SC: 2nd complaint on same facts can’t be dismissed by reason of withdrawal of 1st

Today, i.e. on 14th December 2018, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of V. Ravi Kumar v. State, Rep. by Inspector of Police, District Crime Branch, Salem, Tamil Nadu & Ors. held that a second complaint cannot be quashed on the ground that the first complaint on the same allegations was withdrawn without assigning any reasons.

The Hon’ble Apex Court observed that:

There is no provision in the Criminal Procedure Code or any other statute which debars a complainant from making a second complaint on the same allegations, when the first complaint did not lead to conviction, acquittal or discharge. (Para 22)

It is only when a complaint is dismissed on merits after an inquiry, that a second complaint cannot be made on the same facts. (Para 23)

Withdrawing first complaint without assigning any reason, in itself is no ground to quash a second complaint. (Para 23)

There can be no doubt that a mere breach of contract is not in itself a criminal offence, and gives rise to the civil liability of damages. (Para 29)

The distinction between mere breach of contract and cheating, which is a criminal offence, is a fine one. While breach of contract cannot give rise to criminal prosecution for cheating, fraudulent or dishonest intention is the basis of the offence of cheating. (Para 29)

Exercise of the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. It is neither proper nor permissible for the Court to lay down any straitjacket formula for regulating the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. (Para 30)

Power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. might be exercised to prevent abuse of the process of law, but only when, the allegations, even if true, would not constitute an offence and/or were frivolous and vexatious on their face. (Para 31)

Where the accused seeks quashing of the FIR, invoking inherent jurisdiction of the High Court, it is wholly impermissible for the High Court to enter into the factual arena to adjudge the correctness of the allegations in the complaint. (Para 32)

It is well settled that a judgment is a precedent for the issue of law which is raised and decided. Phrases and sentences in a judgment are to be understood in the context of the facts and circumstances of the case and the same cannot be read in isolation. (Para 35)

Copy of the judgement: Judgement 14-Dec-2018

-Tushar Kaushik

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