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Chilakamarthi Venkateswarlu and Ors. Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (31 Jul 2019)

If basic ingredients of offence alleged are altogether absent, it is open to High Court to quash criminal proceedings



Present appeal is against a judgment passed by the High Court dismissing Criminal Petition filed by the Appellant under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to quash the criminal proceedings pending against the Appellants for offences punishable under Sections 307, 323, 427, 447 and 506(2) read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It is the case of the Appellants that, the de facto complainant has falsely implicated the Appellants as a counter blast to the Criminal Complaint filed by the Appellant No. 2.

For interference under Section 482, three conditions are to be fulfilled. The injustice which comes to light should be of a grave, and not of a trivial character; it should be palpable and clear and not doubtful and there should exist no other provision of law by which the party aggrieved could have sought relief.

In exercising jurisdiction under Section 482, it is not permissible for the Court to act as if it were a trial Court. The Court is only to be prima facie satisfied about existence of sufficient ground for proceeding against the Accused. For that limited purpose, the Court can evaluate materials and documents on record, but it cannot appreciate the evidence to conclude whether the materials produced are sufficient or not for convicting the Accused.

The High Court should not, in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482, embark upon an enquiry into whether the evidence is reliable or not, or whether on a reasonable appreciation of the evidence the allegations are not sustainable, for this is the function of the trial Judge. The power under Section 482 of CrPC should not be exercised to stifle legitimate prosecution. At the same time, if the basic ingredients of the offence alleged are altogether absent, the criminal proceedings may be quashed under Section 482 of CrPC.

It is well settled that where the allegations set out in the complaint or the charge-sheet do not constitute any offence, it is open to the High Court, exercising its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC, to quash the order passed by the Magistrate taking cognizance of the offence. The inherent power under Section 482 is intended to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court and to secure the ends of justice. Such power cannot be exercised to do something which is expressly barred under the CrPC.

In present case, the High Court rightly refused to quash the criminal complaint, observing that it can exercise power under Section 482 of the CrPC only in rare cases. The power to quash the proceedings is generally exercised, when there is no material to proceed against the Petitioners even if the allegations in the complaint are prima facie accepted as true. The High Court in effect found, and rightly, that the allegations in the complaint coupled with the statements recorded by the learned Magistrate had the necessary ingredients of offences under Sections 307, 323, 427, 447 and 506(2) read with Section 34 of the IPC. Present is not a fit case to quash the criminal proceedings. The appeal is, accordingly, dismissed.


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