The Bombay high court last week quashed a criminal case against an educationist from Pune with the consent of the complainant, a local businessman, but only after levying a fine of Rs1 lakh on them for “wasting time and energy of the police machinery for settling a private score.”
“The complainant seems to have used the police machinery to settle a private score in which time and energy of the police machinery must have been wasted in investigating into the matter and filing charge sheet,” Justice RC Chavan observed.
The judge then directed the complainant, 73-year-old businessman Chainsakh Gandhi, and the accused, 63-year-old educationist Maruti Navale, to deposit the sum with the magistrate concerned at Pune within two weeks after which the criminal case will stand quashed and the amount will be transferred to the state treasury.
The Supreme Court has ruled out possibility of quashing complaints on consent of the victim if the offences involved are of grievous nature and affecting society at large but has carved out exceptions for cases involving primarily civil disputes, financial transactions.
The court has asked the duo to deposit the sum with a Pune magistrate within 2 weeks.
Navale had moved the high court seeking quashing of the criminal proceeding after the Deccan police completed investigation into the complaint lodged by Gandhi and also filed a chargesheet against him.
Gandhi’s counsel took a stand before the court that he had no objection against quashing of the criminal proceeding, but assistant public prosecutor AS Shitole took strong objection to the plea.
Shitole vehemently opposed the plea contending the dispute had a criminal flavour as there was allegation of forgery and Gandhi had misused the police machinery, possibly to settle his civil dispute with Navale.
Senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, who represented Navale, however, pointed out a landmark ruling in Gian Singh’s case in which the Apex Court had held that the power of high courts to quash criminal proceedings was wide, but it should be used sparingly and cautiously.
The Supreme Court has ruled out possibility of quashing complaints on consent of the victim if the offences involved are of grievous nature and affecting the society at large, but carved out exception of cases involving primarily civil disputes, financial transactions.
Justice Chavan allowed Navale’s plea for quashing primarily in view of the Apex Court ruling. “Since the dispute was essentially between the Applicant (Navale) and Respondent No.2 (Gandhi) and had no fall out for the public, the application may have to be allowed.”