a woman files 498a, 406 etc claiming husband and co demanded 25 lakhs. later she takes 45 lakhs as “settlement”. Then she agrees to quash as well !! this is the sick nature of these 498a etc cases !!
IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
CRL.M.C. 441/2016 & Crl.M.A. No. 1845/2016
Date of Decision : May 10th, 2016
UMANG GOYAL ….. Petitioner
Through: Mr. Sanjeev Shai, Advocate
STATE AND ANR ….. Respondent
Through: Ms. Manjeet Arya, Additional Public
Prosecutor for the State with Sub-Inspector Raj Kumar, CAW Cell/E.
Mr. Ajay Kumar, Advocate for respondent No. 2
CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE P.S.TEJI
- The present petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has been filed by the petitioner, namely, Sh. Umang Goel through his SPA Sh. Mahesh Chandra Agarwal for quashing of FIR No.360/2013 dated 16.08.2013, under Sections 498A/406/34 IPC registered at Police Station Pandav Nagar on the basis of Memorandum of Understanding arrived at between petitioner no.1 through his SPA Sh. Mahesh Chandra Agarwal and respondent no.2, Smt. Sonia Rawat on 13.10.2015.
- Learned Additional Public Prosecutor for respondent-State submitted that the respondent No.2, present in the Court has been identified to be the complainant/first-informant in the FIR in question by her counsel.
- The factual matrix of the present case is that the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent no.2 was solemnized on 23.04.2009. The family of the husband of the complainant was not satisfied with the dowry and demanded Rs. 25 Lacs. The husband of the complainant along with his other family members used to daily beat and abuse the complainant. The complainant was forced to leave her job in Nov, 2009 and was put to menial house chores. They strategically extorted an amount of Rs. 9.5 Lakhs and jewellery worth Rs. 15 Lacs from the parents of the complainant while subjecting the complainant to physical and mental torture and thereby putting her into mental depression for which complainant has been seeking medical treatment since 02.03.2012. The respondent no.2/complainant lodged a complaint which resulted into the registration of the FIR in question against the petitioner. Subsequently, on 13.10.2015, during the pendency of the proceedings emanating from the FIR in question, the matter was amicably settled between the petitioner and respondent no.2.
- Respondent No.2, present in the Court, submitted that the dispute between the parties has been amicably resolved. As per the MOU, it has been agreed that the parties shall take divorce by way of mutual consent in which the petitioner shall be represented his SPA Sh. Mahesh Chandra Agarwal. It is also agreed that the schedule for seeking divorce through mutual consent shall be as enunciated in the terms of the MOU. It is also agreed that petitioner no.1 shall pay an amount of Rs. 45 Lakhs as full and final settlement of all her claims, if any, in the manner enunciated in the terms of the MOU. It is also agreed that the petitioner no.1 shall pay an amount of Rs. 15 Lakhs at the time of quashing the FIR in question before this Court to respondent no.2 after giving her no objection for quashing of FIR in question against the petitioners. It is also agreed that within two weeks from recording of the statement of the parties in the First motion, the respondent no.2 and the petitioners shall file the appropriate petition for the quashing of the FIR in question. It is also agreed that respondent no.2 shall cooperate with the petitioners in quashing of the FIR in question. It is also agreed that after the receipt of the said settlement amount, respondent no.2 shall have no claim, if any of any nature whatsoever including jewellery articles/stridhan valuables etc. or maintenance (past, present and future), against the petitioner no.1 or his family members. It is also agreed that petitioner no.1 or his family members shall have no claim whatsoever against respondent no.2 or her family members, friends, relatives etc. It is also agreed that the parties shall not communicate with each other or interfere in each other’s lives and that they both shall be free to live their private lives happily and peacefully. It is also agreed that the parties have no claims for alimony pendent lite or permanent or in any property/assets of either party whether joint, ancestral, HUF, self-acquired etc. and that no further claims can be made by any party against each other or properties of each other. It is also agreed that the parties shall not initiate any proceedings against each other or their family members in regard to the disputes arising out of the marriage of petitioner no.1 and respondent no.2 in the future and that they shall withdraw all pending cases, if any, filed against each other unconditionally and forever. It is also agreed that all the orders passed shall not be given effect to or enforced in any Court of law. It is also agreed that all cases between the parties shall be dismissed as withdrawn/compromised by filing appropriate applications based on this MOU and that the steps in that regard