Mamidi Anil Kumar Reddy vs The State Of Andhra Pradesh on 5 February, 2024

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Supreme Court of India

Mamidi Anil Kumar Reddy vs The State Of Andhra Pradesh on 5 February, 2024

Author: Vikram Nath

Bench: Vikram Nath

2024 INSC 101




                                                                               REPORTABLE

                                         IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                        CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S).                        OF 2024
                            [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No(s). 9013 of 2023]

                             MAMIDI ANIL KUMAR REDDY                       …APPELLANT(S)

                                                           VERSUS

                             THE STATE OF ANDHRA
                             PRADESH & ANR.                              …RESPONDENT(S)

                                                            WITH
                                 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S).                        OF 2024
                            [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No(s). 9015 of 2023]


                                                           ORDER

1. Leave granted.

2. Both the appeals are being disposed of by the present
common order.

3. The present appeals arise out of orders dated (i) 11.11.2022
in Criminal Petition No. 5710 of 2021 (the ‘Impugned Order I’)
and (ii) 23.11.2022 in Criminal Petition No. 2768 of 2022 (the
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
‘Impugned Order II’), passed by the High Court of Andhra
SONIA BHASIN

Pradesh (collectively referred to as the ‘Impugned Orders’).
Date: 2024.02.12
10:26:50 IST
Reason:

SLP (Crl.) No. 9013 of 2023 Page 1 of 7

4. Vide the Impugned Orders, the High Court refused to
quash the Docket Order dated 20.07.2021 which reinitiated
criminal proceedings against the Appellants for offences u/s. 420,
498A, 506 of the IPC & u/s. 3, 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act,
1961.

Brief Facts

5. The Appellants before us are the husband and the in-laws
of Respondent No. 2 i.e., the de-facto complainant. After the case
against the Appellants for the aforementioned offences was
instituted, the parties were referred to the Lok Adalat by the Trial
Court.

6. As per the Docket Order dated 26.06.2021, the parties
entered into a compromise before the Lok Adalat and in
consideration of the same, a petition for compounding of the
offences was allowed by the Trial Court. Accordingly, the
Appellants were acquitted by the Trial Court.

7. Thereafter, Respondent No. 2 altered her position and filed
a memo before the Trial Court withdrawing her consent from the
compromise. Consequently, vide Docket Order dated 20.07.2021,
the Trial Court reopened the proceedings against the Appellants.

8. Aggrieved by this development, the Appellants
approached the High Court u/s. 482 CrPC seeking to quash the
Docket Order dated 20.07.2021 on inter alia grounds that

SLP (Crl.) No. 9013 of 2023 Page 2 of 7
Respondent No. 2 sought to reopen the criminal proceedings only
to wreak vengeance upon the Appellants.

9. In case of the Appellant-husband, vide Impugned Order II,
the High Court upheld the Docket Order dated 20.07.2021 and
the set aside the compromise between the parties in view of the
amendment1 to Sec. 320(2) CrPC, applicable to the State of
Andhra Pradesh. As per the amendment, compounding of an
offence u/s. 498A is only permissible after a lapse of three
months from the date of request for compounding.

10. In case of the in-laws, vide Impugned Order I, the High
Court refused to grant the relief sought, noting the existence of
prima facie allegations against the Appellants. However, in
recognition of the fact that the allegations were general and
omnibus in nature, the High Court dispensed with the presence
of the Appellants during the trial and furthermore, left it open for
the Trial Court to conduct trial.

Submissions & Analysis:

11. Learned Counsel for the Appellants vehemently submits
that a bare perusal of the complaint filed by Respondent No.2 and
the charge-sheet plainly discloses the absence of any necessary
ingredients of the charged offences. It is submitted that the
allegations are wholly general and omnibus in nature, made only

1
Andhra Pradesh Act 11 of 2003, sec. 2 (w.e.f. 01.08.2003)

SLP (Crl.) No. 9013 of 2023 Page 3 of 7
with the intention to harass the Appellants, amounting to an abuse
of the process of the law.

12. To buttress his contention, Learned Counsel for the
Appellants has drawn the attention of this Court to the fact that
Respondent No. 2 filed a petition seeking divorce and only
thereafter, the memo seeking reopening of the criminal
proceedings against the Appellants was filed before the Trial
Court.

