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SUPREME COURT HAS SET ASIDE GUJRAT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT AND RELEASED THE ACCUSED FOR THE OFFENCE OF ROBERRY & MURDER

CASE NAME: THAKORE UMEDSING NATHUSING V. STATE OF GUJARAT
CASE NUMBER: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1102 OF 2024

DATED ON: FEBRUARY 22, 2024
QUORUM: Honourable Justice B.R. Gavai & Justice Sandeep Mehta

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The appellants, Thakore Laxmansing Halsing, Thakore Pravinsing Rajsing, Thakore Umedsing Nathusing, Thakore Khemsing Halsing, and Thakore Prabhatsing Kapursing, were tried in Sessions Case Nos. 107 and 143 of 1990 respectively. They were convicted under Section 392 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 5,000/­. The trial court acquitted them of the charges under Sections 302 read with Section 34 and Sections 396 and 397 IPC. The appellants appealed, while the State appealed, seeking acquittal.

A man named Vithalbhai Kachrabhai Barot was accused of murdering a man who used to drive a Jeep. The case was registered at Gadh Police Station, Taluka Palanpur, Gujarat, and an investigation began. On March 2, 1990, a jeep was driven away at high speed near Charannagar, Ahmedabad. Four persons alighted from the jeep and tried to run away. One of them, Laxmansing (A1), was chased down and confessed to the murder and looting of the vehicle. The remaining four accused were apprehended, and a blood-stained knife was recovered.

The investigation concluded that the accused took the jeep taxi of Bharatbhai (deceased) on hire and murdered the victim and looted the jeep. Two separate charge sheets were filed against the accused, and both sets were committed to the Sessions Court, Banaskantha, at Palanpur. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. After hearing the arguments and appreciating the evidence, the trial court acquitted A1, A2, A3, and A5 in entirety. They were convicted for the offense punishable under Section 392 of the IPC and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5,000/¬. The High Court reversed the acquittal and convicted them for the offenses punishable under Sections 302 and 396 IPC, sentenced them to life imprisonment, and maintained the fine and default sentence imposed by the trial court.

LEGAL PROVISIONS:

  • INDIAN PENAL CODE:
  • Section-34: Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention ; When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.
  • Section-302: Punishment for murder; Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Section_392: Punishment for Robbery; Whoever commits robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and, if the robbery be committed on the highway between sunset and sunrise, the imprisonment may be extended to fourteen years.
  • Section-396: Dacoity with Murder; If any one of five or more persons, who are conjointly committing dacoity, commits murder in so committing dacoity, every one of those persons shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Section-397: Robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt; If, at the time of committing robbery or dacoity, the offender uses any deadly weapon, or causes grievous hurt to any person, so attempts to cause death or grievous hurt to any person, the imprisonment with which such offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.

ISSUES RAISED:

Two fundamental issues are presented for adjudication in these appeals:­

  • The scope of interference by High Court in an appeal challenging acquittal of the accused by the trial Court;
  • The standard of proof required to bring home charges in a case based purely on circumstantial evidence.

SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF ACCUSED APPELLANTS:­

The learned counsel for accused appellants argue that the prosecution failed to prove the ownership or possession of a jeep bearing registration No. GJ-08-114 by the deceased. They also argue that the incriminating articles were never examined through the Forensic Sciences Laboratories (FSL), and only blood samples were sent for serological examination. The accused also argue that there is no reliable evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and that the convictions of A2, A3, and A5 are based solely on the confessional statement of A1, which is inadmissible in evidence under Sections 25 and 26 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The accused contend that the High Court’s findings are based on conjectures and surmises, and they are entitled to an acquittal.

 

SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF RESPONDENT­ STATE:­

Appearing for the respondent­ State vehemently opposed the submissions advanced by the learned counsel representing the accused­ appellants. She submitted that the High Court, after thorough and apropos appreciation of the substantial and convincing circumstantial evidence led by the prosecution, has recorded unimpeachable findings holding the accused guilty of the offences. She thus implored the Court to dismiss the appeals and affirm the judgment of the High Court.

