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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Quash means to overturn, abate, vacate, annul, or declare void.
  • Quashing is often performed after the filing of a First Information Report (hereinafter referred to as “FIR”) but before the filing of the charge sheet.
  • High Court gets its power to quash Criminal Proceedings under Section 482, CrPC.
  • Criminal proceedings for non-heinous offenses or offenses primarily of a private character can be quashed regardless of whether the trial ended in conviction or an appeal against conviction has been dismissed.

INTRODUCTION

Section 482 CrPC is deemed to be of a distinctive nature in criminal jurisprudence under the purview of the High Court's inherent powers. It appears to be the most powerful instrument provided by the High Court's procedural guidelines in the Indian Constitution. It indicates that this defined portion may only be employed by the High Courts of a certain state, and such inherent rights are never taken away from high courts by superior powers.

Such powers may be exercised exclusively by the courts in the interests of providing comprehensive and acceptable justice to the parties before it, as well as preventing abuse of the court's procedure. This is used with such an inherent power under section 482 CrPC of the new code, to accomplish justice and correct injustice, in order to fulfil the end of justice and cease abusing the process of Court proceedings. It is important to note that such use of the high court's inherent powers should be done with caution.

QUASHING OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS UNDER SECTION 482 OF CrPC

The provisions for quashing criminal proceedings are outlined in the 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure.According to Section 482 of the CrPC-

"Preserving the inherent powers of the High Court Nothing in this Code will be construed to restrict or hinder the High Court's inherent rights to issue such orders as may be required to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of any Court's process, or to otherwise protect the objectives of justice."

Section 482 of the CrPC, which deals with the ability of the court to quash criminal proceedings, does not specify what exactly constitutes the inherent power of the court. In that respect, the Code is quite ambiguous since it does not spell out the basis of the inherent power of the court.

Furthermore, there has been an ongoing discrepancy in the Supreme Court of India’s judgments regarding the implementation of Section 482 of CrPC. As a result, the implementation of Section 482 of the CrPC is a contentious topic in litigation, as well as a hotly disputed notion in legal academia.

IMPORTANT JUDGEMENTS ON QUASHING OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

1. Prashant Bharti v. State of NCT of Delhi [(2013) 9 SCC 293]

In this case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court listed down some grounds on which the sincerity of a petition for quashing criminal proceedings could be tested:

a. The material relied upon by the accused must be sound, logical, and undeniable.

b. The information relied upon by the accused must be sufficient to reject and overturn the factual claims included in the complaint.

c. Itmust beclear that continuing with the trial would result in an abuse of the court's procedure and, as a result, would not serve the goals of justice

2. State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Laxmi Narayan &Ors. [2019 5 SCC 688]

In this case, the court had held that the power conferred under Section 482 of the CrPC could be exercised to quash a criminal proceeding for a non-compoundable offence if such a case had a predominantly civil character.

In such cases, the High Court may quash criminal proceedings if it believes that the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak as a result of the compromise between the offender and victim and that continuing the criminal case would subject the accused to great oppression and prejudice, as well as extreme injustice if the criminal case is not quashed despite complete settlement and compromise with the victim.

Furthermore, the Court observed that such power must not be exercised for offenses under special statutes such as the Prevention of Corruption Act, or for offenses committed by public servants while serving in their official capacity.

It alsoheld that criminal proceedings involving non-heinous offenses or offenses primarily of a private character could be cancelled regardless of the fact that the trial had finished or that the appeal against conviction had been dismissed.

3. Kamlesh @ Rinku Mohanlal Upadhyay Vs State of Gujarat [R/Criminal Misc. Application No. 6184 of 2022]

In this case, the applicants were charged and convicted under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, read with Section 506(1) of the IPC. The Hon’ble Gujarat High Court quashed the criminal proceedings as well as the judgment of conviction by observing that the underlying dispute, in this case, was purely personal and that it was amicably resolved between the parties. Furthermore, it observed that the criminal proceedings involving non-heinous offenses or offense shaving a predominantly private nature could be annulled irrespective of the fact that the trial in such cases had already been concluded or appeal against conviction had been dismissed.

The court also noted that in heinous and serious mental depravity offenses, such as murder, rape, and dacoity,even if the victim or victim's family and the perpetrator settle the disagreement, such cases could not be properly quashed. Such offenses are not personal and have a significant social consequence.

This remarkable court decision by the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad has left no doubt in the minds of anyone who has truly read this extremely commendable judgment, that criminal proceedings of a private nature can be quashed, as we see in this case, under Section 482 CrPC even if the trial has concluded in conviction. It is thus unnecessary to reiterate that subordinate courts must strictly adhere to what the Gujarat High Court has laid down in this important instance. It has also referenced significant and pertinent Apex Court judgments to make the picture crystal clear on this critical topic.

CONCLUSION

Section 482 of the CrPC, which deals with the ability of the court to quash criminal proceedings, does not specify what exactly constitutes the inherent power of the court. In that respect, the Code is quite ambiguous since it does not spell out the basis of the inherent power of the court.Criminal proceedings for non-heinous offenses or offenses primarily of a private character can be quashed regardless of whether the trial ended in conviction or an appeal against conviction has been dismissed.


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