FIR Not to be Quashed On Mere Reason of Delay in Investigation: Hyderabad High Court

The High Court of Hyderabad had pointed out that an FIR cannot be quashed merely on the reason that the investigation was delayed or was prolonged. If such delay is without any justified cause or the accused was deprived of fair trial, then exemption can be allowed. The bench consisted of Justice U Durga Prasad Rao who expressed his statement when considering a petition initiated by an officer that requests the court to quash the proceeding of a case which was already pending in front of special judge appointed to deal with for ACB cases at Visakhapatnam.

On September 10, ACB had lodged an FIR against the officer who is accused for commission of offence punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Subsequent to the investigation in 14th December, charge sheet was also filed. This officer was junior assistant the office of the Collector and had to undertake responsibilities at different places and hence he also acted as sub-registrar of grade-II and thereafter retired from service in 2012. During the period of service, he was found guilty of misappropriating assets worth Rs 75 lakhs approximately. He failed to explain the source of his income and hence was charged with this offence. It was stated in the charge sheet that permission is necessary for his prosecution as he is a retired person. Hence the case was registered by the special judge for ACB cases. The officer therefore filed a petition to quash the proceedings.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that Government declined to give permission to prosecute him according to Prevention of Corruption Act but asked the officer to explain his defence in front of the tribunal for the purpose of conducting inquiry. ACB submitted the charge sheet with the submission that permission was not essential for the prosecution of the officer as he is retired person from 2012. Such action of ACB amounts to abuse of law. Moreover, the charges sheet was also filed after a long gap of four years, the advocate submitted before the court. But the advocate for ACB refused to accept those submissions and stated that the government did not give permission to prosecute the officer. After the arguments the court dismissed the petition and said that proceedings of a case cannot be quashed for the simple reason that investigation was delayed.