'Sessions Court Doesn't Have Power To Quash FIR': Bombay HC

'Sessions Court Doesn't Have Power To Quash FIR': Bombay HC

The sessions court has the powers to stay a magistrate’s order. In case the FIR is not registered by the police, then the interim stay restrains the police from lodging the FIR and then probing the case.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Sunday, April 14, 2024, 10:41 AM IST
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Mumbai: A three-judge bench of the Bombay High Court has held that a sessions court does not have the powers and hence cannot quash an FIR. However, the sessions court can interfere with and stay an order passed by a magistrate by which it has directed the police to register an FIR in a private complaint.

Through a private complaint, an aggrieved person can approach a magistrate seeking direction to the police to register an FIR and investigate a cognisable offence. The magistrate has power under section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to direct registration of an FIR.

What Powers Does Sessions Court Have?

The sessions court has the powers to stay a magistrate’s order. In case the FIR is not registered by the police, then the interim stay restrains the police from lodging the FIR and then probing the case.

However, if the FIR is already registered before the sessions court passes the order, then the sessions court can stay further probe and also quash the magistrate’s order directing registration of an FIR.

In the case, where an FIR is filed or chargesheet is filed, the sessions court order quashing the lower court's order would not amount to quashing of the FIR or the criminal proceedings.

The issue had come for reference before a full bench after a sessions court at Kalyan quashed a magistrate’s order directing registration of an FIR and directing a probe against former KDMC commissioner and town planning assistant directors. The magistrate had passed the order on a private complaint filed by an ex-corporator Arun Gidh alleging cheating against the civic officials.

Gidh and others had challenged the sessions court order before the HC.

Their counsel Aabad Ponda argued that a sessions court does not have the powers to quash an FIR or chargesheet. He submitted that only the High court has the power under section 482 of the CrPC to quash an FIR and chargesheet.

However, senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for Mafatlal Industries which had intervened in the matter, opposed the plea contending that the sessions court under section 386 (e) of CrPC read in juxtaposition with section 397 (revisional power) has powers of “wide amplitude” to pass order that are “just or proper”. And consequential impact of sessions court setting aside the magistrate order would mean quashing of the FIR too.

The HC bench comprising Justices Revati Mohite Dere, NJ Jamadar and Sharmila Deshmukh, however, said that the power to quash investigations or prosecutions lies within the realm of writ jurisdiction under the Constitution or inherent powers under Section 482 of the CrPC, aimed at preventing abuse of the legal process or ensuring justice.

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