Daily Archives: January 3, 2017

SC quashs dowry case n ALL relatives EVEN after woman’s death. JUST gifts does NOT make them guilty

Even though the Andhra HC does NOT quash the 498a against parents, widowed sister and others, SC quashes the same !! All relatives roped in after wife’s death are finally freed at SC !!

“………..Giving of dowry and the traditional presents at or abou the time of wedding does not in any way raise a presumption tha such a property was thereby entrusted and put under the dominio of the parents-in-law of the bride or other close relations so as t attract ingredients of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. A noticed earlier, after marriage, Syamala Rani and first appellan were living in Bangalore at their matrimonial house. In respect o ‘stridhana articles’ given to the bride, one has to take int consideration the common practice that these articles are sen along with the bride to her matrimonial house. It is a matter o common knowledge that these articles are kept by the woman in connection with whose marriage it was given and used by her i her matrimonial house when the appellants 2 to 6 have bee residing separately in Vizianagaram, it cannot be said that th dowry was given to them and that they were duty bound to retur the same to Syamala Rani. Facts and circumstances of the cas and also the uncontroverted allegations made in the complaint do not constitute an offence under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibitio Act against appellants 2 to 6 and there is no sufficient ground fo proceeding against the appellants 2 to 6. Be it noted tha appellants 2 to 6 are also facing criminal prosecution for th offence under Sections 498A, 304B IPC and under Sections 3 and of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Even though the criminal proceedin under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act is independent of the criminal prosecution under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, in the absence of specific allegations of entrustment of the dowry amount and articles to appellants 2 to 6, in our view continuation of the criminal proceeding against appellants 2 to 6 is.not just and proper and the same is liable to be quashed……”


REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 45 OF 201 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 9344 of 2014)

BOBBILI RAMAKRISHNA RAJU YADAV & ORS. ….Appellants
Versus
STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH REP. BY IT PUBLIC PROSECUTOR HIGH COURT OF A.P HYDERABAD, A.P. & ANR. …Respondents

J U D G M E N T

R. BANUMATHI, J.

Leave granted.

  1. The present appeal assails the order date 23.07.2014 passed by the High Court of Judicature a Hyderabad in Criminal Petition No.1778 of 2010, whereby th High Court declined to quash the proceedings against appellant No.1 to 6 in C.C. No. 532 of 2009 under Section 6 of the Dowr Prohibition Act 1961 pending before Additional Judicial Firs Class Magistrate, Vizianagaram
  2. Brief facts leading to the filing of this appeal are a follows:- First appellant is working as an Engineer in G.E. Indi Technology Company at Bangalore. Appellants No.2 and 3 ar the parents, appellant No.4 is widowed sister and appellant No.5 and 6 are the sisters of appellant No.1. Marriage of firs appellant and Syamala Rani was performed at Vizianagaram o 04.05.2007 and after marriage, Syamala Rani was residing a Bangalore with her husband-appellant No.1. Syamala Rani die on 06.09.2008 under suspicious circumstances and a case wa registered in FIR No.1492 of 2008 under Sections 304B, 498 IPC read with Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act a H.A.L. Police Station, Bangalore City. On completion o investigation in the said case, chargesheet was filed against th appellants No.1 to 6 and the case was committed to Session Court vide committal order dated 29.12.2008 and was taken o file as S.C. No.79 of 2009 in the Court of Principal Session Judge, Bangalore. Second respondent-father of Syamala Ran filed a private complaint against the appellants under Section of the Dowry Prohibition Act alleging that he had paid dowr amount and other articles which were presented as dowry to th appellants on their demand and the same were not returned The Magistrate took cognizance of the offence under Section 6 o the Dowry Prohibition Act in C.C. No.532 of 2009.

  3. The appellants then preferred a petition unde Section 482 Cr.P.C. before the High Court to quash th complaint i.e. C.C.No.532 of 2009 contending that the complain does not disclose an offence and that FIR No.1492 of 2008 wa already registered against the appellants at Bangalore city. Th High Court vide the impugned order dismissed the petition file by the appellants holding that the offences alleged in th previous case in S.C.No.79 of 2009 emanating from the FI No.1492 of 2008 and the subsequent complaint in C.C.No.532 o 2009 are not one and the same as the previous case wa registered under Sections 304B and 498A IPC read with Section 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, whereas the subsequen case is registered under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Ac which is independent of the previous case. Being aggrieved, th appellants have preferred this appeal.

  4. Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that th Magistrate ought not to have taken cognizance of the complain as the previous case was already registered against th appellants in FIR No.1492 of 2008 under Sections 304B an 498A IPC read with Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Ac and the same is pending trial in Sessions Case No.79 of 2009 a Bangalore city and hence the subsequent complaint is no sustainable. It was further submitted that the subsequen complaint C.C.No.532 of 2009 emanates from the same cause o action and the allegations in the complaint do not constitute th alleged offence under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act an the complaint is an afterthought for wrecking vengeance on th appellants.

  5. Per contra, the learned counsel for responden No.2 submitted that the complaint case in C.C. No.532 of 200 under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act is independent o the previous case i.e. FIR No.1492 of 2008 and the pendency o the said case before the Sessions Court, Bangalore shall no affect the complaint filed under Section 6 of the Dowr Prohibition Act. It was submitted that even after death o Syamala Rani, the appellants threatened the complainant an his family members and the complainant-respondent No.2 ha led several mediations with the appellant No.1 for return o dowry amount and other articles which were presented as dowr on demand made by the appellants and inspite of suc mediations, the appellants did not return the dowry amount an other articles and hence a prima facie case is made out agains the appellants and the High Court rightly declined to quash th proceedings.

  6. We have considered the rival contentions and peruse the impugned judgment and material available on record.

  7. Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act lays down tha where the dowry is received by any person other than the bride that person has to transfer the same to the woman in connectio with whose marriage it is given and if he fails to do so withi three months from the date of the marriage, he shall be punishe for violation of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Section reads as under:-

    1. Dowry to be for the benefit of the wife or her heirs.-(1
      Where any dowry is received by any person other than the
      woma in connection with whose marriage it is given, that
      person shal transfer it to the woman-

      (a) if the dowry was received before marriage, within
      [three months after the date of marriage; or

      (b) if the dowry was received at the time of or after the
      marriage within [three months] after the date of its
      receipts; or

      (c) if the dowry was received when the woman was a minor,
      withi [three months] after she has attained the age of
      eighteen years and pending such transfer, shall hold it in
      trust for the benefit o the woman.

      [(2) If any person fails to transfer any property as
      required by subsectio (1) within the time limit specified
      therefore, [or as require by Sub-section (3),] he shall be
      punishable with imprisonment fo a term which shall not be
      less than six months, but which ma extend to two years or
      with fine [which shall not be less than fiv thousand
      rupees, but which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with
      both.]

      (3) Where the woman entitled to any property under sub-
      section (1 dies before receiving it, the heirs of the woman
      shall be entitled t claim it from the person holding it for
      the time being:

      [Provided that where such woman dies within seven years of
      he marriage, otherwise than due to natural causes, such
      propert shall,-

      (a) if she has no children, be transferred to her parents;
      or

      (b) if she has children, be transferred to such children
      and pendin such transfer, be held in trust for such
      children.]

  • If the dowry amount or articles of married woman wa placed in the custody of his husband or in-laws, they would b deemed to be trustees of the same. The person receiving dowr articles or the person who is dominion over the same, as pe Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, is bound to return the sam within three months after the date of marriage to the woman i connection with whose marriage it is given. If he does not do so, h will be guilty of a dowry offence under this Section. The sectio further lays down that even after his conviction he must return th dowry to the woman within the time stipulated in the order 10. In Pratibha Rani vs. Suraj Kumar & Anr. (1985) 2 SC 370, this Court observed as follows:-

    “20. We are clearly of the opinion that the mere factum of
    th husband and wife living together does not entitle either
    of them t commit a breach of criminal law and if one does
    then he/she will b liable for all the consequences of such
    breach. Criminal law an matrimonial home are not strangers.
    Crimes committed i matrimonial home are as much punishable
    as anywhere else. In th case of stridhan property also, the
    title of which always remain with the wife though
    possession of the same may sometimes be wit the husband or
    other members of his family, if the husband or an other
    member of his family commits such an offence, they will b
    liable to punishment for the offence of criminal breach of
    trus under Sections 405 and 406 of the IPC.