COURTS ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The court has analysed the impugned judgement and the evidence available on record, finding that the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence, including disclosures, recoveries, and discoveries, to bring home the guilt of the accused. The most important recovery is attributed to A1, who was apprehended by PSI J.N. Chaudhary on 02nd March, 1990. He forwarded a report/communication dated 2nd March, 1990, wherein A1 confessed to the crime of murdering the jeep driver and looting the jeep and named the other accused persons as particeps criminis.

The court found that the confession of an accused in custody recorded by a police officer is inadmissible in evidence as the same would be hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act. The prosecution did not even attempt to prove the confessional part of the communication . The court also found that the identity of A2, A3, and A5 as the assailants on the basis of the disclosure statement of A1 were primarily convicted on the basis of the recoveries of knives and clothes.

The court found that the recoveries were highly doubtful and tainted, as they did not lead to any conclusive circumstance in form of Serological report establishing the presence of the same blood group as that of the deceased. Furthermore, the prosecution failed to lead the link evidence mandatorily required to establish the factum of safe keeping of the muddamal articles, making the recoveries irrelevant.

The court has already doubted the veracity of the disclosure statement of A1 as recorded by and concluded that the evidentiary value of the confession of one co-accused against the other cannot be treated as substantive evidence.

The prosecution failed to provide reliable evidence to prove the accused’s guilt for murder under Section 302 IPC. The High Court did not record any finding that the trial court’s view was perverse or unfavorable. The judgment is based on conjectures and surmises, rather than substantive or reliable circumstantial evidence. The conviction for Section 392 is also based on the same set of inadmissible and unreliable links of circumstantial evidence.

CONCLUSION: ­

The High Court of Gujarat in Ahmedabad has quashed and set aside two previous judgements, Criminal Appeal No. 1012 of 1993 and Criminal Appeal No. 949 of 1994, which were based on the same record. The trial court’s judgment dated 21st August, 1993, convicting and sentencing the accused for offences punishable under Section 392 IPC, is also quashed and set aside. The appellants are acquitted of the charges and are directed to be set at liberty immediately, unless otherwise required.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY: ABHISHEK SINGH

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Mere Mention in Suicide Note Insufficient for Abetment Charge: Supreme Court.

Vikas Chandra v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr.

Case No.: Criminal Appeal No.__________ of 2024 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.1196/2018).

Date: February 22, 2024.

Court: Supreme Court of India.

Quorum: Hon’ble J. C.T. Ravikumar, J. Rajesh Bindal.

Facts of the Case:

The case concerns the death by suicide of Brijesh Chandra, father of the appellant Vikas Chandra. Brijesh Chandra was a retired military man working as a security guard at Mandi Samiti, Puwaya. The respondent Ram Babu Sharma was the Secretary of the Mandi Samiti at the time.

According to the complaint filed by Vikas Chandra, his father’s salary from March 2004 to August 2004 and September 2004 onwards was not paid. On October 12, 2004, when Brijesh Chandra requested the release of his salary, Ram Babu Sharma allegedly told him: “I will see that how will you get your salary and who will help you in getting your salary, I will bring out your military-man-ship and either you die or your children, but I do not care, get out of here, why you do not take poison”.

On October 23, 2004, Brijesh Chandra committed suicide by consuming poison in the office of Sub-Mandi, Alhaganj, where he was working at the time. He left a suicide note allegedly attributing responsibility for his suicide to Ram Babu Sharma.

Initially, the complainant approached the court of the Judicial Magistrate, but the complaint was not forwarded for investigation under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The matter was taken up in revision and eventually to the High Court. Based on the High Court’s orders, an FIR was registered under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for abetment of suicide.

After investigation, the police filed a closure report. The Magistrate did not accept this report and conducted an inquiry under Section 202 CrPC based on a protest petition filed by the complainant. Subsequently, the Magistrate issued summons to Ram Babu Sharma to face trial for the offense under Section 306 IPC.

