Gorige Pentaiah Vs.
State of A.P. & Ors.  INSC 1389 (20 August 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1311 OF 2008
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.3743/2007] Gorige Pentaiah ... Appellant Versus
State of A.P. & Others ... Respondents
This appeal is
directed against the judgment dated 19.9.2006 passed by the High Court of
The brief facts which
are necessary to dispose of this appeal are recapitulated as under:
respondent No.3 herein, on 15.6.2004, filed a complaint against the appellant
in the Police Station, Uppal, Hyderabad which reads as under:
Sub-Inspector of Police, Uppal.
Subject: One Gorige
Pentaiah s/o Bakkaiah of Uppal Village has come to our 3200 sq. yards of land
in Sy. No. 80 of Peerjadiguda with his men at 11.30 in the night and demolished
the wall and went away. You are requested to take action. Apart from that
though on 27.5.2004 said Gorige Pentaiah s/o Bakkaia abused us with the name of
our caste no action is taken against them. I am requesting you to take action
against the said people. I am filing all xerox copies of documents to show my
rights in the said land. Said Pentaiah obtained pass books and pahanies in his
name illegally in respect of our land in Sy. No. 80 and has been harassing us.
R.D.O. has stayed the said entries. You are requested to take action against
the said pentaiah and his men who demolished the compounded wall of our plot. We
are also afraid that they may come at any time and kill us. Said Pentaiah drove
our security guards Ramulu and Sudhakar and demolished the wall. You are
requested to take action against the said person.
Eswar) S/o Rajaiah Peerjadiguda Village, Ghatkesar Mandal, RR District."
3 The appellant
aggrieved by registration of the criminal case, invoked inherent powers of the
court by filing a petition under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure
before the High Court for quashing of the proceedings emanating from Crime No.
281 of 2004 Police Station Uppal, Hyderabad. The High Court, by impugned
judgment dated 19.9.2006, dismissed the said petition.
Aggrieved by the
dismissal of the petition by the High Court, present appeal, by special leave,
is preferred by the appellant.
appearing for the appellant submitted that even if all the allegations
incorporated in the complaint are taken as true, even then, no offence is made
out under Section 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (hereinafter referred to as "the
Act") and under Sections 447, 427, 506 of the Indian Penal Code.
As far as Section
3(1)(x) of the Act is concerned, it reads as under:
not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe:- 4 (x)
intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a
Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view."
In the instant case,
the allegation of respondent No.3 in the entire complaint is that on 27.5.2004,
the appellant abused them with the name of their caste. According to the basic
ingredients of Section 3(1)(x) of the Act, the complainant ought to have
alleged that the accused-appellant was not a member of the Scheduled Caste or a
Scheduled Tribe and he (respondent No. 3) was intentionally insulted or
intimidated by the accused with intent to humiliate in a place within public
view. In the entire complaint, nowhere it is mentioned that the accused-appellant
was not a member of the Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe and he
intentionally insulted or intimidated with intent to humiliate respondent No. 3
in a place within public view. When the basic ingredients of the offence are
missing in the complaint, then permitting such a complaint to continue and to
compel the appellant to face the rigmarole of the criminal trial would be
totally unjustified leading to abuse of process of law.
5 Similarly, we find
that the ingredients of Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code are totally absent
in the complaint.
In the complaint it
is not even mentioned that the accused had intimidated or threatened the
complainant or any one else. In absence of basic ingredients of the section in
the complaint, no case under section 506 IPC can be sustained.
Section 506 reads as
commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or
with fine, or with both".
has been defined in Section 503 which reads as under:
threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to
the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with
intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act
which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person
is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such
threat, commits criminal intimidation."
6 It may be pertinent
to mention here that respondent No. 3 had filed Civil Suit bearing O.S. No. 832
of 2004 for perpetual injunction against appellant on 14.5.2004. The suit was
withdrawn on 19.7.2004 on the ground "that due to personal problems the
plaintiffs are not interested to continue the proceedings against the
defendants as such they intends to withdraw the above as not pressed".
