“In an appropriate case where the document relied upon is a public document or where veracity thereof is not disputed by the complainant, the same can be considered.”
The Supreme Court recently quashed criminal proceedings against a man based on the complaint by his brother’s wife alleging torture and harassment by him, after it found from his passport papers that he was not in India at that time.
The bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph reiterated that in an appropriate case (proceedings under Section 482 CrPC) where the document relied upon is a public document or where veracity thereof is not disputed by the complainant, the same can be considered.
Md. Akram Siddiqui was facing criminal proceeding under Sections 498-A, 323 IPC and 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act instituted against him by his sister-in-law. The FIR registered against him referred to an incident that allegedly occurred on 27.08.2005 in Patna.
Though he brought to notice the passport papers and immigration details before the high court in his plea seeking to quash the proceedings, they were not looked into. The high court had brushed aside the same by saying that the claim raised has to be decided on the basis of evidence which has to be laid in the course of the trial.
In his appeal, the Supreme Court bench said: “Ordinarily and in the normal course, the High Court, when approached for quashing of a criminal proceeding, will not appreciate the defence of the accused; neither would it consider the veracity of the document(s) on which the accused relies. However an exception has been carved out by this Court in Yin Cheng Hsiung vs. Essem Chemical Industries; State of Haryana & Ors. Vs Bhajan Lal & Ors. and Harshendra Kumar D. Vs. Rebatilata Koley Etc. to the effect that in an appropriate case where the document relied upon is a public document or where veracity thereof is not disputed by the complainant, the same can be considered.”
Perusing the passport papers, the bench noted that on the date in question the accused was not in India and this fact was not disputed before it or the high court.
Quashing the criminal proceedings against the accused, the bench said: “When it is not in dispute that on the said date i.e. 27.08.2005 the accused-appellant was not in India, we are of the view that the document(s) evidencing the said fact which are public documents can and should be looked into. Looking into the passport papers and the immigration records, we find that the prosecution, if allowed to stand, would be a futile exercise and that the present was an appropriate case where the High Court ought to have exercised its power under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”