Ram Babu Sharma challenged this summons order in the High Court under Section 482 CrPC. The High Court quashed the summons order, leading to the present appeal before the Supreme Court.

Legal Issues:

Whether the High Court erred in quashing the summons issued against the respondent?

Whether the High Court exceeded the settled guidelines and parameters for exercising power under Section 482 CrPC?

Whether there was sufficient prima facie evidence to issue summons for the offense of abetment of suicide under Section 306 IPC?

Legal Provisions:

  1. Indian Penal Code:
  • Section 306 IPC – Abetment of suicide.
  • Section 107 IPC – Abetment.

  1. Code of Criminal Procedure:
  • Section 156(3) CrPC – Police officer’s power to investigate cognizable case.
  • Section 173(2) CrPC – Report of police officer on completion of investigation.
  • Section 190 CrPC – Cognizance of offences by Magistrates.
  • Section 202 CrPC – Postponement of issue of process.
  • Section 204 CrPC – Issue of process.
  • Section 482 CrPC – Saving of inherent powers of High Court.

Contentions of petitioners:

The appellant strongly argued that the High Court had committed a grave error in law by quashing the summons issued against the respondent. They contended that the Magistrate’s decision to issue summons was based on sufficient prima facie evidence and should not have been interfered with by the High Court. The appellant asserted that the High Court had exceeded the settled guidelines and parameters for exercising power under Section 482 CrPC. They argued that the High Court’s power to quash proceedings should be exercised sparingly and only in cases where there is a clear abuse of the process of law.

The appellant maintained that there was ample prima facie evidence to justify the issuance of summons for the offense of abetment of suicide under Section 306 IPC.

They pointed to the following elements:

  • The alleged threatening and instigative remarks made by the respondent on October 12, 2004.
  • The non-payment of salary, which they argued created circumstances that led to the suicide.
  • The suicide notes mentioning the respondent’s name and attributing responsibility to him.

The appellant argued that given the serious nature of the allegations and the existence of prima facie evidence, the matter deserved a full trial. They contended that quashing the summons at this stage would prevent a proper investigation into the circumstances of Brijesh Chandra’s death.

The appellant argued for a broader interpretation of the suicide note, suggesting that even if it didn’t explicitly mention the October 12 incident, the overall content implied abetment by the respondent.

Contentions of the Respondents:

The respondents argued that the summoning order was issued without satisfying the grounds required under law. They contended that mere mention of a name in a suicide note does not automatically amount to abetment of suicide. They argued that the Magistrate’s order did not reflect proper application of mind to form an opinion regarding sufficient basis for proceeding against the respondent. They pointed out that the order lacked detailed reasoning for issuing the summons. The respondents emphasized that there was no material suggesting instigation by the respondent in the suicide note. They argued that for abetment under Section 306 IPC, there must be clear evidence of instigation or creation of circumstances that left no option but suicide. They pointed out the significant time gap (11 days) between the alleged instigation and the suicide, arguing that this weakened any case for abetment. They also contended that there was no evidence of a continued course of conduct that could be seen as abetment.

The respondents highlighted that the alleged incident of October 12, 2004, which formed the basis of the complaint, was not mentioned in the suicide note. They argued that if this incident was indeed the trigger for the suicide, it would have been mentioned. They further argued that allowing the case to proceed based on such flimsy evidence would amount to misuse of the criminal process and cause undue harassment to the respondent. They contended that the High Court’s use of power under Section 482 CrPC was justified to prevent abuse of the process of law and to secure the ends of justice.

Analysis of the judgement:

In its judgment, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the High Court’s decision to quash the summons order. The Court reaffirmed that while a Magistrate has the power to issue summons even after a closure report is filed by the police, this power must be exercised judiciously. It emphasized that issuing summons is a serious matter that affects an individual’s dignity and reputation, and therefore should not be done mechanically but only upon satisfaction of sufficient grounds for proceeding.

