upon an enquiry whether the evidence in question is reliable or not or whether on a reasonable appreciation of it accusation would not be sustained. This is a function of the Trial Court. Though the judicial process should not be an instrument in exercising discretion and should take all relevant facts and circumstances in consideration before issuing process under Section 482 lest the Section becomes an in the hands of accused persons to claim differential treatment only because the accused persons can spend money to approach higher forums. This Section is not an instrument handed over to an accused to short circuit a prosecution and brings about its sudden death”


[1] State of U.P. v. Mohammad Naim, AIR 1964 SC 703.

[2] S.C. Mitra v. Raja Kali Charan, (1927) 3 Luck 287.

[3] Sunita Jain v. Pawan Kumar Jain, (2008) 2 SCC 705.

[4] Madhu Limaye v. Maharashtra, AIR 1978 SC 47.

[5] Raj Kapoor v. State (Delhi Admn.), AIR 1980 SC 258.

[6] Writ Petition (civil)141 of 2005.

[7] (2013) 9 SCC 293.

[8] Crl. Appl No.1723 OF 2017.

[9] (2006) 6 SCC 736.

[10] 2003 (4) SCC 675.

[11] Crl. M.C. 2129/2016.

[12] CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1674 OF 2012.

[13] 1960 AIR 862.

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