Supreme Court Upholds High Court’s Authority to Assess Offenses Despite Chargesheet Filed During Petition for Quashing FIR

In a recent landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of India has upheld the High Court’s authority to exercise its inherent jurisdiction in cases where a charge sheet is filed against the accused during the pendency of a petition for quashing of the FIR. The Court, in its decision, highlighted that the High Court retains the power to examine whether the alleged offences are prima facie made out based on the FIR, charge sheet, and other relevant documents.


The pronouncement was made by a Bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Kumar, who cited the case of Joseph Salvaraj A. Vs. State of Gujarat & Ors. (2011 (7) SCC 59) as precedent. The Bench emphasised that even if a charge sheet is submitted subsequent to the filing of a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.), the Court is not precluded from scrutinising the allegations to determine their prima facie validity.


The case at hand involved an appellant-accused who had filed a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking the quashing of an FIR charging offences under Sections 420 and 409 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The High Court dismissed the petition as infructuous on the basis that the charge sheet had been filed after the initiation of the quashing petition, deeming it moot.


Disagreeing with the High Court’s reasoning, the Supreme Court, invoked its judgment in Joseph Salvaraj A. Vs. State of Gujarat & Ors. overturned the decision and directed the High Court to hear the quashing petition on its merits. Moreover, the Court ordered a stay on the arrest of the accused until the High Court adjudicates the petition, except where the appellant’s detention is deemed necessary due to developments subsequent to the filing of the charge sheet.


In conclusion, the Supreme Court set aside the impugned order of the High Court and remanded the matter for reconsideration. It instructed the High Court to proceed with the criminal writ petition on its merits and issued directions regarding the appellant’s arrest, exercising its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.


This ruling underscores the judiciary’s commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fairness, ensuring that legal remedies are available to individuals even amidst ongoing legal proceedings. It reaffirms the pivotal role of the High Court in safeguarding fundamental rights and ensuring due process in criminal matters.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The content may not reflect the most current legal developments and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Readers should consult a qualified legal professional before taking any action based on the information provided. The authors and publishers disclaim any liability for any loss or damage incurred as a result of reliance on this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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