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Overview of quashing of FIR

The prevailing laws in India have been enacted to protect the rights of people and prevent misuse of the law. Even though there are a lot of people who misuse the available remedies with malafied intention to harass innocent people. The motive behind doing so involves blackmailing the innocent for money, fame or asking the innocent to perform an act as informed by the party.

To ensure that the rights of innocent people are protected, such people can approach the competent court for quashing of FIR filed against them. The provision related to quashing of FIR was mentioned in the Act for safeguarding the rights and interests of innocent individuals. The legislature while making the law enacted such provisions to stop the people from filing a frivolous FIR by misusing the rights available to them by the prevailing Acts in India.

Therefore, an individual has the right to approach the High Court for quashing an FIR filed against him under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court needs to be fully satisfied that there exists no prima facie case made against the accused person and such a person has been falsely accused of an offence which he/she has not committed.

Where can an FIR be Quashed?

The process for quashing an FIR begins at the High Court having competent jurisdiction of the state where such FIR was filed, and the trial is pending under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Supreme Court has the power and supervisory jurisdiction to quash an FIR when the matter is related to a Special Leave Petition defined under Articles 136 and 142 of the Constitution of India.

Who can quash the FIR?

As per the prevailing law related to quashing an FIR, a petition for quashing an FIR and related proceedings against the accused must be filed before the respective High Court having competent jurisdiction. It is made under Article 482 of the Code. An FIR which has been filed can be quashed by the High Court if the court concludes that the accusations made against the accused are frivolous and made with malafied intentions. The power to quash an FIR is an inherent power of a High Court for preventing the misuse of the available remedies to each person in the country.

Inherent powers of the High Court

The Code of Criminal Procedure contains a provision which provides inherent powers to the High Court under Section 482. The Section lays duty and provides power to the High Court to take steps to meet the ends of justice. The High Court has the authority to quash an FIR through this section. The court is expected to consider the facts and information which is prima facie visible in the FIR and find out the real nature of the FIR. After considering the details mentioned in the FIR, if the court finds out that the FIR has been filed with the sole intention of harassing the accused for taking undue advantage of legal remedies, it may quash the FIR.

The approach of both the High Court and the Supreme Court is strict with regard to the quashing of FIR. The burden of proving that the nature of FIR is completely ill-natured, and the FIR lacks the main ingredients to prove that an offence has been committed lies with the applicant who wishes to quash the FIR.

Various grounds for quashing an FIR

Below-mentioned are the grounds on which an application for quashing an FIR can be filed before the competent court. These are:

  • When the allegations made in the FIR against the accused do not prima-facie depict that the FIR has all the basic ingredients that constitute a commission of the crime.
  • When the nature of the allegations mentioned in the FIR does not seem to generate valid and sufficient grounds for initiating legal proceedings against the accused only on the basis of the contents of the FIR.
  • Where a statute lays down express provisions barring an institution from continuing legal proceedings against the person accused.
  • When the Court witnessed the filing of a counter FIR stating that the original FIR was filed with ill-intention and bad motives of the parties to harass the accused.

It is mandatory for the court to carefully deal whenever the matter with regard to quashing FIR comes into the picture. It should be done with the help of a professional following the strict guidelines formulated to solve such matters.

Quashing of FIR in the event of a compromise between the parties

There are many instances where the complainant wishes to withdraw his/her complaint after entering into a settlement with the accused. It is not easy when the settlement is being made in cases of criminal offences. If the parties to a criminal case wish to enter into a settlement, they need to approach the High Court for the quashing the FIR. There are a few points which should be kept in mind while applying to quash the FIR. These are as follows:

