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Section 482 CrPC - High Court Can Recall Judgment/Order Which Was Passed Without Hearing A Person Prejudically Affected By It: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
30 July 2022 11:54 AM GMT
Section 482 CrPC - High Court Can Recall Judgment/Order Which Was Passed Without Hearing A Person Prejudically Affected By It: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that a High Court has inherent power under Section 482 CrPC to recall a judgment/order which was passed without hearing a person prejudicially affected by it.In this case, the allegation against the accused was that they had cheated the deceased of Rs.2,35,73,200/- and thus the deceased, who was in acute financial crunch, was constrained to take his own life....

The Supreme Court observed that a High Court has inherent power under Section 482 CrPC to recall a judgment/order which was passed without hearing a person prejudicially affected by it.

In this case, the allegation against the accused was that they had cheated the deceased of Rs.2,35,73,200/- and thus the deceased, who was in acute financial crunch, was constrained to take his own life. In petition filed by the accused under Section 482 CrPC, the Gujarat High Court had quashed FIR under Section 306 IPC filed against the accused in view of a settlement between the accused named in the FIR and the complainant- a cousin of the deceased.

Thereafter, the wife of the deceased filed an application seeking recall of this judgment which was also dismissed by the High Court.

In appeal, the Apex Court bench noted that the High Court erred in declining the prayer for recalling its order passed without hearing the wife of the deceased only because the original informant/complainant, a cousin brother and an employee of the deceased had been heard. 

"Hearing a cousin-cum-employee of the deceased cannot and does not dispense with the requirement to give the wife of the deceased a hearing. The wife of the deceased would have greater interest than cousins and employees in prosecuting accused persons charged with the offence of abetting the suicide of her husband.", the court observed.

Regarding the power of the High Court to recall its orders, judgments, the bench observed thus:

In Krishna Kumar Pandey (supra) this Court referred with approval, to the judgment of this Court in State of Punjab v. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Ors. where this Court held that the High Court was not denuded of inherent power to recall a judgment and/or order which was without jurisdiction, or in violation of principles of natural justice, or passed without giving an opportunity of hearing to a party affected by the order or where an order was obtained by abusing the process of Court which would really amount to its being without jurisdiction. Inherent powers can be exercised to recall such orders.. The High Court rightly found, in effect, that it had the inherent power to recall a judgment and/or order which was without jurisdiction or a judgment and/or order passed without hearing a person prejudicially affected by the judgment and/or order. The High Court, however, fell in error in not recalling the order dated 20th October 2020. The High Court did not address to itself, the question of whether it had jurisdiction to quash a criminal complaint under Section 306 of the IPC, which is a grave non-compoundable offence, entailing imprisonment of ten years, on the basis of a settlement between the parties

The court then proceeded to address the main issue whether an FIR under Section 306 of the IPC for abetment to commit suicide, entailing punishment of imprisonment of ten years, could have been quashed on the basis of a settlement between the complainant and the accused named in the FIR ? Answering this in the favour of appellant, the court allowed the appeals. 

"The Criminal Proceeding cannot be nipped in the bud by exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr. P.C. only because there is a settlement, in this case a monetary settlement, between the accused and the complainant and other relatives of the deceased to the exclusion of the hapless widow of the deceased", the court observed while allowing the appeal.

Case details

Daxaben vs State of Gujarat | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 642 | SLP (Crl.) No.1132-1155 of 2022 | 29 July 2022 | Justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian

Headnotes

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 482 -  Indian Penal Code, 1860 ; Section 306 - An FIR under Section 306 IPC cannot even be quashed on the basis of any financial settlement with the informant, surviving spouse, parents, children, guardians, care-givers or anyone else - Section 306 IPC falls in the category of heinous and serious offences and are to be treated as crime against society and not against the individual alone. (Para 50)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 482 - The Criminal Proceeding cannot be quashed only because there is a settlement (including monetary settlement) between the accused and the complainant and other relatives of the deceased to the exclusion of the hapless widow of the deceased. (Para 50)

Indian Penal Code, 1860 ; Section 306 - Abetment to commit suicide - Even an indirect act of incitement to the commission of suicide would constitute the offence of abetment of suicide (Para 16)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 482 - Crimes like murder, rape, burglary, dacoity and even abetment to commit suicide are neither private nor civil in nature - In no circumstances can prosecution be quashed on compromise, when the offence is serious and grave and falls within the ambit of crime against society. (Para 38)

Criminal Investigation and Trial - In case of grave and serious non compoundable offences which impact society, the informant and/or complainant only has the right of hearing, to the extent of ensuring that justice is done by conviction and punishment of the offender. An informant has no right in law to withdraw the complaint of a non compoundable offence of a grave, serious and/or heinous nature, which impacts society. (Para 39)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 482 - Scope and powers of High Court discussed - The inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. is wide and can even be exercised to quash criminal proceedings relating to non-compoundable offences, to secure the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of Court. Where the victim and offender have compromised disputes essentially civil and personal in nature, the High Court can exercise its power under Section 482 of the CrPC to quash the criminal proceedings. In what cases power to quash an FIR or a criminal complaint or criminal proceedings upon compromise can be exercised, would depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. (Para 26-37)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 482 - The High Court has the inherent power to recall a judgment and/or order which was without jurisdiction or a judgment and/or order passed without hearing a person prejudicially affected by the judgment and/or order. (Para 22)


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