shall be taken by the concerned party within 2 weeks of recording of statements of parties in the first motion. It is also agreed that parties shall cooperate with each other for and sign all relevant documents required. It is also agreed that all disputes between the petitioner no.1 and respondent no.2 and their families stand settled and that they shall raise no new claims against each other in the future after execution of this MOU. Respondent No.2 affirmed the contents of the aforesaid settlement and of her affidavit dated 07.11.2015 supporting this petition. In the affidavit, the respondent no.2 has stated that she has no objection if the FIR in question is quashed. All the disputes and differences have been resolved through mutual consent. Now no dispute with petitioner survives and so, the proceedings arising out of the FIR in question be brought to an end. Statement of the respondent no.2 has been recorded in this regard in which she stated that she has entered into a compromise with the petitioner and has settled all the disputes with him. She further stated that she has no objection if the FIR in question is quashed.
- In Gian Singh v. State of Punjab (2012) 10 SCC 303 Apex Court has recognized the need of amicable resolution of disputes in cases like the instant one, by observing as under:- “61. In other words, the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceedings or continuation of criminal proceedings would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and the wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in the affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceedings.”
- The aforesaid dictum stands reiterated by the Apex Court in a recent judgment in Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab (2014) 6 SCC 466. The relevant observations of the Apex Court in Narinder Singh (Supra) are as under:-
- “29. In view of the aforesaid discussion, we sum up and lay down the following principles by which the High Court would be guided in giving adequate treatment to the settlement between the parties and exercising its power under Section 482 of the Code while accepting the settlement and quashing the proceedings or refusing to accept the settlement with direction to continue with the criminal proceedings:
- 29.1 Power conferred under Section 482 of the Code is to be distinguished from the power which lies in the Court to compound the offences under Section 320 of the Code. No doubt, under Section 482 of the Code, the High Court has inherent power to quash the criminal proceedings even in those cases which are not compoundable, where the parties have settled the matter between themselves. However, this power is to be exercised sparingly and with caution.
- 29.2. When the parties have reached the settlement and on that basis petition for quashing the criminal proceedings is filed, the guiding factor in such cases would be to secure:
- (i) ends of justice, or
- (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any court. While exercising the power the High Court is to form an opinion on either of the aforesaid two objectives.
- 29.3. Such a power is not to be exercised in those prosecutions which involve heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society. Similarly, for the offences alleged to have been committed under special statute like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity are not to be quashed merely on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender.
- 29.4. On the other hand, those criminal cases having overwhelmingly and predominantly civil character, particularly those arising out of commercial transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship or family disputes should be quashed when the parties have resolved their entire disputes among themselves.
- The inherent powers of the High Court ought to be exercised to prevent the abuse of process of law and to secure the ends of justice. The respondent no.2 agreed to the quashing of the FIR in question without any threat or coercion or undue influence and has stated that the matter has been settled out of her own free will. As the matter has been settled and compromised amicably, so, there would be an extraordinary delay in the process of law if the legal proceedings between the parties are carried on. So, this Court is of the considered opinion that this is a fit case to invoke the jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to prevent the abuse of process of law and to secure the ends of justice.
- The incorporation of inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is meant to deal with the situation in the absence of express provision of law to secure the ends of justice such as, where the process is abused or misused; where the ends of justice cannot be secured; where the process of law is used for unjust or unlawful object; to avoid the causing of harassment to any person by using the provision of Cr.P.C. or to avoid the delay of the legal process in the delivery of justice. Whereas, the inherent power is not to be exercised to circumvent the express provisions of law.
