‘Intolerant and insensitive behaviour’: Delhi HC on altercation between neighbours over scratches on a car

In a plea seeking quashing of an FIR in a case where the owner of a car was beaten up by the parents of a 13-year-old with a “cricket bat” after he slapped the boy for scratching his car, the Delhi High Court expressed dismay over the insensitive conduct of both parties, calling it “unacceptable”.

A single judge bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh, in his order of November 2, observed: “This is a case which shows total lack of tolerance and sensitivity for neighbours by both the parties. The respondent No.2 (car owner) has slapped the 13 years old child for scratching his car. In turn, the parents of the child came out with a cricket bat and a wicket to hit the respondent No.2. This is not an acceptable state of affairs.”

The HC was hearing a plea seeking quashing of a 2017 FIR registered under Sections 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and proceedings emanating from there.

The FIR states that the complainant (car owner) had slapped a 13-year-old boy for “scratching his car”. Thereafter, the boy’s parents had an altercation with the complainant wherein they hit him with a “cricket bat and a wicket”, pursuant to which the complainant suffered head injuries which are stated to be “simple” in nature.

The parties had subsequently resolved the disputes among them and entered into a “settlement agreement” on September 13, deciding to initiate proceedings for quashing the FIR.

During the course of the hearing before the HC, the parties submitted that they had arrived at the settlement out of their own free will and without any undue influence, threat, pressure or coercion. The complainant said that he had no objection if the FIR was quashed.

The HC, however, was of the view that although the dispute was settled, the case was of 2017 where a chargesheet had already been filed and considerable time of the police as well as the judiciary had been “wasted” which “should have and could have been better utilised”.

Holding that the conduct of the parties was unacceptable, the HC observed that they must do some “social good”. The HC directed one of the parents, who owned a stationery shop, to provide a stationery kit to “100 needy students” of an MCD school to be identified by the concerned Investigating Officer of the Burari police station. The HC added that the kit shall include one notebook of approximately 200 pages along with two pens, one pencil and one eraser. The HC further directed the complainant to pay a cost of Rs 10,000 to the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee. Setting aside the FIR the HC listed the matter for compliance on January 24, 2023.

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