The Patna High Court, in the case of Dr. Syed Mohhammad Azfar vs The State Of Bihar & Anr, shed light on the wide-ranging powers of the High Court under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code and noted that even those complaints of which the Magistrate has taken cognizance of, but are of a private and vexatious nature, can be quashed by the High Court.
In this case, an appeal had been filed for the quashing of order of cognizance by the Magistrate and issuance of process under a Complaint Case alleging offences under Sections 323 and 342 of the IPC. It was contended that the complaint was filed on malicious and vexatious grounds.
Justice Nilu Agarwal, after examining the material placed on record and balancing rival contentions, held that even though an offence is disclosed in the complaint, the same is held to be a vexatious petition filed to harass and humiliate the accused.
“The Court, in exercise of its power under Section 482 of the CrPC, has to see whether the allegations made in the complaint petition are culpably probable or inherently improbable and judicial process should not merely be an instrument for harassment or oppression and is a vexatious one just to harass and humiliate the petitioner.”
The Court reiterated that the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code are extremely wide and unfettered and the Court can exercise its powers under this provision to quash those criminal proceedings which are of a private nature and have been filed merely to settle scores.
The Court further noted that offences under the aforementioned provisions of the IPC have a civil character to them and when the opposite party loses interest or stops appearing in such disputes, continuing with the same would be a miscarriage of justice.
Read the Judgment here.