JAMMU, Oct 5: State High Court today quashed FIR registered by State Vigilance Organization against SSP Mubassir Latifi with the observation that premier investigating agency of the State has given a complete go by to the Rules in the instant case.
After hearing Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi with Advocate Ravi Abrol for the petitioner whereas Deputy AG Raman Sharma for the Vigilance Organization, Justice M K Hanjura observed, “from a bare glimpse of the documents it appears that the petitioner fulfilled the condition for the grant of ownership right where after the Committee approved his case after determination of the price that had to be paid for it”.
“Assuming it for the sake of arguments but not conceding that the orders of the Committee or that of the District Collector or the Tehsildar Jammu were not in consonance with the provisions of the Act, the proper course to be adopted by the State was to challenge their validity before the competent authority and to afford the petitioner an opportunity of being heard”, High Court said.
During the course of hearing, Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi submitted that impugned FIR has been registered without following the due procedure established by law as the SSP VOJ without verifying the authenticity or genuineness of the allegations straightway registered the impugned FIR and even these allegations do not constitute any offence much less the offence punishable under Section 5(1)(d) read with 5(2) of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act.
“The ingredients of Section 5(2) of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act are not made out in the case and the impugned FIR is being used as a tool of harassing and victimizing the petitioner notwithstanding the fact that the petitioner is not involved in any offence”, he further submitted, adding “SSP VOJ by succumbing to the pressure wielded by certain vested interests has registered the impugned FIR which is an abuse of the process of law”.
Stating that impugned FIR has been registered on the basis of anonymous/pseudonymous complaint, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the instructions/circulars of the Government provide that no action is required to be taken on anonymous complaints, irrespective of the nature of allegations but the respondents have acted in utter breach of circulars issued by the Government in this regard and have not only entertained the anonymous complaint but have also registered the impugned FIR without conducting any preliminary enquiry into the matter”.
While quashing FIR against Mubassir Latifi, Justice Hanjura observed, “the law is that in exercise of the wholesome power vested in the High Court under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code corresponding to Section 561 of the J&K Criminal Procedure Code, the High Court is entitled to quash a proceeding if it comes to the conclusion that allowing the proceeding to continue would be an abuse of the process of the court or that the ends of justice require that the proceeding ought to be quashed”.
“The saving of the High Court’s inherent powers, both in civil and criminal matters, is designed to achieve a salutary public purpose which is that a court proceeding ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment or persecution. In a criminal case, the veiled object behind a lame prosecution, the very nature of the material on which the structure of the prosecution rests and the like would justify the High Court in quashing the proceeding in the interest of justice”, Justice Hanjura further said.
“As per Rule 23 of the J&K State Vigilance Commission Rules, 2013, it is mandatory for the Director of Vigilance to keep the Commission informed about the secret and open verifications and Joint Surprise Checks being conducted by it and notwithstanding the final conclusion drawn, the outcome of such verifications and surprise checks has to be necessarily shared with the Commission by the Director Vigilance”, High Court said.
“It is within the authority and the jurisdiction of the Vigilance Commission to issue directions as may be deemed appropriate after the examination of such reports for arriving at a just and logical conclusion of the case. SVC has emphatically stated in the reply that the Vigilance Organization acted not in harmony but in breach of Rule 23 of the J&K State Vigilance Commission Rules, 2013 vide which they were bound to submit the verification report before the Commission for seeking further directions before the registration of the FIR impugned”, Justice Hanjura observed, adding “the violation of this mandatory provision has perpetuated an illegality which cuts at the very root of the case”.
With these observations, Justice Hanjura allowed the petition as a consequence of which FIR No.08 of 2016 dated 09.03.2016 registered by SSP, Vigilance Organization, Jammu, through its Sr. Superintendent of Police against the petitioner for the commission of an offence under Section 5(1)(d) read with Section 5(2) of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act and 120-B of the RPC, was quashed.