    1. After all how could any reasonable person expect a
      newl married woman living in the same house and under the
      same roo to keep her personal property or belongings like
      jewellery, clothin etc., under her own lock and key, thus
      showing a spirit of distrus to the husband at the very
      behest. We are surprised how could th High Court permit the
      husband to cast his covetous eyes on th absolute and
      personal property of his wife merely because it is kep in
      his custody, thereby reducing the custody to a legal farce.
      On th other hand, it seems to us that even if the personal
      property of th wife is jointly kept, it would be deemed to
      be expressly or impliedl kept in the custody of the husband
      and if he dishonestl misappropriates or refuses to return
      the same, he is certainly guilt of criminal breach of
      trust, and there can be no escape from thi legal
      consequence…..”
  • It is well-settled that power under Section 482 Cr.P.C should be sparingly exercised in rare cases. As has been laid dow by this Court in the case of Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia & Ors. vs Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre & Ors., (1988) 1 SCC 692, tha when a prosecution at the initial stage was asked to be quashed the test to be applied by the Court was as to whether th uncontroverted allegations as made in the complaint prima faci establish the offence. It was also for the Court to take int consideration any special feature which appears in a particula case to consider whether it was expedient and in the interest o justice to permit a prosecution to continue. This was so on th basis that the Court cannot be utilized for any oblique purpose and where in the opinion of the Court chances of an ultimate conviction are bleak and therefore, no useful purpose was likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue, the Court may while taking into consideration the special facts of a case als quash the proceedings even though it may be at a preliminar stage.
  • In the light of the well settled principles, it is to be see whether the allegations in the complaint in the present case an other materials accompanying the complaint disclose the offenc punishable under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Marriag of first appellant and Syamala Rani was solemnized i Vizianagaram on 04.05.2007 and the couple was living i Bangalore. Appellants 2 to 6–the parents and sisters of appellan No.1 were living in Vizianagaram. It is the contention of th appellants that there are no allegations in the complaint that th ‘stridhana articles’ were given to appellants 2 to 6 and that the failed to return the same to Syamala Rani. In paras (3) and (4) o the complaint filed by the second respondent, it is alleged that h paid the dowry amount “to the accused and some ‘stridhan articles’ like double cot and other furniture and utensils required t set up a family”. In the complaint, it is vaguely alleged that eve after death of deceased-Syamala Rani, the accused starte threatening the complainant and that the accused offered to pay a amount of Rs.10,000/- towards full and final settlement. Th relevant averments in the complaint in paragraphs (5) and (6) read as under:-

    “5. The complainant submits that even after the death o the
    deceased the accused by keeping the dead body on on side,
    started threatening the complainant and his famil members
    that if they give any report to the police, they wil be
    killed then and there only and they offered to pay a amount
    of Rs.10,000/- towards full and final settlement There the
    complainant, who was in deep shock at the deat of his
    daughter could not answer anything but gave report to the
    police.

    1. The complainant submits that he lead severa mediations
      with the accused through his colleagues, whos names are
      mentioned below for return of the dowry, but th accused did
      not return the amount and other amounts given under
      different heads. A duty cast upon the accuse to return
      those articles and amount, which were presente as dowry on
      demand made by the accused. The complainant reserves his
      right to file a fresh complaint against all the accused for
      return of the dowry. By reading of the above, it is seen
      that there are no specifi allegations against appellants 2
      to 6 that the dowry articles wer entrusted to them and that
      they have not returned the dowr amount and the articles to
      Syamala Rani. Equally, there are n allegations that those
      dowry articles were kept in Vizianagaram and used by
      appellants 2 to 6 who were separately living away from the
      couple in Bangalore. Even though complainant has alleged
      that the dowry amount was paid at the house of the accused
      a Gajapathinagaram, there are no specific allegations of
      entrustmen of the dowry amount and articles to appellants 2
      to 6.
  • Giving of dowry and the traditional presents at or abou the time of wedding does not in any way raise a presumption tha such a property was thereby entrusted and put under the dominio of the parents-in-law of the bride or other close relations so as t attract ingredients of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. A noticed earlier, after marriage, Syamala Rani and first appellan were living in Bangalore at their matrimonial house. In respect o ‘stridhana articles’ given to the bride, one has to take int consideration the common practice that these articles are sen along with the bride to her matrimonial house. It is a matter o common knowledge that these articles are kept by the woman i connection with whose marriage it was given and used by her i her matrimonial house when the appellants 2 to 6 have bee residing separately in Vizianagaram, it cannot be said that th dowry was given to them and that they were duty bound to retur the same to Syamala Rani. Facts and circumstances of the cas and also the uncontroverted allegations made in the complaint do not constitute an offence under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibitio Act against appellants 2 to 6 and there is no sufficient ground fo proceeding against the appellants 2 to 6. Be it noted tha appellants 2 to 6 are also facing criminal prosecution for th offence under Sections 498A, 304B IPC and under Sections 3 and of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Even though the criminal proceedin under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act is independent of the criminal prosecution under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, in the absence of specific allegations of entrustment of the dowry amount and articles to appellants 2 to 6, in our view continuation of the criminal proceeding against appellants 2 to 6 is.not just and proper and the same is liable to be quashed.
  • The impugned order in Criminal Petition No.1778 of 2010 is set aside qua the appellants 2 to 6 and the appeal is partl allowed.

  • …………………….…CJI (T.S. THAKUR)

    ………………………….J (A.K. SIKRI)

    ..………………………..J (R. BANUMATHI)

    New Delhi;
    January 19, 2016

    Hon J Shri J.B. Pardiwala hits out at stereotype, copy-paste FIRs in his 498a quash !! Dec’16

    Hon Justice Shri J.B. Pardiwala hits out at sterotype, copy-paste FIRs in his recent 498a quash !! Dec’16

    “…20. This Court over a period of time has noticed that the First Information Report field by wife contains following allegations:
    “1. The father of the wife is a beggar.
    2. Rs.5,00,000/- has been demanded by the husband and his family members by way of dowry.”
    Without these two allegations, no First Information Report in the State of Gujarat is complete so far as the offence under Section 498(A) of the IPC is concerned….”

