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No requirement for criminal process to go on to settle the dispute, when the matter is a civil land dispute: High Court of Uttarakhand.

Where the dispute is one of a civil nature relating to the land in question and the criminal process is being used to settle that dispute and the demarcation report was unsure of the ground situation, then the Apex court observed that there was no requirement to carry on a criminal process in such a case. A single Judge bench comprising Hon’ble Justice N.S. Dhanik, in the matter of Hemant Dwivedi Vs. State of Uttarakhand and others (Criminal Misc. Application No. 79 of 2020), dealt with an issue where the petitioner filed the present criminal misc. application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking from the court to Quash the charge-sheet pursuant to FIR for the offences cognizable under Section 420, 447, 504 & 506 IPC as well as to Quash the cognizance order passed by learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nainital in Criminal Case, “State v. Hemant Dwivedi” pursuant to FIR for the offences cognizable under Section 420, 447, 504 & 506 IPC, and the entire proceeding of the said criminal case.

In the present case, respondent no. 3 had lodged FIR alleging offence under Sections 420, 447, 504 & 506 IPC against the accused applicant, which the applicant charged by filing a criminal writ petition. The main ground of challenge raised in the said writ petition was that it was actually a land dispute and the complainant had wrongly initiated the criminal proceedings against the accused applicant. After the dismissal of the writ petition, the applicant approached the Apex court and the court stated that no coercive can be taken against the applicant. the Hon’ble Apex Court directed the Collector Nainital to issue necessary instructions to the SDM to carry out the demarcation in the presence of both the parties and sought the report of demarcation along with the covering report of the Collector. The demarcation was done and the report was submitted, to which the apex court observed that the dispute really is one of a civil nature relating to the land in question and the criminal process is being used to settle that dispute. The apex court held there was no requirement for the criminal process to go on. The apex court quashed the criminal process initiated and also directed that if any of the parties were aggrieved by the SDM report, the same may be assailed in accordance with the law. Moreover, directed that the possession must be maintained by the parties in accordance with the report of the SDM subject to any adjudication which may take place.

The counsel for the applicant prayed to decide the present petition in the light of the Judgement passed by the apex court. The state counsel fairly conceded to it. The Hon’ble High court followed the decision of the Apex court and thereby allowed the C482 application and “State v. Hemant Dwivedi” was quashed.

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