SC: Judicial process cannot be converted into an instrument of oppression or harassment!

Supreme Court of India: quashed the Rape Case observing that judicial proceedings cannot be allowed to be converted into an instrument of oppression or harassment.

(A) Justice Krishna Iyer: People's Judge: India's Super Judge: Law is not a brooding omnipotence in the sky but a pragmatic instrument of social order.

Judicial Process is an Instrument of Social Ordering.

Judicial Process: means any judicial proceeding in connection with the dispensation of justice by any court of competent jurisdiction.

Social Ordering: means activating the instrument of Judicial Process in setting right the wrong done or eliminating injustice from the society.

Some Judges and their judgments will be illustrious to inspire coming generations.

(B) A socially sensitized Judge is better armor in cases of crime against women.

However: at times such bearings lead to oversights and erratic and flawed judgments.

Although: The Supreme Court of India: is keen in eliminating social disorder by the heavy hands of judicial process.

e.g. In cases of: Rape

The Apex Court has laid down the principle that rape cases need to be dealt with sternly and severely. Once a person is convicted for an offence of rape, he should be treated with a heavy hand and must be imposed adequate sentence.

"Forcible rape is unique among crimes, in the manner in which its victims are dealt with by the criminal justice system. Raped women have to undergo certain tribulations. These begin with their treatment by the police and continue through a male-dominated criminal justice system. The acquittal of many de facto guilty rapists adds to the sense of injustice.

In effect, the focus of the law upon corroboration, consent and character of the prosecutrix and a standard of proof of guilt going beyond reasonable doubt have resulted in an increasing alienation of the general public from the legal system, who find the law and legal language difficult to understand and who think that the courts are not run so well as one would expect."

"State of M.P. v. Babulal", AIR 2008 SUPREME COURT 582

(C) "There is no surer way to misread a document than to read it literally"

At times Judges in Apex Court may remark: The decisions of the High Courts cited before us do not convince us.

"The Judge, even when he is free, is still not wholly free. He is not to innovate at pleasure. He is not a knight-errant roaming at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or of goodness. He is to draw his inspiration from consecrated principles. He is not to yield to spasmodic sentiment, to vague and unregulated benevolence. He is to exercise a discretion informed by tradition, methodized by analogy, disciplined by system, and subordinated to 'the primordial necessity of order in the social life'. Wide enough in all conscience is the field of discretion that remains”

(D) MANIPULATION OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM IS AN INSTRUMENT OF ABUSE e.g; In cases of Allegation of Rape to set the scores.

The legal system, provision of law, state, court system can be manipulated as an instrument of abuse. The courts of law are wise and smart and quick to realize that litigant has ulterior motive to abuse the process of law.

Then trendsetting judgments come out of the court room and spreads to provide relied to the masses.

(E) Dated: 31st March, 2017: Supreme Court of India:

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 the High Court will not hesitate in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceeding.

"High Court will not hesitate in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceeding, 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.”

In a very brief order: The high court: had also dismissed the plea of the accused to quash the proceedings on the ground that there were disputed questions of fact, which cannot be adjudicated in exercise of power conferred under Section 482 CrPC.

While setting aside the order of the high court which had refused to quash the case: The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan said, while setting aside the order of the high court which had refused to quash the case: "Inherent power given to the High Court under Section 482 CrPC is with the purpose and object of advancement of justice. In case solemn process of Court is sought to be abused by a person with some oblique motive, the Court has to thwart the attempt at the very threshold.”

With this the Apex Court Bench of has suggested to all High Courts of India that: If facts of the criminal case suggest that the present criminal case if filed with secret and ulterior motive, out of vengeance, to harass and oppress the High Court should not hesitate to quash the proceedings.

(F) Central Government Act

Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973

482. 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.

(G)The Supreme Court of India, in many of its verdicts has prompted the High Courts to act with diligence, caution and circumspection.

The High Courts have also time and again laid principles under which a FIR could be quashed.

(H) Judicial process should not be used to harass litigants.

The High Courts and Judges in high courts have delivered path-breaking judgments and provided relief to litigants facing litigations.

Observing that existence of courts is only to dispense justice and that the judicial process should not be used to harass litigants, the Madras High Court dispensed with personal appearance of two accused in a cheque bounce case and allowed their lawyer to appear for them.

Allowing their criminal revision petition, Justice S Vaidyanathan said: insistence on appearance of the parties before the Court is needed only if it becomes absolutely necessary for some purpose.

