In the Supreme Court of India Case No. Criminal Miscellaneous No. 9041-M of 1989 Equivalent Citation: 1996 AIR 309, 1995 SCC (6) 194 Petitioner Mrs. Rupan Deol Bajaj & Anr Respondent Kanwar Pal Singh Gill & Anr Decided on 12th October, 1995 Bench M.K. Mukherjee, A.S. Anand
Background of the Case
This case is popularly known as “The Butt Slapping Case”. On 29th July, 188 Mrs. Rupa Baja who was senior IAS officer of Punjab Cadre lodged a complaint against DGP of Chandigarh Police, Mr. K.P.S. Gill under §§ 341, 342, 352, 354, and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Her complaint was treated as First Information Report by the Central Police Station, Chandigarh and investigation for the alleged offence was initiated against Mr. Gill.
Another complaint was also filed by the husband of Mrs. Bajaj, who was also a senior IAS officer, to Chief Judicial Magistrate (JM) alleging that as Mr. Gill is a senior inspector of Chandigarh Police the investigation, against him, will not be conducted in fair and impartial manner and looking into the complaint CJM directed Judicial Magistrate into the matter and as per the directions of CJM the learned Magistrate called for the investigation report.
In the meantime Mr. Gill filed a petition in the High Court for quashing FIR and was able to get interim order of stay on the investigation and later High Court by its order dated 29th May, 1989 quashed both FIR and complaint against Mr. Gill.
Aggrieved by the impugned judgment of the Honorable High Court both Mr. and Mrs. Bajaj filed an appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court.
Statutes and Provisions involved
- Sections 95, 341, 342, 352, 354, and 509 of the Indian Penal Code.
- Section 157, 482 of Criminal Procedural Code, 1973 (Cr. P. C)
1. Whether a prima facie case to go to the trial was made or not?
2. Whether High Court was justified in quashing the complaint and FIR against Mr. Gill or not?
Facts of the Case:
On 18th July, 1988 a party was organized by Shri S.L. Kapur, a common colleague of both the parties. Around 20 to 25 couples were there at the party. Mr. & Mrs. Baja were also there in them. Mr. Gill was attending the party but was without his wife.
Around 10:00 pm Mr. Gill walked and joined the circle where only ladies were sitting. He asked Mrs. Bajaj to come and sit near him and the reason he gave was that he wants to discuss something important with her. Mrs. Bajaj responding to his request came near his chair to occupy a vacant one. Suddenly he dragged the chair on which she was going to sit near his chair, and repeated this action when she dragged it back to its original position.
Offended by this act Mr. Gill she moved back to join the company of ladies, and after 10 minutes of this scene Mr. Gill again approached Mrs. Bajaj and asked her to get up immediately and come along with him. She strongly objected this act and she drew her chair and turned backward. Mr. Gill suddenly slapped her on her posterior in front of others.
So, aggrieved by this act of Mr. Gill she filed a complaint against him. When the FIR and complaint was quashed by the impugned order oh High Court she decided to go for an appeal at the apex court of country.
Contentions of both the Parties:
Counsel on behalf of Petitioners: Mrs. Indira Jaisingh
It was strongly contended by the petitioners that High Court while exercising its power under § 482 of Cr.P.C. has violated the general principles of law in the present case by interfering with the statutory powers of police to investigate into cognizable offences. She also contended that high court relied on § 95 of IPC in its findings and which is totally unjustified as when modesty of a woman is involved the section cannot be applied.
Mrs. Jaisingh also argued that High Court has committed grave injustice by quashing F.I.R. on the ground that an unusual delay has been made in lodging of F.I.R. while the complainant has clearly explained reason for delay in F.I.R. itself and which is perfectly satisfactory.
Counsel on behalf of respondents: Mr. Tulsi, Additional Solicitor General
It was contended by the respondents that the allegations raised in F.I.R. were within the purview of § 95 and High Court was totally justified in quashing F.I.R. as it was maliciously lodged and the complainant is trying to take revenge of personal grudges by falsely implicating Mr. Gill in the court case.
It was also submitted by Mr. Tulsi in fairness that however, court is not in quashing F.I.R. on the ground of unusual delay in lodging F.I.R. But he was strongly contended that defense of § 95 is totally justifiable in the present case and its facts.
It was directed by Apex Court to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Chandigarh to take cognizance upon the police report for the offences under §§ 354 and 509 of IPC. It was also stated by the bench that the appeal was filed in order to determine that whether prima facie case for investigation exist or not and by looking in to the matter we direct CJM only to start the investigation and it will be upon his/her discretion by looking into the evidences that accused must be punished or not.
So, the appeal of Mr. & Mrs. Bajaj was allowed and adequate relief was given to them by quashing the impugned judgment of the High Court.
Concepts Highlighted in the Case:
In the present case it was highlighted that quashing of F.I.R. merely on the grounds of delay in its lodging is totally unjustifiable and the court while quashing a complaint must consider the reason behind in its delay. It can also interpret that court was accepting this fact that § 95 of IPC will not be applicable in the cases where modesty of a woman is involved.
It can be concluded that quashing of F.I.R. and complaint by the High Court must be based on some sound and justifiable grounds and it will be grave injustice for the parties if the general principles of law will be neglected and especially in the cases where vulnerable section of society is in concern.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje