HCs cannot stretch inherent power: SC

HCs cannot stretch inherent power: SC

The Supreme Court has declared that high courts cannot stretch its inherent power to any extent and act like an investigating agency to examine minute details of complaints for quashing FIRs.

"In order to examine as to whether the factual contents of the FIR disclose any prima facie cognisable offences or not, the high court cannot act like an investigating agency and nor can (it) exercise the powers like an appellate court," a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Saphre said.

Dealing with the powers of the high courts invoked under Article 226 (writ)  of the Constitution and Section 482 (orders passed to secure ends of justice) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the bench said the parameters laid down must always be kept in mind, otherwise it would lead to committing  a jurisdictional error in deciding the case.

The court explained the legal position while directing the Gujarat Police to complete its investigation into  an FIR registered for cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy by some persons in Surat to defraud people  of their land.

It allowed appeals filed by complainants and dismissed the plea by the accused.

"The very fact that the high court in this case went into the minutest details in relation to every  aspect of the case and devoted an 89-page judgment to quash the FIR lead us to draw a conclusion that the high court had exceeded its powers while exercising its inherent jurisdiction  under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code," the bench said.

"The inherent powers of the high court, which are obviously not defined being inherent in its very  nature, cannot be stretched to any extent," the court said.

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