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The functions of the judiciary and the police are complementary not overlapping: Supreme Court of India

The courts are barred from usurping the jurisdiction of the police, since the two organs of the State operate in two specific spheres of activities and one ought not to tread over the other sphere.This honorable judgement was passed by Supreme Court of India in the case of M/s Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. Versus State of Maharashtra and others [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 330 OF 2021] by The Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and The Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.R. Shah.

The complainant had filed the appeal with the impugned interim order passed by  of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay in Writ Petition, by which, in an application filed by under Article 226 of the Constitution of India r/w Section 482 Cr.P.C. with a prayer to quash the criminal proceedings, the High Court had directed that “no coercive measures shall be adopted” against the accused in respect of the said FIR,. The appellant herein had lodged an FIR against accused at Worli Police Station, Mumbai for the offences under Sections 406, 420, 465, 468, 471 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code. Apprehending their arrest in connection with the aforesaid FIR, the accused filed anticipatory bail application under Section 438 Cr.P.C. The interim protection, which was granted, was further extended from time to time and continued nearly for a year thereafter. Liberty was granted to the original accused to file rejoinder. The High Court has passed the impugned interim order directing that “no coercive measures shall be adopted against the petitioners in respect of the said FIR”.

The court opinioned that, “Courts would not thwart any investigation into the cognizable offences; It is only in cases where no cognizable offence or offence of any kind is disclosed in the first information report that the Court will not permit an investigation to go on; The power of quashing should be exercised sparingly with circumspection, as it has been observed, in the ‘rarest of rare cases, Quashing of a complaint/FIR should be an exception rather than an ordinary rule. The first information report is not an encyclopedia which must disclose all facts and details relating to the offence reported. Therefore, when the investigation by the police is in progress, the court should not go into the merits of the allegations in the FIR. Police must be permitted to complete the investigation.

The appeal was allowed by the court stating that, “The power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is very wide, but conferment of wide power requires the court to be more cautious. It casts an onerous and more diligent duty on the court. The impugned interim order/direction contained in clause (d) of the impugned interim order by which the High Court has directed that “no coercive measures to be adopted” against the petitioners is hereby quashed and set aside. However, it is made clear that we have not expressed anything on the merits of the case, more particularly the allegations in the FIR and the High Court to consider the quashing petition in accordance with law and on its own merits”

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