Read Order: Nanu Kumar v. State Of Haryana and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, February 21, 2022: While dealing with a plea seeking quashing of an FIR registered against the petitioner for deliberately hurting religious feelings of crores of Hindus by passing derogatory remarks against Lord Shri Krishna during the festival of Shri Krishna Janamashtami on his social media, the Punjab and Haryana has dismissed the petition, thus denying the relief sought by the petitioner. 

On the nature of allegations against the accused-petitioner, the Bench of Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri added that the alleged offence was an offence against the society at large and that it was not a case of a private offence where only one person was affected whereas society at large was being affected by the said allegations. 

The root of the matter lies in an FIR based on a complaint made against the accused-petitioner alleging that the petitioner deliberately hurt the religious sentiments of crores of Hindus on social media with the motive of provoking riots. The complainant also alleged that the petitioner made some dirty remarks on the most respected Lord Shri Krishna on the holy festival of Hindus i.e. Shri Krishna Janamashtami and put obscene pictures publicly which was seen by millions of people all over India. 

Thus, the present petition was filed by the petitioner under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking quashing of the FIR based upon a compromise that took place between the complainant and the petitioner at the Panchayat level. 

The State Counsel argued that the investigation was conducted and after conducting the investigation, the charge-sheet under Section 173 Cr.P.C. was presented before the competent Court and even charges were framed against the petitioner. The Counsel vehemently opposed the quashing of the FIR, by submitting that the charges against the petitioner were serious in nature and the gravity of the offence was of high magnitude and, therefore, it was not a fit case for quashing of FIR based upon compromise especially when charges were already framed. 

After having observed at the outset that the offence disclosed in the compliant affected the society at large as it was not committed against any private entity, the Court moved on to make observations on the power of the High Court in quashing an FIR. 

In this regard, it was observed that while exercising powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interests of justice to continue with the criminal proceedings or continuation of the criminal proceedings would tantamount to abuse of the process despite settlement and compromise arrived at between the victim and the wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it will be appropriate that criminal case be put to an end and if the answer to the same is in the affirmative then the High Courts shall be within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceedings. 

However, the Court further asserted that such a power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is to be exercised very sparingly and with caution and can be used only to secure the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of process of Court and while exercising the powers, the High Court is to see as to whether the possibility of conviction is very less or remote and continuation of the criminal case would put the accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal case. 

In nutshell, the Court opined that while exercising the powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the Court has to see as to whether in the facts and circumstances of a particular case it would be a fit case for quashing of the FIR and one of the basic parameters is to prevent the abuse of the process of law. 

In this light, the Court opined that the offence was serious in nature and involved public interest and society at large and there was nothing to show that quashing the FIR at this stage would prevent the abuse of the process of law.

Thus, finding no merit in the petitioner’s case, the petition was dismissed. 

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