A brief write up on FIR quashing for understanding the concept and the powers of the court for FIR quashing.
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FIR quashing can be done by filing a petition under Section 482 of CrPC. The said provisions related to FIR quashing read as under:
“Saving of inherent powers of High Court Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.”
First Information Report is commonly known as FIR which is defined under Section 2 (d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure and reads as under:
“Section 2(d) in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
(d) “complaint” means any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offense, but does not include a police report. Explanation.- A report made by a police officer in a case which discloses, after investigation, the commission of a non- cognizable offense shall be deemed to be a complaint; and the police officer by whom such report is made shall be deemed to be the complainant;”
By its meaning, FIR is only a report to the police by anyone which the police is under obligation to investigate and determine the allegations and submit a charge sheet before the court or a closure report. The police may find the allegations of the FIR to be not proved or incorrect and file a final report or closure report before the court therein stating that the FIR needs to be closed.
STAGES OF FIR QUASHING:
FIR quashing can be done right after the registration of the FIR or during the investigation. It can also be done after the investigation is complete and the charge sheet if filed by the prosecution.
The accused or the suspected persons have the right to seek the FIR quashing on legal grounds and to show that the contents are contradictory and the FIR would never lead to a conviction of the accused person. This is a very important work as it leads to the FIR quashing, so it has to be done very carefully through a highly qualified and trained advocate. The grounds for FIR quashing needs to be determined very clearly and established before the court.
The next stage of FIR quashing comes when the police file a charge sheet before the court and the accused person feels that the contents of the same are inherently improbable or contradictory or impossible. The accused person has then a right to approach the High Court for quashing of the FIR. The quashing of FIR can be also done on the basis of compromise between the informant or complainant and the accused persons.
FIR quashing can be filed by the accused persons based on the merits of his case but one should bear in mind that prima facie they have to show a case in their favor on the basis of the charge sheet. If the charge sheet as filed by the police is in contradiction of any law, then also quashing of FIR can be done.
LAW ON FIR QUASHING EXPLAINED :
The most comprehensive law on the point of FIR quashing was laid down by the Supreme Court in State Of Haryana And Ors vs Ch. Bhajan Lal And Ors on 21 November 1990 reported in 1992 AIR 604, 1990 SCR Supl. (3) 259 which laid down various conditions under which FIR quashing can be done by the High Court. Subsequently,
Supreme Court has dealt the matter of quashing of FIR at length in various cases and the landmark case which holds water till date. The most important case which can be referred in this regard is Narinder Singh v. the State of Punjab (2014) 6 SCC 466 which established the following broad and specific parameters:
i) FIR quashing can be done to prevent abuse of the process of the court.
ii) To secure the ends of justice FIR quashing can be done by High Court.
3) Rules governing the petitions which pray for quashing of criminal proceedings
In another important case Prashant Bharti v. State of NCT of Delhi (2013) 9 SCC 293, Supreme Court has enumerated the following important points for consideration of the court for FIR quashing under Section 482 of the CrPC:
i) Whether the material relied upon by the accused is sound, reasonable, and indubitable, i.e., the material is of sterling and impeccable quality.
ii) Whether the material relied upon by the accused is sufficient to reject and overrule the factual assertions contained in the complaint, i.e., the material is such, as would persuade a reasonable person to dismiss and condemn the factual basis of the accusations as false.
iii) Whether the material relied upon by the accused, has not been refuted by the prosecution/complainant; and / or the material is such, that it cannot be justifiably refuted by the prosecution/complainant.
iv) Whether proceeding with the trial would result in an abuse of process of the court and hence, would not serve the ends of justice.
Court has finally held that if the answer to all these questions is in affirmative, then the FIR quashing could be done by the High Court.
In another important case, Parbatbhai Ahir v. the State of Gujarat (4 Oct 2017), the Supreme Court dealt in a comprehensive manner, the various important issues related to the FIR quashing which are listed as under:
i) Section 482preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers. It only recognizes and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court.
ii) The invocation of the jurisdiction of the High Court to quash a First Information Report or a criminal proceeding on the ground that a settlement has been arrived at between the offender and the victim is not the same as the invocation of jurisdiction for the purpose of compounding an offence. While compounding an offence, the power of the court is governed by the provisions of Section 320of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The power to quash under Section 482 is attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable.
iii) Informing an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power.
iv) While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised;
a) To secure the ends of justice.
b) To prevent abuse of the process of any court.
v) The decision as to whether a complaint or First Information Report should be quashed on the ground that the offender and victim have settled the dispute, revolves ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case and no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be formulated.
vi) In the exercise of the power under section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offense.
Heinous and serious offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape, and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute. Such offences are, truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact on society. The decision to continue with the trial in such cases is founded on the overriding element of public interest in punishing persons for serious offenses.
vii) As distinguished from serious offences, there may be criminal cases which have an overwhelming or predominant element of a civil dispute. They stand on a distinct footing in so far as the exercise of the inherent power to quash is concerned.
viii) Criminal cases involving offences which arise from a commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or similar transactions with an essentially civil flavor may in appropriate situations fall for quashing where parties have settled the dispute.
ix) In such a case, the High Court may quash the criminal proceeding if in view of the compromise between the disputants, the possibility of a conviction is remote and the continuation of a criminal proceeding would cause oppression and prejudice; and.
x) There is yet an exception to the principle set out in propositions (viii) and above. Economic offences involving the financial and economic well-being of the state have implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere dispute between private disputants. The High Court would be justified in declining to quash where the offender is involved in an activity akin to financial or economic fraud or misdemeanor. The consequences of the act complained of upon the financial or economic system will weigh in the balance.”
If we summarize the legal provisions, we find that FIR quashing depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and the High Court while exercising its powers under Section 482 of CrPC has the greater responsibility of considering the facts and then proceed for FIR quashing keeping in the mind the interest of justice.
FIR quashing is the sole powers of High Court hence for FIR quashing a petition is to be filed before the High Court by engaging a good criminal lawyer for High Court who can understand all the issues arising and take necessary steps for its protection.
We have in house experts for FIR quashing, forward us a copy of the FIR with brief facts on mail. Our experts will examine it free of cost and communicate you about the same.
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