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Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with the power of the court to quash criminal proceedings.

What is section 482 of CrPC?

Section 482 says, “Saving of inherent powers of the 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.”

What are the powers of High Court under section 482 to quash an FIR?

Though the section doesn’t explicitly provide for what exactly constitutes the inherent power of the court. The section empowers the High Court with wide extensive powers to prevent injustices by subordinate courts. The powers under the section are, though wide, but should be used in exceptional circumstances only.

When can an FIR be quashed?

In simple terms, the quashing of criminal proceedings means ceasing the legal machinery which had been set in motion with the registration of First Information Report (FIR). The criminal proceedings can be quashed at any stage once an FIR has been filed, but before the charge-sheet-filing stage. However, if circumstances necessitate, even then the court can use its discretionary powers under Section 482.

The High Court must use these powers cautiously to serve the ends of justice and prevent the abuse of the process of the court. The apex court had laid down detailed guidelines in this regard in its landmark judgment in Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab (2014) case.

It is a fact that the purpose of the law is deterrence constrained by the considerations of justice and if there has to be mercy, forgiveness, and compassion in law, the deterrent theory cannot prevail and thereby enlarging the scope of heinous crime against society.

The cases involving the scope of heinous crimes must have deterrence as paramount purpose of punishment and even if the victim’s family agrees to forgive the accused, the law needs to step in to keep the record straight of not accepting the same and to deal strictly with the wrongdoers.

However, there are other offences which fall in the “correctional” objective of criminal court and punishment must be fair and conducive to them and if the court opines that the settlement between the parties would lead to good and better relationships between them and there is no chance of recurrence of any criminal encounters between the parties.

Hence, this section enables the courts to stop the public from filing fictitious complaints just to fulfil their personal grudges.

What offences are compoundable?

There are two types of offences specified in the Indian Penal Code; these are compoundable and non-compoundable cases. These have been classified on the basis that whether the parties are free to settle the case among themselves outside the court or not.

The offences which can be settled by the parties outside the court are classified as compoundable offences. The offences which are not allowed to be settled outside the court are known as non-compoundable offences.

Any person who has been accused of committing any non-compoundable offence and against whom an FIR has been registered can approach the court to quash the FIR if for reasons that person believes he has been implicated falsely and illegally. To prove the case, evidence needs to be shown that even a prima facie case is not made out against him or that there are glaring irregularities that make it implausible for him to be convicted.

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