QUASHING OF FIR
Section 482 of the Code of criminal procedure, 1973 specifies about the preventive Inherent powers of the High Court against abuse of the process of any court and to secure the ends of justice holding the due regard towards the nature and gravity of the offences. The invocation of the jurisdiction of the High Court to quash an F.I.R (First Information Report) or any sort of criminal proceedings on the ground of settlement that has been arrived at between the accused and the victim comparatively is not the same as the invocation of jurisdiction for the purpose of compounding an offence, which basically is governed by the provisions of Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. However, The power conferred under Section 482 to quash is also attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court in;”Parbatbhai Aahir & Ors. Vs. State of Gujarat & Another”(Criminal Appeal No. 1723 of 2017) On 4th October 2017 mentioned the guidelines to be followed by courts when exercising it’s inherent powers conferred via section 482 of Crpc.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court after careful observations summarized the propositions of various precedents on this subject; Adding further “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 is considered to have a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised only for the purpose of securing the ends of justice or for the prevention of an abuse of the process of any court.
The decision over the query came out as – “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”.While dealing with a plea over the dispute that has been allegedly settled, the High Court is always supposed to have due regards to the nature and the degree wise gravity of the offence tilting it’s motion satisfying the inherent purposes.
While petty offences don’t hold the potency of thinking twice over the decision, Heinous offences involving mental depravity and offences such as murder, rape , kidnapping, acid attacks and so on cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute, for the purpose being such offences are not at all private in nature but have a serious impact towards the society and public at par. The decisions to continue with the trial in such cases foundationally override the element of private interest with public interest by punishing accused persons for having committed an offence creating an unsafe environment for the society to feel free within. There may be criminal cases which have an overwhelming dominant element of a civil dispute, as highly distinguished from serious offences. They further stand on a distinct footing in so far as the inherent powers to quash is concerned.
Criminal cases which involve offences arising from Finance, commerce, mercantile, partnership or similar transactions with an essentially civil element or civil proceedings as an available option, highly hailing from the nature of in personam (against person specific) may in appropriate situations adequately fall for quashing where parties have settled the dispute. In such cases, the High Court may quash the criminal proceedings if of the view that compromise between the disputants hold the possibility of conviction remotely and the continuation of a criminal proceeding would cause unwanted oppression and prejudice to the parties.
But there lies also an exception to the principle set out in aforesaid propositions. Imperative 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 affecting the public machinery, provided the state being a public subject with cumulative individual interests. Hereby, in such cases the Hon’ble High Courts would be justifying by declining to quash where the accused are involved in an activity akin to a financial or economic fraud affecting State subject.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court has set out the Broad aforesaid principles to not only prevent an abuse of the process of courts but also to secure the ends of justice when necessary for the gross miscarriage of justice to be prevented with safety measures not so exhaustive in list but surely provided with a guideline to follow with and hence the principles hail back to the order for healthy mechanism.
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