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Section of 482 Cr.P.C. could be invoked where allegations made and evidence collected in support do not disclose commission of an offence: High Court of Delhi

The exercise of the inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C., to prevent abuse of the process of Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice could be invoked to bring an end to the criminal prosecution in cases where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused. These were stated by High Court of Delhi, consisting Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri in the case of T. Harish Kumar vs. State of NCT Delhi [CRL.M.C. 3467/2019] on 12.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that petitioner, alongwith his wife was the joint owner of flat property. The petitioner and his wife had rented out the flat to Leela Ambience Delhi Convention Hotel acting through its Authorized Signatory Ms. Parul Jain, for a period of 36 months initially. The flat was rented out for Residential purpose, i.e. for accommodation of lady staff members of the Hotel exclusively, and for no other purpose. Subsequent to execution of the aforesaid Rent Deed, the Hotel had provided a list of 8 persons to the petitioner who were their employees and were to occupy the flat. Alongwith the list, duly filled tenant verification forms of those persons were also handed over and police verification was done. Thereafter, a complaint was filed on behalf of the residents occupying other floors of the property that the occupants of the flat used to come late in the night and were a source of disturbance and security concerns. On becoming aware of the concerns, the petitioner immediately sent a notice to the Hotel seeking to terminate the tenancy and asking that peaceful possession of the flat be handed over back to him and his wife. In pursuance of the aforesaid notice, the vacant possession of the flat was handed over by the Hotel to the petitioner. In between however, on 16.07.2018, the present FIR came to be registered on the complaint of Head Constable Kapil Kumar alleging that during spot inspection, two ladies namely Bhadri Maya Gurang and Rinchen Lhamo were found to be tenants of the flat, in respect of whom no police verification had been carried out.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the flat was rented out to the Hotel for the purpose of accommodation of its lady staff. He further submits that in pursuance of the rent agreement, a list of 8 persons, along with their tenant verification forms was forwarded by the Hotel to the petitioner. The documents were duly submitted to the concerned Police Station for verification. He also submitted that as per the information disclosed by the occupants of the flat, only the 8 persons named in the letter were residing in the flat. On becoming aware of the issues faced by the other residents of the property/building, the petitioner immediately terminated the tenancy and sought vacant possession of the flat which was delivered on 10.08.2018. He further submitted that the petitioner had also given copies of the Rent Deed, the tenant verification forms as well as the notice dated 09.07.2018 to the concerned SHO. Lastly, it was submitted that neither were the aforesaid two ladies tenants of the petitioner, nor did Constable Sanjeev Kumar and/or Head Constable Kapil Kumar meet him on 16.07.2018 at 7:30 p.m. as alleged.

The Counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, opposed the petition. He submitted that the petitioner had rented out the flat without getting requisite police verification done, and thus, had violated the order No.7308-7407/R-ACP/Vivek Vihar Delhi dated 11.12.2017.

The High Court of Delhi held that it was the responsibility of the Hotel to provide to the petitioner a list of the occupants along with their duly filled tenant verification forms. Further, in the FIR and the statement of Constable Sanjeev Kumar recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C., there is not a whisper as to whether any verification was conducted with respect to those 8 tenant verification forms. The FIR is also silent as to on what basis the complainant/Head Constable Kapil Kumar came to the conclusion that the two ladies namely Bhadri Maya Gurang and Rinchen Lhamo were tenants at the flat whose tenant verification was not done in terms of the order dated 11.12.2017. Mere presence of the aforesaid ladies in the flat, even if proved, by no stretch of imagination can form the basis to establish that they were tenants. While summarizing the principles of law governing the exercise of the inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C., to prevent abuse of the process of Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, it was held that such power could be invoked to bring an end to the criminal prosecution in cases where “the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused”. Consequently, the petition was allowed and the FIR and all other consequential proceedings were quashed.

Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman. Read Judgment

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