New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that
High Courts should quash criminal cases against accused
persons only in exceptional cases and allow the trial to
proceed without any hindrance.
A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and A R Dave said
whether an accused person is guilty or not should be decided
by the trial court and the High Court can quash the
FIR/criminal cases only if there is sufficient evidence to
show that the accused was falsely implicated.
The apex court made the remarks while upholding an
appeal filed by Andhra Pradesh government challenging the
High Court`s decision to quash a criminal case filed against G
Mahesh in an illicit arrack case.
The High Court had quashed the case by exercising its
power vested under Section 482 CrPC.
"While exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of the
Code, the High Court would not ordinarily embark upon an
enquiry whether the evidence in question is reliable or
not or whether on a reasonable appreciation of it the
accusation would not be sustained. That is the function of the
trial Judge/Court," Justice Sathasivam said.
The apex court said it is true that at times cases may
be foisted against indviduals to harass him/her.
"At the same time, Section 482 is not an instrument
handed over to an accused to short-circuit a prosecution and
bring about its closure without full-fledged enquiry.
"Though High Court may exercise its power relating to
cognizable offences to prevent abuse of process of any court
or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, the power should
be exercised sparingly," the apex court said.
The apex court said the cases can be quashed only if
prima facie it does not constitute an offence or there is
enough evidence to show that the same was maliciously
instituted to harass a person.
"The interference must be on sound principles and the
inherent power should not be exercised to stifle a legitimate
"That being so, the interference at the threshold
quashing the FIR is to be exceptional and not like routine as
ordered by the High Court in the present case," the apex court
bench said while upholding the state`s appeal.