Respondent No.3 also
filed a second suit bearing O.S. No. 1211 of 2004 in the month of July, 2004
with the following prayer:
"Pass a decree
in favour of plaintiffs and against the defendants, their agents, legal heirs,
successors, attorneys etc. declaring that the plaintiffs are absolute owners
and direct the defendants to handover the peaceful possession of the suit
schedule property to the plaintiffs".
The details of the
scheduled property are as under:
"All that the
piece and parcel of plots bearing Nos. 198 to 216 (totally plots 19) in Survey
No. 80, total admeasuring 3,200 sq. yards or 2675 sq. meters, situated at
Peerzadiguda Village and Grampanchayath, Ghatkesar Mandal, Ranga Reddy District
and bounded by:
North: Land belongs
to Satyanarayana (survey of India) and Purender Reddy;
7 South : Road and
land belongs to late Cheruku Sailu;
East : Road and grave
West : Land belongs
to Humari Manikyam"
consideration of the prayer made in the second suit, it becomes abundantly
clear that respondent No. 3 was not even in possession of the suit property on
the date of incident and this fact has not been disputed by the learned counsel
appearing for the State of Andhra Pradesh. When respondent No.3 was not even in
possession of the land in question, the allegation made in the complaint, that
the appellant demolished the wall on 14.6.2004, could not arise.
The allegations are
totally baseless and without any foundation. On the face of it, it looks that
the criminal complaint filed by the respondent No. 3 was totally false and
frivolous. The complaint was filed with an oblique motive. In this view of the
matter, charges under sections 427 and 447 are also wholly illegal and
unsustainable in law.
8 In our considered
view, in a case of this nature, the High Court ought to have exercised its
jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and quashed the complaint.
Scope and ambit of
courts' powers under section 482 Cr.P.C. This court in a number of cases has
laid down the scope and ambit of courts' powers under section 482 Cr.P.C. Every
High Court has inherent power to act ex debito justitiae to do real and
substantial justice, for the administration of which alone it exists, or to
prevent abuse of the process of the court.
Inherent power under
section 482 Cr.P.C. can be exercised:
(i) to give effect to
an order under the Code;
(ii) to prevent abuse
of the process of court, and (iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice.
Inherent powers under
section 482 Cr.P.C. though wide have to be exercised sparingly, carefully and
with great caution and only when such exercise is justified by the tests
specifically laid down in this section itself. Authority of the court exists
for the advancement of justice. If any abuse of the process leading to
injustice is brought to the notice of the 9 court, then the Court would be
justified in preventing injustice by invoking inherent powers in absence of
specific provisions in the Statute.
Discussion of decided
cases Reference to the following cases would reveal that the courts have
consistently taken the view that they must use this extraordinary power to
prevent injustice and secure the ends of justice. The English courts have also
used inherent power to achieve the same objective. It is generally agreed that
the Crown Court has inherent power to protect its process from abuse. In
Connelly v. DPP  AC 1254, Lord Devlin stated that where particular
criminal proceedings constitute an abuse of process, the court is empowered to
refuse to allow the indictment to proceed to trial. Lord Salmon in DPP v.
Humphrys  AC 1 stressed the importance of the inherent power when he
observed that it is only if the prosecution amounts to an abuse of the process
of the court and is oppressive and vexatious that the judge has the power to
intervene. He further mentioned that the court's power to 10 prevent such
abuse is of great constitutional importance and should be jealously preserved.
In R.P. Kapur v.
State of Punjab AIR 1960 SC 866, this court summarized some categories of cases
where inherent power can and should be exercised to quash the proceedings:
(i) where it
manifestly appears that there is a legal bar against the institution or
continuance of the proceedings;
(ii) where the
allegations in the first information report or complaint taken at their face
value and accepted in their entirety do not constitute the offence alleged;
(iii) where the
allegations constitute an offence, but there is no legal evidence adduced or
the evidence adduced clearly or manifestly fails to prove the charge.
