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Quashing Of FIR- Legal Rights For False And Forged First Information Report And Complaints

A law is made for the welfare of the people, safety and security of the state. The laws are made keeping in mind the interests of the people. There are a number of laws made to safeguard the suppressed. Yet some people tend to exploit and take the undue advantage of the laws formulated to safeguard them and use them to blackmail innocent people and implicate them with false charges, dissipating Courtís time.

Setting the trend of fabricating complaints, people tend use FIR as their weapon for retribution. For this very reason lawmakers have made a certain set of laws to protect the innocent people from exploitation of such laws.

False FIR or complaints simply means making false allegations with malicious intention by lodging FIR or complaints based on falsifying the facts and fabricating the circumstances in order to persecute the other person.

Modus Operandi for filing FIR:

  1. Lodging of First Information Report before police under section 154 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as CrPC)
  2. Complaint made before superintendent of police under section 154(3) CrPC.
  3. Directions for FIR by magistrate under section 156(3) CrPC
  4. Cognizance of offence by magistrate under section 190 CrPC.
  5. Private complaint made before Magistrate under section 200 CrPC.

Quashing of FIR

FIR quashing is the petition filed before High Court for quashing the FIR and all related proceedings against the accused. An FIR an be quashed by the High Court if the Court is satisfied that the accused is falsely implicated and FIR is bogus and frivolous.

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, elucidates inherent powers of High Court under Section 482 [1] as follows:

  1. Section 482 enumerates that a High Court has got the power to act in any manner in order to make the two ends of justice meet.
  2. Under this section, a High Court has the power to quash an FIR if it thinks that the FIR which has been lodged is a false one and was done with malicious intention to trouble the aggrieved person.
  3. If any person has been implicated and accused of a non-compoundable offence then he can approach a High Court and file a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution read with Section 482 of CrPC.
  4. The burden of proof is on the petitioner to prove that he FIR has been lodged only for malicious reasons and to trouble the petitioner.

Although the Apex Court in its landmark judgment in Madhu Limaye vs the State of Maharashtra, has laid down some very important principles which modulate the exercise of the powers of Section 482 CrPC by the court:
  1. The exercise of powers under Section 482 CrPC for FIR quashing is not to be resorted to if there is a specific provision in code to redress the grievances of the aggrieved party.
  2. Powers under Section 482 CrPC for quashing should be exercised sparingly and to ensure the abuse of process of any Court or otherwise to secure ends of justice.
  3. The powers under Section 482 CrPC should not be exercised for quashing against the express bar of the law engrafted in any other provision of the code.

Grounds for Quashing FIR

The Supreme Court of India in the matters of Sundar Babu & Ors vs. State of Tamil Nadu [2] and State of Haryana vs Bhajan Lal [3] has issued some important guidelines as to the grounds and conditions for quashing of an FIR under Section 482 CrPC. The said grounds are listed below:
  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 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.
  3. 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.
  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 uncontroverted 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.
  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.
The exercise of powers by the High Court under Section 482 CrPC for quashing is based purely on the subjective assessment of the judge. He has to strike a balance between the powers of the courts under Section 482 CrPC and the facts of the case. As such no specific parameters are laid down for the exercise of the powers by the High Court under Section 482 Crpc.

Code of Criminal Procedure contains Section 320 which mandates the compounding of the criminal proceedings before the courts subordinate to the High Court during the trial or during the appeal but provisions of Section 482 CrPC have an overriding effect on the same considering the wide powers vested with the High Court for FIR Quashing.

There are various ways through which FIR an be quashed. Those are as follows:

Quashing of FIR after filing of Charge Sheet

The High Court under Section 482 has the power to quash an FIR even after filing of Charge Sheet by the prosecution. The parties can also reach a modus vivendi [4]. The accused can also appraise the Court that there is no material evidence against him even after the investigation in the matter. Another recourse for the accused is to take pleas of inherent improbability on the basis of entire facts and material collected against him in the charge sheet. As power given to the High Court under Section 482 are wide enough, High Court an order for quashing of FIR under such circumstances.

