Read Judgment: SH. K. UDAYANANDA REDDY & ANR v. STATE & ORS
New Delhi, April 25, 2022: Referring to Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Delhi High Court has opined that quashing should be an exception and jurisdiction for the same should be exercised sparingly with circumspection and in the rarest of the rare cases.
The Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said, “The principle embodied in this Section is based upon the maxim: Quando lex alquid alicui concedit, concedere videtur id quo res ipsa esse non potest i.e. when the law gives anything to anyone, it gives also all those things without which the thing itself would be unavoidable.”
This writ petition had been preferred under Article 226 of the Constitution r/w Section 482 of CrPC praying for quashing of an FIR registered against the Petitioner under Sections 406/420/120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Herein, the Complainant had alleged that the accused persons approached and represented to him that their company M/s Sagar Infra Rail International Limited is involved in Lucrative Railway Projects for Indian Railway having govt. clients and international projects in Dubai and they were getting Rs. 100 crores from their clients. Under such inducement, an amount of Rs. 3.50 Cr. was given to the accused to be repaid within 6 months and a “Short Term Loan Agreement” dated May 19, 2011 was accordingly executed.
It was alleged that during execution of the Short Term Loan Agreement, the accused persons handed over title deeds of their five properties but failed to repay the amount as per their promise and agreement. When the complainant followed up with the accused persons for repayment of money, they surreptitiously sought the original title deeds of a Plot situated in Najafgarh, Delhi for selling the same for the purpose of repayment to the complainant.
They also issued two cheques to the complainant and relying on those cheques, the complainant handed over the original title deeds of the Property at Najafgarh, Delhi to the accused persons. However, no payment was made by the alleged accused persons and the cheques issued by them were dishonoured for want of the account having “insufficient funds/Exceeds arrangements”.Thus, the complainant alleged that the accused was showing his intention to cheat right from the beginning.
The petitioners mainly argued on the issue of foul play saying that the foul play in the registration of the impugned FIR was evident from the fact that it had been registered after a delay of almost a decade, and the apparent motivation of the second Respondent behind registration of FIR was the frustration of civil recovery proceedings already underway since the initiation of insolvency proceedings, against the third Respondent-company by an order passed by the National Company Law Tribunal, Hyderabad Bench, under Section 7 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 read with Rule 4 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy (Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2016 in the case titled ‘State Bank of India v. M/s. Sagar Infra Rail International Limited’.
It was contended that the vicarious liability of the company had been sought to be fastened upon the Petitioners without naming it as the principal accused in the impugned FIR.
Expounding on the extent of powers of the Court u/s 482 of the CrPC, the Bench asserted that the High Court has inherent power to act ex debito justitiae – to do real and substantial justice for the administration of which alone it exists or to prevent the abuse of process of the Court.
Observing that the use of extraordinary power is, however required to be reserved only for extraordinary cases, where the judicial discretion and indulgence is warranted as per the facts of the case, the Court remarked, “ The bare language of the provision unambiguously states that the inherent powers of the High Court are meant to be exercised: (i) to give effect to any order under the Code; or (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any Court; or (iii) to secure the ends of justice.”
After referring to a plethora of judicial pronouncements, the Bench held that quashing should be an exception and the Section 482 jurisdiction for the same should be exercised sparingly, with circumspection and in rarest of the rare cases.Hence, what is only required to be seen is whether there has been an abuse of process or that the interest of justice requires the proceedings to be quashed, added the Court.
The Bench further went on to clarify that while examining an FIR for quashing under Section 482, the Court cannot enter into the merits of the case. It also cannot embark upon a roving enquiry or conduct a trial as to the reliability or genuineness of allegations made in the FIR. For such quashing, the Court also cannot see the probability of conviction on the basis of evidence on record.
Coming to the factual scenario of the case, the Bench opined that upon a perusal of the FIR, a prima facie case was made out against the petitioners herein and therefore, there was no reason warranting the indulgence of this Court to interfere with the investigation at this stage.
Noticing that there was also nothing on record to give even an iota of hint that continuing the investigation/proceedings in the instant case would be an abuse of process or that the case was required to be quashed to secure the ends of justice, the Bench affirmed that a bare perusal of the FIR disclosed a prima facie serious offence against the petitioners.
Noticing that the petitioners had further been accused of misusing the liberty granted by the Court as Anticipatory Bail and thereafter not cooperating with the investigation, the Bench came to the conclusion that there was no cogent reason warranting the exercise of the extraordinary writ jurisdiction of this Court. Consequently, the instant petition was dismissed, being devoid of merits.