1. The present petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has been filed for quashing the proceedings including the summoning order dated 6.6.2009 and the order dated 30.9.2009 issuing bailable warrant against the petitioners passed in Complaint Case No.3482 of 2009, pending in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate IInd, Faizabad (Now Ayodhya).
2. The case of the petitioners is that Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 are recorded in the name of Udasin Sangat Datavya Evam Lok Sansthan, Ranopali, Ayodhya of which Damodar Das, Disciple (Chela) Mahadeo Das was the Mahanth and Sarvrahkar. After the death of Damodar Das, petitioner no.1, Mahant Kalyan Das, became the Mahanth and sarvrakar as per inheritance and succession on the basis of registered Will duly executed by Mahanth Damodar Das. Name of the petitioner no.1 was recorded as Mahanth and Sarvrakar vide mutation order passed under Section 33/39 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act and name of Damodar Das was deleted. A report dated 1.1.2004 was sent by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Faizabad to the Additional District Magistrate (Administration), Faizabad stating therein that on the basis of the report of the Tehsildar, Sadar, Faizabad dated 1.1.2004, mutation of name of Mahanth Damodar Das in khatauni as Sarvrakar was wholly legal and correct. It was further said that in view of the report of the Tehsildar and perusal of the copies of the khataunis, the order passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate on 20.11.2001 was correct. It was further said that it was not required to initiate fresh proceedings under the Uttar Pradesh Ceiling of Land Holdings Act. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate forwarded his comments along with the report of the Tehsildar dated 1.1.2004 to the Additional District Magistrate (Administration), Faizabad.
3. Ram Bahadur Singh, respondent no.2/complainant filed a case under Section 33/39 of the Uttar Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1901 on 27.2.2006 for correction of the revenue records in respect of the above gata numbers before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Faizabad. It was alleged that in the khatauni of fasli years 1375-1377 against Gata Nos.278, 279 and 389 in place of his father Rajkaran Singh, S/o Ramdhari Singh, name of Bhartendra Vikram S/o K.K. Nair and Smt. Shakuntala Nair, W/o K.K. Nair had been wrongly recorded. Similarly, in Gata No.889, in place of applicant's father, name of Sripal S/o Nanku, R/o Village Ranopali had been wrongly recorded. It was also stated that during the course of the consolidation proceedings when it came to the knowledge of the father of the applicant that name of the aforesaid two persons had been wrongly recorded against Gata Nos.278, 279 and 389, he filed Case No.1035, under Section 9A(2) of the U.P. Consolidation of Holdings Act. The aforesaid case was decided by the Consolidation Officer vide order dated 2.7.1977 against his father. Against the order dated 2.7.1977 passed by the Consolidation Officer, father of respondent no.2 filed an appeal before the Settlement Officer Consolidation under Section 11(1) of the Consolidation of Holdings Act. The aforesaid appeal was decided vide order dated 6.9.1977 in favour of the father of respondent no.2. Settlement Officer, Consolidation directed that names of Bhartendra Vikram, Shakuntala Nair and Sripal be expunged and in their place name of the father of the respondent no.2, Rajkaran Singh S/o Rambali Singh be mutated. It was stated that due to consolidation proceedings, the aforesaid gata numbers got changed and for fasli years 1398-1403 the aforesaid gata numbers were changed to 799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015, which were part of Khata No.394 in the name of father of respondent no.2, Rajkaran Singh.
4. Father of respondent no.2 died on 27.3.1992 and, according to the succession, respondent no.2's name was mutated against the aforesaid gata numbers in place of his father vide order dated 19.11.1992 for fasli years 1398 to 1403.
5. It was alleged that after fasli year 1403, new khatauni was prepared without there being any order by any competent authority. The area Lekhpal and Kanoongo by mistake recorded the Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 being part of plot no.662 in favour of the petitioners. It was further said that respondent no.2 could come to know only in the month of November, 2005 and after obtaining the necessary documents, he filed the aforesaid complaint. Thus, in sum and substance, the allegation in the aforesaid application was that by mistake of Lekhpal and Kanoongo, the aforesaid land of Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 of plot no.662 got recorded in the name of the petitioners.
