Allahabad High Court Emphasizes Statutory Remedies Over Inherent Powers in Recent Ruling

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Published on: February 18, 2024 at 15:28 IST

The Allahabad High Court underscored the importance of availing statutory remedies, especially when a statutory right of appeal is available under Section 14-A of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act).

The Court held that bypassing such statutory remedies and invoking inherent powers is only justifiable in exceptional cases.

The Court, led by Justice Subhash Vidyarthi, dismissed a petition seeking to quash a charge sheet and a court order for trial under various sections, including Sections 376 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), and Section 3(2)(v) of the SC/ST Act.

“When the applicant has a statutory remedy of appeal under Section 14-A of the 1989 Act available to him as a matter of right, and that appeal would also lie before this High Court, albeit before another Bench, there cannot be justification in bypassing the statutory remedy of appeal and invoking the inherent powers of this Court, which are meant to be exercised in exceptional circumstances only,” stated Justice Vidyarthi.

The applicant sought to quash the charge sheet and the court order for trial under various sections.

The Court acknowledged the constitutional provision of Article 215, designating High Courts as courts of record with the power to determine the scope of their jurisdiction. It clarified that Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. does not confer new powers but clarifies the inherent powers of the High Court to secure justice and prevent abuse of process.

The Bench referred to the case of Union of India v Cipla Ltd. and stressed the significance of adopting a functional test to assess litigation tactics. This test evaluates whether litigants are manipulating the system or resorting to forum shopping.

In this case, the Court noted that the applicant had a statutory right of appeal under Section 14-A of the SC/ST Act, allowing for a broader scope of inquiry compared to a Section 482 Cr.P.C. application. Filing under Section 482 seemed to be a tactic to avoid a specific bench, indicating forum shopping.

Therefore, the Court dismissed the application under Section 482 CrPC and encouraged the applicant to pursue the statutory appeal under Section 14-A of the SC/ST Act.

The case is titled Pawan Kumar Alias Pawan Yadav v State Of U.P. with the Neutral Citation: 2024:AHC-LKO:13846.

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