Top Court restores FIR in corruption case registered against cop, says Karnataka HC ignored evidence in the form of pen drive while quashing case
Justices Sanjay Karol & Prasanna B. Varale [23-04-2024]




Tulip Kanth


New Delhi, April 24, 2024: While observing that the Karnataka High Court ventured into an unwarranted inquiry and ignored the material evidence indicating complicity of the respondent-police inspector in a corruption case, the Supreme Court has set aside the order quashing the FIR registered against him.


The facts of this case were that the marriage of the appellant was solemnized on 21.7.2006. During the subsistence of such marriage, his wife filed a complaint alleging the appellant to have sexually harassed his minor child while visiting

the child in the school, which resulted in registration of an FIR under the different provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and Indian Penal Code, 1860.


Respondent No.2, who was entrusted with the investigation of the said FIR, demanded and accepted monetary consideration from the instant appellant. Since the demands of bribe continued, the appellant brought the factum of such bribe to the notice of Karnataka Human Rights by placing on record the evidence in a pen drive. As a result thereof, based on the preliminary inquiry FIR was registered with the Anti Corruption Branch under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Based on the preliminary investigation, the authorities also accorded sanction for prosecuting Respondent No.1.


The appeal before the Top Court was directed against the judgment of the Karnataka High Court whereby under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 the High Court quashed the FIR pending before the Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru.


The Division Bench of Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Prasanna B Varale observed that two persons were named as accused whereas the petition for quashing was preferred only by one of the accused, namely, Jairaj. The FIR was categorical that ASI Sivakumar (Accused No.2) had received money and that Police Inspector Jairaj had assured that they would provide chargesheet in lieu of Rs.80,000 and that the complainant would also have to pay Rs 500 per week when he visits the police station, as a condition of bail.


Finding that the approach adopted by the Courts in quashing the FIR was legally unsustainable, the Bench said, “It ventured into an inquiry, unwarranted at this stage, holding that there is no direct evidence that the present respondent had demanded any money and that there was no material to proceed against him, completely forgetting, if not ignoring the material which had surfaced during the course of investigation, amongst others, the pen drive, allegedly, indicating his complicity in the crime.


Considering the fact that the accused having been exonerated in the departmental proceedings yet the competent authority, proceeded to accord sanction for prosecution, the Bench held that the High Court failed to account for the principles enunciated in the case of State of Haryana & Ors. v. Bhajan Lal & Ors.


It was the pleaded case of the Lokayukta before the High Court that the continuance of the trial was not on the very same evidence as what weighed with the authorities in exonerating the employee in the departmental proceedings. This fact, also appeared not to have been considered by the High Court in its correct perspective.


Allowing the appeal and setting aside the impugned judgment, the Bench directed, “Consequentially, the FIR subject matter of the present proceedings stands restored to be taken to its logical end, in accordance with law.”

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