10 Aug 2023 5:49 AM GMT
The Supreme Court has recently quashed a first information report (FIR) against designated senior advocate at the Gujarat High Court and former assistant solicitor-general Iqbal Hasanali Syed after over a year of legal battle. Syed, along with five others, was slapped with charges of causing hurt, criminal intimidation, extortion, wrongful confinement, etc. on a complaint filed...
The Supreme Court has recently quashed a first information report (FIR) against designated senior advocate at the Gujarat High Court and former assistant solicitor-general Iqbal Hasanali Syed after over a year of legal battle. Syed, along with five others, was slapped with charges of causing hurt, criminal intimidation, extortion, wrongful confinement, etc. on a complaint filed by Ahmedabad-based businessman Viral Shah.
A division bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Prashant Kumar Mishra has allowed Syed’s appeal against the decision of the Gujarat High Court to decline his quashing petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. This verdict was delivered by the division bench after noting that the complainant, in an affidavit, admitted to having named Syed and alleged his complicity due to a ‘misconception’ and having realised this, indicated his disinclination to prosecute the complaint against him. The order reads:
“A further perusal of the affidavit would indicate that the complainant had named the appellant and alleged complicity based on a misconception and therefore, at this stage, having realised the same, has indicated that he does not wish to prosecute the complaint as against the appellant. Therefore, we are of the opinion that in the present facts and circumstances, the FIR as against the appellant would not be appropriate and all further action unnecessary. Therefore, the prayer as made, is to be accepted. Accordingly, the order impugned herein is set aside.”
IH Syed was arraigned as an accused, along with five others, in an FIR lodged at the Pethapur police station in Gandhinagar on the strength of a complaint by businessman Viran Mukundbhai Shah, who alleged that he was summoned to former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela’s Gandhinagar residence by his personal assistant to sign an agreement relating to a business dispute. According to his complaint, at Vaghel’s residence, he was not only threatened but also held against his will and assaulted, before he managed to flee in his car.
On May 15,2022, an FIR was filed against the six accused under Sections 387, 389, 120B, 143, 147, 149, 323, 504, 506(2), and 342 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. In the same month, a Gandhinagar sessions court declined to grant Syed anticipatory bail. The following month, a single-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising Justice Samir Dave refused to allow his plea for quashing the FIR, holding that such a petition was not maintainable under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before filing of the charge sheet.
In a small relief, however, the former ASG was granted anticipatory bail by another single-judge bench of the high court in June of last year. Justice Nikhil S Kariel observed, inter alia, that the FIR did not make out any specific allegation against the embattled senior advocate.
In an interesting development, Aniq Kadri, a lawyer practising at the Gujarat High Court and Syed’s counsel in the quashing and anticipatory bail applications, was also served with a notice under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure by the police for allegedly providing illegal assistance to the former assistant solicitor general. Kadri has challenged this notice in the Gujarat High Court.
Iqbal Hasanali Syed v. State of Gujarat & Anr. | Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 9651 of 2023
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 620
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