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Powers Under Section 482 CrPC Must Be Used Sparingly In Rarest Of Rare Cases: Gauhati High Court Reiterates

13 May 2022 5:38 AM GMT
Pensionary Benefits Of A Person Cannot Be Witheld If Neither There Was Any Departmental Proceeding Nor The Cause Of Action Of The Misconduct Is Within The Period Of Four Years : Gauhati HC

The Gauhati High Court recently observed that the powers of the High Court under Section 482 of CrPC need to be used sparingly and in rarest of rare cases while dealing with a petition seeking quashing of FIR.

The observation came from Justice Sanjay Kumar Medhi:

"The overall reading of the aforesaid case of Bhajan Lal (Supra), would lead to the conclusion that the power to quash is to be exercised very sparingly and in rarest of the rare cases. The remedies available in law for false and vexatious charges have also been highlighted in the said judgment to dissuade the High Courts from exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC."

The extraordinary powers conferred to this Court by Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter called CrPC), has been sought to be invoked by this petition jointly filed by 14 nos. of petitioners with a prayer for quashing the FIR dated 20.09.2021 registered as Patacharkuchi Police Station Case No. 479/2021 under Sections 120(B) / 420 / 409 / 467 / 468 / 471 of the IPC read with Sections 7 / 7(A) / 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The principal grounds of challenge are that the FIR does not prima facie disclose the ingredients of the offence and no specific complaint has been made against the petitioners. He has also relied on a judgement of this court that states that acting as a land broker does not prima facie constitute any offence.

The petitioners were businessmen and though there is a statement in paragraph 2 of the petition that the "petitioner no. 15" is a Government Employee, there is no such petitioner no. 15 in the array of the parties. Nonetheless, the petition was filed in respect of an FIR dated 20.09.2021 registered under Sections 120(B) / 420 / 409 / 467 / 468 / 471 of the IPC read with Sections 7 / 7(A) / 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

It is the case of the petitioners that the Deputy Commissioner, Bajali had issued a communication dated 20.09.2021 to the Superintendent of Police, Bajali alleging that the petitioners are involved in land dealings in the Bajali districts. The aforesaid communication was forwarded to the Patacharkuchi PS leading to the registration of the present case. The petitioners were arrested on 20.09.2021 and the Special Judge, Assam through an order dated 22.09.2021 had forwarded some of the petitioners for seven days of police custody.

The said order dated 22.09.2021 was the subject matter of challenge by some of the petitioners, who have preferred criminal petitions before the High Court.

It is the case of the petitioners that while calling for the Case Diary vide order dated 24.09.2021, an observation was made that though the case has been registered under the said provisions of Law, the FIR and the other materials on record do not prima facie disclose any ingredients of the offence.

The High Court had further observed that land broking, as such, cannot constitute an offence under the IPC or PC Act unless the same is associated with some activities of criminal nature. In the meantime, the petitioners had also filed bail applications in this Court and accordingly the criminal petition was closed vide order dated 27.09.2021.

Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that the considerations for grant of bail cannot be equated with those which are required at the time of examining a petition under Section 482 of the CrPC.

He argued that It is the prima facie satisfaction of the Court which is required for grant of bail on the basis of the materials available while for quashing of a criminal proceeding, that too at the stage of FIR, the Court will be not in a position to come to a definite conclusion that no allegations, whatsoever, are made out.

The Court relied on the judgement passed by the Apex court in State of Haryana and Others Vs. Bhajan Lal and Others reported and observed that the Supreme Court had also set aside the judgment of the High Court quashing the FIR as not being legally and factually sustainable in law and only the investigation was interfered with on certain technical grounds including the award of cost.

The Court also observed that for consideration of an application for bail an application under Section 482, different yardsticks are required.

In view of the above, the Court was of the considered opinion that the present was not a fit case for exercising the jurisdiction conferred under Section 482 of the CrPC. The Court also observed that no exceptional case was made out for exercising the extraordinary powers.

Accordingly, the application was dismissed.

Petitioner was represented by Advocate MR Borah.


Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Gau) 37

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

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