The Supreme Court restored a criminal complaint emanating from a property dispute setting aside the Madhya Pradesh High Court judgment that had quashed it.

The Court examined the principles governing the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC regarding quashing of an FIR, as laid down by the Supreme Court in the State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335.

The Court stated that the Madhya Pradesh High Court had exercised its power under Section 482 of the CrPC “on the assumption that the Suit Property did not vest in the State of Madhya Pradesh.

Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma observed, “Undoubtedly, the genesis of the present dispute emanates from civil proceedings qua the possession of the Suit Property, however, the dispute in its current avatar i.e. as is discernible from the allegation levelled against the Respondents in the FIR, has certainly undergone a metamorphosis into a criminal dispute which ought not to have been scuttled at the threshold, and in fact ought to have been considered on its own merits, in accordance with law.

Advocate Padmesh Mishra represented the appellant, while Advocate Puneet Jain appeared for the respondents.

The municipality had filed a civil suit seeking possession of the suit property. The trial court dismissed the suit and found that the suit property belonged to the State of Madhya Pradesh. The said finding was upheld by the High Court in its Underlying Order.

Subsequently, a complaint was filed alleging fraudulent sale transactions related to the suit property. This led to the registration of an FIR against 22 individuals, including the Respondents.

The Respondents filed a application under Section 482 of the CrPC seeking to quash the FIR, which was granted by the High Court.

The Court held that the High Court made an erroneous assumption regarding the State’s failure to prove its title qua the suit property.

It is trite law that revenue records are not documents of title; and nor would any findings pursuant to revenue proceedings under the Code confer any rights, title or interest upon the Respondents in relation to the Suit Property. It is a settled legal position that questions of title can only be determined by a civil court of competent jurisdiction,” the Court remarked.

The Court stated that the dispute, while originating from civil proceedings, had metamorphosised into a criminal dispute, warranting further consideration. The Court directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to proceed with the criminal proceedings in accordance with the law and set aside the High Court's order quashing the FIR.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeals.

Cause Title: The State Of Madhya Pradesh v. Shilpa Jain & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 278)


Appellant: AOR Pashupathi Nath Razdan; Advocates Padmesh Mishra, Mirza Kayesh Begg, Maitreyee Jagat Joshi, Astik Gupta, Akanksha Tomar, Argha Roy, Ojaswini Gupta and Ruby

Respondents: AOR Pratibha Jain; Advocates Puneet Jain, Christi Jain, Mann Arora, Akriti Sharma and Lisha Bhati

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