According to Sec 26 of CrPC, 1973, Offences under the Criminal Procedure Code (hereinafter the “CrPC”) are divided into:
1. Offences under Indian Penal Code (IPC) ( triable by HC, Sessions Court and other court shown in the 1st Schedule to the CrPC)
2. Offences under any other law (empowers HC, when no court is mentioned for any offence under any law other than IPC, to try such offences)
S482 deals with Inherent powers of the Court. It is under the 37th Chapter of the Code titled “Miscellaneous”.
Sec 482 CrPC reads as follows:
“Saving of inherent power of High Court- Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.”
The section was added by the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act of 1923 as the high courts were unable to render complete justice even if in a given case the illegality was palpable and apparent. The section envisages 3 circumstances in which the inherent jurisdiction may be exercised, namely:
1. to give effect to an order under CrPC,
2. to prevent abuse of the process of the court,
3. to secure the ends of justice.
It comes into operation when the court acts judicially and passes an order. If order is passed by Executive officer of State in administrative capacity, it has no application. Therefore persons aggrieved by such order cannot come to HC to exercise its inherent power under this section. As the Inherent powers are vested in HC by “law” within meaning of Art 21 of Constitution, therefore, any order of HC in violation of any right under Art 21 is not ultravires. Eg. Cancelling of bail bond by HC thereby depriving a persons personal liberty.
Though the jurisdiction exists and is wide in its scope it is a rule of practice that it will only be exercised in exceptional cases., The section is a sort of reminder to the high courts that they are not merely courts in law, but also courts of justice and possess inherent powers to remove injustice. The inherent power of the high court is an inalienable attribute of the position it holds with respect to the courts subordinate to it. These powers are partly administrative and partly judicial. They are necessarily judicial when they are exercisable with respect to a judicial order and for securing the ends of justice. The jurisdiction under section 482 is discretionary, therefore the high court may refuse to exercise the discretion if a party has not approached it with clean hands.
Under CrPC , inherent powers are vested only in the high courts and the courts subordinate to the high courts have no inherent powers. In Bindeshwari Prasad Singh v Kali Singh , the Supreme Court held that a magistrate has no inherent power to restore a complaint dismissed in default.
In a proceeding under section 482, the high court will not enter into any finding of facts, particularly when the matter has been concluded by concurrent finding of facts of two courts below.
Inherent powers u/s 482 of Cr.P.C. include powers to quash FIR, investigation or any criminal proceedings pending before the High Court or any Courts subordinate to it and are of wide magnitude and ramification. Such powers can be exercised to secure ends of justice, prevent abuse of the process of any court and to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, depending upon the facts of a given case. Court can always take note of any miscarriage of justice and prevent the same by exercising its powers u/s 482 of Cr.P.C. These powers are neither limited nor curtailed by any other provisions of the Code. However such inherent powers are to be exercised sparingly and with caution.
It is well settled that the inherent powers under section 482 can be exercised only when no other remedy is available to the litigant and NOT where a specific remedy is provided by the statute. It cannot be used if it is inconsistent with specific provision provided under the Code.- Kavita v. State (2000 Cr LJ 315) and B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana (AIR 2003 SC 1386). If an effective alternative remedy is available, the high court will not exercise its powers under this section, specially when the applicant may not have availed of that remedy.
“To prevent abuse of process of any court”
Ordinarily HC will not interfere at an interlocutory stage of criminal proceeding in subordinate court but, HC is under an obligation to interfere if there is harassment of any person (Indian citizen) by illegal prosecution. It would also do so when there is any exceptional or extraordinary reasons for doing so. Shyam Sachdev v. State. Contra view in Shiv Prasad v. State of Rajasthan.
Test to determine whether thre has been an abuse of any court are:-
1. See whether a bare statement of facts of case would be sufficient to convince HC if it is a fit case for interference at intermediate stage.
2. Whether in the admitted circumstances it would be a mock trial if case is allowed to proceed.
Reasons HC can interfere:
1. Long lapse of time
2. Failure or impossibility to supply to accused, copies of police statements and other relevant documents- grounds for other relevant documents- grounds for HC to quash proceedings against accused.
“To secure ends of justice”
Eg. When a clear statutory provision of law is violated- HC can interfere. It is of vital importance in the administration of justice, and ensure proper freedom and independence of Judges must be maintained and allowed to perform their functions freely and fearlessly without undue influence on anyone, even SC. At the same time Judges and Magistrate should act with a certain amount of justice and fair play.
The SC in Madhu Limaye v. Maharashtra AIR 1978 SC 47 and also in Amarnath v. Haryana(1977) and Jadhav v. Shankarrao Pawar(1983) has held the following principles would govern the exrcise of inherent jurisdiction of the HC:
1. Power is not to be resorted to if there is specific provision in code for redress of grievances of aggrieved party
2. It should be exercised sparingly to prevent abuse of process of any Court or otherwise to secure ends of justice
3. It should not be exercised against the express bar of the law engrafted in any other provision of the code.
It is neither feasible nor practicable to lay down exhaustively as to on what ground the jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure should be exercised. But some attempts have been made in that behalf in some of the decisions of this Court as for example State of Haryana Vs. Bhajan Lal (1992 Supp (1) SCC 335), Janata Dal Vs. H.S. Chowdhary and Others (1992 (4) SCC 305), Rupan Deol Bajaj (Mrs.) and Another Vs. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill and Another (1995 (6) SCC 194), Indian Oil Corp. Vs. NEPC India Ltd. and Others (2006 (6) SCC 736).