6. Petitioner no.1 filed objection on 5.9.2006 to the said application filed by respondent no.2. He claimed that the land in question belonging to the Sangat Ashram. It was specifically stated that no case was ever contested/filed by the father of respondent no.2 against Martand Vikram Nair and Smt. Shakuntala Nair. The case set up by the father of respondent no.2 was based on forged and fabricated documents and, the papers, which were filed, were nothing but forged documents and the same were prepared by manufacturing the revenue record. It was further stated that the aforesaid land in question was of the Sangat Ashram, Ranopali and, the case set up by the father of respondent no.2 was liable to be rejected being based on forged and fabricated document. It was further said that Mahanth Damodar Das filed an application under Section 9 of the U.P. Consolidation of Holdings Act against Shakuntala Nair and Martand Vikram Nair claiming that in place of Shakuntala Nair and Martand Vikram Nair, name of Ashram and his name as Sarvrakar should again be recorded. The case was finally decided in Appeal No.1860-1251 under Section 11(1) of the U.P. Consolidation of Holdings Act (Udasin Sangat Ashram, Ranopali Vs. K.K. Nair and others) on 6.9.1977. The Settlement Officer, Consolidation directed that in the basic year of the Village Ranopali against the names of Martand Vikram Nair and Smt. Shakuntala Nair in khatauni nos.278 and 279, name of Sangat Ashram, Ranopali should be recorded as khatedar. It was further said that the documents i.e. khatauni for fasli years 1386-1391 for khata Nos.356, 357 and 706 filed along with the application are completely false and fabricated. Khatauni for the fasli years 1392-1397 and 1398-1403 were also prepared committing forgery and manipulation. Thus, the case of the petitioner no.1 from the very beginning had been that the application filed by the father of respondent no.2 was based on forged and fabricated revenue record, which got prepared by manipulation and it was prayed that the said application be rejected. It was further stated in the petition that petitioner no.3 on coming to know the forgery and manipulation committed in the revenue record by respondent no.2 and his brothers, moved an application before the Inspector, Police Station Kotwali City, Faizabad and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Faizabad, but when the FIR was not registered, he moved an application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faizabad. In compliance of the order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faizabad in the aforesaid application under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C., an FIR vide Case Crime No.311 of 2008, under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC against respondent no.2 and his brothers, Virendra Bahadur Singh and Kewal Bahadur Singh, S/o Late Rajkaran Singh was lodged at the Police Station Kotwali City, District Faizabad on 21.1.2008. Respondent no.2 and his brothers preferred Writ Petition No.1144 (MB) of 2008 for quashing of the aforesaid FIR before this Court. However, vide order dated 7.2.2008, the aforesaid writ petition was dismissed by this Court. The police submitted the charge sheet in the aforesaid case against respondent no.2 and his two brothers under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faizabad.
7. Respondent no.2, who is working as Peon in the Nazarat of the Civil Court, Faizabad moved an application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. on 15.7.2008 after charge sheet was submitted and the cognizance was taken in Case Crime No.311 of 2008 for registration of the FIR against the petitioners. It was stated that against the order dated 2.7.1977 passed by the Consolidation Officer, Makbara, Faizabad in Case No.1035, under Section 9A(2) of the U.P. Consolidation of Holdings Act, father of respondent no.2 filed an appeal before the Settlement Officer, Consolidation being Appeal No.1262, under Section 11(1) of the U.P. Consolidation of Holdings Act, which was decided on 6.9.1977 in favour of the father of respondent no.2 and a direction was issued that against Khata Nos.278, 279 and 389 of Village Ranopali, in place of Bhartendra Vikram, Shakuntala Nair and Sripal S/o Nanku, name of father of respondent no.2 should be recorded as sirdar. It was said that in pursuance of the aforesaid order passed by the Settlement Officer, Consolidation, in khatauni of fasli year 1386-1391, name of father of respondent no.2 got recorded in Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015, which are part of Khata No.394 from fasli year 1386-1391, 1392-1397 and 1397-1403. After the death of father of respondent no.2 on 27.3.1992, vide order dated 19.11.1992 name of respondent no.2 and his two brothers got recorded against those gata numbers in fasli years 1398-1403, which became kahata No.394.
