The Bombay High Court, however, made it clear that using criminal law as the background of a civil dispute-conflict ling lawsuit with underlying motives amounted to an abuse of procedure.
The Aurangabad Bench, comprising Justices Abhay S. Waghwase and Mangesh S. Patil, recently dismissed the complaint against the accused based on the prior existence of a civil dispute between the accused and the complainant in the FIR. According to the complaint, the complainant alleged that he was attacked by some family members for selling their ancestral plots and was intimidated by life threats if their demands were not met. Apparently, according to the alleged complaint, no conspicuous act was involved and is believed to be attributed to the accused, Ramesh Karale. Still, surprisingly tame along with other accused persons was mentioned in the FIR. It was also found that a dispute over some ancestral land was pending in civil courts. The Bench took reference to the precedence laid down by the Apex Court and High Courts in various judgments that the use of criminal law in the backdrop of civil disputes amounts to abuse of process.
The FIR can be set aside by the High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 if criminal proceedings were commenced with the underlying motive to retaliate against a person in bad faith when a remedy lies within the civil law. Thus, the court has the inherent right to prevent the abuse of the legal process to secure equity. The Court relied on a few landmark cases like in the case of Chandran Ratnaswami v. K. C. Palanisamy and others; (2013) 6 SCC 740, the Supreme Court found a growing trend to turn wholly civil matters into criminal matters. It is the duty and obligation of criminal courts to exercise due diligence in deciding the process, especially when civil. Also, the accused had no role to play in the alleged case, and so he approached the High Court for quashing the aforesaid complaint.
The Applicant's attorney said that no such incident as alleged had taken place and that the complaint was retaliation for a complaint filed by the applicant against the complainant regarding the ancestral property. However, Public Prosecutor BV Virdhe firmly rejected the request, pointing out that there was sufficient evidence against the Applicant and it was too early to relieve him of all the accusations. The Court noted that the civil action brought by the Applicant, Ramesh Karale and other charges against the Complainant was timely brought. This Criminal complaint is in the background of a civil dispute between the parties. The Bombay High Court, however, made it clear that using criminal law as the background of a civil dispute-conflict ling lawsuit with underlying motives amounted to an abuse of procedure.
Tags : #High Court #Bombay #Criminalcase #Civildispute #FIR