Quashing of FIR Where Accused is not Named


First Information Report (FIR) marks the beginning of the criminal justice process. It provides details about circumstances, facts and other relevant information surrounding an alleged offence. This becomes complicated when the identity of the accused is not known. This further results in uncertainty around the manner of identification and subsequent treatment of an unnamed accused. Dealing with an unnamed accused introduces complexity in the proceedings, 1 especially in the process of quashing an FIR. The law does allow for the annulment or dismissal of charges levelled against an unnamed accused. 2

Section 482 serves as a sentinel, equipped to prevent the abuse of any court's process and secure justice. The discretionary powers conferred upon the High Court include quashing FIRs, curbing harassment, and guaranteeing a fair investigation. Judicial discretion is rooted in the principles of justice, equity, and good conscience. This discretionary power is not absolute. Courts, in wielding this authority, tread cautiously, delicately balancing the scales between the rights of the accused and the demands of justice. 3

Grounds for Quashing

  • Lack of Prima Facie Evidence
    According to guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, “where the allegations made in the First Information Report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima-facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused”, 4 power under Article 226 and Section 482 of Cr.PC “could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.” 5
  • False or Frivolous Accusations
    The Supreme Court has observed that, “in frivolous or vexatious proceedings, the Court owes a duty to look into many other attending circumstances emerging from the record of the case over and above the averments and, if need be, with due care and circumspection try to read in between the lines. The Court while exercising its jurisdiction Under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or Article 226 of the Constitution need not restrict itself only to the stage of a case but is empowered to take into account the overall circumstances leading to the initiation/registration of the case as well as the materials collected in the course of investigation. 6
  • Settlement between Parties
    It was observed by the Supreme Court that cases involving prosecution for criminal offences are not suitable for ADR process having regard to their nature. 7 However, this practice sees deviation where parties have amicably resolved their dispute which led to the criminal prosecution. It was observed by the Supreme Court that “certain offences which overwhelmingly and predominantly bear civil flavour having arisen out of civil, mercantile, commercial, financial, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony, particularly relating to dowry, etc. or the family dispute, where the wrong is basically to victim and the offender and victim have settled all disputes between them amicably, irrespective of the fact that such offences have not been made compoundable, the High Court may within the framework of its inherent power, quash the criminal proceeding or criminal complaint or F.I.R.” 8

When Accused is Not Named/Known

  1. Where some of the accused of all accused are not known Where only few accused are known, it has been observed that courts follow the general rules of quashing an FIR, unless circumstances demand otherwise. For example, in The State of Madhya Pradesh v. Laxmi Narayan and Ors. 9 FIR was lodged against the respondent and two unknown persons. The known accused and complainant reached a compromise and so the FIR was quashed.
  2. When an unknown accused is subsequently identified In practice, such a scenario also leads to the application of general rules of quashing an FIR.
  3. When no accused can be identified In such instance, investigating authorities also file a closure report.


Navigating the intricate realm of nullifying First Information Reports (FIRs) when the alleged wrongdoer remains anonymous unveils pivotal insights. From the foundational significance of FIRs as the start of criminal proceedings to the nuanced challenges faced by those unnamed individuals accused, the exploration sheds light on critical facets of the legal landscape. The discussion on grounds for quashing, the judiciary's role, challenges encountered by the accused, and procedural intricacies provides a comprehensive overview of the subject matter.

The legal expedition concerning the quashing of FIRs for unnamed accused parties unfolds as a dynamic narrative. As presented through the study of landmark cases and legal precedents, the judicial interpretation of relevant statutes continually undergoes evolution. Recent developments and amendments to legal provisions underscore the adaptability of the legal system to contemporary challenges, shaping the criteria and procedures for seeking the quashing of FIRs.

The ever-changing nature of this legal process serves as a testament to the responsiveness of the legal system to emerging complexities and a dedication to ensuring justice. It underscores the imperative for ongoing dialogue, legal scholarship, and a nuanced understanding of the rights and challenges faced by unnamed accused individuals. In conclusion, the odyssey of quashing FIRs for unnamed accused reflects a legal system in perpetual motion, striving to maintain a delicate equilibrium between justice, fairness, and legal efficacy.

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