The inherent powers of high courts under section 482 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) should be exercised with care, caution and sparingly, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar made the observation while quashing and setting aside an FIR registered against a woman and others under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
"There can be no doubt with respect to the position that the jurisdiction under section 482, CrPC is to be exercised with care and caution and sparingly.... The exercise of the said power must be for securing the ends of justice and only in cases where a refusal to exercise that power may result in an abuse of the process of law," the bench said.
The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal challenging a Calcutta High Court order that refused to quash the FIR against the accused in connection with the management of a school.
The high court declined to exercise the jurisdiction under section 482 of the CrPC, holding that a perusal of the case diary as also the materials appearing therefrom prima facie made out a case for investigation.
Referring to its earlier decisions, the Supreme Court said section 482 is designed to achieve the purpose of ensuring that criminal proceedings are not permitted to generate into weapons of harassment.
The court noted that the respondent concealed the pendency of a civil suit to cover up the civil nature of the dispute.
The court said it has no hesitation to hold that allowing the continuance of the criminal proceedings against the appellants would result in an abuse of the process of the court and also miscarriage of justice.
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