    The Hon HC quashes this false 498a cases roping in relatives with an oblique motive !!

    *************** case from Gujarat HC website *********************

    R/CR.MA/7507/2015 JUDGMENT

    IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD

    CRIMINAL MISC.APPLICATION (FOR QUASHING & SET ASIDE FIR/ORDER) NO. 7507 of 2015

    FOR APPROVAL AND SIGNATURE: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.B.PARDIWALA

    ==========================================================

    BIPINKUMAR DEVENDRABHAI PARMAR & 3….Applicant(s)

    Versus

    STATE OF GUJARAT & 1….Respondent(s)

    ==========================================================

    Appearance:

    MR ZUBIN F BHARDA, ADVOCATE for the Applicant(s) No. 1 – 4

    MR.HIREN M MODI, ADVOCATE for the Respondent(s) No. 2

    MS SHRUTI PATHAK, APP for the Respondent(s) No. 1

    ==========================================================

    CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.B.PARDIWALA

    Date : 09/12/2016

    ORAL JUDGMENT

    1. By this application under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the applicants-original accused persons seek to invoke inherent powers of this Court praying for quashing the First Information Report registered as C.R. No.I-87/2015 with the Gotri Police Station, District-Vadodara for the offence punishable under Section 498(A), 323, 294(b) read with Section 114 of the IPC and Sections 3 and 7 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
    2. The case of the first informant as reflected from the First Information Report may be summarized as under: 2.1 The first informant got married with the applicant no.1 on 19.05.2014. The applicant no.2 is the father-in-law. The applicant no.3 is the mother-in-law and the applicant no.4 is the sister-in-law of the first informant. It appears that within a very short time the matrimonial life of the first informant got disturbed. She thought fit to lodge an FIR on 31.03.2015 i.e. within almost one year from the date of the marriage alleging harassment and cruelty at the end of the applicants herein. It is alleged in the FIR that the husband used to ask the first informant to press his legs and head. It is further alleged that the applicants herein also used to ill-treat the first informant. It is alleged that the applicants used to taunt her that she had not brought sufficient dowry from her parental house.
    3. The learned counsel appearing for the applicants would submit that the allegations leveled in the First Information Report are palpably false. The first informant could not adjust herself at the house of the applicants soon after the marriage. The learned counsel further pointed out that efforts were made by the people of the community to dissolve the marriage on certain terms and conditions. He pointed out that the first informant’s family demanded an amount of Rs.3,00,000/- to dissolve the marriage which was not acceptable to the applicants. He would submit that the allegations are stereo type. It is submitted that even if the entire case as put up by the first informant is accepted as true, none of the ingredients to constitute the offence of cruelty within the meaning of Section 498(A) are spelt out. In such circumstances referred to above, the learned counsel prays that the application may be allowed and FIR be quashed. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
    4. On the other hand, this application has been vehemently opposed by Mr. Modi, the learned counsel appearing for the first informant and Ms. Pathak, the learned APP for the State. Both the learned counsel would submit that the plain reading of the FIR prima-facie disclose the commission of a cognizable offence. It is submitted that this Court may not embark upon an inquiry whether the allegations are true or false. A primafacie case is to be seen for the purpose of quashing of the FIR. In such circumstances referred to above both the learned counsel would submit that there being no merit in this application. The same may be rejected.
    5. It is now well settled that the power under Section 482 of the Code has to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution, only where such exercise is justified by the tests laid down in the Section itself. It is also well settled that Section 482 of the Code does not confer any new power on the High Court but only saves the inherent power, which the Court possessed before the enactment of the Criminal Procedure Code. There are three circumstances under which the inherent jurisdiction may be exercised, namely (i) to give effect to an order under the Code, (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of Court, and (iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice.
    6. The investigation of an offence is the field exclusively reserved for the Police Officers, whose powers in that field are unfettered, so long as the power to investigate into the cognizable offence is legitimately exercised in strict compliance with the provisions under Chapter XII of the Code. While exercising powers under Section 482 of the Code, the Court does not function as a Court of appeal or revision. As noted above, the inherent jurisdiction under the Section, although wide, yet should be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution and only when such exercise is justified by the tests specifically laid down in the Section itself. It is to be exercised ex debito justitiae to do real and substantial justice for the administration of which alone courts exist. Authority of the court exists for advancement of justice and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority so as to produce injustice, the court has power to prevent such abuse. It would be an abuse of process of the court to allow any action which would result in injustice and prevent promotion of justice. In exercise of the powers court would be justified to quash any proceeding if it finds that initiation or continuance of it amounts to abuse of the process of court or quashing of these proceedings would otherwise serve the ends of justice. When no offence is disclosed by the complaint, the court may examine the question of fact. When a complaint is sought to be quashed, it is permissible to look into the materials to assess what the complainant has alleged and whether any offence is made out even if the allegations are accepted in toto.
