HCs be selective in quashing proceedings under sec 482 CrPc: SC

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New Delhi, Apr 2 (UNI) The Supreme Court has ruled that in cases of harassment for dowry the high courts should quash the proceedings under section 482 CrPc only in exceptional cases.

A three-judge bench, comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakker and Lokeshwar Singh Panta, in its judgement, while reviving the proceedings against husband and in-laws under section 498 A IPC(demand for dowry) noted ''the court should be circumspect and judicious in exercising discretion and should take all relevant facts and circumstances into consideration before issuing process, lest it would be an instrument in the hands of a private complainant to unleash vendatta to harass any person needlessly.

At the same time the section is not an instrument handed over to an accused to short circuit a prosecution and bring about its sudden death.

The scope of exercise of power under section 482 CrPc and the categories of cases where the high court may excercise its power under it, relating to cognizable offences, to prevent abuse of process of any court or otherwise secure the ends of justice, were set out in some detail by this court in Bhajan Lal's case.

A note caution was, however, added that the power should be excercised sparingly and too in the rarest of rare cases.'' The court also noted ''it is the material collected during the investigation and the evidence led in the court which decides the fate of the accused person. The allegations of mala fides against the informant are of no consequence and cannot buy themselves the basis for questioning the proceedings.

Exercise of power under section 482 CrPc in a case of this nature is the exception and not the rule. The High Court being the highest court in the state must excercise these powers sparingly, carefully and with caution.

Authority of the court exists for advancement of justice, and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority so as to produce injustice, the court has the power to prevent abuse.'' Justice Pasayat writing 14-page judgement for the bench set aside the Patna High Court order quashing the criminal proceedings against Sanjay Kumar, husband of one complainant Renu Kumari, and six other accused and allowed the appeal of Renu against the High Court order.

UNI SC SP PM1808

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