Inherent power of High Court under section 482 of criminal procedure code ,1973

Introduction of Inherent power of High Court.

In criminal procedure in chapter 37 in section 482 under the heading “miscellaneous”. It deals with the inherent power of High Court. “Saving clause of inherent power of High Court”. This section deals with power of court to pass any order son as to ensure justice. It can prevent the abuse of process of any court and ensure justice to every needed one.It gives power to the court to quash the proceedings of lower courts or also to quash the first information report.

The procedure for invoking the inherent powers is regulated by those rules and regulations which were framed by the High Courts itself and the power to males such rules and regulations is conferred by the Indian Constitution.

Inherent power of High Court under section 482

Under section 482 of criminal procedure inherent powers includes power to quash FIR, investigation or any criminal proceedings pending before the courts subordinate to H.C or High Courts.The court always put an eye on the miscarriage of justice and prevent the same by exercising its powers u/s 482 of criminal procedure.

The FIR, investigation,or criminal proceeding has to be quash if it is in the opinion that has been filed with malicious intention or false complaint.

However it is well settled that the inherent powers can be exercised only when no other remedy is available to the litigant and where no specific remedy is provided by the statute.

In Narinder singh v state of Punjab(2014), the SC has laid down certain objectives to be followed by high courts while deciding matters under section 482 criminal procedure.

  1. Prevent abuse of the process of the court.
  2. Secure the ends of justice.
  3. To give effect to an order under the code.

Grounds for quashing a First information Report.

In case of Haryana v Bhajan lal, the following grounds were laid down..

  • That the allegations donot prima facie constitute any offense or make out any case against the accused.
  • That the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence .
  • That the evidence collected do not disclose the commission of an offence.
  • That the criminal proceeding is instituted maliciously or with mala-fide intention with an ulterior motive for taking vengeance on the accused.
  • That allegations don’t constitute sufficient grounds for proceedings against the accused.

Why inherent powers are reserved for only High courts ? [for criminal cases]

Criminal matters are more grave in nature. Let the exercising of inherent power by the court  who has a more experience ie  High Court. In criminal matters, it is a matter of rights and personal Liberty of an individual, so more experienced court should have the inherent power.

Magistrate’s have also inherent power, but it will not be called as  inherent power. It will be ancillary or implied  power of magistrate.

Interpretation of word nothing and not withstanding under section 482 crpc

 1)The word nothing has been used and not not withstanding and therefore the purpose is to create a saving clause and not a  Overriding clause. The Larger purpose of the express provisions of criminal procedure is to do justice in the particular Case and to do the balancing of interest b/w the society and the accused. However there may  have been certain areas on which criminal procedure may be found to be silent or  where a new situation  arise. Here it may be a situation of non- liquet (absence af law).

 2)The purpose of inherent power also is to do ultimate justice in the case and therefore there cannot be read as a conflict between the provisions of criminal procedure and the inherent power. Therefore section 482 did not use the word not with standing • Not withstanding would have suggested that conflict between the provisions of criminal procedure and the inherent power which is not the case.

The use of the word ‘nothing’ suggest that the court has to first of all examine the express and implied provisions of criminal procedure and still if it is find that the provisions are silent or are inadequate upon that matter then the court exercise its inherent power to do complete justice in the case. The use of the word  ‘nothing’ is suggestive of complimentary between the provisions of criminal procedure and the inherent powers.

The inherent powers are not conferred or created by the criminal procedure rather it is only acknowledged or declared by the criminal procedure. Moreover the inherent powers cannot be created pr conferred rather they can only be declared. The High court has the inherent powers simply because it is a court of justice and it has to do ultimate justice in the case before it.

3)The High Court alone has been declared to be having the inherent powers as per section 482 that does not mean that the other criminal Courts do not have such powers. The magistrate’s also have such powers but they cannot be inherent powers and such powers are reserved for only for High courts.

The magistrate’s still will have implied, incidental or ancillary powers which are there within the express power given to such courts in the criminal procedure.

In criminal procedure only the High Court has inherent power the reason being that the criminal law would affect the society at Large and also it involves arrest ,imprisonment etc which may affect the fundamental rights of the individuals and therefore as a  matter of policy the power has been reserved only for the superior court i.e the High Courts.

4) There may in the interest be cases where express prohibition is there but still in the interest of justice the court believes that in order to do final justice to the case  it is required to read that provision as directory  not mandatory. The court can always in the interest of justice circumvent the express provision.


The High Court under section 482 has wide scope and powers . The very important power is to secure ends of justice and prevent abuse of the power.However as the scope of section 482 is wide , it can be easily misused. Hence, adequate guidelines should be laid down to prevent such misuse. The power should be utilized cautiously.

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