Madras High Court

Ajay Kumar Bisnoi vs M/S.Kei Industries Limited on 25 September, 2015

(I) The Supreme Court summarized the legal position by laying the following guidelines to be followed by high courts in exercise of their inherent powers to quash a criminal complaint.

The two-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India considered in detail the provisions of section 482 and the power of the high court to quash criminal proceedings or FIR.

(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.

Supreme Court of India

State Of Haryana And Ors vs Ch. Bhajan Lal And Ors on 21 November, 1990

(J) Supreme Court of India: Quashed the Rape Case observing that judicial proceedings cannot be allowed to be converted into an instrument of oppression or harassment.

The accused alleged the complainant (complainant in the rape case), her son and the husband gave him cheque leaves as repayment of the money they borrowed from him. As all of those cheque leaves bounced, the accused filed a cheque bounce case against them in September 2010.

The woman filed a complaint before the police, the very next month, alleging that the accused came to her home and raped her.

The investigating officer, taking into account statements given by family members of the complainant with some of them denying any such happening, came to a conclusion that no such incident as alleged by the complainant took place and filed another report for the prosecution of the complainant under Section 182 CrPC for giving false information to the police. But the court, allowing the protest petition, summoned the accused. The accused, by preferring a petition under Section 482 CrPC before the high court, contended that the rape case was falsely initiated to save the complainant, her husband and son from making repayment of the amount taken by them with regard to which complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act by the accused was already filed and pending. The high court, in a very brief order, also dismissed the plea of the accused to quash the proceedings on the ground that there were disputed questions of fact, which cannot be adjudicated in exercise of power conferred under Section 482 CrPC.

The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan: found that apart from bald assertions by the complainant that all accused had raped her, there was nothing which could have led the courts to form an opinion that present case is fit a case of prosecution which ought to be launched. The court also noted that there were financial transactions between the accused and complainant, her husband and son and a dishonor of cheque case was already initiated by the accused.

8. Although, the complainant and her husband refused medical examination when they are so asked by IO on 07.11.2015, but she got her medical examination done on 20.11.2015. Pathology report (filed at page 50 of paper book) stated as:

"No spermatozoa alive or dead are seeing the received smears within sealed envelope”.

12. The affidavits were also given by Nikesh Kumar and Smt. Bina Vishnoi who were residing in the same house. Smt. Bina Vishnoi is also running a shop of General Store in one portion of the house. She stated that on the date of occurrence Rekha Rani was in her parental house to celebrate Dushehara and was not present at her house.

13. IO after completion of investigation and after taking into consideration the materials collected during the investigation came to the conclusion that no such incident took place on 22.10.2015 as alleged by the complainant.

20. Before we enter into the facts of the present case it is necessary to consider the ambit and scope of jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. vested in the High Court. Section 482 Cr.P.C. saves the inherent power 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.

35. The fact is that no medical examination was got done on the date of incident or even on the next day or on 07.11.2015, when IO asked the complainant and her husband to get done the medical examination. Subsequently it was done on 20.11.2015, which was wholly irrelevant.

39. Inherent power given to the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is with the purpose and object of advancement of justice. In case solemn process of Court is sought to be abused by a person with some oblique motive, the Court has to thwart the attempt at the very threshold. The Court cannot permit a prosecution to go on if the case falls in one of the Categories as illustratively enumerated by this Court in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal.

Judicial process is a solemn proceeding which cannot be allowed to be converted into an instrument of operation or harassment. When there are material to indicate that a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive, the High Court will not hesitate in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C.to quash the proceeding under Category 7 as enumerated in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal which is to the following effect:

"(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."

Above Category 7 is clearly attracted in the facts of the present case. Although, the High Court has noted the judgment of the State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal, but did not advert to the relevant facts of the present case, materials on which Final Report was submitted by the IO.

We, thus, are fully satisfied that the present is a fit case where High Court ought to have exercised its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr. P.C. and quashed the criminal proceedings.

40. In the result, appeal is allowed, the judgment of the High Court dated 16.12.2016 as well as the order of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate dated 03.08.2016 and the order of the Sessions Judge dated 22.10.2016 including the entire criminal proceedings are quashed.

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.577 OF 2017 (ARISING OUT OF SLP(CRL.) No.287 OF 2017)
VINEET KUMAR & ORS VERSUS STATE OF U.P. & ANR

.....................J.
(A. K. SIKRI)

.....................J.
(ASHOK BHUSHAN)

New Delhi,
March 31, 2017.

 

Kumar Doab 
on 05 May 2017
Published in Criminal Law
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