The Court clarified that for an offense under Section 306 IPC (abetment of suicide), there must be specific abetment as contemplated by Section 107 IPC, with an intention to bring about the suicide of the person concerned. In this case, the Court found no explicit or implicit reference in the suicide note to the alleged incident of October 12, 2004, or any instigation by the respondent. The significant time gap of 11 days between the alleged instigation and the suicide further weakened the case for abetment. The Court held that the mere statement in the suicide note that the respondent would be responsible for the suicide was not sufficient ground to issue summons for an offense under Section 306 IPC.

The judgement emphasized the need for careful judicial scrutiny before issuing summons in criminal cases, serving as a safeguard against arbitrary or mechanical issuance of summons. The Court’s clarification on the ingredients of abetment of suicide is vital, stressing that specific abetment with the intention to bring about the suicide is necessary, and mere attribution of responsibility in a suicide note is not sufficient.

The Court’s consideration of the lack of proximity between the alleged instigation and the suicide, as well as the absence of a continued course of conduct, as factors weakening the case for abetment, provides valuable guidance for similar cases. The judgment also offers insights into how suicide notes should be appreciated in the context of abetment charges, suggesting that courts should look for specific allegations and material of a definite nature, not merely inferences.

Conclusion

The decision serves as a reminder to lower courts to exercise their powers judiciously, especially in cases involving serious charges like abetment of suicide. It also provides guidance on how to appreciate evidence, particularly suicide notes, in such cases.

 

Reviewed by Maria Therese Syriac.


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Cow Slaughter case: Supreme Court uphold High Court’s decision of quashing FIR, considering completely Illegal

Cow Slaughter case: Supreme Court uphold High Court’s decision of quashing FIR, considering completely Illegal

CASE TITLE- Joshine Antony Vs Smt. Asifa Sultana & Ors.

CASE NUMBER- Criminal Appeal No(S). 1046 Of 2024 (@ Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No(S). 911 Of 2019)

DATED ON- 20.02.2024

QUORUM- Hon’ble Justice Abhay S. Oka and Hon’ble Justice Ujjal Bhuyan

FACTS OF THE CASE

The fifth respondent, who was the Assistant Director of the Veterinary Department, on information received from the appellant, entered the factory premises of the first to third respondents and opened two packets kept in ice and collected a sample of meat from the packets. The sample was put in the thermocol box and packed by putting ice around it. The seized sample was sent for analysis. The sample was collected not by a police officer but by the fifth respondent, who was the Assistant Director of the Veterinary Department. On the same day there was one more panchnama drawn in presence of an Assistant Sub-Inspector. The said panchnama records that the sample was already collected and has been sent for testing to the expert. It also records that the meat was stored in a cold storage, which was not functioning. Therefore, the seizure of three rooms and meat packets was made. The police officer did not collect any sample for sending it for analysis. Initially, the First Information Report was filed for offences punishable under Sections 420 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and later on, the provisions of the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 were attracted. The High Court has quashed the First Information Report. Therefore, the appeal was sought before this court.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 420 of The India Penal Code, 1860

Section 429 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 10 of Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

The learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant submitted that huge quantity of meat of cow was found in the custody of the first to third respondents and even before the investigation could proceed, that the High Court has interjected. He submitted that the offences under Sections 4 and 5 of the 1964 Act were attracted. various documents were also presented on record including the panchnama drawn. He submitted that the packets stored in the cold storage of the first to third respondents were deliberately labelled as “Super Fresh Frozen Boneless Buffalo Meat” and that is how Section 420 of the IPC was applied by the police. He further submitted that the sample collected from the cold storage of the first to third respondents was sent for DNA test, which revealed that the meat was of cow. The fifth respondent was duly authorized officer under Section 10 of the 1964 Act and he had authority to enter any premises and to inspect the said premises as he had a reason to believe that the offence under the 1964 Act has been committed. He submitted that the High Court has virtually conducted a mini trial.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENT

The contentions of the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent is not explicitly given. However, the court heard the contentions of the respondent No. 1- No.3

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The court analyzed the act of collection of sample by the Assistant Director was completely illegal. It is this sample which was sent for chemical analysis. Thus, the entire case of the prosecution is based on unauthorized and illegally collected sample of the meat. Therefore, the High Court was right when it interfered by quashing the First Information Report. Thus, the court found no error in the view taken by the High Court and the appeal got dismissed.

