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Mohit Khurana vs State (Nct Of Delhi) & Ors. on 24 September, 2018

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* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
Reserved on: 27th August, 2018
Pronounced on: 24th September, 2018
+ CRL.M.C. 4327/2018 and Crl. M.A. 30773-30774/2018

MOHIT KHURANA ….. Petitioner

Through: Mr. Anuj Kapoor, Advocate

versus

STATE (NCT OF DELHI) ORS. ….. Respondents

Through: Mr. Mukesh Kumar, APP for the
State

CORAM:
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE R.K.GAUBA

ORDER

1. The petitioner is facing criminal prosecution on the basis of
report under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.
PC) submitted on conclusion of investigation into first information
report (FIR) no.137/2017 under Sections 279 and 338 of Indian Penal
Code, 1860 (IPC) of police station Inder Puri at the instance of the
third respondent. He has approached this court invoking the inherent
power under Section 482 Cr. PC read with Article 226 of the
Constitution of India to seek quashing of the proceedings in the said
case (Crl. Case no.14335/17) on the ground that the matter has been
amicably settled with second and third respondents, the former
(second respondent) having been described as the victim, she
purportedly having suffered grievous injuries in the accident that was

Crl.MC 4327/2018 Page 1 of 7
caused statedly due to rash or negligent driving of Santro car bearing
no.DL-2CAE-0156 by the petitioner.

2. The petition is resisted vehemently by the learned Additional
Public Prosecutor placing reliance on Parbatbhai Aahir alias
Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur and Others v. State of Gujarat and
Another, (2017) 9 SCC 641.

3. The petitioner, inter alia, relies on the decision of the Supreme
Court in B.S. Joshi and Ors. vs. State of Haryana and Anr., (2003) 4
SCC 675. Noticeably, the case involved in B.S. Joshi (supra)
concerned offences punishable under Sections 498A, 323, 406 IPC. In
Parbatbhai Aahir (supra), a bench of three Hon’ble Judges of the
Supreme Court culled out the principles which govern the exercise of
the extraordinary power under Section 482 Cr. PC vested in the High
Court to bring an end to the proceedings in a criminal case, and stated
thus :-

“16. The broad principles which emerge from the
precedents on the subject, may be summarised in the
following propositions :

16.1 Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High
Court to prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to
secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer
new powers. It only recognises and preserves powers
which inhere in the High Court.

16.2 The invocation of the jurisdiction of the High Court to
quash a First Information Report or a criminal proceeding
on the ground that a settlement has been arrived at
between the offender and the victim is not the same as the

Crl.MC 4327/2018 Page 2 of 7
invocation of jurisdiction for the purpose of compounding
an offence. While compounding an offence, the power of
the court is governed by the provisions of Section 320 of
the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The power to quash
under Section 482 is attracted even if the offence is non-
compoundable.

16.3 In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding
or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its
jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must
evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the
exercise of the inherent power.

16.4 While the inherent power of the High Court has a
wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised (i) to secure
the ends of justice, or (ii) to prevent an abuse of the
process of any court.

16.5 The decision as to whether a complaint or First
Information Report should be quashed on the ground that
the offender and victim have settled the dispute, revolves
ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case and
no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be formulated.

16.6 In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and
while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled,
the High Court must have due regard to the nature and
gravity of the offence. Heinous and serious offences
involving mental depravity or offences such as murder,
rape and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though
the victim or the family of the victim have settled the
dispute. Such offences are, truly speaking, not private in
nature but have a serious impact upon society. The
decision to continue with the trial in such cases is founded
on the overriding element of public interest in punishing
persons for serious offences.

16.7 As distinguished from serious offences, there may be
criminal cases which have an overwhelming or

Crl.MC 4327/2018 Page 3 of 7
predominant element of a civil dispute. They stand on a
distinct footing in so far as the exercise of the inherent
power to quash is concerned.

16.8 Criminal cases involving offences which arise from
commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or similar
transactions with an essentially civil flavour may in
appropriate situations fall for quashing where parties have
settled the dispute.

16.9 In such a case, the High Court may quash the criminal
proceeding if in view of the compromise between the
disputants, the possibility of a conviction is remote and the
continuation of a criminal proceeding would cause
oppression and prejudice; and

16.10 There is yet an exception to the principle set out in
propositions 16.8 and 16.9 above. Economic offences
involving the financial and economic well-being of the state
have implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere
dispute between private disputants. The High Court would
be justified in declining to quash where the offender is
involved in an activity akin to a financial or economic fraud
or misdemeanour. The consequences of the act complained
of upon the financial or economic system will weigh in the
balance”.

