The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a decision of the Allahabad High Court, rejecting application under Section 482 of CrPC for quashing of FIR, charge sheet and proceedings instituted against a person in a case related to property.
A Division Bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice J.K. Maheshwari, while hearing the Special Leave Petition, quashed the FIR, charge sheet and proceedings instituted against one Randheer Singh, under Section 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), Section 467 (Forgery of valuable security, will, etc), Section 468(Forgery for purpose of cheating) and Section 471 (Using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record]) of IPC.
“There can be no doubt that jurisdiction under Section 482, CrPC should be used sparingly to prevent its misuse but the High Court has to see whether a complaint discloses an ingredient of crime. The High Court has to see whether a civil dispute is being given a garb of a criminal complaint, in such cases the High Court should allow an application under Section 482, CrPC,” the Court observed.
In cases where civil dispute is given a garb of criminal complaint, the High Court should allow application under Section 482, CrPC: SC
The Court relied upon Paramjeet Batra v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors. (2013) 11 SCC 673 wherein a Division Bench of the Apex Court had stated, “While exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code the High Court has to be cautious. This power is to be used sparingly and only for the purpose of preventing abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure ends of justice. Whether a complaint discloses a criminal offence or not depends upon the nature of facts alleged therein. Whether essential ingredients of criminal offence are present or not has to be judged by the High Court. A complaint disclosing civil transactions may also have a criminal texture. But the High Court must see whether a dispute which is essentially of a civil nature is given a cloak of criminal offence.
In such a situation, if a civil remedy is available and is, in fact, adopted as has happened in this case, the High Court should not hesitate to quash criminal proceedings to prevent abuse of process of court.”
Advocate Chandra Prakash submitted that the petitioner had purchased the disputed property from deceased Rajan Kumar, who was executing the Power of Attorney on the behalf of Bela Devi by registration of a sale deed. He further submitted that, the petitioner had registered an FIR against Respondent 2(complainant) but the said FIR was not investigated.
Prakash argued that, in the current FIR was devoid of any elements of crime and was a civil dispute, where the Respondent 2(complainant) had registered the aforementioned FIR to put pressure on the petitioner with regards to the civil suit, to further this argument the petitioner placed reliance on Md. Ibrahim & Ors v. State of Bihar & Anr.(2009) 8 SCC 751.
Prakash placed reliance upon Paramjeet Batra v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors. (2013) 11 SCC 673, to demonstrate that the power of High Court to quash an FIR, which has no ingredients of a crime.
Advocate Deepika Kalia appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh submitted that, Rajan Kumar had obtained a false Power of Attorney.
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Justice Indira Banerjee enquired: “How can you say the sale deed is forged? Bela Rani was not even examined, only she can say if the sale deed was forged. What sort of an investigation is this? What is the purchasers role in this?”
Advocate Kalia, argued that there are several disputes of fact that can be adjudged by the trial court and then requested the bench for time to seek further instructions on the questions posed by Justice Indira Banerjee.
Justice Indira Banerjee observed:
“ Dispute of Facts can be settled in Civil Suits, from patent reading of the FIR, it is clear that Bela Rani does not have the title to the property, but in order to prove it was a forged document, Bela Rani would have to testify that, she did not execute the Power of Attorney.”
Respondent 2(complainant): Advocate Sanjeev Agarwal, appearing for the Beena Srivastava(complainant) argued that necessary ingredients for a crime are present and a Chargesheet has been registered by Police on the basis of statement of 7 witnesses.
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Agarwal further informed the court that an FIR has been registered against the petitioner under Uttar Pradesh Control of Goondas Act, 1970.
The FIR was filed by Beena Srivastava, alleging that she is the owner of the disputed property, House No. 229/B was owned by Afroz Athar and Virendra Kumar and was purchased by Beena Srivastava from them. It was further alleged Rajan Kumar had executed sale deed of the disputed property on the basis of forged Power of Attorney of one Bela Rani to Randheer Singh.
The Allahabad High Court, while hearing the application under Section 482 of CrPC had held, there were several intrinsic questions of fact and law in in the matter, which require adjudication by the trial court in accordance with law, civil proceedings cannot be a ground to quash the proceedings.