11 Aug 2023 6:59 AM GMT
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, while quashing a criminal FIR, made imperative observations. It observed that in cases where the quashing of FIR is sought, essentially on the ground that the proceedings are based on ulterior motive for wreaking personal vengeance, “then in such circumstances the Court owes a duty to look into the FIR with care and a little more closely.” The Court...
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, while quashing a criminal FIR, made imperative observations.
It observed that in cases where the quashing of FIR is sought, essentially on the ground that the proceedings are based on ulterior motive for wreaking personal vengeance, “then in such circumstances the Court owes a duty to look into the FIR with care and a little more closely.”
The Court observed:
“We say so because once the complainant decides to proceed against the accused with an ulterior motive for wreaking personal vengeance, etc., then he would ensure that the FIR/complaint is very well drafted with all the necessary pleadings.”
"Therefore, it will not be just enough for the Court to look into the averments made in the FIR/complaint alone for the purpose of ascertaining whether the necessary ingredients to constitute the alleged offence are disclosed or not. In frivolous or vexatious proceedings, the Court owes a duty to look into many other attending circumstances emerging from the record of the case over and above the averments and, if need be, with due care and circumspection try to read in between the lines.
The Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC or Article 226 of the Constitution need not restrict itself only to the stage of a case but is empowered to take into account the overall circumstances leading to the initiation/registration of the case as well as the materials collected in the course of investigation"
The Division Bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and J.B. Pardiwala, was hearing an appeal against the impugned order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in a writ petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. Therein, the Appellant sought to quash the FIR filed against him under several sections of the IPC, including Section 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The allegation in the FIR is that the accused persons threatened and pressurized the first informant to withdraw her to either the first FIR bearing No. 122 of 2022 registered for the offences punishable under Sections 376D, 323, 120B, 354A, and 452 of the IPC or give Rupees 10 lakh.
However, the High Court declined to quash the same. Thus, the Appellant filed this present appeal.
The stance of the Parties
It is the case of the State that during the investigation, the statement of Complainant/Victim under section 161 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CRPC) was recorded, wherein the victim has revealed that she was pressurized to make a settlement in the FIR above No. 122 of 2022 by the gang members of the Appellant.
Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave, appearing for the Appellant, contended the Appellant had not been named in the FIR and, further, there is no allegation against him. It was only after when the further statement of the first informant was recorded under Section 161 of the CRPC the name of the Appellant transpired.
Court’s Analysis and Observations
Concerning the Appellant's name in the FIR, the Court noted:
“It appears that further statement of the first informant was recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and in the said statement, the name of the Appellant herein surfaced. The Appellant herein has not been named in the FIR as one of the accused persons. There is no allegation worth the name in the entire FIR against the Appellant herein.”
The Court then went on to examine the statements of the first informant and went on to list the circumstances which demonstrated that the entire case was fabricated step by step.
Moving forward, the Court delved into the allegations under section 195A of the IPC (Threatening any person to give false evidence). The Court noted that none of the ingredients to constitute the offence punishable under Section 195A are disclosed. It observed:
“There is nothing to indicate that the accused persons threatened the first informant with intent that the first informant gives false evidence before the Court of law. The later part of Section 195A makes it very clear that false evidence means false evidence before the Court of law…. To give threat to a person to withdraw a complaint or FIR or settle the dispute would not attract Section 195A of the IPC.”
Further, the Court examined the allegation under Section 386 of the IPC (Extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt). After going through the said provision, the Court observed: “So from the aforesaid, it is clear that one of the necessary ingredients of the offence of extortion is that the victim must be induced to deliver to any person any property or valuable security, etc… Forcibly taking any property will not come under this definition. It has to be shown that the person was induced to part with the property by putting him in fear of injury.”
In view of the same, the Court held that there is nothing on record to indicate that there was actual delivery of possession of property (money) by the person put in fear. Thus, in the absence of the same, no offence under Section 386 of the IPC can be said to have been made out.
Based on the above observations, the Court held, “as observed earlier, the entire case put up by the first informant on the face of it appears to be concocted and fabricated” and accordingly quashed the FIR.
Also Read - Threatening A Person To Withdraw FIR/Complaint Or Settle Dispute Will Not Attract Offence Under Section 195A IPC : Supreme Court
Salib @ Shalu @ Salim vs State of U P | 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 618 | 2023 INSC 687
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