The powers awarded to the High courts to quash proceedings under section 482 Cr.P.C. though wide is to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution, only when such exercise is justified by tests specifically laid down in section itself. It is further observed that appreciation of evidence is not permissible at the stage of quashing of proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. This was held by the two-judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice Dr. Dhananjaya Chandrachud and Hon’ble Justice M. R. Shah in the case of Kaptan Singh Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 787 OF 2021] on the 13th of august, 2021 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court at New Delhi.
The brief facts of the case as per the allegations in the FIR, one Munni Devi appointed the complainant – Kaptan Singh as her power of attorney holder to take care of the said plot; that Munni Devi wanted to sell the said plot; that she entered into a registered agreement to sell with one Mamta Gupta – respondent no. 3 herein on 27.10.2010 for a total sale consideration of Rs.25,00,000/-; that at the time of agreement, the purchaser – Mamta Gupta handed over five cheques of Rs. 2 lakh each, drawn on ICICI Bank, Branch Govind Nagar, Kanpur; that Munni Devi presented one of the cheques no. 502314 dated 15.11.2010 in her bank and the said cheque was dishonoured “due to insufficient funds”; that when the cheque returned unpaid, Munni Devi contacted Mamta Gupta and then she informed her that her husband is suffering from kidney failure and facing financial problem and therefore she would not be able to purchase the said plot, however she is arranging money; that thereafter Mamta Gupta showed no interest for registration of sale deed and she informed Munni Devi not to present the cheques; that thereafter Munni Devi served a legal notice dated 02.01.2015 and 18.05.2015 through registered post; that after receiving notice dated 18.05.2015, Mamta Gupta showed no positive response, then Munni Devi appointed the complainant as a power of attorney holder on 05.08.2015. It was alleged that thereafter when the complainant along with his friend Ram Pratap Singh went to the plot on 20.08.2015, at that time Mamta Gupta and her husband were present there along with three other persons outside the tin shed. The complainant told them that they have not paid the full consideration amount and had forcibly put lock on the room and requested them to open the said lock. At that time, Mamta Gupta and her husband told them that they had paid Rs. 2 lakhs and they will not open the lock till the time they will get Rs. 10 lakhs. It was alleged that all the persons abused the complainant by using filthy language relating to his mother and sister and pushed the complainant due to which he fell down and thereafter he was beaten with fist and Mamta Gupta, who was carrying knife like weapon, kept the edged part of it on his chest and gave a blank paper and threatened him to sign it, if not, then he will be killed and the complainant signed it. The complainant also produced the medical report. That thereafter after the completion of the investigation and after recording of the statement of the witnesses, statement of the complainant and after collecting the evidence from the place of incident and taking statement of independent witnesses and even the statement of the accused persons, after due enquiry and having satisfied that a prima facie case is made out against the accused for the offences under Sections 147, 148, 149, 406, 329 and 386 IPC, the investigating officer filed charge sheet no. 320/2015 dated 26.11.2015 against the private respondents herein for the aforesaid offences.
The counsel for the appellant submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the case the High Court has committed a grave error in quashing the criminal proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. It is further submitted that the High Court ought to have appreciated and considered the fact that after the FIR was lodged, the same came to be investigated by the Investigating Officer and after thorough investigation and recording the statement of the witnesses and after collecting the evidence and even after recording the statements of the independent witnesses and statement of the accused persons and after holding inquiry the Investigating Officer filed the charge-sheet against the accused persons and even thereafter the Learned Magistrate also took the cognizance. It is submitted that the aforesaid aspect has not been considered at all by the High Court while quashing the criminal proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The counsel for the respondent however submitted that, in the facts and circumstances of the case the High Court has not committed any error in quashing the criminal proceedings. It is submitted that in the present case there was no entrustment of any property and therefore, there is no question of any offence being committed under Section 406 IPC. It is submitted that therefore when the ingredients for the offence under Section 406 IPC are not satisfied and as rightly observed by the High Court the genuineness of the documents dated 27.10.2010 are to be considered in the civil proceedings and which are not required to be considered in the criminal proceedings, the High Court is absolutely justified in quashing the criminal proceedings.
The learned judges heard the submissions of both the parties and observed that, It is submitted that in the present case there was no entrustment of any property and therefore, there is no question of any offence being committed under Section 406 IPC. It is submitted that therefore when the ingredients for the offence under Section 406 IPC are not satisfied and as rightly observed by the High Court the genuineness of the documents dated 27.10.2010 are to be considered in the civil proceedings and which are not required to be considered in the criminal proceedings, the High Court is absolutely justified in quashing the criminal proceedings jurisdiction and/or conducting the trial. The appeal is allowed by setting aside the judgement of the high court by holding that, “the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court quashing the criminal proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is unsustainable and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside and is accordingly quashed and set aside. Now, the trial to be conducted and proceeded further in accordance with law and on its own merits. It is made clear that the observations made by this Court in the present proceedings are to be treated to be confined to the proceedings under Section 482 Cr.P.C. only and the trial Court to decide the case in accordance with law and on its own merits and on the basis of the evidence to be laid and without being influenced by any of the observations made by us hereinabove”