8. In paragraph 8 of the aforesaid complaint, it was stated that after the fasli year 1403, without there being any order from the competent officer, by mistake of Area Lekhpal and Kanoongo, the aforesaid land of Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 got recorded in the name of Sangat Ashram, Ranopali, Ayodhya and was shown as part of Plot No.662. It was also stated that when this fact came to the knowledge of late Mahanth Damodar Das, who was the Mahanth and Sarvrakar of the Ashram, he accepted the aforesaid mistake and Case No.68, under Section 33/39 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act was filed in the court of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Faizabad for correcting the revenue entries/record. Tehsildar in his report, had specifically stated that the land in Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 was of the father of respondent no.2, Late Rajkaran Singh and because of mistake of Area Lekhpal and Kanoongo, it was wrongly recorded as part of Plot No.662 belonging to the Sangat Ashram, Ranopali. It was alleged that unfortunately the revenue record could not get corrected and, therefore, respondent no.2 filed Case No.5/22/135, under Section 33/39 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act in the court of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Faizabad for correction of the revenue record in respect of Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 and prayed that in place of the name of Sangat Ashram, Ranopali, Ayodhya, his name and names of his two brothers should be mutated. It was also alleged that as soon as the petitioners came to know about the case filed by respondent no.2 under Section 33/39 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act, they got removed the revenue record of fasli year 1387 (page no.64) where the land of Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 was ordered to be recorded in the name of father of respondent no.2, late Rajkaran Singh and got inserted a forged order for recording the name of the Sangat Ashram, Ranopali against the aforesaid gata numbers. When this fraudulent and forged act came to the knowledge of respondent no.2 during the course of inspection of revenue record for the purposes of case filed by him on 27.2.2006 in the court of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Faizabad in 5/22/135, under Section 33/39 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act, then respondent no.2 gave a complaint in the police station for registration of the FIR. However, the FIR was not registered. Thereafter, he moved an application on 18.6.2008 before the Senior Superintendent of Police. However, no action was taken on the aforesaid application. Therefore, on 15.7.2008 the present application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. was moved for a direction to register an FIR and investigate the offence. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faizabad passed an order on 2.9.2008 treating the application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. filed by respondent no.2 as a complaint case.
9. From perusal of the complaint, it is evident that respondent no.2 did not disclose the case pending against him in pursuance of the FIR registered at Case Crime No.311 of 2008, Police Station Kotwali City, District Faizabad. The statement of the complainant/respondent no.2 under Section 200 Cr.P.C. reiterated the allegation that revenue record in respect of Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 of fasli year 1387 (Page no.64) was removed fraudulently and the forged order was mentioned for recording those gata numbers in the name of Sangat Ashram, Ranopali. Statement of Kewal Bahaur Singh, brother of respondent no.2 recorded under Section 202 Cr.P.C. was also made almost the same allegation. Manoj Kumar in his statement recorded under Section 202 Cr.P.C. also stated that he had been seeing the possession of respondent no.2 and his brothers on the land in question. The petitioners have no concern about the said land. The petitioners want to grab the land by manipulating the record. The Judicial Magistrate-II, Faizabad vide order dated 6.6.2009 had summoned the petitioners under Sections 420, 467, 468 IPC in the aforesaid complaint case. Thereafter, on 30.9.2009 passed an order issuing bailable warrants against the petitioners.
