The Supreme Court today said that the Allahabad and Uttarakhand High Courts are passing orders one after the other “without application of their mind” for no coercive action or protection from arrest despite its earlier order asking them to use the inherent power sparingly.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said, “We have seen two high courts Allahabad and Uttarakhand are passing these orders without application of mind even after our judgement in M/S Neeharika, Infrastructure versus State of Maharashtra in petitions for quashing of cases”.
The Supreme Court’s remarks came while hearing a petition against an order passed by the Uttarakhand High Court on a plea for quashing the FIR in a murder case.
“This is a serious matter. The FIR was registered under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. Just see the anxiety of the High Court, it directs that the person should surrender by August 10 and the bail be decided on the same day and if the bail application is rejected, then the Session Court should hear the bail plea the same day,” the bench said.
“This is a shocking order”, it said, adding that the high court recorded in its order that prayer of quashing of FIR is not pressed and other prayers before it are “innocuous” and therefore the accused should surrender before August 10 and a bail application, if presented, shall be considered and decided the same day.
The top court said it will examine the issue and issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government on the plea challenging the high court order.
On April 13, the same bench of the Supreme Court had passed a slew of directions in Neeharika, Infrastructure versus Maharashtra case and said that police has the statutory right and duty under the relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure to investigate into a cognizable offence and Courts would not thwart any investigation into the cognizable offences.
It had said that the power of quashing should be exercised sparingly with circumspection, in rare cases; only where no cognizable offence or offence of any kind is disclosed in the FIR that the Court will not permit an investigation to go on.
“While examining an FIR/complaint, quashing of which is sought, the court cannot embark upon an enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness or otherwise of the allegations made in the FIR/complaint,” the top court had said, adding that Criminal proceedings ought not to be scuttled at the initial stage.
It had pointed out that quashing of a complaint/FIR should be an exception rather than an ordinary rule, adding that “ordinarily, the courts are barred from usurping the jurisdiction of the police, since the two organs of the State operate in two specific spheres of activities and one ought not to tread over the other sphere”.
The top court had said that extraordinary and inherent powers of the Court do not confer an arbitrary jurisdiction on the Court to act according to its whims or caprice.