The Supreme Court has set aside an order of the Karnataka High Court and permitted the dismissed petitions, observing that when a complaint was not supported by an affidavit, the Magistrate ought not to have entertained the application under Section 156 (3) of CrPC.
The Division Bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Krishna Murari on Friday set aside the judgement of Karnataka High Court on January 22, 2021, allowing the appeals on ground that to invoke the jurisdiction of the Magistrate, applications under Section 156 (3) of CrPC are to be supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the complainant.
The Court further held that prior to the filing of a petition under Section 156 (3) of CrPC, there have to be applications under Section 154 (1) and 154 (3) of CrPC.
Two of the appellants Sunandamma and Venkatappa entered into various Sale Agreements with the Respondent/ N. Ranganath with respect to properties situated at Bangalore.
The contention of the appellant was that even after payment of consideration, the respondent did not register the Sale Deed. Therefore, the appellants’ resorted to filing four different suits for specific performance of the Contract.
The respondent retaliated by filing a complaint against the appellants, alleging that Babu Venkatesh, son of the other two appellants, obtained blank stamp papers from them and used them to make Sale Agreements.
They claimed the appellants had cheated them and committed forgery.
On the basis of Private Complaints registered by the Respondents, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate passed an order on December 6, 2019, on the basis of which FIR was registered against the appellants. Thereafter, the appellants filed petitions under Section 482 of CrPC before the High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru.
These petitions were dismissed by the High Court on the ground that serious allegations of cheating and forgery were shown in the complaint.
The Supreme Court, relying on the Judgement of State of Haryana and Others vs Bhajan Lal and Others, observed that the power to quash criminal proceedings should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases.
It has specified certain category of cases, wherein such power can be exercised for quashing of proceedings.
Further, citing the case of Priyanka Srivastava and Another vs State of Uttar Pradesh and Others, the court held that a stage has come where applications under Section 156 (3) of CrPC are to be supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the complainant who seeks the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Magistrate.
The court further held that, in an appropriate case, the Magistrate would be well advised to verify the truth and also verify the veracity of the allegations. The court has noted that, applications under Section 156 (3) of the Cr.P.C. are filed in a routine manner without taking any responsibility only to harass certain persons.
The Apex Court further held that prior to the filing of a petition under Section 156 (3) of CrPC, there have to be applications under Section 154 (1) and 154 (3) of the CrPC.
This court emphasised the necessity to file an affidavit, so that the persons making the application should be conscious and do not make a false affidavit. With such a requirement, the persons would be deterred from causally invoking authority of the Magistrate under Section 156 (3) of CrPC.
In as much as if the affidavit is found to be false, the person would be liable for prosecution, in accordance with law.
“In any case, when the complaint was not supported by an affidavit, the Magistrate ought not to have entertained the application under Section 156 (3) of CrPC.
The High Court has also failed to take into consideration the legal position as has been enunciated by this court in the case of Priyanka Srivastava vs State of U.P. (supra), and has dismissed the petitions by merely observing that serious allegations are made in the complaint,” the order read.