JKL High Court Upholds Prosecution in 2011 Drug Kit Scam, Emphasizes Limited Power to Quash Criminal Proceedings

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has dismissed a series of petitions seeking the quashing of an FIR in a 2011 drug kit scam case, asserting that the power to quash criminal proceedings must be exercised with extreme caution and only in exceptional circumstances.

In a ruling by Justice Sanjay Dhar, the court stated that when considering a petition for quashing an FIR, it is the court’s duty to determine whether the allegations in the FIR disclose the commission of a cognizable offense. The court clarified that it is not required to analyze the merits of the allegations and must allow the investigating agency to carry out its investigation. Furthermore, the court stressed that the power to quash criminal proceedings should be used sparingly, reserving it for the rarest of rare cases, and that the court should not question the credibility or genuineness of the allegations.

The bench concluded that the petitions lacked merit and ordered the vacation of any interim directions that may have been issued.

Advocates Rahul Sharma and S.S. Ahmed represented the petitioners, while Senior AAG Monika Kohli appeared for the respondents.

The batch of three petitions challenged the FIR filed under Section 5(1)(d) read with Section 5(2) of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006, and Section 120-B RPC, registered with the Police Station Vigilance Organization in Jammu. The FIR alleged irregularities in the purchase of medicines worth crores of rupees by the Director of Health Services, Jammu, without adhering to proper procedures and instructions.

It was further alleged that the medicines were procured from firms that had been permanently de-registered/blacklisted by the Directorate General Health Services. A preliminary inquiry revealed that the Mission Director of NHRM had requested the Director of Health Services, Jammu, to procure drug kits from Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Considering the circumstances, the High Court stated, “These allegations against the petitioners/Managing Directors are in their personal capacity, so it is not a case where they are being prosecuted in respect of the acts committed by the Companies of which they happen to be the Managing Directors.” The court emphasized that the question of whether the conspiracy allegations against the petitioners would be established could only be determined after the completion of the investigation and subsequent consideration by the Special Judge for framing charges.

The court maintained that the FIR clearly indicated the commission of cognizable offenses and that the material collected by the investigating agency during the investigation prima facie implicated the petitioners.

Consequently, the court dismissed the pleas.

Suhas Laxman Phadke & Anr. v. State of J&K


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