Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  1. Saving of inherent powers of High Court. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.
When can it be exercised?

(i) to give effect to an order under the CrPC.

(ii) to prevent abuse of the process of court, and

(iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice.

R.P. Kapur v. State of Punjab[1]

categories of cases where inherent power can and should be exercised to quash the proceedings:

(i) where it manifestly appears that there is a legal bar against the institution or continuance of the proceedings;

(ii) where the allegations in the first information report or complaint taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not constitute the offence alleged;

(iii) where the allegations constitute an offence, but there is no legal evidence adduced or the evidence adduced clearly or manifestly fails to prove the charge.

Nature and Scope

The powers possessed by the High Court under section 482 of the Code are very wide and the very plenitude of the power requires great caution in its exercise. The court must be careful to see that its decision in exercise of this power is based on sound principles. The inherent power should not be exercised to stifle a legitimate prosecution. The High Court should normally refrain from giving a prima facie decision in a case where all the facts are incomplete and hazy; more so, when the evidence has not been collected and produced before the court and the issues involved, whether factual or legal, are of such magnitude that they cannot be seen in their true perspective without sufficient material. Of course, no hard and fast rule can be laid down in regard to cases in which the High Court will exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction of quashing the proceedings at any stage.[2]

State of Karnataka v. L. Muniswamy & Others[3]

the wholesome power under section 482 Cr.P.C. entitles the High Court to quash a proceeding when 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 High Courts have been invested with inherent powers, both in civil and criminal matters, to achieve a salutary public purpose. A court proceeding ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment or persecution. The court observed in this case that ends of justice are higher than the ends of mere law though justice must be administered according to laws made by the legislature.

Janata Dal v. H.S. Chowdhary & Ors.[4]

The criminal courts are clothed with inherent power to make such orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice. Such power though unrestricted and undefined should not be capriciously or arbitrarily exercised, but should be exercised in appropriate cases, ex debito justitiae to do real and substantial justice for the administration of which alone the courts exist. The powers possessed by the High Court under section 482 of the Code are very wide and the very plentitude of the power requires great caution in its exercise. Courts must be careful to see that its decision in exercise of this power is based on sound principles.

Roy V.D. v. State of Kerala[5]

 power under section 482 Cr.P.C has to be exercised by the High Court, inter alia, to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Where criminal proceedings are initiated based on illicit material collected on search and arrest which are per se illegal and vitiate not only a conviction and sentence based on such material but also the trial itself, the proceedings cannot be allowed to go on as it cannot but amount to abuse of the process of the court; in such a case not quashing the proceedings would perpetuate abuse of the process of the court resulting in great hardship and injustice to the accused. In our opinion, exercise of power under section 482 CrPC to quash proceedings in a case like the one on hand, would indeed secure the ends of justice.

Test to be applied

Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia & Others v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre & Others[6]

when a prosecution at the initial stage is asked to be quashed, the test to be applied by the court is as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as made prima facie establish the offence. It is also for the court to take into consideration any special features which appear in a particular case to consider whether it is expedient and in the interest of justice to permit a prosecution to continue. This is so on the basis that the court cannot be utilized for any oblique purpose and where in the opinion of the court chances of an ultimate conviction is bleak and, therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue, the court may while taking into consideration the special facts of a case also quash the proceeding even though it may be at a preliminary stage.


[1] R.P.Kaur v. State of Punjab, AIR 1960 SC 866.

[2] Inder Mohan Goswami & Anr v. State Of Uttaranchal & Other.

[3] State of Karnataka v. L. Muniswamy & Others (1977) 2 SCC 699.

[4] Janata Dal v. H. S. Chowdhary & Others (1992) 4 SCC 305.

[5] Roy V.D. v. State of Kerala (2000) 8 SCC 590.

[6] Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia & Others v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre & Others(1988) 1 SCC 692.


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