The Supreme Court, while quashing the criminal proceedings against a woman, said that there should be at least some factual supporting material for the allegations made in the FIR. The complainant’s case recorded in the FIR was as follows: The accused married the complainant’s brother on 11th December 2016 and thereafter she began to harass her brother mentally and physically and this was the reason why her brother died on 8th December 2016 He died suddenly on the job in 2017.
Soon after his death, there was a sudden change in his behavior and he tried to evict her and other in-laws from the house. Every day, she used to threaten and abuse the family members and by forgery, she got job on compassionate grounds and took all final benefits and deprivation of final benefits to the real dependents of Late Mohammad Shamim Khan (complainant's brother). Diya and this nikah (marriage) was performed by her without divorce from her previous husband.
Based on this complaint, an FIR was registered and charges were framed against him under sections 494, 495, 416, 420, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. The accused filed a petition under section 482 CrPC seeking quashing of the FIR before the Allahabad High Court which was dismissed.
Challenging this order, the accused approached the Supreme Court and said that there is no evidence to support the allegation made in the complaint on the basis of which the FIR has been registered and even though what is stated in the FIR, Even if he is taken at his face value, prima facie, none of the offenses framed against him in the chargesheet make out.
The State and the complainant jointly submitted that after the FIR was registered, investigation was conducted and only then the charge sheet was filed and hence at least it can be assumed that there is a prima facie case against him. The court said that the judgment in State of Haryana and Ors vs. Bhajan Lal et al. gave an exhaustive list of myriad types of cases in which the power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure/Article 226 of the Constitution should be exercised
The court noted,
"There is no doubt that the power to quash a criminal proceeding should be exercised very sparingly and with caution and that too in the rarest of rare cases and without regard to the credibility or form of fact or otherwise of the allegations made in the FIR or complaint." It was not proper for the Court to initiate inquiry in the matter and that the vested powers do not confer any arbitrary jurisdiction on the Court to act according to its will and imagination."
The bench observed that, in this case, if the criminal proceedings are allowed to continue, it would be nothing but a clear abuse of the process of law and would amount to a mental blow to the accused. The court observed that while dismissing the petition filed at its instance under Section 482 CrPC, the High Court has completely ignored this aspect.
Allowing the appeal, the court said:
While it is true that it was not open to the court to initiate any inquiry regarding the credibility or genuineness of the allegations made in the FIR, but at least what has been alleged in the FIR,There must be some factual supporting material for him which is completely missing in the present case and the documentary evidence on record clearly supports that his nikahnama was duly registered and issued by the competent authority and even the charge sheet filed against him Even prima facie it does not disclose how the marriage certificate was burnt.
Case: Shafia Khan @ Shakuntala Prajapati Vs UP Citation: 2022 Live Law (SC) 153 Case No.|Date: CRA 200 of 2022 | 10 February 2022 Bench: Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Abhay S. Oak