The High Court will exercise its inherent powers under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure if there is no specific provision available in the Code or the Act concerned providing efficacious redress for the grievance of an aggrieved party. Even when there is a specific provision in the Code providing for efficacious redress, the inherent power under Section 482 CrPC can also be exercised. Under this section, the High Court exercises its inherent powers to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.
In a number of cases, the Supreme Court has held that the inherent power of the High Courts under Section 482 of CrPC can be exercised i) to give effect to an order under the Code; ii) to prevent abuse of the process of court, and iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice.
In a case before the Hyderabad High Court seeking quashing of further proceedings against the accused before the judicial first class magistrate, Sathupally, the allegations of the de facto complainant, belonging to Hindu community, are that at the time of her marriage to the petitioner accused (A1), a software engineer in USA, her parents offered cash of Rs 15 lakh, 20 tolas of gold and a plot at Sathupally in Khammam district of Telangana. After marriage, the petitioners accused, who included in-laws, were insisting on the complainant to sell the plot and bring the amount. Later, she came to know that A1 had converted to Islam religion and was following Muslim traditions.
The accused used to ask her father to sell the plot and bring money and that A1 was leaving for the US shortly. Saying that the passport of the complainant would get delayed, A1 left for the US. From the time A1 left, the other accused started harassing her mentally and physically and pestered her to ask her father to sell the plot and bring money. Otherwise, she would have to stay in India, she was threatened. When she informed A1 of it, he told her that they were only doing his bidding. One day, the accused took away the ornaments from her person and necked her out without even giving her original certificates.
The counsel for the accused-petitioners submitted that there was absolutely no demand for or acceptance of dowry as alleged in the complaint. The allegations in the charge sheet were totally vague and ambiguous. In fact, the allegations made by the de facto complainant did not attract the definition of cruelty under Section 498-A of IPC (husband of a woman or his relatives subjecting her to cruelty), Section 420 IPC (cheating) nor Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The statements enclosed with the charge sheet did not, even prima facie, disclose any offence against the petitioners, he argued.
Justice T Rajani concluded that the allegations made by the complainant were sufficient for trial to be taken up and, thereby, the proceedings were not advisable to be quashed.
A reading of the statement of the complainant would not only bring out allegations against each of the accused but also imply cruelty on the part of all the accused. “Whether a particular act of the accused amounts to cruelty or not depends on the appreciation done in the light of other facts and circumstances. What may be an act of cruelty in one circumstance may not be so in another circumstance,” the judge observed.
Disposing of the petition of the accused at the admission stage, the judge said that if the complaint did not disclose any offence committed by the accused, if there was abuse of the process of law and if ends of justice needed to be secured otherwise, the power under Section 482 CrPC can be exercised.