10. An additional supplementary affidavit dated 1.11.2018 has also been filed on behalf of the petitioners. Along with the aforesaid affidavit, a copy of the order dated 28.7.2011 passed by the Additional Officer (First), Faizabad in Case No.7/9/12/4/5/22/135, under Section 33/39 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act (Now under Section 32 of the Revenue Code, 2006) filed by respondent no.2 for correction of the revenue entry in respect of Gata Nos.799, 1011, 1013, 1014 and 1015 has been placed on record as Annexure No.SA-1. The Additional Officer (First) by a detailed order dated 28.7.2011, has dismissed the aforesaid application filed by respondent no.2. Against the aforesaid order, revision preferred by respondent no.2, has also been dismissed by the Additional Commissioner (Administration), Faizabad Division, Faizabad vide order dated 25.6.2013. The said order has been placed on record as Annexure SA-2 to the supplementary affidavit.
11. Learned Additional Officer (First), Faizabad in his order dated 28.7.2011 has rejected the contention of respondent no.2 and his two brothers that page no.64 of fasli year 1387 was removed and by manipulation in pursuance of the forged order dated 6.9.1977, name of Sangat Ashram, Ranopali was recorded. Learned Additional Officer (First) has specifically held that respondent no.2 and his brothers could not file any khatauni before the fasli year 1375-1377, which could establish that the land in question was their ancestral property. Respondent no.2 had also not filed any khasra in respect of fasli year 1359 nor he has filed any receipt depositing in the land revenue in respect of the aforesaid land. Learned Additional Commissioner has affirmed the findings of the learned presiding officer. These two orders have been challenged by respondent no.2 and his brothers in Writ Petition No.7360 (MS) of 2013 before this Court. This Court on 19.11.2013 passed the following order in the aforesaid writ petition :-
"The main dispute is as to whether any order in favour of petitioner was passed by S.O.C. on 06.9.1977 or not. Annexure 3 to the writ petition is copy of the said order. It is mentioned in the said order that it is in respect of three appeals, i.e., Appeal No.1260, 1261 and 1262. Number of the appeal alleged to have been filed by petitioner's father Raj Karan Singh was 1262. Learned counsel for the contesting respondent has also shown photostat copy of certified copy of judgment of the same officer of the same date but it contains only number of two appeals, i.e. 1260 and 1261.
Learned Standing Counsel Shri Anil Kumar Yadav is directed to immediately verify from the record room of Faizabad as to whether files of appeal no. 1260, 1261 and 1262, if filed, are available or not. If files are available they must be shown to the Court. Learned counsel for the petitioner is also directed to file copy of the order dated 02.7.1977, alleged to have been passed by the C.O. against Raj Karan, father of the petitioner against which Appeal no. 1262 was allegedly filed.
Put up as fresh on 21.11.2013.
Office is directed to supply a copy of this order free of cost to Shri Anil Kumar Yadav, learned Standing Counsel."
12. The petitioners/respondent no.2 and his brothers, have been seeking adjournments in the aforesaid case, which is evident from the order-sheet dated 31.10.2013, 6.11.2013, 8.11.2013, 11.11.2013, 14.11.2013, 21.11.2013, 22.11.2013, 25.11.2013, 2.12.2013, 9.11.2016 and 6.12.2017. No order has been passed in favour of the petitioners till date in the aforesaid writ petition.
13. Respondent no.2 has filed counter affidavit, in which it has been stated that the petitioners are involved in several criminal cases of similar nature and various proceedings are pending against them. The contents of complaint filed before the Magistrate have been reiterated and, it has been stated that the petitioners had manipulated the revenue record and fraudulently and by manipulation, name of the Ashram as well as petitioners had got recorded in the revenue record in place of respondent no.2 and his brothers.
14. The question whether the order dated 6.9.1977 was passed in respect of three appeals i.e. Appeal No.1260, 1261 and 1262, the last appeal being allegedly filed by the father of respondent no.2 or it was only in respect of Appeal Nos.1260 and 1261, has been adjudicated by the two competent authorities and, the contention of respondent no.2 has not been accepted. The writ petition is pending before this Court and, the final adjudication is still to be done by this Court. Respondent no.2 has not got any interim order from this Court in the pending writ petition.
