'FIR filed to wreak vengeance,' Supreme Court quashes criminal proceedings

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Court has said it is a fit case warranting exercise of powers conferred upon this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution of India so as to quash the proceedings of the criminal case

The Supreme Court has quashed a criminal case related to mischief, criminal trespass, making obscene gesture and criminal Intimidation, finding that there was 39 days delay in lodging the FIR which was nothing but a tool to wreak vengeance.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai, Satish Chandra Sharma and Sandeep Mehta quashed and set aside the 2019 FIR and allowed an appeal filed by Shivendra Pratap Singh Thakur alias Banti.

"We feel that it is a fit case warranting exercise of powers conferred upon this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution of India so as to quash the proceedings of the criminal case," the bench said.

An appeal was filed assailing single judge bench order of August 2, 2023, which declined to quash the FIR lodged with Sarkanda police station in district Bilaspur. It was contended that the allegations made by the complainant are totally vague and uncertain and unworthy of credence.

Complainant Barkat Ali alleged he had purchased a plot and raising construction when the accused Saurabh Pratap Singh Thakur and appellant Shivendra Pratap Singh Thakur alias Banti, in furtherance of their common intention prior to May 20, 2019, trespassed into the land in possession of the complainant and demolished his boundary wall and unconstructed house of his neighbour Sushma Kashyap, causing cumulative loss of Rs 10 lakh.

The appellant-accused contended that the entire case setup by the complainant in the FIR is false and fabricated. The land owner Sushma Kashyap whose under construction house was allegedly demolished and damaged did not approach the police for lodging a complaint regarding the so called criminal act allegedly committed by them on her property. 

It was also claimed when the site inspection memo was prepared, the Investigating Officer did not find any damage to the boundary wall on Barkat Ali’s plot as had been alleged in the FIR. He said that the impugned FIR and the charge sheet filed as a consequence thereof deserved to be quashed because on a plain reading of the charge sheet, the ingredients of the offences alleged were not made out.

The state counsel opposed the plea, contending the complainant had no motive to complicate the accused and the investigation and charge sheet affirmed the allegations made in the FIR.

On behalf of the complainant, no one appeared before the court.

Going by the facts of the case, the bench noted the FIR would reveal that it was lodged by complainant-Barkat Ali on June 29, 2019 with the allegation that the offences alleged were committed by the appellant and co-accused some time prior to May 20, 2019. Thus, the complainant was not even sure of the date on which the alleged offences were committed. 

"No reason whatsoever has given in the FIR for huge delay of more than 39 days in approaching the police," the bench said. 

Court also noted a perusal of the said site plan would reveal that so far as the plot of Purnima Begum, wife of Barkat Ali was concerned, it is fully encumbered by a boundary wall and no damage was shown to this structure. 

"On going through the contents of the FIR, we do not find any material therein which can justify invocation of the offence punishable under Section 294 IPC. Except for the offence under Section 447 IPC, all the remaining offences are non-cognizable whereas the offence under Section 294 IPC is ex facie not made out from the allegations set out in the FIR and the charge sheet. The allegation levelled by the complainant that the accused demolished the boundary wall constructed on the land in his possession has not been found to be substantiated during spot inspection," the bench said.

The three-judge bench also noted the plot of the co-accused Saurabh Pratap Singh Thakur was immediately adjoining the plots of complainant-Barkat Ali and Sushma Kashyap. 

"It is thus, apparent that there is an imminent possibility of animus between the complainant and the accused persons on this count. The FIR which was lodged after 39 days of the incident, does not indicate the date or time, when the accused trespassed into the house of the complainant and caused damage to his property and committed the other offences for which the FIR came to be registered. Therefore, we are of the view that the impugned FIR seems to be nothing but a tool to wreak vengeance against the appellant herein," the bench accordingly held.

Case Title: Shivendra Pratap Singh Thakur alias Banti vs. State of Chhattisgarh And Ors