NEW DELHI: The power to quash criminal proceedings should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases, the Supreme Court has said. A bench of Justices BR Gavai and S Ravindra Bhat made the observation while quashing a case of forgery and cheating against three individuals in a property dispute.
"This court has cautioned that, power to quash criminal proceedings should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases, it has specified certain category of cases wherein such power can be exercised for quashing proceedings," the bench said.
The apex court said that one of the categories where this power can be used is where a criminal proceeding is manifestly malafide or maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.
The top court said that in the present case, the complaint has been filed against the accused with an ulterior motive of harassing the appellants. The apex court said that the magistrate while passing the order under Section 156 (3) of the CrPC has totally failed to consider the law laid down by the highest court.
The power under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) can be exercised by the magistrate to direct the police to conduct investigation only in respect of a cognisable offence. "In any case, when the complaint was not supported by an affidavit, the Magistrate ought not to have entertained the application under Section 156 (3) of the CrPC. We are, therefore, of the considered view that, continuation of the present proceedings would amount to nothing but an abuse of process of law," the bench said.