    7. In R.P. Kapur v. State of Punjab (AIR 1960 SC 866) the apex Court summarized some categories of cases where inherent power can, and should be exercised to quash the proceedings. (i) where it manifestly appears that there is a legal bar against the institution or continuance e.g. want of sanction; ii) where the allegations in the first information report or complaint taken at its face value and accepted in their entirety do not constitute the offence alleged; (iii) where the allegations constitute an offence, but there is no legal evidence adduced or the evidence adduced clearly or manifestly fails to prove the charge.
    8. The Supreme Court, in the case of State of A.P. Vs. Vangaveeti Nagaiah, reported in AIR 2009 SC 2646, interpreted clause (iii) referred to above, observing thus: "6. In dealing with the last category, it is important to bear in mind the distinction between a case where there is no legal evidence or where there is evidence which is clearly inconsistent with the accusations made, and a case where there is legal evidence which, on appreciation, may or may not support the accusations. When exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code, the High Court would not ordinarily embark upon an enquiry whether the evidence in question is reliable or not or whether on a reasonable appreciation of it accusation would not be sustained. hat is the function of the trial Judge. Judicial process no doubt should not be an instrument of oppression, or, needless harassment. Court should be circumspect and judicious in exercising discretion and should take all relevant facts and circumstances into consideration before issuing process, lest it would be an instrument in the hands of a private complainant to unleash vendetta to harass any person needlessly. At the same time the Section is not an instrument handed over to an accused to short-circuit a prosecution and bring about its sudden death. The scope of exercise of power under Section 482 of the Code and the categories of cases where the High Court may exercise its power under it relating to cognizable offences to prevent abuse of process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice were set out in some detail by this Court in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal [1992 Supp. (1) SCC 335].A note of caution was, however, added that the power should be exercised sparingly and that too in rarest of rare cases. The illustrative categories indicated by this Court are as follows: "(1) 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. (2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code. (3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the F.I.R. or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused. (4) Where the allegations in the F.I.R. do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a Police Officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code. (5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. (6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party. (7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.
    9. Bearing the aforesaid principles in mind, I need to consider whether the FIR deserves to be quashed so far as the applicants Nos. 2 to 6 are concerned. I have already set out the relations of the petitioners Nos. 2 to 6 with the petitioner No.1 i.e. the husband of the respondent No.2, the complainant.
    10. A plain reading of the FIR and the charge-sheet papers reveal that the allegations levelled by the respondent No.2 are quite vague, general and sweeping, specifying no instances of criminal conduct. Although the respondent No.2 is much more annoyed with her husband, with an obvious motive, has arrayed all the close relatives of her husband in the FIR. The Police also seems to have recorded stereo-type statements of the witnesses who are none other than the parents and other relatives of the respondent No.2 and has filed a charge-sheet. If a person is made to face a criminal trial on some general and sweeping allegations without bringing on record any specific instances of criminal conduct, it is nothing but abuse of process of the Court. The Court owes a duty to subject the allegations levelled in the complaint to a thorough scrutiny to find out prima-facie whether there is any grain of truth in the allegations or whether they are made only with the sole object of involving certain individuals in a criminal charge. To prevent abuse of process of the Court, and to save the innocent from false prosecutions at the hands of unscrupulous litigants, the criminal proceedings, even if they are at the stage of framing of the charge, if they appear to be frivolous and false, should be quashed at the threshold. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
    11. In Preeti Gupta Vs. State of Jharkhand, reported in 2010 Criminal Law Journal 4303(1), the Supreme Court observed the following:- 28. It is a matter of common knowledge that unfortunately matrimonial litigation is rapidly increasing in out countryAll the courts in our country including this courtare flooded with matrimonial cases. This clearlydemonstrates discontent and unrest in the family life of alarge number of people of the society. 29. The courts are receiving a large number of casesemanating from section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code whichreads as under :"498-A. Husband or relative of husband of a womansubjecting her to cruelty.-Whoever, being the husband orthe relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such womanto cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a termwhich may extend to three years and shall also be liable tofine.Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, 'cruelty'means : (a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or (b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.30. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under section 498-A IPC are filed in the heat ofthe moment over trivial issues without properdeliberations. We come across a large number of suchcomplaints which are not even bona fide and are filed withoblique motive. At the same time, rapid increase in thenumber of genuine cases of dowry harassment are also amatter of serious concern.31.The learned members of the Bar have enormous socialresponsibility and obligation to ensure that the socialfiber of family life is not ruined or demolished. They mustensure that exaggerated versions of small incidents shouldnot be reflected in the criminal complaints. Majority ofthe complaints are filed either on their advice or withtheir concurrence. The learned members of the Bar whobelong to a noble profession must maintain its nobletraditions and should treat every complaint under section 498-A as a basic human problem and must make seriousendeavour to help the parties in arriving at an amicableresolution of that human problem. They must discharge theirduties to the best of their abilities to ensure that socialfiber, peace and tranquillity of the society remainsintact. The members of the Bar should also ensure that onecomplaint should not lead to multiple cases.32. Unfortunately, at the time of filing of the complaintthe implications and consequences are not properlyvisualized by the complainant that such complaint can leadto insurmountable harassment, agony and pain to thecomplainant, accused and his close relations. 33. The ultimate object of justice is to find out thetruth and punish the guilty and protect the innocent. To find out the truth is a herculean task in majority of thesecomplaints. The tendency of implicating husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, evenafter the conclusion of criminal trial, it is difficult toascertain the real truth. The courts have to be extremelycareful and cautious in dealing with these complaints andmust take pragmatic realities into consideration whiledealing with matrimonial cases. The allegations ofharassment of husband's close relations who had been livingin different cities and never visited or rarely visited theplace where the complainant resided would have an entirelydifferent complexion. The allegations of the complaint arerequired to be scrutinized with great care andcircumspection. Experience reveals that long and protractedcriminal trials lead to rancour, acrimony and bitterness in the relationship amongst the parties. It is also a matterof common knowledge that in cases filed by the complainantif the husband or the husband's relations had to remain injail even for a few days, it would ruin the chances ofamicable settlement altogether. The process of suffering isextremely long and painful. 34. Before parting with this case, we would like toobserve that a serious relook of the entire provision iswarranted by the legislation. It is also a matter of commonknowledge that exaggerated versions of the incident arereflected in a large number of complaints. The tendency ofover implication is also reflected in a very large numberof cases.35. The criminal trials lead to immense sufferings for all concerned. Even ultimate acquittal in the trial may alsonot be able to wipe out the deep scars of suffering ofignominy. Unfortunately a large number of these complaintshave not only flooded the courts but also have led toenormous social unrest affecting peace, harmony andhappiness of the society. It is high time that thelegislature must take into consideration the pragmaticrealities and make suitable changes in the existing law.Itis imperative for the legislature to take intoconsideration the informed public opinion and the pragmatic realities in consideration and make necessary changes inthe relevant provisions of law. We direct the Registry to send a copy of this judgment to the Law Commission and tothe Union Law Secretary, Government of India who may placeit before the Hon'ble Minister for Law and Justice to takeappropriate steps in the larger interest of the society."
    12. In the aforesaid context, it will also be profitable to quote a very recent pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar, Criminal Appeal No. 1277 of 2014, decided on 2nd July, 2014. In the said case, the petitioner, apprehending arrest in a case under Section 498A of the IPC and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, prayed for anticipatory bail before the Supreme Court, having failed to obtain the same from the High Court. In that context, the observations made by the Supreme Court in paras 6, 7 and 8 are worth taking note of. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick\
    13. They are reproduced below:-"6. There is phenomenal increase in matrimonial disputes in recent years. The institution of marriage is greatly revered in this country. Section 498-A of the IPCwas introduced with avowed object to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives. The fact that Section 498-A is acognizable and non-bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons rather than shield by disgruntled wives.The simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under this provision. In a quite number of cases, bedridden grand- fathers and grand-mothers of the husbands, their sisters living abroad for decades are arrested. Crime in India 2012 Statistics published by National Crime Records Bureau, Ministryof Home Affairs shows arrest of 1,97,762 persons all over India during the year 2012 for offence under Section 498-A of the IPC, 9.4% more than the year 2011.Nearly a quarter of those arrested under this provision in 2012 were women i.e. 47,951 which depicts that mothers and sisters of the husbands were liberally included in their arrest net. Its share is 6% out of the total persons arrested under the crimes committed under Indian Penal Code. It accounts for 4.5% of total crimes committed under different sections of penal code, more than any other crimes excepting theft and hurt. The rate of charge- sheeting in cases under Section 498A, IPC is as high as 93.6%, while the conviction rate is only 15%, which is lowest across all heads. As many as 3,72,706 cases are pending trial of which on current estimate, nearly 3,17,000 are likely to result in acquittal. 7. Arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and cast scars forever. Law makers know it soalso the police. There is a battle between the law makers and the police and it seems that police has not learnt its lesson; the lesson implicit and embodied inthe Cr.PC. It has not come out of its colonial image despite six decades of independence, it is largely considered as a tool of harassment, oppression and surelynot considered a friend of public. The need for caution in exercising the drastic power of arrest has been emphasized time and again by Courts but has not yielded desired result. Power to arrest greatly contributes to its arrogance so also the failure of the Magistracy to check it. Not only this, the power of arrest is oneof the lucrative sources of police corruption. The attitude to arrest first and then proceed with the rest is despicable. It has become a handy tool to the police officers who lack sensitivity or act with oblique motive. 