27 July 2022 4:27 AM GMT
In a recent case, the Andhra Pradesh High Court allowed the quashing of FIR as the face value of the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint was baseless and no preliminary enquiry was conducted before registration of the FIR in light of guidelines laid down in Lalitha Kumari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (2014)."It is clear that where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint, and...
In a recent case, the Andhra Pradesh High Court allowed the quashing of FIR as the face value of the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint was baseless and no preliminary enquiry was conducted before registration of the FIR in light of guidelines laid down in Lalitha Kumari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (2014).
"It is clear that where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint, and the evidence collected in support of the same, do not discloses the commission of offence, and make out the case against the accused, it is liable to be quashed. In the instant case, though they have made allegations against the petitioner, there are no material to show that the petitioner himself has done the acts."
Brief Facts of the Case
The Criminal Petition was filed under Section 482 of CrPC seeking quashing of FIR under Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 120(B) (punishment for Criminal Conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code.
The case of the petitioner was that he was selected in Indian Revenue Service in 1991 and served as the CEO of the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) from 2015. It was alleged that the petitioner, after State-elections in 2019 and the consequent formation of the new Government on 30.05.2019, was meted with hostile attitude. The petitioner was suspended by the new government on account of alleged irregularities committed during the period he was the CEO of the APEDB. The State also registered the impugned FIR against the Petitioner alleging violation of norms of financial property in dealing with procurement, payment of advances, audit and accounting procedures.
It was contended by the counsel for Petitioner that none of the allegations of the FIR would attract the ingredients of the Sections mentioned in the FIR. The allegation under Section 409 IPC was not attracted as FIR failed to disclose as to what property was entrusted with the petitioner. Section 403 IPC deals with punishment for dishonest misappropriation of property for his own use. But there were no allegations that the petitioner had misappropriated amounts for his own use. Even for offences Sections 188 and 120B IPC, there were no allegations.
The Petitioner relied on the case of Lalitha Kumari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (2014) to argue that a preliminary enquiry was necessary for registration of an FIR against the petitioner.
According to the said guidelines, when the allegations were made, it was the primary duty of the investigation officers to conduct preliminary investigation before registering the crime. It also held that as to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under: a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes b) Commercial offences c) Medical negligence cases) Corruption cases.
It was also made clear that the scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence.
Furthermore, APEDB was run by a Board consisting of 21 members with Chief minister as the Chairman and the decisions were taken collectively by the board. Hence, making allegation solely against the petitioner smacks malafide on part of the State of Andhra Pradesh, it was submitted. The Petitioner relied on different provisions of Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board Act, 2018 to emphasize that no independent powers were given to CEO/Petitioner.
However, the respondent relied on Supreme Court decision in State of Telangana vs. Sri Managipet @ Managipet Sargveshwar Reddy (2019) to state that it is not mandatory to conduct a preliminary investigation before registering an FIR unless it was necessary to make out a prima facie case.
Observations of the Court
Justice D. Ramesh quashed the FIR placing reliance on State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal (1992) as the face value of allegations made in FIR were baseless and the evidence collected in support of the same did not make out any offence. It held that preliminary enquiry should have been conducted before registering the FIR to make out a prima facie case in respect of the information received.
The Criminal petition was thus allowed.
Case Title : J KRISHNA KISHORE Versus The State of Andhra Pradesh
Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (AP) 97
Counsel for Petitioner - Sri Naga Muthu
Counsel for Respondent- Standing Counsel for CID- T.M.K. Chaitanya
Click Here To Read/Download Order