On 22nd September 2020, a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Ravindra Maithani heard the case of Neeraj Verma v. the State of Uttarakhand And Another via video conferencing.
The petition was preferred for quashing of charge-sheet, passed in the case State v. Iqlaq Singh and another, in the court of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Haridwar as well as entire proceedings of the case.
Facts of the case
The informant had gone to Delhi. Upon his return, he found that somebody has stolen the cash and jewellery from his house. In this case, after investigation, the Police submitted a charge-sheet against the petitioner and others.
Against the petitioner, the charge-sheet had been submitted under Sections 411 (Dishonestly receiving stolen property) and 413 (Habitually dealing in stolen property) IPC. But when cognizance was taken, it was taken against the petitioner and other co-accused for all the Sections namely, 457 (Lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment), 380 (Theft in dwelling house), 411 and 413 IPC.
The wife of the petitioner immediately informed the Human Rights Commission and Director General of Police, Uttarakhand. Also, she filed a Habeas Corpus Petition in which an order was passed to produce the petitioner. After that, the Police falsely implicated the petitioner and showed that the Police arrested the petitioner on the same day itself.
Contentions of the Petitioner
Learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the Police Officials illegally arrested the petitioner. It was also argued that the petitioner had been falsely implicated in the case. Further, the petitioner was a Contractor and was a man of reputation, and he had nothing to do with the offence.
Contentions of the State
On behalf of the State, it was argued that there were specific averments against the petitioner. The petitioner may take all the pleas by applying for discharge, but in this petition, the court would not appreciate these arguments.
The court opined that “the said state of affairs clearly discloses, the fact that the corpus is not in illegal custody, and that, there is no dispute that within 24 hours of the arrest of the corpus, he was produced before the appropriate Magistrate.” All arguments were not directly in issue, but they had been advanced to show that, the Police had falsely implicated the petitioner.
The court referred to the case of Indian Oil Corpn. Vs. NEPC India Ltd. And Others, (2006) 6 SCC 736 which held that: “The principles relating to the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash complaints and criminal proceedings have been stated and reiterated by this court in several decisions:
- A complaint can be quashed where the allegations made in the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety, do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out the case alleged against the accused.
- A complaint may also be quashed where it is a clear abuse of the process of the court, as when the criminal proceeding is found to have been initiated with malafide/malice for wreaking vengeance or causing harm, or where the allegations are absurd and inherently improbable.
- The power to quash shall not, however, be used to stifle or scuttle a legitimate prosecution. The power should be used sparingly and with abundant caution.
- Quashing of the complaint is warranted only where the complaint is so bereft of even the basic facts which are necessary for making out the offence.
- A given set of facts may make out: (a) purely a civil wrong; or (b) purely a criminal offence; or (c) a civil wrong as also a criminal offence. A commercial transaction or a contractual.”
The court further opined that in case, prima-facie, the case is made out, interference is not warranted. Meticulous examination of the evidence is also not required to be done, and it is also a rule that the legitimate prosecution should not be stopped at its threshold.
The court was of the view that no interference was warranted in the petition, and it deserved to be dismissed. Further, whatever arguments had been advanced, relate to the factual aspects of the matter.
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