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[Quashing] At the stage of FIR, the allegations in the FIR/Complaint only are required to be considered, but when the charge-sheet is filed the HC is to consider the evidence also collected during investigation: SC

The SC on Aug 13, 2021 {Kaptan Singh vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh and others} held that exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings is an exception and not a rule.

It was held by the Bench, comprising of Justice Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud  & Justice M.R. Shah that the High Court has failed to appreciate and consider the fact that there are very serious triable issues/allegations which are required to be gone into and considered at the time of trial. It was held that the High Court has lost sight of crucial aspects which have emerged during the course of the investigation.

The SC observed that it is required to be noted that when the High Court in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. quashed the criminal proceedings, by the time the Investigating Officer after recording the statement of the witnesses, statement of the complainant and collecting the evidence from the incident place and after taking statement of the independent witnesses and even statement of the accused persons, has filed the charge-sheet before the Learned Magistrate for the offences under Sections 147, 148, 149, 406, 329 and 386 of IPC and even the learned Magistrate also took the cognizance. It was held that from the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court, it does not appear that the High Court took into consideration the material collected during the investigation/inquiry and even the statements recorded.

It was held that if the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was at the stage of FIR in that case the allegations in the FIR/Complaint only are required to be considered and whether a cognizable offence is disclosed or not is required to be considered. It was further held that, thereafter when the statements are recorded, evidence is collected and the charge-sheet is filed after conclusion of the investigation/inquiry the matter stands on different footing and the Court is required to consider the material/evidence collected during the investigation. It was held that even at this stage also, the High Court is not required to go into the merits of the allegations and/or enter into the merits of the case as if the High Court is exercising the appellate jurisdiction and/or conducting the trial.

The SC held that when the payment of Rs.25 lakhs as mentioned in the joint notarized affidavit is seriously disputed and even one of the cheques out of 5 cheques each of Rs. 2 lakhs was dishonoured and according to the accused they were handed over the possession (which is seriously disputed) it can be said to be entrustment of property. Therefore, it was held that at this stage to opine that no case is made out for the offence under Section 406 IPC is premature and the aforesaid aspect is to be considered during trial.

In view of the above, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court quashing the criminal proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was set aside and was accordingly quashed by the SC. The present appeal was accordingly allowed.

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