The powers possessed
by the High Court under section 482 of the Code are very wide and the very
plenitude of the power requires great caution in its exercise. The court must
be careful to see that its decision in exercise of this power is based on sound
principles. The inherent power should not be exercised to stifle a legitimate
prosecution. The High Court should normally refrain from giving a prima facie
decision in a 11 case where all the facts are incomplete and hazy; more so,
when the evidence has not been collected and produced before the court and the
issues involved, whether factual or legal, are of such magnitude that they
cannot be seen in their true perspective without sufficient material. Of
course, no hard and fast rule can be laid down in regard to cases in which the
High Court will exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction of quashing the
proceedings at any stage.
This court in State
of Karnataka v. L. Muniswamy & Others (1977) 2 SCC 699 observed that the
wholesome power under section 482 Cr.P.C. entitles the High Court to quash a
proceeding when it comes to the conclusion that allowing the proceeding to
continue would be an abuse of the process of the court or that the ends of
justice require that the proceeding ought to be quashed. The High Courts have
been invested with inherent powers, both in civil and criminal matters, to
achieve a salutary public purpose. A court proceeding ought not to be permitted
to degenerate into a weapon of harassment or persecution. The court observed in
this case that ends of justice are higher than the ends of mere 12 law though
justice must be administered according to laws made by the legislature. This
case has been followed in a large number of subsequent cases of this court and
In Chandrapal Singh
& Others v. Maharaj Singh & Another (1982) 1 SCC 466, in a landlord and
tenant matter where criminal proceedings had been initiated, this Court
observed in para 1 at page 467 as under:- "A frustrated landlord after
having met his waterloo in the hierarchy of civil courts, has further enmeshed
the tenant in a frivolous criminal prosecution which prima facie appears to be
an abuse of the process of law. The facts when stated are so telling that the
further discussion may appear to be superfluous."
The court noticed
that the tendency of perjury is very much on the increase. Unless the courts
come down heavily upon such persons, the whole judicial process would come to
ridicule. The court also observed that chagrined and frustrated litigants
should not be permitted to give vent to their frustration by cheaply invoking
jurisdiction of the criminal court.
13 This court in
Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia & Others v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre
& Others (1988) 1 SCC 692 observed in para 7 as under:
"7. The legal
position is well settled that when a prosecution at the initial stage is asked
to be quashed, the test to be applied by the court is as to whether the
uncontroverted allegations as made prima facie establish the offence. It is
also for the court to take into consideration any special features which appear
in a particular case to consider whether it is expedient and in the interest of
justice to permit a prosecution to continue. This is so on the basis that the
court cannot be utilized for any oblique purpose and where in the opinion of
the court chances of an ultimate conviction is bleak and, therefore, no useful
purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue,
the court may while taking into consideration the special facts of a case also
quash the proceeding even though it may be at a preliminary stage."
In State of Haryana
& Others v. Bhajan Lal & Others 1992 Supp. (1) SCC 335, this court in
the backdrop of interpretation of various relevant provisions of the Cr.P.C.
under Chapter XIV and
of the principles of law enunciated by this court in a series of decisions
relating to the exercise of the extraordinary power under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India or the inherent powers under section 482 Cr.P.C. gave the
following categories of cases by way of illustration where in 14 such power
could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of the court or
otherwise to secure the ends of justice.
Thus, this court made
it clear that it may not be possible to lay down any precise, clearly defined
and sufficiently channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and to
give an exhaustive list to myriad kinds of cases wherein such power should be
"(1) Where the
allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they
are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie
constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.
(2) Where the allegations
in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the
FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police
officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate
within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.
(3) Where the
uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence
collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence
and make out a case against the accused.
(4) Where, the
allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute
only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police
officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2)
of the Code.
