Rajeev Kourav vs Baisahab on 11 February, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Rajeev Kourav vs Baisahab on 11 February, 2020

Author: L. Nageswara Rao

Bench: L. Nageswara Rao, Deepak Gupta

                                                Non-Reportable

       IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
      CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

            Criminal Appeal No.232 of 2020
     (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No.1174 of 2017)


RAJEEV KOURAV
                                             .... Appellants
                             Versus

BAISAHAB AND ORS.
                                         …. Respondent (s)

                    JUDGMENT

L. NAGESWARA RAO, J.

1. The above Appeal is filed against the judgment of

the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Principal Seat at

Jabalpur by which a criminal proceeding against

Respondent Nos.1 and 3 was quashed in exercise of its

power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal

Procedure (for short “the CrPC”).

2. The Appellant filed a complaint before the Police

Station Kareli, District Narsinghpur on which FIR No.285 of

2014 was registered on 08.05.2014. According to the

complaint, it was urged that Respondent Nos.1 to 3

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subjected Nilu, the wife of the Appellant to harassment

due to which she committed suicide along with her two

children. The first Respondent is the wife of elder brother

of the Appellant. The second and third Respondents are

the brothers of the first Respondent. The brother of the

Appellant and Respondent No.1 were living separately.

Respondent No.1 was not satisfied with the land which

was given by the Appellant’s father to her husband.

Respondent No.1 along with her brothers, Respondent

Nos.2 and 3, started harassing the family of the Appellant

especially Nilu. According to the FIR, Respondent Nos.1 to

3 used to quarrel with the deceased Nilu. On 05.05.2014,

Respondent No.1 filed a false complaint against the

Appellant and his parents. She also intimidated

Mahendra Singh Kourav, maternal uncle of the Appellant

by threatening him that she would pour kerosene oil and

set herself on fire along with her children and implicate

the entire family of the Appellant in a criminal case.

Mahendra Singh Kourav made a complaint about the said

incident of intimidation to the Police Station on

07.05.2014. The Appellant, his family members and

Respondent Nos.1 to 3 were called to the Police Station

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and the matter was settled for the time being.

Thereafter, Respondent Nos.1 to 3 went to the village

Jhumri and assaulted the deceased Nilu. Unable to bear

the torture, Nilu along with her children Harisharan aged

1½ years and Ramsharan aged 1½ years committed

suicide by jumping in front of a moving train.

3. A final report was filed on 19.07.2014 on completion

of investigation. A petition under Section 482 of the CrPC

was filed for quashing the criminal proceedings. It was

contended on behalf of Respondent Nos.1 to 3 before the

High Court that the ingredients of Section 306 IPC have

not been made out and the proceedings are liable to be

quashed. According to Respondent Nos.1 to 3, the FIR

and the charge sheet would only disclose that the entire

family of the Appellant was being harassed. The

Respondents cannot be held guilty of offence under

Section 306 as there is nothing on record to show that

they have incited the deceased to take the extreme step

of committing suicide.

4. The High Court summoned the record of

investigation and perused the statements recorded by the

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Appellant and his family members under Section 161

CrPC. The High Court held that statements recorded

under Section 161 CrPC. would show that Respondent

No.1 is a quarrelsome lady who has threatened the

Appellant’s family of false implication in a criminal case.

The High Court observed that none of the persons whose

statements under Section 161 CrPC were recorded have

mentioned about the complaint of the deceased and that

she was thinking of committing suicide due to the

harassment of Respondent Nos.1 to 3. The High Court

recorded a finding that Ramsharan Kourav, the uncle of

the deceased, has stated in his statement under Section

161 that the deceased informed him that she is unable to

bear the torture of Respondent Nos.1 to 3 and was

thinking of putting an end to her life.

5. The High Court observed that the allegations made

against Respondent Nos.1 to 3 at the most constitute an

offence under Section 506 IPC for criminal intimidation.

Read as a whole, the allegations made against

Respondent Nos.1 to 3 did not make out an offence under

Section 306/34 IPC. The High Court further held that

ingredients of Section 107 IPC are also not satisfied. In

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that view, the petition filed by Respondent Nos.1-3 for

quashing the criminal proceeding was allowed.

6. It is no more res integra that exercise of power

under Section 482 CrPC to quash a criminal proceeding is

only when an allegation made in the FIR or the charge

sheet constitutes the ingredients of the offence/offences

alleged. Interference by the High Court under Section

482 CrPC is to prevent the abuse of process of any Court

or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. It is settled law

that the evidence produced by the accused in his defence

cannot be looked into by the Court, except in very

exceptional circumstances, at the initial stage of the

criminal proceedings. It is trite law that the High Court

cannot embark upon the appreciation of evidence while

considering the petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for

quashing criminal proceedings. It is clear from the law

laid down by this Court that if a prima facie case is made

out disclosing the ingredients of the offence alleged

against the accused, the Court cannot quash a criminal

proceeding.

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7. Mr.Shoeb Alam, learned counsel appearing for

Respondent Nos.1 to 3 relied upon several judgments of

this Court to submit that allegations only disclose a case

of harassment meted out to the deceased. The

ingredients of Section 306 and 107 IPC have not been

made out. It is submitted that there is nothing on record

to show that the Respondents have abetted the

commission of suicide by the deceased. He further

argued that abetment as defined under Section 107 IPC is

instigation which is missing in the complaint made by the

Appellant. He further argued that if the allegations

against Respondent Nos.1 to 3 are not prima facie made

out, there is no reason why they should face a criminal

trial.

8. We do not agree with the submissions made on

behalf of Respondent Nos.1 to 3. The conclusion of the

High Court to quash the criminal proceedings is on the

basis of its assessment of the statements recorded under

Section 161 CrPC. Statements of witnesses recorded

under Section 161 CrPC being wholly inadmissible in

evidence cannot be taken into consideration by the Court,

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while adjudicating a petition filed under Section 482

CrPC1.

9. Moreover, the High Court was aware that one of the

witnesses mentioned that the deceased informed him

about the harassment meted out by Respondent Nos.1 to

3 which she was not able to bear and hence wanted to

commit suicide. The High Court committed an error in

quashing criminal proceedings by assessing the

statements under Section 161 Cr. P.C.

10. We have not expressed any opinion on the merits of

the matter. The High Court ought not to have quashed

the proceedings at this stage, scuttling a full-fledged trial

in which Respondent Nos.1 to 3 would have a fair

opportunity to prove their innocence.

11. For the aforementioned reasons, the judgment of

the High Court is set aside and the Appeal is allowed.

……………………………J.
[L. NAGESWARA RAO]

……………………….J.

[DEEPAK GUPTA]
New Delhi,
February 11, 2020.

1 Rajendra Singh v. State of U.P. & Anr. (2007) 7 SCC 378

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