8. Law Commissions, Police Commissions and this Court in a large number of judgments emphasized the need to maintain a balance between individual liberty and societal order while exercising the power of arrest. Police officers make arrest as they believe that they possess the power to do so. As the arrest curtails freedom, brings humiliation and casts scars forever, we feel differently. We believe that no arrest should be made only because the offence is non- bailable and cognizable and therefore, lawful for the police officers to do so. The existence of the power to arrest is one thing, the justification for the exercise of it is quite another. Apart from power to arrest, the police officers must be able to justify the reasons thereof. No arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence made against a person. It would be prudent and wise for a police officerthat no arrest is made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the genuineness of the allegation. Despite this legal position, theLegislature did not find any improvement. Numbers of arrest have not decreased. Ultimately, the Parliament had to intervene and on the recommendation of the 177th Report of the Law Commission submitted in the year 2001, Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (for short Cr.PC), in the present form came to be enacted. Itis interesting to note that such a recommendation was made by the Law Commission in its 152nd and 154th Report submitted as back in the year 1994. .... ....."
    14. In the case of Geeta Mehrotra and anr. Vs. State of U.P. reported in AIR 2013, SC 181, the Supreme Court observed as under:-“19. Coming to the facts of this case, when the contents of the FIR is perused, it is apparent that there are no allegations against Kumari Geeta Mehrotra and Ramji Mehrotra except casual reference of their names who have been included in the FIR but mere casual reference of the names of the family members in a matrimonial dispute without allegation of active involvement in the matter would not justify taking cognizance against them overlooking the fact borne out of experience that there is a tendency to involve the entire family members of the household in the domestic quarrel taking place in a matrimonial dispute specially if it happens soon after the wedding. 20. It would be relevant at this stage to take note of an apt observation of this Court recorded in the matter of G.V. Rao vs. L.H.V. Prasad & Ors. reported in (2000) 3 SCC 693 wherein also in a matrimonial dispute, this Court had held that the High Court should have quashed the complaint arising out of a matrimonial dispute wherein all family members had been roped into the matrimonial litigation which was quashed and set aside. Their Lordships observed therein with which we entirely agree that: there has been an outburst of matrimonial dispute in recent times. Marriage is a sacred ceremony, main purpose of which is to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. But little matrimonial skirmishes suddenly erupt which often assume serious proportions resulting in heinous crimes in which elders of the family are also involved with the result that those who could have counselled and brought about rapprochement are rendered helpless on their being arrayed as accused in the criminal case. There are many reasons which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate the disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law where it takes years and years to conclude and in that process the parties lose their young days in chasing their cases in different courts. The view taken by the judges in this matter was that the courts would not encourage such disputes. 21. In yet another case reported in AIR 2003 SC 1386 in the matter of B.S. Joshi & Ors. vs. State of Haryana & Anr. it was observed that there is no doubt that the object of introducing Chapter XXA containing Section 498A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent the torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. Section 498A was added with a view to punish the husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry. But if the proceedings are initiated by the wife under Section 498A against the husband and his relatives and subsequently she has settled her disputes with her husband and his relatives and the wife and husband agreed for mutual divorce, refusal to exercise inherent powers by the High Court would not be proper as it would prevent woman from settling earlier. Thus 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. It would however be a different matter depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case whether to exercise or not to exercise such a power.”
    15. Thus, it could be seen from the above that the apex Court has noticed the tendency of the married women roping in all the relatives of her husband in such complaints only with a view to harass all of them, though they may not be even remotely involved in the offence alleged.
    16. Once the FIR is lodged under Sections 498A/406/323 of the IPC and Sections 3 and 7 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, whether there are vague, unspecific or exaggerated allegations or there is no evidence of any physical or mental harm or injury inflicted upon woman that is likely to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health, it comes as an easy tool in the hands of Police and agencies like Crime Against Women Cell to hound them with the threat of arrest making them run helter skelter and force them to hide at their friends or relatives houses till they get anticipatory bail as the offence has been made cognizable and non-bailable. Thousands of such complaints and cases are pending and are being lodged day in and day out. There is a growing tendency to come out with inflated and exaggerated allegations roping in each and every relation of the husband and if one of them happens to be of higher status or of a vulnerable standing, he or she becomes an easy prey for better bargaining and blackmailing. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
