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Under Section 482 CrPC: It must be Examined by High Court that Whether The Complaint Is A Civil Dispute Cloaked With Criminal Nature: SC

Team SoOLEGAL 18 Feb 2019 2:31pm

Under Section 482 CrPC: It must be Examined by High Court that Whether The Complaint Is A Civil Dispute Cloaked With Criminal Nature: SC

It has been recently reiterated by the Supreme Court that when High Court is exercising its jurisdiction under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, can High Court examine whether a matter which is essential of a civil nature has been given a cloak of a criminal offense.

 When the ingredients necessary to constitute a criminal offense are not formed from just a reading of the complaint, the continuation of the criminal proceeding will be termed as an abuse of the process of the court, liable to be dismissed and vanished, the 2 bench judges including Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta mentioned on Friday in a judgement.

In the case of Prof RK Vijayasarathy vs. Sudha Seetharam, to quash the criminal proceedings against them, Karnataka, High Court had rejected the prayer of the accused. It was revealed by the case facts that the dispute is between two families. Daughter of the Complainant is the wife of the son of the Accused. The  Family Court dismissed the divorce petition of the Daughter. An amount of Rs 20 lakhs was transferred by the Son of the Accused to the bank account of his mother in law on 17 February 2010.  As marital relation broke down later, a suit of recovery was filled by him seeking recovery of money against his mother in law for the return of the money.

A criminal complaint was filled by the mother-in-law allegedly saying that the said amount was returned in cash to the parents and still they did not issue any receipt. They blamed that the accused (their son in law) and his parents have blackmailed to siphon the money and that the civil suit that has been filed is without merit. First Information Report was registered under Sections 405, 406, 415 and 420 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code after following Magistrate's order. The High Court refused to quash the complaint and FIR.

The apex court bench explained how the High Court should examine a petition under Section 482 CrPC. The court observed that the complaint must contain the basic facts necessary for making out an offense under the Penal Code. It said:

“The High Court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, is required to examine whether the averments in the complaint constitute the ingredients necessary for an offense alleged under the Penal Code. If the averments taken on their face do not constitute the ingredients necessary for the offense, the criminal proceedings may be quashed under Section 482. A criminal proceeding can be quashed where the allegations made in the complaint do not disclose the commission of an offense under the Penal Code. The complaint must be examined as a whole, without evaluating the merits of the allegations. Though the law does not require that the complaint reproduce the legal ingredients of the offense verbatim, the complaint must contain the basic facts necessary for making out an offense under the Penal Code."

When the complaint got examined, the bench mentioned that the complainant, in this case, has attempted to cloak a civil dispute with a criminal nature despite the absence of the ingredients necessary to constitute a criminal offense. While holding that the said complaint constitutes an abuse of process of the court and is liable to be quashed, the bench added:

"The jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has to be exercised with care. In the exercise of its jurisdiction, a High Court can examine whether a matter which is essential of a civil nature has been given a cloak of a criminal offense. Where the ingredients required to constitute a criminal offense are not made out from a bare reading of the complaint, the continuation of the criminal proceeding will constitute an abuse of the process of the court."






Tagged: cr.pc   supremecourt   highcourt   civil   criminal  
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