SC: HC not to act as trial court while exercising jurisdiction u/s 482 CrPC

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 31stJuly 2019, in the matter of Chilakamarthi Venkateswarlu & Anr. v. State Of Andhra Pradesh & Anr. observed that in exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC, it is not permissible for the Court to act as if it were a trial Court. The High Court should not, in exercise of jurisdiction u/s 482, embark upon an enquiry into whether the evidence is reliable or not, or whether on a reasonable appreciation of the evidence the allegations are not sustainable

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The plenary inherent jurisdiction of the Court under Section 482 of CrPC may be exercised to give effect to an order under the Code; to prevent abuse of the process of the Court; and to otherwise secure the ends of justice. (Para 12)

The inherent jurisdiction, though wide and expansive, has to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution and only when such exercise is justified by the tests specifically laid down in the section itself, that is, to make orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under the Code, to prevent the abuse of the process of any Court or to otherwise secure the ends of justice. (Para 13)

For interference under Section 482, three conditions are to be fulfilled. The injustice which comes to light should be of a grave, and not of a trivial character; it should be palpable and clear and not doubtful and there should exist no other provision of law by which the party aggrieved could have sought relief. (Para 4)

In exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 it is not permissible for the Court to act as if it were a trial Court. The Court is only to be prima facie satisfied about existence of sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. For that limited purpose, the Court can evaluate materials and documents on record, but it cannot appreciate the evidence to conclude whether the materials produced are sufficient or not for convicting the accused. (Para 15)

The High Court should not, in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482, embark upon an enquiry into whether the evidence is reliable or not, or whether on a reasonable appreciation of the evidence the allegations are not sustainable, for this is the function of the trial Judge. (Para 16)

The High Court may have an obligation to intervene under Section 482 of the Code in cases where manifest error has been committed by the Magistrate in issuing process despite the fact that the alleged acts did not at all constitute offences. (Para 17)

While exercising powers under this Section, the High Court does not function as a Court of appeal or revision. (Para 17)

The power under Section 482 of CrPC should not be exercised to stifle legitimate prosecution. At the same time, if the basic ingredients of the offence alleged are altogether absent, the criminal proceedings may be quashed under Section 482 of CrPC. (Para 18)

It is well settled that where the allegations set out in the complaint or the charge-sheet do not constitute any offence, it is open to the High Court, exercising its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code, to quash the order passed by the Magistrate taking cognizance of the offence. (Para 19)

The inherent power under Section 482 is intended to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court and to secure the ends of justice. Such power cannot be exercised to do something which is expressly barred under the Code. (Para 19)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_31-Jul-2019

-Tushar Kaushik

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