The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has refused to quash FIRs against the media outlet Kashmiriyat and Kashmir Walla for publishing an article alleging use of force by the Army for celebrating Republic Day at a school.
The main allegation in the report on the basis of which FIR has been registered and which is under investigation, is that a false news was carried by the petitioners with regard to the celebrations of Republic Day in the school Siraj-ul-Uloom and it was alleged in such publication that the school was forced by the Army to celebrate and conduct such function. The complaint is that false accusation regarding use of force for celebrating the Republic Day by the school was alleged against the Army authorities. It is on the basis of said allegation that accused is alleged to have committed offences under Section 153, 505 IPC.
The petitioner seeks exercise of inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the impugned FIR. Thus, it would be appropriate to say that the scope of Section 482 Cr.P.C. is well defined and inherent powers could be exercised by the High Court to give effect to an order under the Code, to prevent abuse of the process of court; and to otherwise secure the ends of justice. This extraordinary power is to be exercised ex debito justitiae.
However, in exercise of powers, it is not permissible for the High Court to appreciate the evidence as it can only evaluate material documents on record to the extent of its prima facie satisfaction about existence of sufficient ground for proceedings against accused and the court cannot look into materials, acceptability of which is essentially a matter for trial.
The single judge bench of Justice Vinod Chatterjee Koul noted that Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers. It only recognises and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court. The High Court, while forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint or FIR should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr. P.C., must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power. While inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude, it has to be exercised to secure ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of the process of any court.
“Since the allegations contained in the complaint on the basis of which the FIR in question has been registered allege commission of offences punishable under Section 153, 505 IPC, which requires to be investigated by the police and during the investigation, the defence which may be available to the petitioners can be taken and after the investigation is concluded, the police has to find out whether or not offences for which the FIR has been registered are made out or not,” the court while dismissing the petition said.
Case: Shah Fahad Peerzada v. UT of J&K
Citation: CRM(M) no. 76/2021
Date of Decision: 17-11-2022