The Supreme Court observed that a High Court cannot examine and record conclusion on a disputed fact to quash the FIR by invoking its inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC.

The court was considering an appeal filed against the Gujarat High Court judgment that had quashed a First Information Report (FIR). The main dispute revolved around agreements with the private respondent(s) arguing that these agreements were not binding on the company, Geetanjali Jewellery Retail Limited (GJRL), a subsidiary of Gitanjali Gems Limited.

A two-judge Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti held, “Suffice it is to observe that the High Court should not have examined and recorded conclusion on the disputed fact to quash the FIR. At this stage, we record that pursuant to the registration of the FIR, the investigation had proceeded."

Advocate Shubhranshu Padhi appeared for the Appellant and Advocate Archana Pathak Dave appeared for the Respondents.

The appellant claimed the agreements were valid and binding. The agreements involved the return of 24 karat pure gold bars deposited with GJRL in a fiduciary capacity.

The Court noted disputed factual questions, such as the validity of signatures and the authority of individuals involved. The private respondent(s) argued that one of the signatories had resigned, rendering the agreements unauthorized.

The Court declined to examine the requirements of Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code in detail, emphasizing the need to ascertain facts first, including the nature of the deposit. The Court said, “The impugned judgment refers to the requirements of Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. We are not examining the said aspects in detail, as first, facts have to be ascertained, including the nature and character of the deposit.”

Concerns were raised about contradictions in the appellant's stand, as reflected in different notices. The Court said, “We should not go into these aspects, as it is a matter to be considered and examined in the investigation. A wrong may be civil wrong, or in a given case be a civil wrong and equally constitute a criminal offence. The ingredients of a criminal offence should be satisfied. We would refrain to make detailed observations in this regard, though we have considered the said notice before passing this order.”

The Court set aside the impugned judgment, allowing the appeal. The Court said, “The observations in this order will not be read as comments or observations on the merits of the case. Investigation will continue without being influenced by any of the findings or observations made in the impugned judgment or in the present order. We also clarify that while conducting the investigation, the Investigating Officer(s) will keep in mind the rulings of this Court and High Courts interpreting Sections 406, 420, 464 and 465 etc. of the IPC.

Cause Title: Digvijaysinh Himmatsinh Jadeja v. State of Gujarat & Ors., [2023 INSC 1045]


Appellant: AOR Shubhranshu Padhi, Advocates Niroop Sukrithy, Jay Nirupam and D. Girish Kumar

Respondents: AOR Swati Ghildiyal, AOR Akbar Siddique, Advocates Archana Pathak Dave, Devyani Bhatt, Vijay Aggarwal, Yugant Sharma, Mukul Malik, Parwez Akhtar, Malik Javed Ansari, Harsh Kumar Singh, Animesh Mishra and Parv K Garg