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Judgement Reviewed By- Shreyasi Ghatak

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Cow Slaughter case: Supreme Court uphold High Court’s decision of quashing FIR, considering completely Illegal

Cow Slaughter case: Supreme Court uphold High Court’s decision of quashing FIR, considering completely Illegal

CASE TITLE- Joshine Antony Vs Smt. Asifa Sultana & Ors.

CASE NUMBER- Criminal Appeal No(S). 1046 Of 2024 (@ Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No(S). 911 Of 2019)

DATED ON- 20.02.2024

QUORUM- Hon’ble Justice Abhay S. Oka and Hon’ble Justice Ujjal Bhuyan

FACTS OF THE CASE

The fifth respondent, who was the Assistant Director of the Veterinary Department, on information received from the appellant, entered the factory premises of the first to third respondents and opened two packets kept in ice and collected a sample of meat from the packets. The sample was put in the thermocol box and packed by putting ice around it. The seized sample was sent for analysis. The sample was collected not by a police officer but by the fifth respondent, who was the Assistant Director of the Veterinary Department. On the same day there was one more panchnama drawn in presence of an Assistant Sub-Inspector. The said panchnama records that the sample was already collected and has been sent for testing to the expert. It also records that the meat was stored in a cold storage, which was not functioning. Therefore, the seizure of three rooms and meat packets was made. The police officer did not collect any sample for sending it for analysis. Initially, the First Information Report was filed for offences punishable under Sections 420 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and later on, the provisions of the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 were attracted. The High Court has quashed the First Information Report. Therefore, the appeal was sought before this court.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 420 of The India Penal Code, 1860

Section 429 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 10 of Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

The learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant submitted that huge quantity of meat of cow was found in the custody of the first to third respondents and even before the investigation could proceed, that the High Court has interjected. He submitted that the offences under Sections 4 and 5 of the 1964 Act were attracted. various documents were also presented on record including the panchnama drawn. He submitted that the packets stored in the cold storage of the first to third respondents were deliberately labelled as “Super Fresh Frozen Boneless Buffalo Meat” and that is how Section 420 of the IPC was applied by the police. He further submitted that the sample collected from the cold storage of the first to third respondents was sent for DNA test, which revealed that the meat was of cow. The fifth respondent was duly authorized officer under Section 10 of the 1964 Act and he had authority to enter any premises and to inspect the said premises as he had a reason to believe that the offence under the 1964 Act has been committed. He submitted that the High Court has virtually conducted a mini trial.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENT

The contentions of the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent is not explicitly given. However, the court heard the contentions of the respondent No. 1- No.3

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The court analyzed the act of collection of sample by the Assistant Director was completely illegal. It is this sample which was sent for chemical analysis. Thus, the entire case of the prosecution is based on unauthorized and illegally collected sample of the meat. Therefore, the High Court was right when it interfered by quashing the First Information Report. Thus, the court found no error in the view taken by the High Court and the appeal got dismissed.

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Judgement Reviewed By- Shreyasi Ghatak

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Supreme Court Quashes Gangster Charges: Clears Appellants After Predicate Offenses Quashed

Case Title – Farhana vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.

Case No. – SLP(Crl.) No(s). 437 of 2023

Dated on – 19th February, 2024

Quorum – Hon’ble Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Hon’ble Justice Sandeep Mehta

Facts of the Case –

The appellants, Farhana and Sadarul Islam, filed appeals against the orders of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, which had dismissed their writ petitions seeking to quash Case Crime No. 424 of 2022. This FIR, registered at Police Station Bhognipur, District Kanpur Dehat, charged the appellants under Section 3(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 (Gangsters Act). The FIR alleged that the appellants were members of a gang led by Puskal Parag Dubey and were involved in multiple criminal cases, including Crime Case No. 190 of 2021 and Crime Case No. 173 of 2019, both involving charges under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 323, 504, and 506 of the IPC, 1860.

