Quashing of criminal proceedings is called for only in a case where the complaint does not disclose any offence, or is frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive. If the allegations set out in the complaint do not constitute the offence of which cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate, it is open to the High Court to quash the same. It is not necessary that a meticulous analysis of the case should be done before the trial to find out whether the case would end in conviction or acquittal. These were stated by High Court of Delhi consisting, Justice Subramonium Prasad in the case of Dr. Karunakar Patra vs. State [W.P.(CRL) 502/2021] on 24.01.2022.
The facts of the case are that when the Petitioner went to his hometown with his family, during that time the cemented water tank that had been constructed for his flat on the roof top was demolished by one Mrs. Meena Kumar (Respondent). The Respondent subsequently constructed a room and toilet, and in the process, broke the pipe that would be used to supply water from the water tank to the Petitioner’s flat. When the Petitioner returned, he was shocked to see that there was no water and when he objected to the illegality of the constructions, respondent and her family assured the Petitioner that they would reconstruct it. However, they failed to do so and the Petitioner installed a plastic water tank with his own money. The Petitioner’s wife has made several requests as well as wrote multiple letters to the DDA authorities regarding the illegal construction instituted by Respondent. As a consequence of the complaints, Respondent and her son, abused and threatened the Petitioner’s wife along with the entire family with dire consequences. Thereafter, the Petitioner was attacked by one Mohan Singh who allegedly conspired with Respondent. Respondent in collusion with the police, lodged an FIR. It was stated that without giving a copy of the FIR to the Petitioner, the police took the Petitioner to the police station and asked him to pay Rs. 5,00,000 as a bribe to settle the matter.
The learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the instant FIR deserves to be quashed as the same has been lodged with a mala fide intent and was an attempt to coerce and arm-twist the Petitioner into withdrawing the complaint that has been lodged by the Petitioner’s wife against the son of Respondent who is a habitual offender. He has submitted that more than 20 complaints have been filed by the Petitioner’s wife against Respondent and her family members, and that the same are pending before various authorities. It was further submitted that the instant FIR was an abuse of the process of law and was only filed after the Petitioner’s wife had filed the civil suit and then filed a written complaint against Respondent’s son. The learned Counsel contended that this Court has the power u/s 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the instant FIR and placed on record multiple judgements to buttress this submission.
The learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that the petitioner and his wife are habitual complainants and that both of them have filed several complaints regarding the construction that took place in their neighbourhood. He stated that the petitioner is an extortionist and that allegations made in his petition are false and baseless. It was further contended that the inherent powers of this Court could not be invoked to quash criminal proceedings involving serious and heinous crimes which are not private in nature and has a serious impact upon society.
The High Court of Delhi held that quashing of criminal proceedings is called for only in a case where the complaint does not disclose any offence, or is frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive. If the allegations set out in the complaint do not constitute the offence of which cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate, it is open to the High Court to quash the same. It is not necessary that a meticulous analysis of the case should be done before the trial to find out whether the case would end in conviction or acquittal. If it appears on a reading of the complaint and consideration of the allegations therein, in light of the statement made on oath that the ingredients of the offence are disclosed, there would be no justification for the High Court to interfere. Furthermore, a reading of the Status Report also does not reveal anything about the offences being referred to in the impugned FIR. The Status Report states that the Petitioner and his wife were habitual complainants and have filed multiple complaints against the construction that would take place in the neighbourhood, and therefore, it is evident that the instant FIR was maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the Petitioner. The Court, therefore, in exercise of its inherent power to quashed FIR under Sections 354A/506 IPC to prevent the abuse of the process of any Court and to secure the ends of justice. With the above observations, this petition was allowed.
Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman.