Dispute Of Civil Nature, Complainant Has Settled His Score With Main Accused: SC Quashes FIR Against Co-Accused
A two-judge Bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Vikram Nath held that the offences for which the Appellant was accused in the FIR registered against him had an overwhelming and predominantly civil flavor, while quashing the FIR.
Appeal was preferred against the judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had declined to exercise its powers under Section 482 CrPC to quash the criminal proceedings against the Appellant-Accused that arose out of the FIR registered under Section 406/420 IPC. However, the Court had granted bail to the Appellants subject to certain conditions.
In this case, a complaint was registered against the Appellants-Accused and the prime accused, wherein it was alleged that the prime accused had taken money from the Complainant to send his son abroad for employment purposes. It was alleged that the Appellant was already settled abroad and was supposed to arrange a job for the son of the complainant. It was further alleged that the prime accused and the Appellant did not fulfil their commitment and did not arrange a job for the Complainant's son.
The complainant had settled his disputes with the prime accused and the trial court had accepted the settlement.
The High Court had declined to quash the proceedings on the ground that a perusal of the FIR went to show that the name of the Appellant was specifically mentioned in the FIR and criminal acts were attributed to him.
Advocate Shri Lakhwinder Singh Mann appeared for the Appellant while Advocate Jaspreet Singh Gogia appeared for the Respondent in the proceedings before the Court.
The Apex Court after considering the contentions of the parties held, "In our view, the present one is amongst those fittest cases where the High Court ought to have exercised its powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and ought to have secured the ends of justice by closing the proceedings against the appellants."
The Bench further opined, "The power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is to be exercised to prevent the abuse of process of any Court and also to secure the ends of justice. This Court, time and again, has laid emphasis that inherent powers should be exercised in a given and deserving case where the Court is satisfied that exercise of such power would either prevent abuse of such power or such exercise would result in securing the ends of justice."
The Court while relying on the precedent Gian Singh vs State of Punjab, further observed, "That criminal cases having overwhelmingly and predominatingly civil flavour stand on a different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute."
While the Court quashed the criminal proceedings against the Appellant-Accused, it observed, "The allegations made in the FIR had an overwhelmingly and predominatingly a civil flavour inasmuch as the complainant alleged that he had paid money to Gurmeet Singh, the main accused to get employment for his son abroad. If Gurmeet Singh failed the complainant could have filed a suit for recovery of the amount paid for not fulfilling the promise."
"In our considered view, the High Court erred in firstly not considering the entire material on record and further in not appreciating the fact that the dispute, if any, was civil in nature and that the complainant had already settled his score with the main accused Gurmeet Singh against whom the proceedings have been closed as far back as 26.09.2014. In this scenario, there remains no justification to continue with the proceedings against the appellant," the Bench observed.
In the light of these observations, the Court allowed the appeal, and the impugned proceedings were quashed as against the Appellant-Accused.