Offence of stalking can be quashed by high court?

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

CRL.M.C. 1988/2017
Dated: May 26th, 2017

YUMNAM MARJIT SINGH
v
STATE ANR

CORAM:HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE P.S.TEJI

1. The present petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has been filed by the petitioner, namely, Sh. Yumnam Marjit Singh for quashing of FIR No.621/2015, under Section 354D/341/506/509 IPC registered at Police Station IP Estate, Delhi on the basis of a settlement between the petitioner and respondent No. 2 namely, Smt. Okram Birbala Devi.

2. Learned Additional Public Prosecutor for respondent-State submitted that the respondent present in the Court has been identified to be the complainant in the FIR in question.

3. The factual matrix of the present case is that the complainant/respondent no2 knew the petitioner since school days and used to meet with him and was in a relationship with him, though they used to have some quarrels now and then. The complainant now, after having some disputes with the petitioner does not wish to continue being in a relationship with the petitioner and informed him of the same, subsequent to which the petitioner abused the complainant in filthy language and also threatened her with her life. Further, the petitioner allegedly also threatened the complainant with making some of her pictures public which he has in his possession. The complainant after facing immense agony on account of the behavior of the petitioner got registered the FIR in the present matter.

4. Respondent No.2 present in the Court submitted that the dispute
between the parties has been settled with the accused/petitioner.
Respondent affirmed the contents of the aforesaid settlement. Now no
dispute with petitioner survives and so, the proceedings arising out of
the FIR in question may be brought to an end. Statement of the
respondent has been recorded in this regard in which she stated that
she has entered into a compromise deed with the petitioner and has
settled all the disputes with him. She further stated that she has no
objection if the FIR in question is quashed.

5. In Gian Singh v. State of Punjab (2012) 10 SCC 303 Apex Court has recognized the need of amicable resolution of disputes in cases like the instant one, by observing as under:-

“61. In other words, the High Court must consider
whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest
of justice to continue with the criminal proceedings
or continuation of criminal proceedings would
tantamount to abuse of process of law despite
settlement and compromise between the victim and
the wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of
justice, it is appropriate that criminal case is put to an
end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in the
affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its
jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceedings.”

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6. The aforesaid dictum stands reiterated by the Apex Court in a recent judgment in Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab (2014) 6 SCC 466. The relevant observations of the Apex Court in Narinder Singh (Supra) are as under:-

“29. In view of the aforesaid discussion, we sum up
and lay down the following principles by which the
High Court would be guided in giving adequate
treatment to the settlement between the parties and
exercising its power under Section 482 of the Code
while accepting the settlement and quashing the
proceedings or refusing to accept the settlement with
direction to continue with the criminal proceedings:

29.1 Power conferred under Section 482 of the Code
is to be distinguished from the power which lies in the
Court to compound the offences under Section 320 of
the Code. No doubt, under Section 482 of the Code,
the High Court has inherent power to quash the
criminal proceedings even in those cases which are
not compoundable, where the parties have settled the
matter between themselves. However, this power is to
be exercised sparingly and with caution.

29.2. When the parties have reached the settlement
and on that basis petition for quashing the criminal
proceedings is filed, the guiding factor in such cases
would be to secure:

(i) ends of justice, or

(ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any court.
While exercising the power the High Court is to form
an opinion on either of the aforesaid two objectives.

29.3. Such a power is not to be exercised in those
prosecutions which involve heinous and serious
offences of mental depravity or offences like murder,
rape, dacoity, etc. Such offences are not private in
nature and have a serious impact on society. Similarly,
for the offences alleged to have been committed under
special statute like the Prevention of Corruption Act
or the offences committed by public servants while
working in that capacity are not to be quashed merely
on the basis of compromise between the victim and
the offender.

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29.4. On the other hand, those criminal cases having
overwhelmingly and predominantly civil character,
particularly those arising out of commercial
transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship
or family disputes should be quashed when the parties
have resolved their entire disputes among themselves.

7. The inherent powers of the High Court ought to be exercised to prevent the abuse of process of law and to secure the ends of justice. The respondent agreed to the quashing of the FIR in question and stated that the matter has been settled out of her own free will. As the matter has been settled and compromised amicably, so, there would be an extraordinary delay in the process of law if the legal proceedings between the parties are carried on. So, this Court is of the considered opinion that this is a fit case to invoke the jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to prevent the abuse of process of law and to secure the ends of justice.

8. The incorporation of inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is meant to deal with the situation in the absence of express provision of law to secure the ends of justice such as, where the process is abused or misused; where the ends of justice cannot be secured; where the process of law is used for unjust or unlawful object; to avoid the causing of harassment to any person by using the provision of Cr.P.C. or to avoid the delay of the legal process in the delivery of justice. Whereas, the inherent power is not to be exercised to circumvent the express provisions of law.

9. It is a settled law that the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. should be used sparingly. The Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of State of Maharashtra through CBI v. Vikram Anatrai Doshi and Ors. MANU/SC/0842/2014 and in the case of Inder Singh Goswami v. State of Uttaranchal MANU/SC/0808/2009 has observed that powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. must be exercised sparingly, carefully and with great caution. Only when the Court comes to the conclusion that there would be manifest injustice or there would be abuse of the process of the Court if such power is not exercised, Court would quash the proceedings.

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10. It is a well settled law that where the High Court is convinced that the offences are entirely personal in nature and therefore do not affect public peace or tranquility and where it feels that quashing of such proceedings on account of compromise would bring about peace and would secure ends of justice, it should not hesitate to quash them. In such cases, pursuing prosecution would be waste of time and energy. Non-compoundable offences are basically an obstruction in entering into compromise. In certain cases, the main offence is compoundable but the connected offences are not. In the case ofB.S. Joshi and others v. State of Haryana and another 2003 (4) SCC 675 the Hon’ble Apex Court observed that even though the provisions of Section 320 Cr.P.C. would not apply to such offences which are not compoundable, it did not limit or affect the powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The Hon’ble Apex Court laid down that if for the purpose of securing the ends of justice, quashing of FIR becomes necessary, section 320 Cr.P.C. would not be a bar to the exercise of power of quashing. In the nutshell, the Hon’ble Apex Court justified the exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings to secure the ends of justice in view of the special facts and circumstances of the case, even where the offences were noncompoundable. In the light of the aforesaid, this Court is of the view that notwithstanding the fact the offence under Section 354D is a noncompoundable offence, there should be no impediment in quashing the FIR under this section, if the Court is otherwise satisfied that the facts and circumstances of the case so warrant.

11. In the facts and circumstances of this case and in view of statement made by the respondent, the FIR in question warrants to be put to an end and proceedings emanating thereupon need to be quashed.

12. Accordingly, this petition is allowed and FIR No.621/2015, under Section 354D/341/506/509 IPC registered at Police Station IP Estate, New Delhi and the proceedings emanating therefrom are quashed against the petitioner.

13. This petition is accordingly disposed of.

(P.S.TEJI)
JUDGE
MAY 26th, 2017

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