What is the Procedure for Quashing of FIR in India?
Under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, an individual has the right to approach the High Court for the quashing of FIR or a complaint filed against him. For such a Quashing of FIR or Complaint, the Court must be fully convinced that there is no such prima facie case made out against the person named as accused, and the concerned individual has been falsely implicated with the malicious intent.
In this blog, we will be dealing in detail about the concept of Quashing of FIR.
Powers granted to the High Court under section 482 of CrPC?
Although section 482 of CrPC does not explicitly provide exactly what exactly comprises of the court’s inherent power of the court. However, this section authorizes the High Court with broad, widespread powers in order to prevent injustices caused by subordinate courts. Furthermore, the powers under this section are, although wide, but must be used only in exceptional circumstances.
When can an FIR be Quashed?
As per the Black Law Dictionary, the term Quash means to abate/ to overthrow / to annul/ to vacate / to make void. In layman terms, the Quashing of FIR or Criminal Proceedings means ceasing the legal machinery to operate, which had been set in motion. This is normally done after an FIR (First Information Report) is filed, but before the final stage, filing of Charge Sheet stage.
Further, the High Court should cautiously use these powers to serve the ends of justice and prevent the abuse of the court process. If circumstances require, then only the court can use its discretionary powers provided under Section 482.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court had laid down detailed guidelines regarding this issue in its landmark judgment in Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab (2014).
What are termed as Compoundable Offences?
There are two types of offenses prescribed in the IPC, and these are compoundable and non-compoundable cases. Further, the offenses which are settled between the parties outside the court are termed as compoundable offenses. In contrast, the offenses which are not permitted to be settled outside the court are termed as non-compoundable offences.
Any person or individual against whom an FIR has been lodged for committing a non-compoundable offense can approach the court for the quashing of FIR. If, for some reasons that person believes he has been falsely and illegally implicated.
Further, prima facie evidence must show that no case is made out against him or that some glaring irregularities that make it improbable for him to be convicted.
Need to implement law regarding Quashing of FIR or Complaint?
The purpose behind the implementation of law concerning the Quashing of FIR or Complaint is deterrence limited by the considerations of justice. If there has to be forgiveness, mercy, and compassion in law, then the deterrent theory cannot prevail and thus widening the scope of heinous crime against society.
Further, the cases involving the scope of heinous crimes should have deterrence as a paramount purpose of punishment, and even if the family of the victim agrees to forgive the accused, the law still needs to step in to deal strictly with the wrongdoers.
However, some other offenses fall under the “correctional” objective of the criminal court, and the punishment imposed must be fair and conducive to them. The same is possible if the court thinks that the settlement between the parties will lead to good and better relationships between them. Moreover, there is no other chance of relapse of any criminal encounters between the parties.
Therefore, this section enables the courts to restrict the public from filing fictitious, false and vexatious complaints just to satisfy their personal grudges.
How can Quashing of FIR be done?
A petition for the quashing of FIR is always filed in the High Court. Further, the power of quashing an FIR vests with the high court by way of Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code and section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Factors to take into Consideration while Quashing an FIR or Complaint?
In the case of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, the court had issued some guidelines that must be followed when the parties have reached a mutual settlement and the petition for quashing order is made. The following listed are the guidelines that are to be considered:
- Justice is served to the aggrieved.
- Process of the concerned court is not abused in any manner.
- This power granted to the High Court cannot be used in case of heinous and serious crimes like rape, dowry, murder, or any other offense committed under any special statutes like the Prevention of Corruption Act or any other offense committed by the public servant which is not qualified to be quashed by mutual compromise.
- Cases arising out of matrimonial disputes or commercial transactions must be quashed only when justice is done.
- A court should also see that the aggrieved person is not put into extreme injustice and depression by not quashing the criminal cases.
- Offenses committed under section 307 are not only heinous but are considered as crimes against society. However, it would be open to approach the court by the nature of the injury. The court can also move further by the fact that the parties’ settlement is going to ensue in harmony.
- While deciding cases under section 482, timings play a crucial role. In cases where an immediate settlement is done, FIR can easily be quashed because, in such cases, filing of charge sheets is not done yet. However, in cases where the investigation stage is almost complete, and the conclusion is at the argument’s stage, the court must refrain from using its power provided under section 482. As in such cases, the case can easily be decided easily based on merits.
Supreme Court’s Power to Quash an FIR or Complaint
If the High Court rejects or denies the petition filed, the petitioner can then file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) to the Apex Court under Article 136 of India’s Constitution.
Further, the Supreme Court also has the inherent power to deal with such matters. Moreover, the same guidelines are to be followed, which were provided by the high court in the case ‘Gian Singh v. State of Punjab.’
Further, the Apex Court in the case ‘Nikhil Merchant vs. Central Bureau of Investigation and another (2008) 9 SCC 677, held that technicality must not cause any interruption in the process of criminal proceedings because the continuation of the same offense even after compromise have arrived between the parties would be a futile exercise.
Also, any FIR filed against a person can be quashed if the same did not prima facie disclose any offense.
The laws have been made to ensure that no one is suppressing anyone’s right, and if in case someone is doing it, then he or she shall be punished. However, there are several cases in which a person makes use of these provided laws which are favoring him to trouble the innocent people.