15 (5) Where the
allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently
improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just
conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
(6) Where there is an
express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the
concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the
institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific
provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for
the grievance of the aggrieved party.
(7) Where a criminal
proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is
maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the
accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.
This court in Janata
Dal v. H. S. Chowdhary & Others (1992) 4 SCC 305 observed thus:
criminal courts are clothed with inherent power to make such orders as may be necessary
for the ends of justice. Such power though unrestricted and undefined should
not be capriciously or arbitrarily exercised, but should be exercised in
appropriate cases, ex debito justitiae to do real and substantial justice for
the administration of which alone the courts exist. The powers possessed by the
High Court under section 482 of the Code are very wide and the very plentitude
of the power requires great caution in its exercise. Courts must be careful to
see that its 16 decision in exercise of this power is based on sound
In G. Sagar Suri
& Another v. State of UP & Others (2000) 2 SCC 636, this court observed
that it is the duty and obligation of the criminal court to exercise a great
deal of caution in issuing the process particularly when matters are
essentially of civil nature.
This court in Roy
V.D. v. State of Kerala (2000) 8 SCC 590 observed thus:- "18. It is well
settled that the power under section 482 Cr.P.C has to be exercised by the High
Court, inter alia, to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to
secure the ends of justice.
proceedings are initiated based on illicit material collected on search and
arrest which are per se illegal and vitiate not only a conviction and sentence
based on such material but also the trial itself, the proceedings cannot be
allowed to go on as it cannot but amount to abuse of the process of the court;
in such a case not quashing the proceedings would perpetuate abuse of the
process of the court resulting in great hardship and injustice to the accused.
In our opinion, exercise of power under section 482 CrPC to quash proceedings
in a case like the one on hand, would indeed secure the ends of justice."
17 This court in
Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. & Others v. Mohd. Sharaful Haque &
Another (2005) 1 SCC 122 observed thus:- "It would be an abuse of process
of the court to allow any action which would result in injustice and prevent
promotion of justice. In exercise of the powers, court would be justified to
quash any proceeding if it finds that initiation/continuance of it amounts to
abuse of the process of court or quashing of these proceedings would otherwise
serve the ends of justice. When no offence is disclosed by the complaint, the
court may examine the question of fact. When a complaint is sought to be
quashed, it is permissible to look into the materials to assess what the
complainant has alleged and whether any offence is made out even if the
allegations are accepted in toto."
In Indian Oil
Corporation v. NEPC India Ltd. & Others (2006) 6 SCC 736, this court again
cautioned about a growing tendency in business circles to convert purely civil
disputes into criminal cases. The court noticed the prevalent impression that
civil law remedies are time consuming and do not adequately protect the
interests of lenders/creditors. The court further observed that "any
effort to settle civil disputes and claims, which do not involve any criminal
offence, by applying pressure through criminal prosecution should be deprecated
18 The question
before us is - whether the case of the appellants comes under any of the
categories enumerated in Bhajan Lal (supra)? Is it a case where the allegations
made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken
at their face value and accepted in entirety, do not make out a case against
the accused under Sections 420, 467 and 120B IPC? For determination of the
question it becomes relevant to note the nature of the offences alleged against
the appellants, the ingredients of the offences and the averments made in the
A three judge Bench
of this court in Inder Mohan Goswami & Another v. State of Uttaranchal
& Others AIR 2008 SC 251 has examined scope and ambit of section 482 of the
Criminal Procedure Code. The court in the said case observed that inherent
powers under section 482 should be exercised for the advancement of justice. If
any abuse of the process leading to injustice is brought to the notice of the
court, then the court would be fully justified in preventing injustice by
invoking inherent powers of the court.
19 In our considered
opinion, filing of such a frivolous complaint in the instant case is a total
abuse of process of law. Consequently, we set-aside the impugned judgment
passed by the High Court and quash the complaint emanating from Crime No.281 of
2004, Police Station, Uppal, Hyderabad.
The appeal is
accordingly allowed and disposed of.