- It is settled law that the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. should be used sparingly. The Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of State of Maharashtra through CBI v. Vikram Anatrai Doshi and Ors. MANU/SC/0842/2014 and in the case of Inder Singh Goswami v. State of Uttaranchal MANU/SC/0808/2009 has observed that powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. must be exercised sparingly, carefully and with great caution. Only when the Court comes to the conclusion that there would be manifest injustice or there would be abuse of the process of the Court if such power is not exercised, Court would quash the proceedings.
- It is a well settled law that where the High Court is convinced that the offences are entirely personal in nature and therefore do not affect public peace or tranquility and where it feels that quashing of such proceedings on account of compromise would bring about peace and would secure ends of justice, it should not hesitate to quash them. In such cases, pursuing prosecution would be waste of time and energy. Non-compoundable offences are basically an obstruction in entering into compromise. In certain cases, the main offence is compoundable but the connected offences are not. In the case of B.S. Joshi and others v. State of Haryana and another 2003 (4) SCC 675 the Hon’ble Apex Court observed that even though the provisions of Section 320 Cr.P.C. would not apply to such offences which are not compoundable, it did not limit or affect the powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The Hon’ble Apex Court laid down that if for the purpose of securing the ends of justice, quashing of FIR becomes necessary, section 320 Cr.P.C. would not be a bar to the exercise of power of quashing. In the nutshell, the Hon’ble Apex Court justified the exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings to secure the ends of justice in view of the special facts and circumstances of the case, even where the offences were non- compoundable. In the light of the aforesaid, this Court is of the view that notwithstanding the fact the offence under Section 498A IPC is a non- compoundable offence, there should be no impediment in quashing the FIR under this section, if the Court is otherwise satisfied that the facts and circumstances of the case so warrant.
- The Courts in India are now normally taking the view that endeavour should be taken to promote conciliation and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs such as, matrimonial disputes between the couple or/and between the wife and her in-laws. India being a vast country naturally has large number of married persons resulting into high numbers of matrimonial disputes due to differences in temperament, life-styles, opinions, thoughts etc. between such couples, due to which majority is coming to the Court to get redressal. In its 59th report, the Law Commission of India had emphasized that while dealing with disputes concerning the family, the Court ought to adopt an approach radically different from that adopted in ordinary civil proceedings and that it should make reasonable efforts at settlement before the commencement of the trial. Further it is also the constitutional mandate for speedy disposal of such disputes and to grant quick justice to the litigants. But, our Courts are already overburdened due to pendency of large number of cases because of which it becomes difficult for speedy disposal of matrimonial disputes alone. As the matrimonial disputes are mainly between the husband and the wife and personal matters are involved in such disputes, so, it requires conciliatory procedure to bring a settlement between them. Nowadays, mediation has played a very important role in settling the disputes, especially, matrimonial disputes and has yielded good results. The Court must exercise its inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to put an end to the matrimonial litigations at the earliest so that the parties can live peacefully.
- Since the subject matter of this FIR is essentially matrimonial, which now stands mutually and amicably settled between the parties, therefore, continuance of proceedings arising out of the FIR in question would be an exercise in futility and is a fit case for this Court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction.
- In the facts and circumstances of this case, in view of statement made by the respondent no.2 and the compromise arrived at between the parties, the FIR in question warrants to be put to an end and proceedings emanating thereupon need to be quashed.
- Accordingly, this petition is allowed and FIR No.360/2013 dated 16.08.2013, under Sections 498A/406/34 IPC registered at Police Station Pandav Nagar and the proceedings emanating therefrom are quashed against the petitioner.
- This petition is accordingly disposed of.
- Application Crl.M.A. No. 1845/2016 is also disposed of.
May 10, 2016