In the landmark case State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal (1992 Supp.(1) SCC 335) a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India considered in detail the provisions of section 482 and the power of the high court to quash criminal proceedings or FIR. The Supreme Court summarized the legal position by laying the following guidelines to be followed by high courts in exercise of their inherent powers to quash a criminal complaint:
(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or 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 a case against the accused.
(2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.
(3) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.
(4) Where, the allegations
in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non- cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code.
(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.
(7) Where a criminal proceeding 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.
In Indian Oil Corporation v. NEPC India Ltd. and Others (2006) 6 SCC 736 ) a petition under section 482 was filed to quash two criminal complaints. The High Court by common judgments allowed the petition and quashed the two complaints. The order was challenged in appeal to Supreme Court of India.
While deciding the appeal, the Supreme Court of India laid down following principles:
1. The high courts should not exercise their inherent powers to repress a legitimate prosecution. The power to quash criminal complaints should be used sparingly and with abundant caution.
2. The criminal complaint is not required to verbatim reproduce the legal ingredients of the alleged offence. If the necessary factual foundation is laid in the criminal complaint, merely on the ground that a few ingredients have not been stated in detail, the criminal proceedings should not be quashed. Quashing of the complaint is warranted only where the complaint is bereft of
even the basic facts which are absolutely necessary for making out the alleged offence.
3. It was held that 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 dispute, apart from furnishing a cause of action for seeking remedy in civil law, may also involve a criminal offence.
As the nature and scope of civil proceedings are different from a criminal proceeding, the mere fact that the complaint relates to a commercial transaction or breach of contract, for which a civil remedy is available or has been availed, is not by itself a ground to quash the criminal proceedings. The test is whether the allegations in the complaint disclose a criminal offence or not.
In interest of maintaining independence of judiciary, Judges and Magistrate should be at full liberty to discuss the conduct of persons before them. However, While exercising inherent powers, the Court should observe and not violate the following three principles while expressing opinions on conduct of parties and witnesses:
1.) No person should be condemned without being heard
2.) The criticism of judges and magistrate should not travel beyond the record
3.) The criticism should be made without sobriety and due sense of responsibility.- Saulal Yadav case [1963 Raj 886]
Recent case laws
Kishan Lal v. Dharmendra Bafna [2009 (9) 768]
Here the Parties related to each other being members of the same family. Dispute was relating to a farm house. Both parties lodged FIR. In case filed against appellant his mother and sister, he was convicted. Final reports were prepared twice for the case filed by appellant against his mother and sister. Deputy Superintendent of police on the second report sought to obtain legal opinion of public prosecutor who was asked to complete the investigation and submit an appropriate report to the court. A petition was filed under Sec 482 of CrPC against order of further investigation, which was dismissed by the HC. The issue was whether
i) HC was justified in observing that valid grounds existed for granting bail to petitioners and
ii) HC was right in issuing directions for grant
iii) of exemptions from personal appearance
The SC held both in negative and remitted the matter to the HC.
State of Punjab v. Pritam Chand & Ors. [2009 (2) 457]
Powers possessed by the HC under 482 CrPC are very wide requires great caution in its exercise. Court must be careful to see that its decision in exercise of this power is based on sound principles. Inherent power should not be exercised to stifle a legitimate prosecution. In the instant case Complainant was married to Appellant 1. Appellant left for U.S.A in 1999. A case under Sec 498 I.P.C and S 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act was filed. Complaint was treated as FIR and investigation was undertaken. On completion of investigation charge sheet was filed. A divorce petition was filed by Appellant in 2001, which was granted ex parte. According to appellants, complainant remarried subsequently. Appellant filed petition under sec 482 before the HC for quashing of complaint. HC dismissed the petition, and this was subsequently challenged in SC. It was held that HC was not justified in dismissing the petition filed by the appellants.
State of Kerala v. Jabbar [2009 (6) 659]
The respondents lodged FIR, against appellant alleging commission of offences under sec 406 and 420, I.P.C and same was registered. Thereafter investigation commenced. Even while investigation was in progress respondent moved the HC under Sec 482 CrPC, seeking directions to the police to seize an amount of Rs 2,28,00,000/- from appellants claiming that he was entitled for Rs 1,28,00,000/- for facilitating registration of land under the MOU, which amount is alleged to have been withheld by appellants along with a sum of 1 crore, stated to have been paid by him to the appellant. In the said petition there was no allegation of any collusion and deliberate delay on part of investigation agency. HC within a period of one month from the date of filing of petition, finally disposed the same observing that it is obligatory on part of respondent police to conduct investigation in accordance with law, including recording of statements from witness, arrest, seizure of property, filing of charge sheet etc. HC further directed that if account is available with accused person or any amount is in their possession, it is obligatory on part of respondent police to take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of the respondent. HC accordingly directed the police to expedite and complete investigation within 6 months. The issues were
i) Whether it is open to HC in exercise of its jurisdiction under Sec 482, to interfere with statutory power of investigation by police into cognizable offence.
ii) Whether such direction could have been issued by the HC in exercise of its jurisdiction under Sec 482.
Court held both in the negative. Inherent power of the court is saved to interfere with the proceedings pending before a Criminal Court if such interference is required to secure the ends of justice or where the continuance of proceedings before a court amounts to abuse of the process of Court. Such a power is always available to HC in relation to matter pending before a criminal court.
Section 482 CrPC has a very wide scope and its really important for the courts to use it properly and wisely. Many a times it has been observed that when there is an issue of money for eg. Any money matter then the petitioner instead of filing a civil suit files an FIR against the other person just to harass him. In such cases it becomes very important for the high courts to quash such complaints as it leads to the abuse of the process of the lower courts. This section would enable the courts for providing proper justice and also should be exercised to stop the public from filing fictitious complaints just to fulfill there personal grudges.