4. The allegations against the petitioner include those attributing
the offence of he having driven the motor vehicle in a rash or
negligent manner on a public street, this leading to a motor vehicular
accident being caused resulting in grievous injuries being suffered by
the second respondent. From the factual matrix, it is clear that the
offence under Section 279 IPC was not directed against any specific
individual. It was rather against the public at large. It concerned the
right of the people at large to use the public way free from the lurking

Crl.MC 4327/2018 Page 4 of 7
danger of such motorists as tend to throw all caution to winds and
indulge in such driving as endangers human life.

5. In another case of rash driving of a motor vehicle leading to
similar mishap, albeit leading to death of a human being, this Court in
Crl.M.C. 2759/2018, Shivam Chauhan Anr. v. The State (Govt. of
NCT of Delhi) Ors., by decision rendered on 05.09.2018, declined
to quash the criminal proceedings based on “settlement”, observing
thus :-

“19. The offence of rash driving of a motor vehicle on a
public road is not directed against any specific individual.
It exposes other users of the road – citizens in general – to
wanton risk to their life, limb or property. The rising
fatalities on public roads bring havoc to the victims, or
their kith or kin, and create additional burden on the State
and the society at large. Untimely loss of a precious
human life not only brings immeasurable pain and
suffering to the family that is left behind but, at times, loss
of the bread earner resultantly throwing those dependent
on him virtually on the road or at the mercy of doles of the
civil society or State. As observed by the Supreme Court
in State of Punjab vs. Saurabh Bakshi, (2015) 5 SCC 182,
“(s)uch a crime blights not only the lives of the victims but
of many others around them”. Recourse to the remedy of
accident claim under the law is no solace. After-all, the
legal process invariably takes time to deliver, such
litigation being long winding and, at times, uncertain,
particularly in cases where there is absence of valid
insurance cover against third party risk. If the victim
somehow survives with injuries, the trauma or aftermath of
hurt is also not fully compensatable in terms of money.

20. We are a society wedded to the ethos of “rule of
law”. The Constitution of India guarantees to every person

Crl.MC 4327/2018 Page 5 of 7
on this soil the fundamental right to protection of life
(Article 21). When a person moves on the public road in
exercise of his fundamental freedom to move, he
legitimately expects the State to ensure that all others
using the public space or way respect his right to do so
without he being put to harm. It is the obligation of the
State to ensure enforcement of strict discipline of the law.
If such rights are breached, there is corresponding
obligation on the court to ensure that consequences
flowing from law follow.

21. Unlike certain other jurisdictions, our jurisprudence
does not adopt the policy of Islamic law principle of
“blood money” (Diyat) as the answer to every
wrongdoing. On the contrary, the Supreme Court has
ruled that in striking the balance to take care of the “cry of
the society” in grave crimes, “(m)oney cannot be the
oasis” [Sumer Singh vs. Surajbhan Singh (2014) 7 SCC
323]. Against the reality that number of such cases of rash
or negligent acts causing mayhem like death or grievous
hurt (or permanent disability) have only been escalating
over the years, allowing a lid to be put on the criminal
prosecution on account of “settlement” into which the
victim is persuaded to enter, in his or her anxiety, to
receive some recompense, would erode the policy of the
court to maintain the “deterrent element”, such latitude
being a result of “misplaced sympathy”, having the
potency to convey the undesirable impression that driving
can be permitted to be a matter of frivolous “frolic”.

22. A case of such nature cannot be treated as merely a
private dispute between two individuals – not the least for
this court to exercise its inherent power to inhibit further
judicial process. The jurisdiction under Section 482
Cr.PC, though couched in terms of “power” is actually a
responsibility which has to be discharged carefully
bearing in mind the guiding principles and to “secure the
ends of justice” in which exercise societal interest must

Crl.MC 4327/2018 Page 6 of 7
always be paramount. The liberal attitude in quashing
such cases as of death or serious hurt due to rash or
negligent acts would be, borrowing the expression from
Muralidhar (supra), “result wise counter productive in the
long run and against societal interest” and be in the teeth
of the guidelines declared in Parbatbhai Aahir (supra).

6. The above views squarely apply to the case at hand.

7. For above reasons, the petition and the applications filed
therewith are dismissed.

(R.K. GAUBA)
JUDGE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2018
yg

Crl.MC 4327/2018 Page 7 of 7

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