A High Court can quash an FIR, invoking the power given under article 226 of the Indian Constitution, if it is found to be abusive to the due process of law- observed the Supreme Court.
Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, allowed the appeal observing that Article 226 was designed to make sure that criminal proceedings don’t degenerate into system of harassment.
The Court said,
“If the subsequent FIR is an abuse of process of law and/or the same has been lodged only to harass the accused, the same can be quashed in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution or in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. When the Court is satisfied that criminal proceedings amount to an abuse of process of law or that it amounts to bringing pressure upon accused, in exercise of inherent powers, such proceedings can be quashed. As held by this Court in the case of Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat (2017) 9 SCC 641, Section 482 Cr.P.C. is prefaced with an overriding provision. The statute saves the inherent power of the High Court, as a superior court, to make such orders as are necessary (i) to prevent an abuse of the process of any Court; or (ii) otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Same are the powers with the High Court, when it exercises the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The Court on observation found to believe that the original FIR was an “abuse of process of law”. The bench added, “When the impugned FIR is nothing but an abuse of process of law and to harass the appellants-accused, we are of the opinion that the High Court ought to have exercised the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India/482 Cr.P.C. and ought to have quashed the impugned FIR to secure the ends of justice”
Another contention in the complaint with regard to section 156(3) Cr.P.C. was rejected by the Court saying, the Cr.P.C. allows for a complaint case, enquiry and trial as well as on by the police pursuant to the FIR.
The Judgement read, “Thus, as per Section 210 Cr.P.C., when in a case instituted otherwise than on a police report, i.e., in a complaint case, during the course of the inquiry or trial held by the Magistrate, it appears to the Magistrate that an investigation by the police is in progress in relation to the offence which is the subject matter of the inquiry or trial held by him, the Magistrate shall stay the proceedings of such inquiry or trial and call for a report on the matter from the police officer conducting the investigation. It also provides that if a report is made by the investigating police officer under Section 173 Cr.P.C. and on such report cognizance of any offence is taken by the Magistrate against any person who is an accused in the complaint case, the Magistrate shall inquire into or try together the complaint case and the case arising out of the police report as if both the cases were instituted on a police report. It also further provides that if the police report does not relate to any accused in the complaint case or if the Magistrate does not take cognizance of any offence on the police report, he shall proceed with the inquiry or trial, which was stayed by him, in accordance with the provisions of Cr.P.C. Thus, merely because on the same set of facts with the same allegations and averments earlier the complaint is filed, there is no bar to lodge the FIR with the police station with the same allegations and averments."