Recently, the Supreme Court has observed that quashing of a complaint should be a rarity and exception rather than an ordinary rule.
This observation was made when the Supreme Court refused to quash an FIR which was registered against Skoda- Volkswagen over cheat emission devices that were installed in their vehicles.
It was further observed that if the perusal of FIR leads to disclosure of an offence, then the Courts are barred from usurping the jurisdiction of the police. According to the Bench, the two organs of the State operate in two different and specific spheres of activities, and they ought not to tread over each other.
The bench clarified that only in cases where no cognisable offence or offence of any kind are disclosed in the FIR, in such cases only, the Court would not allow an investigation to proceed.
Arguments put forth:
Following arguments were raised by the appellants:
The police don’t have the power to investigate an issue, where the substratum of the case was sub judice before this very Court in civil appeals arising out of order of the NGT.
That the Hon’ble High Court failed to notice the long delay on the part of respondent no.3 in lodging the complaint.
Reasoning of the Court:
The Court referred to Privy Council in King-Emperor vs Khwaja Nazir Ahmed and observed that the Courts could not ‘thwart’ any investigation and the Courts can only stop investigations only in cases where there was no cognisable offence or when the FIR does not disclose such investigation.
The case, State of Haryana vs Bhajan Lal was also relied on by the Court where it was held that the power of quashing should be used sparingly and should be used only in rarest of the rare cases.
Regarding the second issue, the Court held that a mere delay on the part of the complainant in lodging the complainant could not itself be a ground to quash the FIR and further observed that substratum of the police complaint was not part of the subject matter of the case before them which arose out of NGT’s order.
The Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition.