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Fraud and cheating to snatch land, appeal of Complainants allowed and appeal by accused  against dismissal of quashing application under 482 CRPC dismissed by the Supreme Court.

January 6, 2018



Fraud and Cheating Quashing appeal dismissed

A Bench of Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice A.M. Sapre passed Judgment in Dineshbhai Chandubhai Patel v. State of Gujarat & Ors, Civil Appeal No. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 of 2018 and allowed the appeal filed by the Complainant and Dismissed the appeal filed by the Accused.


The matters are related to dispute of a piece of land jointly owned by the members of a family. The family filed complaint alleging that one person by name - Dineshbhai Chandubhai Patel in conspiracy with several other named persons jointly defrauded and deceived the complainants by taking advantage of their illiteracy, poverty and unawareness got executed bogus Power of Attorney with bogus signatures in relation to the disputed land. It was alleged that these persons again in furtherance with the conspiracy got the disputed land transferred in favour of several persons and illegally got the construction maps sanctioned to enable them to do construction over the disputed land.

The complainants enclosed all disputed documents along with their complaint to show prima facie case alleged to have been committed by the above-named persons and prayed to the Commissioner of Police to investigate the entire case in relation to their land and bring the investigation to its logical end by first registering the FIR and then after holding a proper investigation, file the charge sheet in the competent Court against all those found involved in the case and prosecute them for the offences which they have allegedly committed and punish them under the Indian Penal Code and other related Acts.

Another complaint filed with the Collector (SIT), Surat on 23.01.2012 against six named persons seeking therein the prosecution of those persons for having committed the alleged offences punishable under Sections 34, 114, 120-B , 420 ,465 ,468, 471 and 476 of the IPC read with Sections 3, 7 and 11 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The complaint also set out the allegations with details alike the previous one with some new facts.

A Third complaint was filed with the Collector, District Disputes Redressal Forum, Surat on 07.10.2013 by one of the complainants against 8 named persons making more or less same allegations made in the first two complaints with more detailed facts seeking to prosecute them for the commission of offences named in the earlier complaints.

It is these three complaints which led to registration of the FIR (CR No.I.C.R. No. 90 of 2016) on 06.06.2016 with Khatodara Police Station, Surat giving rise to filing of several criminal applications, bail petitions etc. one after the other at the instances of the named accused persons and others alleged to be involved in the cases.

These cases were filed in the lower Court, the High Court and also in this Court one after the other during the last 4 years. The Courts passed several orders with observations made therein.

The appeal filed in Supreme Court arises out of the criminal applications filed by the named accused persons in the aforementioned three complaints under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in the Gujarat High Court seeking therein a prayer to quash the aforementioned FIR.

In the Judgment the court said that we are inclined to accept the submissions of the learned counsel appearing for the Complainants finding force therein whereas we do not find any merit in the submissions urged by the learned counsel appearing for the accused persons.

The court said that:
"The High Court, in our view, failed to see the extent of its jurisdiction, which it possess to exercise while examining the legality of any FIR complaining commission of several cognizable offences by accused persons. In order to examine as to whether the factual contents of the FIR disclose any prima facie cognizable offences or not, the High Court cannot act like an investigating agency and nor can exercise the powers like an appellate Court. The question, in our opinion, was required to be examined keeping in view the contents of the FIR and prima facie material, if any, requiring no proof."

The court opined that "In our considered opinion, once the Court finds that the FIR does disclose prima facie commission of any cognizable offence, it should stay its hand and allow the investigating machinery to step in to initiate the probe to unearth the crime in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Code."

The court also said that :
"The very fact that the High Court in this case went into the minutest details in relation to every aspect of the case and devoted 89 pages judgment to quash the FIR in part lead us to draw a conclusion that the High Court had exceeded its powers while exercising its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code. We cannot concur with such approach of the High Court."


"On perusal of the three complaints and the FIR mentioned above, we are of the considered view that the complaint and FIR, do disclose a prima facie commission of various cognizable offences alleged by the complainants against the accused persons and, therefore, the High Court instead of dismissing the application filed by the accused persons in part should have dismissed the application as a whole to uphold the entire FIR in question."

The court allowed the appeals filed by the complainants, i.e., criminal appeals @ S.L.P. (Crl.) Nos. 5476 & 5475 of 2017 are allowed. The impugned judgment of the High Court set aside and the appeals filed by the accused persons, i.e., criminal appeals @ S.L.P.(Crl.) Nos. 5155, 5322, 5500 & 5867/2017 are dismissed.




Read the Judgment of Supreme Court in Dineshbhai Chandubhai Patel v. State of Gujarat & Ors. dated 5.1.2018



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