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Quashing of FIR

People have been seen in practice using FIR as a tool/weapon of revenge by filing fake and frivolous complaints to harass innocent individuals, and this practice is, unfortunately, sometimes observed among people who are politically motivated. False FIRs or complaints involve making false claims in order to punish an innocent person by filing false FIRs or complaints based on misrepresenting facts or manipulating situations. Frivolous FIRs/complaints overburden police officers and, as a result, clog the criminal justice system as a whole. False, frivolous, and malicious prosecutions waste the state's time and resources unnecessarily.

There are people in society who are in a position to exploit the legal system, which is designed to eliminate the disparity between those who have influence and those who are being harassed. The goal of the law is to promote the general welfare of the people by protecting their rights and thus ensuring peace and tranquility. As a result, the provisions of quashing legislation were enacted a long time ago with a set of rights to protect innocent persons from being exploited by such abuses of the legal system.

Where can FIR be Quashed?

The process of quashing an FIR is normally initiated at the level of the High Court u/s 482, CrPC in the jurisdiction where the FIR was filed and the trial is ongoing. In Special Leave Petitions filed under Article 136 of the Constitution of India or Article 142 of the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court has supervisory jurisdiction and can quash FIRs.

Who can Quash the FIR?

Under Section 482, CrPC, a petition to quash the FIR and all related proceedings against the accused can be filed before the Hon'ble High Court. The FIR might be quashed if the High Court concludes that the accused was wrongly accused and that the FIR was false, malicious, or wholly superfluous. These inherent powers are used by the High Court to prevent misuse of any Court's procedure or to further the goals of justice. 

Why & How FIR can be Quashed:

The High Court applies its inherent powers to prevent misuse of any court's process or to further the goals of justice. The principles handed out by the Hon'ble Apex Court in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal, (1992) Supp (1) SCC 335 layout broader parameters for quashing of FIR/complaint.

Few points are described in simpler language:
  1. Where the allegations in the First Information Report or the complaint, even if taken literally and accepted in their entirety, do not constitute an offence or create a prima facie case against the accused;
  2. Where the allegations in the First Information Report and any supporting materials, if any, do not reveal a cognizable offence justifying a police investigation under Section 156(1) of the Code;
  3. Where the indisputable claims in the F.I.R. or complaint, as well as the evidence, acquired in support of the same, fail to reveal the commission of any crime;
  4. Where the allegations in the F.I.R. or complaint are so ridiculous and implausible that no person could ever reach a conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused;
  5. Where any provision of the Code or the relevant Act contains an express legal bar to the institution and continuation of the proceedings;
  6. Where a criminal prosecution is plainly malafide and/or where the proceeding is intentionally instituted with the intent of exacting vengeance.

Different Scenarios:
Interim orders in quashing petitions:
 In M/s Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. vs. the State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC online SC 315, a three-member bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the High Court must apply the same criteria it would use to quash the proceedings in its inherent jurisdiction and justify the interim orders before passing an interim order restraining further investigation. 

Quashing of FIR after conviction:

After a conviction, an accused person has the legal right to appeal the judgement of conviction. The Hon'ble Supreme Court, on the other hand, has decided that compromise quashing of an FIR is acceptable even after the offender has been convicted of non-heinous offences. 

Quashing of FIR in Matrimonial Cases:

There have been a few matrimonial FIRs where complaints were filed on the spurt of the moment out of vendetta or malafide, particularly under Sections 498 A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code. However, the parties to a marriage dispute normally settle the matter amicably, and the terms and conditions of the settlement are usually written down. The High Court typically accepts the Compromise and quashes the FIR.

Quashing of FIR in Financial Disputes:

If an FIR arising from a financial disagreement can be addressed after the parties reach an agreement, the quashing of the FIR becomes the a remedy if serious economic offences with broader ramifications are not present.

Conclusion:
Within the broader legal framework, constitutional courts regularly quash FIRs on the merits or based on the parties' agreement. The nature and gravity of the offence must be considered by the High Court, particularly in the compromise quashing of an FIR, as it has been recognized that horrific and serious crimes involving mental depravity, such as murder or rape, as well as criminal conspiracy, cannot be quashed even if the victim or the victim's family has reached an agreement with the accused. It has been determined that such offences are not truly private in nature, but they do have a substantial social impact.

References:
  • https://www.thelawcodes.com/quashing-of-fir/
  • https://www.thelawcodes.com/ms-neeharika-infrastructure-pvt-ltd-vs-state-of-maharashtra/
  • https://www.thelawcodes.com/criminal-lawyers-in-chandigarh/
  • https://www.thelawcodes.com/criminal-lawyers-in-gurgaon/
  • https://www.thelawcodes.com/bare-acts/the-code-of-civil-procedure-1908/
  • https://www.thelawcodes.com/bare-acts/the-indian-penal-code/

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