New Delhi, Oct 14 (UNI) The Supreme Court has directed the courts in the country to issue non-bailable arrest warrant against a person only under compelling circumstances when the court is convinced that an accused is deliberately and intentionallly avoiding appearance in the court.
A three-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari in their judgement noted ''as far as possible, if the court is of the opinion that a summon will suffice in getting the appearance of the accused in the court, the summon or the bailable-warrant should be prefeferred.
The warrant either bailable or non-bailable should never be issued without proper scrutiny of facts and complete application of mind, due to the extremely serious consequences and ramifications which ensue on the issuance of warrant.
The court must very carefully examine whether the criminal complaint of FIR has not been filed with an oblique motive.
Personal liberty is paramount, therefore, we caution courts at the first and second instance to refrain from issuing non-bailable warrant.'' The court's ruling came on a criminal appeal filed by the office bearers of Sanatan Dharma Pratinidhi Sabha, which was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, a great freedom fighter in 1923, for devoting the sabha to the task of uplifting backward and downtrodden people of the society and also to work for social development.
The appellant had awarded a contract for constructing a 'ghat' at Hardwar on the bank of river Ganga near Saptrishi Ashram.
Builder Himmat Rai Ahuja and his son Suresh Ahuja lodged a criminal complaint against the office bearers, who sold the Sabha land to one Sunil Kumar after revoking power of attorney issued in the name of Suresh Ahuja, who failed to pay the balance of Rs eight lakh towards the cost of the land.
Uttarakhand High Court dismissed the petition of Inder Mohan Goswami and another person, both office bearers of the Sabha, who had approached the high court for quashing of the criminal proceedings pending against them in the trial court.
The apex court while directing that all proceedings emanating from the FIR shall stand quashed, noted ''reverting to the facts of this case, we are of the considered view that the impugned judgement of the high court in declining to exercise its inherent powers under section 482 CrPc, has let to grave miscarriage of justice.
Consequently, we set aside the impugned judgement and in order to prevent abuse of the process of the court and to otherwise secure the ends of justice, we direct that all the proceedings emanating fron the FIR shall stand quashed.'' The apex court also observed that the court must ensure that criminal prosecution was not used as an instrument of harrasment or for seeking private vendetta or within ulterior motive to pressure the accused.
The court also noted that the power under section 482 should be excercised sparingly and it should not be used to stifle the prosecution in deserving cases.