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The petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, coupled with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, seeks to quash FIR No. 248/2023 dated 23.09.2023, filed at Police Station Special Cell for offenses under Sections 419/420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The FIR was lodged based on a complaint by the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, alleging that the petitioner runs an NGO named Modi Charitable Trust and misrepresents its association with the Prime Minister. It is claimed that the petitioner uses the Prime Minister’s name and image to solicit donations for the Trust. The petitioner was arrested on 09.02.2024 and granted bail on 26.02.2024. The petitioner’s counsel contends that the ‘Modi Charitable Trust’ was established for various social purposes like education and the provision of hostels and libraries. 

The petitioner argues that the FIR fails to disclose any criminal offense, particularly under Section 420/419 of the IPC, and suggests that it was filed with the intent to harass. Conversely, the State’s counsel contends that the petitioner deceived the public by operating an NGO named ‘Modi Charitable Trust,’ implying an association with the Prime Minister. They argue that the petitioner’s use of the surname ‘Modi’ is misleading, given his actual surname is ‘Pandey.’ The State emphasizes that the inherent powers under Section 482 of the CrPC should be sparingly exercised, only when the allegations in the FIR do not prima facie indicate an offense. 

To establish offenses under Sections 420/419 of the IPC, it’s crucial to prove dishonest inducement by impersonating someone else to gain unlawfully at the expense of others. Specific allegations suggest that the petitioner collected donations using the Prime Minister’s surname and image, despite not being named ‘Modi.’ These actions allegedly deceived people into donating. Therefore, the FIR indicates the commission of cognizable offenses. The police have the statutory right and duty to investigate such offenses thoroughly, especially considering the allegations are serious. Thus, the court, while considering its powers under Section 482 of the CrPC, should not impede the ongoing investigation.

When the allegations in the FIR indicate the commission of a cognizable offense, the court is not required to assess the merits of the allegations at the initial stage. Instead, it must allow the investigating agency to conduct its investigation. Based on the facts and discussions presented, the court finds no grounds to quash FIR No. 248/2023. The petitioner can present their arguments before the trial court, which will handle them according to the law. Therefore, the present petition is dismissed, along with any pending applications. 

Case Title : PAWAN PANDEY VS STATE OF NCT, W.P.(CRL) 842/2024 & CRL.M.A. 7874/2024 

Written by: Ayesha Hussain, College name : Surendranath Law College, 4th year B.A.LL.B(HONS), Intern under Legal Vidhiya 

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