InCRL.M.C. 2388/2023 -DEL HC- Delhi High Court quashes FIR & criminal proceedings against Afghan refugee accused of molestation
Justice Amit Bansal [18-09-2023]
New Delhi, September 18, 2023: The Delhi High Court has quashed an FIR and criminal proceedings against an Afghan refugee who was accused of molesting a doctor and a dietician. The Court found that the FIR was frivolous and vexatious, and had been filed with ulterior motives.
The present petition had been filed by the accused with the aim of having an FIR, registered under Sections 354/509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), along with a chargesheet dated 2nd December, 2021, and the subsequent proceedings before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi, quashed.
The background of the case was as follows: The petitioner, an Afghan refugee, was employed as a receptionist at a clinic run by a gastroenterologist (respondent no. 2). The petitioner’s role was to get Afghan nationals as patients for the doctor, as he was an Afghan refugee himself. At a certain point, respondent no. 2 lodged a written complaint with the police, accusing the petitioner of theft, forgery, and misbehaviour. Subsequently, the petitioner left the employment of respondent no. 2 and joined another gastroenterologist. Later, respondent no. 2 filed another complaint, this time alleging that the petitioner had molested her and a dietician (respondent no. 3) working at the clinic.
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The single-judge bench of Justice Amit Bansal emphasized that in the exercise of its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., the High Court possesses the authority to quash an FIR and/or criminal proceedings if it deems that these proceedings are clearly frivolous, vexatious, or initiated with ulterior motives. The High Court can go beyond the averments made in the FIR/complaint and ‘read between the lines’ to examine if the ingredients to constitute the alleged offence are made out or not.
The bench determined that a careful examination of the two complaints revealed a significant improvement in the allegations put forth by respondent no. 2 in her second complaint. Notably, the second complaint presented an entirely different narrative, as it lacked any accusations related to forgery and theft of money, instead focusing on claims of physical abuse and molestation.
The bench additionally observed that there was no satisfactory explanation offered as to why respondent no. 2 waited for two months before filing a new complaint concerning the same incident.
Moreover, the bench remarked that the police had failed to take the necessary steps to obtain CCTV footage from respondent no. 2, which could have definitively determined whether the alleged incident had occurred or not. It seemed evident that the police had not conducted a thorough investigation and had merely relied on the statements provided by respondents no. 2 and 3 under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. when filing the charge sheet.
Based on the above discussion, the bench concluded that the present FIR had been filed in a malicious manner. In this instance, the initiation of criminal proceedings appeared to have been motivated by an ulterior motive and had been falsely framed as a sexual offense.
Consequently, the court ordered the quashing of the FIR, the accompanying charge sheet, and all subsequent proceedings.
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