  • The time required in settling the matter between parties must be significant enough to determine whether the FIR should be quashed or not.
  • The court needs to consider whether quashing of FIR will meet the ends of justice and prevents the abuse of the process of law or not while quashing an FIR. Therefore, the decision of the High Court to quash the FIR completely depends on the facts and circumstances of each case and there is no established formula to be applied in all the cases related to quashing of FIR.
  • The High Court must give due regard to the nature and degree of the offence mentioned in the FIR. Quashing an FIR in cases of heinous offences is not considered appropriate usually. The offences are not private in nature and create a huge impact on society at large.
  • There are other grave offences other than serious criminal offences which arise out of commercial, financial and business contracts. Such offences are usually civil in nature. The court can take a bit lenient approach when such matters arise for quashing of FIR when both parties to the contract enter into a compromise. This is done to decrease the burden on the judiciary and avoid any possibility of conviction.
  • There are certain matters where the case is primarily civil in nature but might involve acts of alleged extortion, forgery, etc. Thus, the court might consider not accepting the quashing of FIR in such cases to create a huge impact on society.
  • Therefore, the court needs to consider each and every element of the case to exercise its power of quashing the FIR under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

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Filing of FIR quashing application before the High Court

The person willing to file an application for quashing the FIR needs to approach the High Court as per the prescribed format under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The party needs to provide all the necessary details of the FIR along with allegations, the details of the complainant and the accused and the pleadings to convince the court that the FIR has been filed with the intention to misuse the available legal remedy for people whose rights have been violated.

Different Scenarios

Following are some different scenarios:

Interim orders in quashing petitions

 In a landmark judgement passed by the Supreme Court, it was held that the High Court needs to apply the same procedure used in the quashing of FIR for passing an interim order for restraining the further investigation before passing the same.

Quashing of FIR after conviction:

A court can quash the FIR even after the accused has been convicted and a compromise has been entered between the parties. Parties can only do this in cases of non-heinous offences only as even after the conviction, the accused has the right to approach the court by filing an appeal challenging the order of conviction.

Quashing of FIR in Matrimonial Cases:

There are instances where parties to a marriage file an FIR in the anger of the moment with malafied intention under Sections 498A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code usually. Later on, the parties amicably solve the dispute and decide to apply for quashing the FIR. In situations like this, the High Court accepts the petition and quashes the FIR.

Frequently Asked Questions

As per the landmark judgements passed by the Supreme Court, it has been observed that a criminal proceeding can be quashed when the complaint on which the FIR was registered by the police officer does not contain any information or act of the accused mentioning his participation in the crime which has been committed.r

Usually, an FIR can be quashed within 2-4 hearings. The time required is from 10 days to 3 months depending on the case.

The High Court cannot use its power to quash an FIR under Article 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure when no other evidence than the allegations mentioned in the FIR are present against the accused with the High Court. It raises doubt whether the offence has been prima facie committed or not.

If a person is willing to reopen a quashed case, then such a person must have substantial evidence to support the reopening of the case. The person has the option to file for revision but filing for revision of the case is not an easy task once the matter has been quashed by the court.

The High Court has the power to quash an FIR on the basis of compromise between the parties to the case. If the parties enter into a compromise with each other, they are required to file a joint petition before the court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The required Documents for quashing of an FIR are as follows:

  • Certified copy of FIR.
  • Typed set containing relevant Documents mentioned in the petition for quashing the FIR with a clean copy of the FIR.
  • A memo of Appearance.
  • Required court fee.

Yes, a victim against whom the other party has filed a false FIR can file a writ petition before the High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. Such a person can approach the High Court to quash the false FIR. If the High Court finds that filing of false FIR has caused serious injustice to the victim, then the court can go for quashing the FIR.

No, an FIR cannot be quashed without compromise between parties when the offence is of serious and grave nature and the same belongs to the ambit of crimes against society.

If the High Court dismisses the petition for quashing of FIR, then the police are under an obligation to complete the pending investigation and submit the final report. When the High Court dismisses the petition for quashing the FIR, the court can issue directions to the police for filing the chargesheet in the time specified

The power granted to the High Court for quashing the FIR is a discretionary power provided to stop the people from abusing the process of law. The High Court can use this power when it has been found that the complaint is false or initiating the investigation will be an abuse of the procedure of the court.

The offences which are of serious and grave nature involving immoral acts such as rape, murder, dacoity, etc cannot be quashed through compromise.

The High Court has the power to quash an FIR under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

A petition for quashing an FIR can be filed before the High Court by way of a petition with the help of an experienced advocate.

Yes, an FIR can be quashed on merits or when the FIR is found to be false or there has been a grave misuse of the process of law.

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