'Complaint given colour of sexual offence with ulterior motive,' High Court quashes molestation FIR lodged by doctor against Afghan agent

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"In the present case, criminal proceedings have been instituted with an ulterior motive and given colour of a sexual offence," the bench said

The Delhi High Court on Monday quashed criminal proceedings initiated against an Afghan national for the offence of molestation on a complaint by a lady doctor who employed him for bringing his countrymen as patients to her clinic.

A single judge bench of Justice Amit Bansal found that the FIR has been filed in a mala fide manner and falls under the category of being manifestly frivolous and vexatious. 

Petitioner Ramez Faqiri contended a written complaint was made to the police on July 13, 2021 by the complainant-lady doctor accusing him of theft, forgery and misbehaviour. As he left the employment and joined another gastroenterologist, another complaint was made by the same doctor on September 10, 2021 accusing him of molesting her and the dietician working there.

He said the doctor has materially changed the nature of the allegations against him. While the earlier complaint alleged forgery and theft, the subsequent complaint accused him of molestation. No CCTV footage was produced, though 14 cameras were installed in the clinic.

Citing the SC's judgements in the case of 'State of Haryana Vs Bhajan Lal, (1992), Iqbal Vs State of UP (2023) and Prashant Bharti Vs State (NCT Of Delhi), (2013), the bench said it has been laid down that the High Court can go beyond the averments made in the FIR/complaint and ‘read between the lines’ to examine if the ingredients to constitute the alleged offence are made out or not. 

In order to achieve this, the High Court can take into account the overall facts and circumstances of the case. Of course, while exercising the aforesaid powers, the High Court must exercise due caution, care and circumspection, the judge quoted.

Applying the principle, the bench said in the instant case, two complaints clearly demonstrated that the complainant-doctor has substantially improved the allegations. In fact, an entirely new case has been set-up in the second complaint, inasmuch as there are no allegations with regard to forgery and stealing of money and allegations have been made regarding physical abuse and molestation, the bench pointed out.

"This is not one of the cases where the complainant was hesitant to go before the police and make a complaint regarding a sexual offence," the bench said while highlighting she is well educated doctor.

Taking a holistic view of facts and circumstances, the bench said the judicial conscience of this court is satisfied that the criminal proceedings initiated against the petitioner are "a misuse of the process of the court and an unnecessary burden on the State exchequer and ought to be quashed in exercise of the inherent powers vested under Section 482 of the CrPC".

The court, thus, quashed the FIR and the charge sheet filed against the petitioner.