Read Order: Arvinder @ Sunny and Another v. State of Punjab and Another

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, May 28, 2022: While relying on the law expounded in the judgment of  the Top Court in  Sudo Mandal @ Diwarak Mandal Vs. State of Punjab which was to the effect that even if an accused was declared a proclaimed offender and the other accused after facing full length trial have been acquitted of the charge, the FIR can be quashed against the accused who has not faced trial if the prosecution witnesses have not supported the case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed a complaint case against the petitioners (residing abroad) who were declared as proclaimed offenders. 

The decision of quashing the complaint case was arrived at by the Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan after considering the fact that the petitioners’ father (who was one of the accused in the murder case) was acquitted by the Trial Court after facing a full fleged trial and that the counsel of the complainant stated that the complainant had no intention leading any further evidence qua the involvement of the petitioners. 

Prayer in this petition was for quashing the complaint case under Sections 302, 201, 182, 34 IPC along with all the other subsequent proceedings arising therefrom as well as for setting-aside the summoning order dated November 17, 2018.

Essentially, in this complaint case, the complainant alleged that the first two petitioners, their father and seven others (five of whom were unknown persons) attacked and murdered his son with deadly weapons and later caused disappearance of his dead-body with an intention to screening the offender from legal punishment. The Complainant further argued that in connivance of the accused party, no FIR was registered by the police.

After trial, the Trial Court acquitted the father of the petitioner and in the meanwhile, in 2018 summons were issued to the petitioners (who were residing abroad). In 2019, the petitioners were declared proclaimed offenders, however, the High Court by virtue of its March 2021 order directed the petitioners to appear before the trial Court before the next date of hearing, and the trial Court was directed to release the petitioners on bail subject to their furnishing fresh bail/surety bonds and on payment of costs of Rs. 1,00,000/- to be deposited with the High Court Advocates Welfare Fund.

The above-stated directions were complied with. The Additional Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur, granted the concession of bail to the petitioners who deposited the costs stated above. 

The counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioners were residing abroad and, therefore, they could not appear before the trial Court and now the present petition was filed praying for quashing of impugned complaint as well as the summoning order. It was also the case of the counsel that it was in fact a case of accidental death and the complaint was filed only to rope in the family members of the petitioners and in the trial, the fact was proved that no evidence came against the father of the petitioners, who faced full length trial and was ultimately acquitted. 

Even otherwise, the Counsel contended that the petitioners appeared before the trial Court and no purpose would be served in directing the petitioners to face trial as there was no possibility for the complainant to lead any fresh or further evidence, which may result into conviction of the petitioners. 

The complainant accepted the version of the petitioners and submitted that the complainant did not intend to produce any further evidence other than the evidence which was produced by him in the trial resulting into acquittal of the father of the petitioners. 

After considering the factsheet of the case and the arguments of the counsel for the petitioners, the Court observed that the father of the petitioners (one of the accused persons) was acquitted by the trial Court and the complainant’s counsel himself submitted that the complainant did not intend to lead any fresh or further evidence. 

In view of the above, considering the above facts and circumstances, the Court opined that if the prosecution of the petitioners was allowed, it would be a futile exercise. Also, the Court considered the fact that the petitioner already deposited the cost of Rs. 1 Lakh for delaying the proceedings. 

Accordingly, in the light of the judgment rendered in Sudo Mandal @ Diwarak Mandal’s case (supra), this petition was allowed and the impugned complaint was quashed. 

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