Quashing of FIR on the basis of Compromise

The FIR an be quashed on the basis of compromise at any stage by the High Court. The complainant and accused can enter into a compromise. Both the parties can file a joint petition under Section 482 CrPC for FIR quashing. Thereafter, the Court will scrutinize the facts, circumstances and aspects of the matter before passing an order for quashing of FIR. If the Court is not satisfied with the facts of the compromise, then the High Court can refuse the quashing on the basis of compromise. The parties can approach the Trial Court if the offence is compoundable and High Court has refused to quash the FIR.

Quashing of FIR in Matrimonial Cases

In certain matrimonial disputes, women file false complaints of cruelty by husband and relatives of husband under Section 498 A and Section 406 of Indian Penal Code [5]. However, later the parties to the matrimonial dispute enter into a mutual settlement. They generally reduce it into writing and prepare a Mutual Compromise Deed containing all the terms and conditions of the settlement. The parties have to be present before the High Court to record their statements and for the identification.

The parties can enter into a mutual settlement before the Court where the proceedings are going on or independently. In cases of divorce by mutual consent parties can attend the Court after their divorce proceedings are over. The Courts, generally accept the same and pass an order for quashing of FIR on the basis of this Compromise.

Quashing of FIR in Financial Disputes

In case of economic offences, quashing the FIR is the obvious recourse when the financial dispute is settled after the parties come to terms. Parties often resort to a Compromise Deed and go for quashing of FIR if certain serious offences other than economic offences are involved. The High Court can, by the virtue of powers conferred under Section 482 CrPC pass an order for quashing on the grounds of settlement keeping in mind the facts and circumstances of the case.

Rights of the person acquitted

After the FIR is quashed and the getting discharged from the Court, the acquitted person may pray to the Court for instituting criminal proceedings against the complainant.
In such a case the legal remedies available to the acquitted are:
  1. Filling a complaint under section 182 IPC against the person who has provided false information, with intention or knowledge or believe it to be false, or knowing it to be likely that he/she will thereby cause, such public servant:
    1. to do or omit anything which such public servant ought not to do or omit if the true state of facts respecting which such information is given were known by him, or
    2. to use the lawful power of such public servant to the injury or annoyance of any person, shall be punished with:
    Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
  2. Filing of application before the court under section 156(3) CrPC
  3. Filing a private complaint under section 200 CrPC for false charges of offence with intent to cause injury to him, or institution of any criminal proceeding against him, or falsely charging him with an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawful ground for such proceeding.
  4. Filing a complaint against him under section 211 IPC, whereby the complainant who has made false allegations and lodged fabricated FIR shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. If such criminal proceeding be instituted on a false charge of an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for seven years or upwards, then he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
  5. May file before the Court for compensation under section 250 CrPC for accusation without reasonable cause the provisions of this section shall apply to summons and warrant cases also. Under section 250(2) if the Magistrate is satisfied that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation, may, for reasons to be recorded, make an order that compensation to such amount, not exceeding the amount of fine he is empowered to impose, as he may determine, be paid by such complainant or informant to the accused or to each or any of them. Further under section 250(3) the Magistrate may, by the order directing payment of the compensation under sub-section (2), further order that, in default of payment, the person ordered to pay such compensation shall undergo simple imprisonment for a period not exceeding thirty days.

In certain cases, the person acquitted can also exercise his rights against the public servant if the public servant has misused his power and taken undue advantage of it in order to harass the acquitted.

The person acquitted an exercise his rights against the public servant in following ways:
  1. Under section 167 IPC if any Public servant who is charged with the preparation or translation of any document or electronic record and if he frames, prepares or translates that document or electronic record in a manner which he knows or believes to be incorrect, intending thereby to cause or knowing it to be likely that he may thereby cause injury to any person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
  2. †Under section 219 IPC if any public servant who corruptly or maliciously makes or pronounces any report, order, verdict, decision in any stage of a judicial proceeding, or which he knows to be contrary to law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.
  3. Under section 220 IPC, whoever, being in any office which gives him legal authority to commit persons for trial or to confinement, or to keep persons in confinement and if he corruptly or maliciously commits any person for trial or to confinement, or keeps any person in confinement, in the exercise of his authority knowing that in so doing he is acting contrary to law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

End-Notes:
  1. Section 482- Saving of inherent powers 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.
  2. (1992 Supp.(1) SCC 335)
  3. settlement/compromise
  4. Sheo Nath Singh v. Sujata
Written By: Anuja Waykar The author is a practicing Advocate in Bombay High Court.
Email: [email protected]

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