13. This Court has heard the Learned Counsel for the parties
and perused the record.

14. In the considered opinion of this Court, there is significant
merit in the submissions of the Learned Counsel for the
Appellants. A bare perusal of the complaint, statement of
witnesses’ and the charge-sheet shows that the allegations against
the Appellants are wholly general and omnibus in nature; even if
they are taken in their entirety, they do not prima facie make out
a case against the Appellants. The material on record neither
discloses any particulars of the offences alleged nor discloses the
specific role/allegations assigned to any of the Appellants in the
commission of the offences.

15. The phenomenon of false implication by way of general
omnibus allegations in the course of matrimonial disputes is not
unknown to this Court. In Kahkashan Kausar alias Sonam v.

SLP (Crl.) No. 9013 of 2023 Page 4 of 7

State of Bihar2, this Court dealt with a similar case wherein the
allegations made by the complainant-wife against her in-laws u/s.
498A and others were vague and general, lacking any specific
role and particulars. The court proceeded to quash the FIR against
the accused persons and noted that such a situation, if left
unchecked, would result in the abuse of the process of law.

16. More recently, this Court in Mahmood Ali v. State of U.P.3,
while considering the principles applicable to the exercise of
jurisdiction u/s. 482 CrPC, observed as follows:

“12. At this stage, we would like to observe
something important. Whenever an accused comes
before the Court invoking either the inherent powers
under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure (CrPC) or extraordinary jurisdiction
under Article 226 of the Constitution to get the FIR
or the criminal proceedings quashed essentially on
the ground that such proceedings are manifestly
frivolous or vexatious or instituted with the ulterior
motive for wreaking vengeance, then in such
circumstances the Court owes a duty to look into the
FIR with care and a little more closely. We say so
because once the complainant decides to proceed
against the accused with an ulterior motive for
wreaking personal vengeance, etc., then he would
ensure that the FIR/complaint is very well drafted
with all the necessary pleadings. The complainant
would ensure that the averments made in the
FIR/complaint are such that they disclose the
necessary ingredients to constitute the alleged

2
[(2022) 6 SCC 599]
3
(Criminal Appeal No. 2341 of 2023)

SLP (Crl.) No. 9013 of 2023 Page 5 of 7
offence. Therefore, it will not be just enough for the
Court to look into the averments made in the
FIR/complaint alone for the purpose of ascertaining
whether the necessary ingredients to constitute the
alleged offence are disclosed or not. In frivolous or
vexatious proceedings, the Court owes a duty to
look into many other attending circumstances
emerging from the record of the case over and above
the averments and, if need be, with due care and
circumspection try to read in between the lines. The
Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Section
482 of the CrPC or Article 226 of the Constitution
need not restrict itself only to the stage of a case but
is empowered to take into account the overall
circumstances leading to the initiation/registration
of the case as well as the materials collected in the
course of investigation. Take for instance the case
on hand. Multiple FIRs have been registered over a
period of time. It is in the background of such
circumstances the registration of multiple FIRs
assumes importance, thereby attracting the issue of
wreaking vengeance out of private or personal
grudge as alleged.”

17. Considering the dicta in Mahmood Ali (supra), we find that
the High Court in this case has failed to exercise due care and has
mechanically permitted the criminal proceedings to continue
despite specifically finding that the allegations are general and
omnibus in nature. The Appellants herein approached the High
Court on inter alia grounds that the proceedings were re-initiated
on vexatious grounds and even highlighted the commencement
of divorce proceedings by Respondent No. 2. In these peculiar

SLP (Crl.) No. 9013 of 2023 Page 6 of 7
circumstances, the High Court had a duty to consider the
allegations with great care and circumspection so as to protect
against the danger of unjust prosecution.

18. As stated above, given the facts and circumstances of the
case, we find that the material on record is wholly insufficient to
proceed against the Appellants. Accordingly, the Impugned
Orders and the Docket Order dated 20.07.2021 are set aside and
the criminal proceedings against the Appellants are consequently
quashed.

19. Resultantly, the appeals stand allowed.

20. Pending applications, if any, shall also stand disposed of.

……………………………………J.
(VIKRAM NATH)

……………………………………J.
(SATISH CHANDRA SHARMA)

NEW DELHI
FEBRUARY 05, 2024

SLP (Crl.) No. 9013 of 2023 Page 7 of 7

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