15. Sri Ravi Singh, learned counsel for the petitioners has submitted that the impugned proceedings are nothing but counter blast to the FIR lodged by petitioner no.3, in which charge sheet has been submitted and, respondent no.2 and his brothers are facing prosecution. He has further submitted that their petition challenging the proceedings in pursuance of the FIR registered at Case Crime No.311 of 2008 has been dismissed by this Court. He has also submitted that the dispute is of civil nature and, the impugned proceedings have been initiated against the petitioners with mala fide intention. Respondent no.2 and his brothers have not been successful in the other proceedings. Filing of the complaint before the learned Magistrate is a counter blast measure. They have tried to give colour to the civil dispute as a criminal offence. He has also submitted that respondent no.2 had filed an application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. without disclosing the true and correct facts. He has not disclosed the lodging of the FIR and the proceedings against him and his brothers in the complaint. He, therefore, submits that the impugned proceedings are nothing but an abuse of process of the Court, which have been filed with ulterior motive to falsely implicate the petitioners and, therefore, they are liable to be set aside.
16. On the other hand, Sri Hemant Kumar Mishra, learned counsel for respondent no.2 has submitted that the complaint discloses the commission of the offence by the petitioners. The complaint is neither frivolous nor fictitious. The allegations set out in the complaint clearly constitute the offence for which cognizance has been taken by the learned Magistrate and, therefore, this Court should not be quashed the proceedings. He has further submitted that defence of the petitioners should not be considered while adjudicating the present petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
17. I have considered the submissions advanced by the parties carefully and perused the record.
18. In sum and substance, the allegation by respondent no.2 in the complaint is that the petitioners have manipulated the revenue record in respect of fasli year 1387. They have removed page no.64 in which the order for recording/mutating the name of father of respondent no.2 was recorded and they have manipulated that page by inserting another page and mentioning the order for recording the name of the Ashram and the petitioners. Two competent officers have not found any substance in these allegations and the case filed by respondent no.2 and his brothers under Section 33/39 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act has been dismissed. Respondent no.2 has not got any relief from this Court. He is seeking adjournment in the case, which is evident from the order-sheet.
19. It is also important to mention here that the first FIR was registered on the complaint of petitioner no.3. After investigation, charge sheet has been filed. Trial against respondent no.2 and his two brothers is in progress before the competent court. From the narration of facts, it appears that the impugned proceedings have been initiated as a counter blast measure by respondent no.2.
20. Supreme Court in several judgements including the leading judgement in the case of State of Haryana and others Vs. Bhajan Lal and others, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, wherein as illustration the Supreme Court in paragraph 102 has explained the circumstances on which the High Court should exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. or Article 226 of the Constitution of India for quashing the criminal proceedings. Paragraph 102 of the aforesaid judgement is extracted herein-below:-
"102. In the backdrop of the interpretation of the various relevant provisions of the Code under Chapter XIV and of the principles of law enunciated by this Court in a series of decisions relating to the exercise of the extraordinary power under Article 226 or the inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code which we have extracted and reproduced above, we give the following categories of cases by way of illustration wherein such power could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, though it may not be possible to lay down any precise, clearly defined and sufficiently channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and to give an exhaustive list of myriad kinds of cases wherein such power should be exercised.
(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.
(2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.
(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.
(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code.
(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.
(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is 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."
21. In the present case, it appears that the impugned proceedings have been instituted with mala fide intention with ulterior motive and the case is covered under category (7) of paragraph 102 of the aforesaid judgement.
22. The revenue record remains in the custody of the revenue officials. It cannot be believed that some manipulation has been done without involvement of the revenue officials. No revenue official has been made an accused. It is not possible to manipulate the revenue record without the involvement of the revenue official. It is the duty of the Court to ensure that the criminal prosecution is not used as an instrument of harassment or for seeking private vendetta.
