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Quashing Criminal Proceedings || 482 CrPC ||

anticipatory bail

As per Black’s dictionary, Quash means “To overthrow; to abate; to vacate; to annul; to make void”. In ordinary law terms, quash would mean to stop and put an end to the criminal proceedings, be it at Chargesheet filed stage or FIR filed stage. Under the scope of the powers of High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, a High Court, under rarest of rare cases, may quash FIR/Chargesheet.

Supreme Court, through Dr. Arijit Pasayat and Altamas Kabir JJ, explained that exercise of power under Section 482 of CrPC does not confer any new powers on the High Court. It only saves the inherent power which the Court possessed before the enactment of the Code. It envisages three circumstances under which the inherent jurisdiction may be exercised, namely, (i) to give effect to an order under the Code, (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of court, and (iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice. It is neither possible nor desirable to lay down any inflexible rule which would govern the exercise of inherent jurisdiction. No legislative enactment dealing with procedure can provide for all cases that may possibly arise. Courts, therefore, have inherent powers apart from express provisions of law which are necessary for proper discharge of functions and duties imposed upon them by law. That is the doctrine which finds expression in the section which merely recognizes and preserves inherent powers of the High Courts. All courts, whether civil or criminal possess, in the absence of any express provision, as inherent in their constitution, all such powers as are necessary to do the right and to undo a wrong in course of administration of justice on the principle “quando lex aliquid alicui concedit, conceder videtur et id sine quo res ipsae esse non potest” (when the law gives a person anything it gives him that without which it cannot exist). While exercising powers under the section, 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 is 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 courts exist. {Central Bureau of Investigation v. Ravi Shanker Srivastava , AIR 2006 SC2872 2006(3)ACR2486(SC)}.

The High Court would not quash complaint or FIR merely on the statement of the Counsel for the State for withdrawal of the case, the decision of the government to withdraw the prosecution is an irrelevant ground { Balkar Singh v. Jagdish Kumar, 2005 CrLJ 1712 (1715) (SC)}. It is now well settled that the High Court ordinarily would exercise its jurisdiction Under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure if the allegations made in the first information report, even if given face value and taken to be correct in their entirety, do not make out any offence. When the allegations made in the first information report or the evidences collected during investigation do not satisfy the ingredients of an offence, the superior courts would not encourage harassment of a person in a criminal court for nothing. { Devendra v. State of U.P, JT 2009 ( 8 ) SC 120 MANU / SC / 0941 / 2009}. In the landmark case of State of Haryana v Bhajan Lal, AIR1992SC604 1992CriLJ527, Supreme Court laid down broad guidelines for Quash of criminal proceedings at FIR stage, which are mentioned below:

  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 other materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers Under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.
  3. Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR 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.
  4. Where, the allegations in the F.I.R. do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated Under Section 155(2) of the Code.
  5. Where the allegations made in the FIR 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.
  6. Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.
  7. Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide 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.

To determine the veracity of a prayer for quashing, raised by an accused by invoking the power vested in the High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, following steps were provided by Supreme Court in Prashant Bharti v. State of NCT of Delhi, AIR 2013 SC 2753 2013(4) AJR 469.

  • Step one, whether the material relied upon by the accused is sound, reasonable, and indubitable, i.e., the material is of sterling and impeccable quality?
  • Step two, whether the material relied upon by the accused, would rule out the assertions contained in the charges levelled against the accused, i.e., the material 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.
  • Step three, 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?
  • Step four, whether proceeding with the trial would result in an abuse of process of the court, and would not serve the ends of justice?

If the answer to all the steps is in the affirmative, judicial conscience of the High Court should persuade it to quash such criminal-proceedings, in exercise of power vested in it under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Specific to the criminal proceedings in 498A case, Supreme Court clarified the position on non-compoundable offences which are matrimonial in nature in B.S. Joshi and Ors v State of Haryana, AIR 2003 SC1386 2003 (2) ACR 1305 (SC), as under
While exercising inherent power of quashing under Section 482, Cr.P.C. it is for the High Court to take into consideration any special features which appear in a particular case to consider whether it is expedient and in the interest of justice to permit a prosecution to continue. Where, in the opinion of the Court chances of an ultimate conviction is bleak and, therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue, the Court may, while taking into consideration the special facts of a case, also quash the proceedings. The special features in such matrimonial matters are evident. It becomes the duty of the Court to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes.

The object of introducing Chapter XX-A containing Section 498A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent the torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. Section 498A was added with a view to punishing a husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry. The hyper-technical view would be counter-productive and would act against interests of women and against the object for which this provision was added. There is every likelihood that non-exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent women for settling earlier. That is not the object of Chapter XX-A of Indian Penal Code. Hence the High Court in exercise of its inherent powers can quash criminal proceedings or F.I.R. or complaint and Section 320 of the Code does not limit or affect the powers under Section 482 of the Code.

The High Court has all the powers under 482 CrPC to prevent misuse of process of the Court or to secure the ends of Justice.

You can find Landmark Quash Judgements Here

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  1. Priya February 21, 2018 Reply

    What are the documents to be produced in high court for quash

    • Shonee Kapoor February 22, 2018 Reply

      It all depends on the facts and circumstances on which quash is filed.

  2. Advocate Satish Mishra October 27, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for sharing these guidelines here.

  3. yaman June 1, 2017 Reply

    SIR,my brother’s wife had cased(498A) fill against to my brother & my our case,judge have been issued immediate giraftari warrant without any information and it possible? if it is possible then judge have taken judgement under which clause/rules.please explain rule and how to solve out my problem.

    • Author
      Shonee Kapoor June 7, 2017 Reply

      Unless the order is perused, no advise is possible on such delicate matter.

  4. Vijaykant November 4, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for your valuable advice sir….
    This Feb it will be 1 year since my wife filed for 498a and stridhañ section…yet charge sheet is not yet filed and neither police have collected stridhañ ….atleast what we have …bcz her list of item submitted in court while we applied for ABail included things which never came to our house

    • External Admin November 16, 2016 Reply

      You will have to wait till chargesheet is filed by Police. Based on what I mentioned in the article, you can go for Quash if the merits of the case suggest so

  5. Akshat November 4, 2016 Reply

    Sir in my petition to HC for quashing my advocate has referred a point that my wife first filed DVC against me and 6 months later on exact same grounds she filed 498A hence it is a gross abuse of law procedure. What does it mean by ‘gross abuse of law procedure?’ is 498A to be filed before DVC?

    • External Admin November 16, 2016 Reply

      “Gross abuse of law procedure” as per legal definition is use of legal process to accomplish an unlawful purpose/s. The remedies sought in DV and 498A are different in nature and material, thus both can run in parallel. There is no legal binding of filing 498A prior to DV.

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