Quashing of FIR is a tough matter ! Courts generally are reluctant to interfere at the stage of investigation and only very strong grounds + persuasive arguments can make a bench sit up and taking a 482 matter seriously. FIR’s can be quashed if they an abuse of process of law/prima facie don’t disclose any offence or are inherently improbable – If you are thinking about quashing of FIR u/s 498a/406. These are the grounds/list of judgments of quashing that would help bolster your plea :
GROUNDS FOR QUASHING IN A 498a/406/34 IPC MATTER
• BECAUSE Section 482 of the Cr.PC categorically saves the inherent power of High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. In the instant case it is pertinent in the ends of justice and to prevent an abuse of the process of law that the impugned FIR be quashed.
• BECAUSE the High Court is empowered to quash a criminal proceeding where it is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge. The Courts are also empowered to quash in case where the allegations in the FIR even if taken at their face value do not satisfy the ingredients of offence complained therein. Reliance in this regard is placed on the decision of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal (1992 AIR 604).
• Reliance in this regard is placed on the landmark decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Geeta Mehrotra & Anr. V. State of UP (Criminal Appeal No.1674 of 2012 (Arising out of SLP(Crl) No. 10547/2010) Decided on 17.10.2012, wherein the court categorically observed that “mere casual reference of the names of the family members in a matrimonial dispute without allegation of active involvement in the matter would not justify taking cognizance against them overlooking the fact borne out of experience that there is a tendency to involve the entire family members of the household in the domestic quarrel taking place in a matrimonial dispute specially if it happens soon after the wedding.”
The Hon’ble Court further went on to hold “20. It would be relevant at this stage to take note of an apt observation of this Court recorded in the matter of G.V. Rao vs. L.H.V. Prasad & Ors. reported in (2000) 3 SCC 693 wherein also in a matrimonial dispute, this Court had held that the High Court should have quashed the complaint arising out of a matrimonial dispute wherein all family members had been roped into the matrimonial litigation which was quashed and set aside. Their Lordships observed therein with which we entirely agree that: “there has been an outburst of matrimonial dispute in recent times. Marriage is a sacred ceremony, main purpose of which is to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. But little matrimonial skirmishes suddenly erupt which often assume serious proportions resulting in heinous crimes in which elders of the family are also involved with the result that those who could have counselled and brought about rapprochement are rendered helpless on their being arrayed as accused in the criminal case. There are many reasons which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate the disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law where it takes years and years to conclude and in that process the parties lose their “young” days in chasing their cases in different courts.”
Court further held “if the FIR as it stands does not disclose specific allegation against accused more so against the co-accused specially in a matter arising out of matrimonial bickering, it would be clear abuse of the legal and judicial process to mechanically send the named accused in the FIR to undergo the trial unless of course the FIR discloses specific allegations which would persuade the court to take cognisance of the offence alleged against the relatives of the main accused who are prima facie not found to have indulged in physical and mental torture of the complainant-wife. It is the well settled principle laid down in cases too numerous to mention, that if the FIR did not disclose the commission of an offence, the court would be justified in quashing the proceedings preventing the abuse of the process of law”.
*BECAUSE the Courts at X place have no jurisdiction as per the mandate of S.177 CrpC. Reliance in this regard is placed on following decisions :-
• Y.Abraham Ajith V. Inspector of Police [(2004) SCC (Cri.) 2134]. In this case, the Madras High Court refused to interfere under Section 482 CrPC when the issue of territorial jurisdiction of the Magistrate concerned to take cognizance of the offence was raised. This Court did not endorse the approach of the High Court for not recording the finding on the question of jurisdiction. On reading the allegations in the complaint, the Court came to the conclusion that no part of the cause of action arose in Chennai and therefore the Metropolitan Magistrate at Chennai could not have taken cognizance and issued summons. On this ground, the criminal proceedings were quashed and the complaint was directed to be returned to the respondent who was given liberty to file the same in an appropriate court. That was also a case of complaint for an offence under Sections 498-A and 406 IPC filed by the wife against the appellant therein.