23. The Supreme Court in the case of Inder Mohan Goswami and another Vs. State of Uttaranchal and others, (2007) 12 SCC 1 while dealing with the power of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. in paragraph 46 of the judgement held as under :-
"46. The court must ensure that criminal prosecution is not used as an instrument of harassment or for seeking private vendetta or with an ulterior motive to pressurise the accused. On analysis of the aforementioned cases, we are of the opinion that it is neither possible nor desirable to lay down an inflexible rule that would govern the exercise of inherent jurisdiction. Inherent jurisdiction of the High Courts under Section 482 CrPC though wide has to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution and only when it is justified by the tests specifically laid down in the statute itself and in the aforementioned cases. In view of the settled legal position, the impugned judgment cannot be sustained."
24. Supreme Court in the case of Indian Oil Corpn. Vs. NEPC India Ltd. and others, (2006) 6 SCC 736 has also lays down the parameters for quashing of criminal complaint/proceedings. Paragraphs 12 and 13 of the aforesaid judgement are extracted herein below:-
"12. The principles relating to exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash complaints and criminal proceedings have been stated and reiterated by this Court in several decisions. To mention a few--Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre [(1988) 1 SCC 692 : 1988 SCC (Cri) 234] , State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal [1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 : 1992 SCC (Cri) 426] , Rupan Deol Bajaj v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill [(1995) 6 SCC 194 : 1995 SCC (Cri) 1059] , Central Bureau of Investigation v. Duncans Agro Industries Ltd. [(1996) 5 SCC 591 : 1996 SCC (Cri) 1045] , State of Bihar v. Rajendra Agrawalla [(1996) 8 SCC 164 : 1996 SCC (Cri) 628] , Rajesh Bajaj v. State NCT of Delhi [(1999) 3 SCC 259 : 1999 SCC (Cri) 401] , Medchl Chemicals & Pharma (P) Ltd. v. Biological E. Ltd. [(2000) 3 SCC 269 : 2000 SCC (Cri) 615] , Hridaya Ranjan Prasad Verma v. State of Bihar [(2000) 4 SCC 168 : 2000 SCC (Cri) 786] , M. Krishnan v. Vijay Singh [(2001) 8 SCC 645 : 2002 SCC (Cri) 19] and Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. v. Mohd. Sharaful Haque [(2005) 1 SCC 122 : 2005 SCC (Cri) 283] . The principles, relevant to our purpose are:
(i) A complaint can be quashed where the allegations made in the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety, do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out the case alleged against the accused.
For this purpose, the complaint has to be examined as a whole, but without examining the merits of the allegations. Neither a detailed inquiry nor a meticulous analysis of the material nor an assessment of the reliability or genuineness of the allegations in the complaint, is warranted while examining prayer for quashing of a complaint.
(ii) A complaint may also be quashed where it is a clear abuse of the process of the court, as when the criminal proceeding is found to have been initiated with mala fides/malice for wreaking vengeance or to cause harm, or where the allegations are absurd and inherently improbable.
(iii) The power to quash shall not, however, be used to stifle or scuttle a legitimate prosecution. The power should be used sparingly and with abundant caution.
(iv) The complaint is not required to verbatim reproduce the legal ingredients of the offence alleged. If the necessary factual foundation is laid in the complaint, merely on the ground that a few ingredients have not been stated in detail, the proceedings should not be quashed. Quashing of the complaint is warranted only where the complaint is so bereft of even the basic facts which are absolutely necessary for making out the offence.
(v) A given set of facts may make out: (a) purely a civil wrong; or (b) purely a criminal offence; or (c) a civil wrong as also a criminal offence. A commercial transaction or a contractual dispute, apart from furnishing a cause of action for seeking remedy in civil law, may also involve a criminal offence. As the nature and scope of a civil proceeding are different from a criminal proceeding, the mere fact that the complaint relates to a commercial transaction or breach of contract, for which a civil remedy is available or has been availed, is not by itself a ground to quash the criminal proceedings. The test is whether the allegations in the complaint disclose a criminal offence or not.
