February 12, 2024
symbolizing justice and order

High courts perform an essential part in the arena of criminal justice, not merely for deciding cases but also in ensuring justice and equity. This duty includes, among other significant duties, the authority to prevent harassing criminal prosecutions. The credibility of the legal system is jeopardized by vexatious criminal proceedings, which are frequently driven by financial advantage rather than an authentic need for justice.

Vexatious Proceedings: About

  • It is the cases were filed without merit and with malice. The goal of vexatious proceedings is to inconvenience, humiliate, or incur costs for the defendant. 
  • When a plaintiff initiates this type of litigation, they either know or should rationally know that there is no legal foundation for the case.  The harmed party frequently makes a claim for malicious prosecution in order to receive compensation for vexatious proceedings.

Why in the News?

The Supreme Court noted that the High Courts have a responsibility to safeguard their clients against unwarranted and harassing prosecution as well as from being forced to endure a lengthy trial by the duty of quashing of criminal proceedings by high court.

Facts of the Case:

  • In the case of Vishnu Kumar Shukla & Anr v State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr., Ram Kumar Garg, the second respondent/complainant, was a renter of a storefront located in Hari Narayan Shukla’s home. On June 29, 2011, the complainant’s shop was broken into by the appellants, a husband and wife, and other people.
  • They stole wheat, kerosene oil valued at approximately 21,000 rupees, merchandise, all of the shop’s registers, money from sales, paperwork, and a two-wheeler.
  • This resulted in the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), Section 448 of IPC (Punishment for House Trespassing), Section 454 of IPC (Lurking House Trespass or House Breaking punished with imprisonment), and Section 380 of IPC (Theft in dwelling House).
  • The husband and wife (appellants) request for their release under appeal under section 482 crpc (saving the inherent powers of the High Court), Section 378 (appeal in case of acquittal), and Section 407 (power of High Court to transfer cases and appeals) of the Criminal Procedure Code was denied by the Trial Court. The High Court then affirmed the Trial Court’s ruling. The unhappy couple therefore went to the Supreme Court.

Issues Raised in the Case:

  • Whether the opinions of the Trial and High Court might still stand in light of the fact that Respondent No. 2’s memo was discovered to be fabricated?
  • Whether or not the High Court made the correct decision in rejecting the Appellants’ request to be released from custody?

Contentions by the Appellants:

  • The lawyer for the appellant argued that the Trial Court’s Order dated December 18, 2014 made it abundantly evident that the entire lawsuit was based on fabricated and counterfeit documents.
  • He argued that once that was proved, Respondent No. 2’s argument that they were the rightful owners of the property was irrelevant and that the FIR itself was obviously an abuse of the legal system.
  • The Trial Court denied the Appellants’ claim for discharge on ambiguous grounds, even though there was enough evidence to support it.
  • Thus, the appellants filed a motion in the High Court under the virtue of Section 482 CrPC (saving of inherent powers of the High Court), which the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench) similarly denied.

Case Precedents:

  • The Case of Rumi Dhar v State of West Bengal: It was determined that the judge must thoroughly review the claims made against each accused individual in order to determine whether or not a case has been made out, as a strong suspicion regarding the matter will enough to satisfy legal criteria.
  • The Case of Niranjan Singh Karam Singh Punjabi v Jitendra B Bijjaya: In this judgment, the Apex Court held that, even at this early point, it is not reasonable to anticipate that whatever the prosecution says will be accepted as gospel truth, even if it goes against common sense or the overwhelming likelihood of the case.
  • The Case of Dipakbhai Jagdishchandra Patel v State of Gujarat: The Court stated that the initial suspicion, which is based on evidence that the court finds credible, is adequate to consider the possibility that the accused may have committed the offense.

Decision Given by the Supreme Court

  • This is the latest judgment of Supreme Court on quashing of first information report.
  • The Apex Court comprising of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, on 29th November, 2023 held that Respondent No. 2’s whole tenancy claim was discovered to be fake and developed and that Respondent No. 2 made no claim to demonstrate that he was the legal owner of the property.
  • Furthermore, the Respondent never made an appearance before the Apex Court, which determined that their case was weaker and that the facts as well as circumstances presented by Respondent No. 2 amounted to obvious misuse of the legal system.
  • Furthermore, Respondent No. 2 did not oppose or submit a protest when the police found no evidence of theft or lurking house-trespass.
  • The Supreme Court determined that because there was little evidence and suspicion, it would be pointless to subject the appellants to a formal criminal trial.
  • The Apex Court further concluded that the denial of the appellant’s discharge was unjustified in the cases of the High Court’s contested decision and the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Lucknow’s ruling. As a result, the appeal was granted, and the accused parties were released from the criminal prosecution.

For any latest news, judiciary exams notifications, patterns, etc watch Jyoti Judiciary’s YouTube channel for legal videos for any updates at https://youtube.com/@jyotijudiciarycoaching4852?si=2cwubh9d2A9urwJf

Leave a Comment