Quashing of proceedings after main witness turned hostile = whether it is expedient and in the interest of justice to permit a prosecution to continue wherein 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 consideration the special facts of a case also quash the proceedings. As seen from the material placed on record, the second respondent while being examined as PW1 in C.C.No.356 of 2011 categorically stated that the disputes between her and the petitioner herein have been settled. She did not support the prosecution version and therefore, case against A.2 to A.4 ended in acquittal. In view of the deposition of second respondent, who has been examined as PW1 in C.C.No.356 of 2011, no useful purpose will be served in continuing proceedings against the petitioner in C.C.No.120 of 2012. = Accordingly, the Criminal Petition is allowed, quashing the proceedings in C.C.No.120 of 2012 on the file of the Special Judicial First Class Magistrate for Prohibition and Excise, Guntur. As sequel to it, Miscellaneous Petitions, if any, pending, shall stand closed.

published in http://hc.ap.nic.in/csis/MainInfo.jsp?mtype=CRLP&mno=1010&year=2013
CRLP 1010 / 2013

CRLPSR 3561 / 2013
PETITIONERRESPONDENT
J. SRINIVASA PAVAN, NIZAMPET.,  VSSTATE OF A.P., REP SHO, PATTABHIPURAM PS., & ANR.,
PET.ADV. : SIVA KARTIKEYARESP.ADV. : PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
SUBJECT: U/s.482 Cr.p.c Quash the proceedings U/s.498-A I.P.CDISTRICT:  GUNTUR
THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE B.SESHASAYANA REDDY
Criminal Petition No.1010 of 2013
ORDER:
          This Criminal Petition has been taken out under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. by the accused No.1-Jonnalagadda Srinivasa Pavan in C.C.No.120 of 2012 on the file of the Special Judicial First Class Magistrate for Prohibition and Excise, Guntur, to quash the proceeding therein.
          Second respondent presented a complaint before the Station House Officer, Pattabhipuram Police Station, Guntur District, alleging inter alia that she has been harassed by her husband, who is the petitioner herein, and relations of her husband.  The said complaint came to be based for registering a case in Crime No.251 of 2010 for the offences under Section 498-A of I.P.C. and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.  After due investigation, the Inspector of Police, Pattabhipuram Police Station presented charge sheet in the Court of the Special Judicial First Class Magistrate for Prohibition and Excise, Guntur.  The learned Magistrate took the charge sheet on file as C.C.No.356 of 2011.  The case against the petitioner came to be separated and registered as C.C.No.120 of 2012.  A2 to A4 faced trial in C.C.No.356 of 2011 and got acquitted vide judgment dated 08.06.2012. Hence, this petition by A1-Jonnalagadda Srinivasa Pavan in C.C.No.120 of 2012 on the file of the Special Judicial First Class Magistrate for Prohibition and Excise, Guntur, to quash the proceeding therein.
Notice to the second respondent came to be ordered on 08.02.2013.  Despite service of notice to the second respondent, she did not chose to enter appearance either in-person or through a counsel.
Heard learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and learned Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the first respondent-State and perused the material brought on record.
It is contended by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner that the dispute between the petitioner and second respondent has been settled and the second respondent not supported the prosecution  version in C.C.No.356 of 2011 which ultimately led to acquittal of A.2 to A.4.   A further contention has been advanced that there will not be any useful purpose in continuing the proceedings against the petitioner in C.C.No.120 of 2012. In support of his contention, reliance has been placed on the Judgment of the Supreme Court in Gian Singh V. State of Punjab and another[1].  Much emphasis has been laid on Para No.61 of the cited Judgment and it is thus:-

“61. The position that emerges from the above discussion can be summarized thus: the power of the High Court in quashing a criminal proceeding or FIR or complaint in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power given to a criminal court for compounding the offences under Section 320 of the Code.  Inherent power is of wide plenitude with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised in accord with the guideline engrafted in such power viz.: (i) to secure the ends of justice, or (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any court.  In what cases power to quash the criminal proceeding or complaint or FIR may be exercised where the offender and the victim have settled their dispute would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and no category can be prescribed.  However, before exercise of such power, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime.  Heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute.  Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society.  Similarly, any compromise between the victim and the offender in relation to the offences under special statutes like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity, etc.; cannot provide for any basis for quashing criminal proceedings involving such offences.  But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly and predominatingly civil flavour stand  on a different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute.  In this category of cases, the High Court may quash the criminal proceedings if in its view, because of the compromise between the offender and the victim, the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of the criminal case would put the accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal case despite full and complete settlement and compromise with the victim.  In other words, the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and the wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that the criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in the affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.”

During the course of hearing, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner placed on record the deposition of second respondent, who has been examined as PW1 in C.C.No.356 of 2011.  It is trite to refer her deposition and it is thus:
“Chief Examination: A1 is my husband.  A.2 and A.3 are my in-laws. A.4 is the cousin of A.1.  My marriage with A.1 took place on 30.04.2013 at Narasaraopet as per Hindu rites and customs.  At the time of marriage my parents gave 200 grams of gold ornaments and other articles total including upto Rs.10,00,000/-  A.2 to A.4 used to reside at Narasaraopet.  After marriage myself and A.1 lead marital life at Chennai.  A.1 was also working as Software Engineer at Chennai.  After marriage, myself and A.1 lived happily but there were some small quarrels between me and A.1 over petty issues.  I do not know the contents of the report.  Ex.P1 is my signature on the report.  Report was given by my father. 

          At this state A.P.P. seeks permission to treat the witness as hostile and sought permission to cross examine the wtienss.  Permission is granted.
Cross Examination by A.P.P.: It is not true to say that I stated before the police as in Ex.P2.  It is not true to say that I am deposing falsehood to help the accused.  It is true I have compromised the matter with A.1 to A.4 out of Court.”
While exercising inherent power of quashing under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., it is 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 wherein 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 consideration the special facts of a case also quash the proceedings. 
As seen from the material placed on record, the second respondent while being examined as PW1 in C.C.No.356 of 2011 categorically stated that the disputes between her and the petitioner herein have been settled.  She did not support the prosecution version and therefore, case against A.2 to A.4 ended in acquittal.  In view of the deposition of second respondent, who has been examined as PW1 in C.C.No.356 of 2011, no useful purpose will be served in continuing proceedings against the petitioner in C.C.No.120 of 2012.
Accordingly, the Criminal Petition is allowed, quashing the proceedings in C.C.No.120 of 2012 on the file of the Special Judicial First Class Magistrate for Prohibition and Excise, Guntur.  As sequel to it, Miscellaneous Petitions, if any, pending, shall stand closed. 

______________________

B.Seshasayana Reddy, J

7th June, 2013.
gkv
         




[1] (2012) 10 Supreme Court Cases 303

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