13. While on this issue, it is necessary to take notice of a growing tendency in business circles to convert purely civil disputes into criminal cases. This is obviously on account of a prevalent impression that civil law remedies are time consuming and do not adequately protect the interests of lenders/creditors. Such a tendency is seen in several family disputes also, leading to irretrievable breakdown of marriages/families. There is also an impression that if a person could somehow be entangled in a criminal prosecution, there is a likelihood of imminent settlement. Any effort to settle civil disputes and claims, which do not involve any criminal offence, by applying pressure through criminal prosecution should be deprecated and discouraged. In G. Sagar Suri v. State of U.P. [(2000) 2 SCC 636 : 2000 SCC (Cri) 513] this Court observed: (SCC p. 643, para 8) "It is to be seen if a matter, which is essentially of a civil nature, has been given a cloak of criminal offence. Criminal proceedings are not a short cut of other remedies available in law. Before issuing process a criminal court has to exercise a great deal of caution. For the accused it is a serious matter. This Court has laid certain principles on the basis of which the High Court is to exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code. Jurisdiction under this section has to be exercised to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice."
25. It is also well settled that the dispute which is essen
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tially of a civil nature and has given a cloak of criminal offence, the High Court should quash the criminal proceedings to prevent the abuse of process of the Court. In the present case, except for a photocopy of the order dated 9.6.1977 passed by the Settlement Officer Consolidation, wherein three appeals i.e. 1260, 1261 and 1262 have been decided, there is no other evidence which would demonstrate that the petitioners had committed any offence. As mentioned above, the contention raised by respondent no.2 and his brothers regarding the manipulation in the revenue record by the petitioners has not found favour before the two competent revenue authorities. 26. In view of the aforesaid fact, this Court is required to consider whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, it would be justified to allow the impugned proceedings to continue against the petitioners or to quash them. 27. The Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No.1395 of 2018, Anand Kumar Mohatta and another Vs. State ( Govt, of NCT of Delhi), Department of Home and another,, decided on 15.11.2018, has held that the High Court should quash the proceedings if it comes to the conclusion that allowing the proceedings to continue, would be an abuse of the process of the Court or that the ends of justice require that the proceedings are required to be quashed. 28. Supreme Court in the case of State of Karnataka V.L. Muniswamy and others, 1977 (2) SCC 699 in paragraph 7 of the judgement held as under under:- "7. ........... In the exercise of this wholesome power, the High Court is entitled to quash a proceeding if it comes to the conclusion that allowing the proceeding to continue would be an abuse of the process of the Court or that the ends of justice require that the proceeding ought to be quashed. The saving of the High Court's inherent powers, both in civil and criminal matters, is designed to achieve a salutary public purpose which is that a court proceeding ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment or persecution. In a criminal case, the veiled object behind a lame prosecution, the very nature of the material on which the structure of the prosecution rests and the like would justify the High Court in quashing the proceeding in the interest of justice. The ends of justice are higher than the ends of mere law though justice has got to be administered according to laws made by the legislature. The compelling necessity for making these observations is that without a proper realisation of the object and purpose of the provision which seeks to save the inherent powers of the High Court to do justice, between the State and its subjects, it would be impossible to appreciate the width and contours of that salient jurisdiction." 29. In view of the aforesaid, this Court finds that the continuation of the impugned proceedings would be an abuse of the process of the Court. The proceedings have been initiated with ulterior motive to achieve for extraneous purposes as a counter blast to the FIR registered at Case Crime No.311 of 2008 against respondent no.2 and his brothers. 30. Thus, the petition is allowed and the summoning order dated 6.6.2009 and the order dated 30.9.2009 issuing bailable warrant against the petitioners passed in Complaint Case No.3482 of 2009, pending in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate IInd, Faizabad (Now Ayodhya) and the entire proceedings of the aforesaid complaint case are hereby quashed.