punjab,haryana high court

Inherent power granted to the High Court under Section 482 of the CrPc cannot be exercised to quash a case involving female infanticide – Punjab and Haryana High Court

The Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed a petition in which there was a plea made to the court to quash a case of female feticide and abortion after determination of sex which resulted in death of the mother. The plea was made as there was a settlement between the Petitioner and Respondents and hence the High Court was approached to quash the case under Section 432 of CrPC. The court was of the opinion that such offences are not ‘in personam’ but affect the society at large and so the High Court cannot quash such cases under section 482 that includes offences of such gravity.  The ration was laid down in the case of Gurpreet Singh & Anr. Vs. State of Punjab & Ors., CRM-M-27082-2020.

The facts of the case are that Jyoti was married to Gurpreet Singh i.e. the Petitioner for about 5 years. There was a daughter that was born out of the wedding and she is about 2 year-old. Jyoti conceived again and was four months pregnant. Her husband and mother got her scanning done and found out that she was carrying a female foetus. It was alleged that on 16th July 2020, the Petitioner and his sister in law i.e. Veero took Jyoti for abortion as she already had one daughter. After the abortion Jyoti had an infection and later she died on 23rd July 2020. An FIR was filed against the Petitioner and his sister in law. But later there was a compromise reached between the parties where the complainants did not find the Petitioners guilty and had no objection if the FIR is quashed. Hence the Petitioners have approached the High Court to quash the case under Section 482 of CrPC.

The High Court heard the parties on both sides and upholding the precedent of the Supreme Court loid down in the case of Parbatbhai Aahir @ Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur and others v. State of Gujarat and another, 2017, AIR (SC) 4843, clearly denied to quash the case. The court stated that the power granted to the High Courts under Section 482 of the CrPC can be implemented in rare cases and definitely not in cases including serious crimes that affect the society at large. The gravity of offences included in the case gives no right to the High Court to quash the case as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the above stated precedent. The Supreme Court in the above precedent with respect to power of High Court under Section 482 states that, “(i) Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers. It only recognizes and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court.” Further, it was alleged that the abortion was not carried with the consent of the mother hence there was a violation of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. Hence, the High Court dismissed the Petition and ordered proper investigation in this case.

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