India: Supreme Court Lays Down 10 Principles For Invoking Inherent Jurisdiction Under Section 482 Of The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Last Updated: 11 October 2017
Article by Ajay Bhargava, Aseem Chaturvedi and Chandni Anand

Most Read Contributor in India, September 2017

A bench of Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India, Hon'ble Mr. Justice AM Khanwilkar and Hon'ble Mr. Justice DY Chandrachud passed the subject judgment in Criminal Appeal No. 1723 of 2017 against a decision of the Gujarat High Court dismissing an application by the appellants under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) seeking quashing of First Information Report (FIR) registered against them for offences punishable under Sections 384, 467, 468, 471, 120-B and 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The plea for quashing the FIR was advanced on the ground that the Appellants had amicably settled the dispute with the complainant. The Court after discussing various precedents on the subject summarised the broad principles in relation to Section 482 for quashing FIRs. The Court then proceeded to dismiss the appeal holding that the High Court was justified in declining to entertain the application for quashing FIR in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND:

  • The complainant stated that certain land in Jamnagar city was his ancestral agricultural land. Out of the plots of land carved out of the aforesaid land, Plot Nos. 45-56 were in the joint names of six brothers and a sister- all represented by the complainant.
  • A deal was struck between the first appellant and the complainant, whereby Plot No. 56 was agreed to be sold to the first appellant for a certain consideration, part of which was paid in cash to the complainant.
  • Thereafter, when the complainant followed up, regarding the balance payment, the same was not done and per contra the complainant was threatened to forcibly transfer the land.
  • The complainant subsequently came to know that a sale deed had been registered not only with respect to Plot No. 56 but also in respect of Plot Nos. 45 to 55 on 27 January 2016. The complainant lodged a complaint on 18 June 2016.
  • It was alleged by the complainant that the appellants had conspired to transfer valuable land belonging to him on the basis of forged documents.

DECISION OF THE GUJARAT HIGH COURT

  • The High Court held that it was not in the interest of society at large to quash the FIR by accepting the settlement since the case involves extortion, forgery and conspiracy.
  • The prayer to quash the FIR was rejected by the High Court, holding that the charges against the appellants are serious in nature and their activities render them a potential threat to society.

MAIN SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT

On the basis of precedents, it was urged that the dispute is essentially civil in nature and since the parties have agreed to an amicable settlement, it would be in the proper course for the High Court to quash the FIR in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on it by Section 482 of the CrPC.

MAIN SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF THE PROSECUTION

The complainant emphasised that in light of the seriousness of the allegations, the conduct of the appellants- who were absconding, and their criminal antecedents, they were not entitled to the relief of quashing of the FIR, merely because a settlement had been entered into with the complainant.

DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT

  • Discussing the precedents set in the cases of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab  (2012) 10 SCC 303, Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab (2014) 6 SCC 466, State of Maharashtra v. Vikram Anantrai Doshi (2014) 15 SCC 29, Central Bureau of Investigation v. Maninder Singh (2016) 1 SCC 389 and in State of Tamil Nadu v. R Vasanthi Stanley (2016) 1 SCC 376- the Supreme Court culled out broad principles governing the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 of the CrPC, and summarised them as follows-
    1. The provision does not confer any new powers. It only recognises and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court.
    2. The power to quash under Section 482 is attracted even when the offence is non-compoundable.
    3. In exercising the jurisdiction of quashing under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power.
    4. The inherent power granted to the High Court vide this Section has a wide ambit and plenitude and must be exercised to secure the ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of the process of any Court.
    5. The decision of whether or not an FIR should be quashed on the ground of settlement between the parties, varies based on the facts and circumstances surrounding individual cases and no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be formulated.
    6. In the exercise of the power under Section 482 of the CrPC 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 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.
    7. As distinguished from serious offences, there may be criminal cases which have an overwhelming or predominant element of a civil dispute. Such cases stand on a different footing when it comes to Section 482 of the CrPC.
    8. 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.
    9. 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, the High Court must quash a Complaint/FIR.
    10. An exception to the principle set out in propositions (viii) and (ix) above was set out, being- economic offences involving the financial and economic well-being of the state having 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.
  • Based on the above principles, it was held that the High Court was justified in declining to entertain the application for quashing of the FIR. The case was held to involve allegations implicating serious offences having a bearing on a vital societal interest in securing the probity of titles to or interest in land. The Appeal was consequently dismissed. 

KHAITAN COMMENT

This Judgment rendered by the Supreme Court, after adverting to various precedents has summarised the principles that govern the discretionary power conferred on the High Court vide 482 of the CrPC, thus providing a one stop precedent on the issue. This Judgement provides further clarity on the principles that govern Section 482 of the CrPC, in a concise, succinct and comprehensive manner. 

The content of this document do not necessarily reflect the views/position of Khaitan & Co but remain solely those of the author(s). For any further queries or follow up please contact Khaitan & Co at legalalerts@khaitanco.com

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.