 

Legal Provisions –

  • Section 2(b)(i) of the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986.

 

Contentions of the Appellant –

The appellants, Farhana and Sadarul Islam, contended that the prosecution under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 (Gangsters Act) was unwarranted and should be quashed. They argued that, at the time the FIR was registered, only one case was pending against them, which did not justify invoking the Gangsters Act. Moreover, they highlighted that both predicate criminal cases—Crime Case No. 173 of 2019 and Crime Case No. 190 of 2021—had been quashed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. The former case, involving charges under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC against both appellants, was quashed on March 3, 2023, while the latter case against Sadarul Islam was quashed on October 18, 2023. The appellants asserted that with the quashing of these cases, there were no ongoing prosecutions for any offenses under the anti-social activities defined in Section 2(b)(i) of the Gangsters Act. Consequently, they argued that the foundation for their prosecution under the Gangsters Act was invalidated, rendering the continued proceedings an abuse of the process of the Court. They urged the Supreme Court to quash the FIR and the associated criminal proceedings, as the essential criteria for invoking the Gangsters Act were no longer met.

 

Contentions of the Respondent –

The respondents, representing the State, contended that the prosecution under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 (Gangsters Act) was valid and justified. They argued that, at the time of the FIR’s registration, the appellants were involved in multiple criminal cases involving anti-social activities as defined under Section 2(b)(i) of the Gangsters Act. Specifically, the appellants were implicated in Crime Case No. 190 of 2021 and Crime Case No. 173 of 2019, which included charges under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC, among others. The respondents emphasized that the decision in Shraddha Gupta v. State of Uttar Pradesh established that prosecution under the Gangsters Act could be initiated even if the accused were involved in a single offense. They maintained that, given the appellants’ alleged criminal activities at the time the FIR was filed, the invocation of the Gangsters Act was appropriate. The subsequent quashing of the predicate offenses did not negate the fact that the FIR was registered based on valid grounds. Furthermore, the respondents argued that the quashing of the criminal cases after the FIR’s registration did not invalidate the initiation of proceedings under the Gangsters Act. They asserted that the ongoing prosecution was in line with the statutory provisions and judicial precedents, and thus, the appeals should be dismissed, and the FIR and related proceedings should be upheld.

 

Court Analysis and Judgement –

The Hon’ble Supreme Court analyzed the applicability of the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 (Gangsters Act) in light of the appellants’ contention and the respondents’ arguments. The Court scrutinized Section 2(b)(i) of the Gangsters Act, which defines a “gang” and outlines the nature of anti-social activities covered under the Act. It was noted that the prosecution’s case hinged on the appellants’ involvement in offenses under Chapters XVI, XVII, or XXII of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Court observed that at the time of the FIR’s registration, the appellants were implicated in multiple criminal cases fitting the definition of anti-social activities under the Act. However, the Court acknowledged that both predicate offenses—Crime Case No. 173 of 2019 and Crime Case No. 190 of 2021—had been quashed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. With the quashing of these cases, the Court found no ongoing prosecution against the appellants for any offenses under the specified chapters of the IPC. The Supreme Court concluded that the foundation for the appellants’ prosecution under the Gangsters Act had been invalidated. Consequently, continuing the criminal proceedings under the Act constituted an abuse of the process of law. The Court, therefore, quashed the impugned orders of the High Court dated November 14, 2022, and December 6, 2022, and set aside the FIR being Crime Case No. 424 of 2022 registered at Police Station Bhognipur, District Kanpur Dehat. All proceedings initiated under this FIR were also quashed. The appeals were allowed, and any pending applications were disposed of accordingly.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Anurag Das

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