• Delhi High Court in Niraj Trivedi v. State of Bihar [ WP’s – Crl. ] 235 & 415/04 Decided on 4.1.08, The Delhi High Court categorically held “Crime cannot be registered on the basis of residence of the complainant, or the effect of the crime…..but only at the place of crime”. Justice S.N Dhingra directed the Patna Police to transfer the FIR No. 0188/02 PS Digh, Patna, Bihar to their counterpart in Delhi. As no part of the alleged offence was committed in Patna and all allegations of atrocity were restricted to Delhi.
• Delhi High Court in Rajesh Dhingra & Ors./State of Rajasthan WP (Crl.) No.976/03 Quashed on.22.10.07 FIR No.98/2003 U/s.498 AIPC of PS. Mahila Thana, Alwar Gate Ajmer(Rajasthan). The Court held that no part of the offence as alleged in FIR registered at Police Station Ajmer had been committed within the jurisdiction of PS Mahila Thana Alwar Gate, Ajmer, Rajasthan. The wife has misused the process of law. FIR Quashed.
• Delhi High Court in Rajinder Kumar Sharma and Another vs. State and Another HON’BLE JUSTICE S.N. DHINGRA DHC – 26/02/2007 CASE NO: Crl.M.C. 1216-17 of 2006, held that the Courts have been allowing quashing of proceedings under Section 498A /406 Indian Penal Code, 1860 because in such cases the FIRs are result of matrimonial discord and more often the effort of the Court is that either the parties should settle for a compromise for living together or they should part their company peacefully, so that, there is peace and amity in the society. In cases resulting from matrimonial discord, the Court is not dealing with criminal but dealing with broken marriages and broken homes where resort is more often made to Sections 498A/406 Indian Penal Code.
• BECAUSE the present FIR has been lodged to wreak personal vendetta and as a counter blast to the divorce/RCR case filed by the husband.
Reliance is placed on the landmark decision on Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India and others, JT 2005(6) 26 observed as : “The object of the provision is prevention of the dowry menace. But as has been rightly contented by the petitioner that many instances have come to light where the complaints are not bonafide and have been filed with oblique motive. In such cases acquittal of the accused does not in all cases wipe out the ignominy suffered during and prior to trial.
• BECAUSE recently the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Preeti Gupta & Anr. V. State of Jharkhand – AIR 2010 SC 3363 – their lordships Hon’ble J. DALVEER BHANDARI & K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, JJ while directing the Law Commission to have a relook at the provisions, went on to hold : “30. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under section 498-A IPC are filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues without proper deliberations. We come across a large number of such complaints which are not even bona fide and are filed with oblique motive. At the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment are also a matter of serious concern.
32. Unfortunately, at the time of filing of the complaint the implications and consequences are not properly visualized by the complainant that such complaint can lead to insurmountable harassment, agony and pain to the complainant, accused and his close relations.
33.…The allegations of harassment of husband’s close relations who had been living in different cities and never visited or rarely visited the place where the complainant resided would have an entirely different complexion. The allegations of the complaint are required to be scrutinized with great care and circumspection. Experience reveals that long and protracted criminal trials lead to rancour, acrimony and bitterness in the relationship amongst the parties. It is also a matter of common knowledge that in cases filed by the complainant if the husband or the husband’s relations had to remain in jail even for a few days, it would ruin the chances of amicable settlement altogether. The process of suffering is extremely long and painful.
34. Before parting with this case, we would like to observe that a serious relook of the entire provision is warranted by the legislation. It is also a matter of common knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incident are reflected in a large number of complaints. The tendency of over implication is also reflected in a very large number of cases.
*The Author Bharat Chugh is a Supreme Court Advocate and can be reached at (firstname.lastname@example.org)