The Inherent Powers of the High Court
Inherent Powers are those powers that are not mentioned anywhere in the code. Inherent power or the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court may be exercised in a proper case either to prevent the abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. These powers of the High Court should be used only in exceptional cases.
In the following cases, the inherent power of the High Court could be exercised to quash the proceedings-
1. Where there is a legal bar against the institution or continuance of the proceedings.
2. Where the allegation in the First Information Report (FIR) or complaint does not constitute the offence alleged.
3. Where there is no legal evidence adduced in support of the charge or the evidence adduced clearly or failed to prove the charge.
The above list of points is not exhaustive. High Court may exercise its inherent power in other situations as well to serve the ends of justice.
When to Use Inherent Power
In Divine Retreat Centre vs State of Kerala, SC 2008, the Supreme Court held that there are three circumstances under which the inherent jurisdiction under section 482 of CrPC may be exercised-
1. To give effect to an order under the code.
2. To prevent abuse of the process of the courts.
3. To otherwise secure the ends of justice.
The High Court does not have the power to quash the proceedings in police investigation consequent upon an FIR made to the police in a cognizable case. It has no power to interface with the legal rights of the police to investigate a cognizable case.
Note: No limitation period has been prescribed for making an application under section 482 of CrPC. However, the application is to be filed within a reasonable time.
Can Not Order Stay of Arrest
In Ashok Kumar Singh vs State of Bihar CrLT SC 1993, the Supreme Court held that the High Court, while exercising its jurisdiction under section 482, can not order the stay of the arrest of the accused during the investigation.
Investigation After Charge Sheet
In State of Punjab vs CBI and others, SC 2011, the Supreme Court held that fresh investigation or re-investigation after the filing of charge sheet by police could be ordered by High Court under section 482 of CrPC to secure the ends of justice. Further held that inherent powers of the High Court are not limited or affected by section 173(8).
Cancellation of Bail by High Court
For the ends of justice, the High Court may order for the cancellation of bail using its inherent powers under section 482.
Quashing of FIR by High Court
In DC Jain vs UOI, 1994, Punjab and Haryana High Court: The allegation in FIR prima facie constituted the offence of cheating, and a civil suit was also pending in respect of the same offence. It was held that the pendency of civil suit is no ground for quashing the FIR.
Quashing of charge → Yes
Quashing of charge sheet → Yes
Quashing FIR on Account of Delay
It was held in Jagdish Ram vs the State of Rajasthan that FIR does not deserve to be quashed by the High Court in the exercise of power under section 482 of the code merely on account of delay.