    17. Ms. Pathak, the learned APP in his own way may be right in submitting that the Court, while exercising inherent power under Section 482 of the Code, should not embark upon an enquiry as regards the truthfulness of the allegations because, according to the learned APP, once there are allegations disclosing commission of a cognizable offence, then whether they are true or false, should be left for the trial Court to decide at the conclusion of the trial. According to the learned APP, at the best, the applicants could plead in their defence the category No.7, as indicated by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana (supra).
    18. Since Mr. Raval has raised such issue, I must deal with it as it goes to the root of the matter. For the sake of convenience, category 7, as laid down by the Supreme Court in State of Haryana (supra) is reproduced hereinbelow:-"(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciouslyinstituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeanceon the accused and with a view to spite him due to privateand personal grudge."
    19. I am of the view that the category 7 referred to above should be taken into consideration and applied in a case like the present one, a bit liberally. If the Court is convinced by the fact that the involvement by the complainant of all close relatives of the husband is with an oblique motive, then even if the FIR and the charge-sheet disclose commission of a cognizable offence on plain reading of the both, the Court, with a view to doing substantial justice, should read in between the lines the oblique motive of the complainant and take a pragmatic view of the matter. If the proposition of law as sought to be canvassed by the learned APP is applied mechanically to this type of cases, then in my opinion, the very inherent power conferred by the Code upon the High Court would be rendered otiose. I am saying so for the simple reason that if the wife, due to disputes with her husband, decides to not only harass her husband, but all other close relatives of the husband, then she would ensure that proper allegations are levelled against each and every such relative, although knowing fully well that they are in no way concerned with the matrimonial dispute between the husband and the wife. Many times the services of professionals are availed of and once the complaint is drafted by a legal mind, it would be very difficult thereafter to pick up any loopholes or other deficiencies in the same. However, that does not mean that the Court should shut its eyes and raise its hands in helplessness, saying that whether true or false, there are allegations in the first information report and the charge-sheet papers discloses the commission of a cognizable offence.
    20. It is because of the growing tendency to involve innocent persons that the Supreme Court in the case of Pawan Kumar Vs. State of Haryana, AIR 1998 SC 958 has cautioned the Courts to act with circumspection. In the words of the Supreme Court “often innocent persons are also trapped or brought in with ulterior motives and therefore this places an arduous duty on the Court to separate such individuals from the offenders. Hence, the Courts have to deal such cases with circumspection, sift through the evidence with caution, scrutinize the circumstances with utmost care.”
    21. This Court over a period of time has noticed that the First Information Report field by wife contains following allegations: “1. The father of the wife is a beggar. 2. Rs.5,00,000/- has been demanded by the husband and his family members by way of dowry.” Without these two allegations, no First Information Report in the State of Gujarat is complete so far as the offence under Section 498(A) of the IPC is concerned.
    22. In such circumstances referred to above, this Court was compelled to observe the following in the judgment and order dated 26.09.2014 passed in Criminal Misc. Application No.5819 of 2009.“31.Many times, the parents including the close relatives of the wife make a mountain out of a mole. Instead of salvaging the situation and making all possible endeavours to save the marriage, their action either due to ignorance or on account of sheer hatredness towards the husband and
      his family members, brings about complete destruction of marriage on trivial issues. The first thing that comes in the mind of the wife, her parents and her relatives is the Police, as if the Police is the panacea of all evil. No sooner the matter reaches up to the Police, then even if
      there are fair chances of reconciliation between the spouses, they would get destroyed. The foundation of a sound marriage is tolerance, adjustment and respecting one another. Tolerance to each other’s fault to a certain bearable extent has to be inherent in every marriage. Petty
      quibbles, trifling differences are mundane matters and should not be exaggerated and blown out of proportion to destroy what is said to have been made in the heaven. The Court must appreciate that all quarrels must be weighed from that point of view in determining what constitutes cruelty in each particular case, always keeping in view the physical and mental conditions of the parties, their
      character and social status. A very technical and hyper sensitive approach would prove to be disastrous for the very institution of the marriage. In matrimonial disputes the main sufferers are the children. The spouses fight with such venom in their heart that they do not think even for a second that if the marriage would come to an end, then what will be the effect on their children. Divorce plays a very
      dubious role so far as the upbringing of the children is concerned. The only reason why I am saying so is that instead of handling the whole issue delicately, the initiation of criminal proceedings would bring about nothing but hatredness for each other. There may be cases
      of genuine illtreatment and harassment by the husband and his family members towards the wife. The degree of such ill-treatment or harassment may vary. However, the Police machinery should be resorted to as a measure of last resort and that too in a very genuine case of cruelty and harassment. The Police machinery cannot be utilized for the purpose of holding the husband at ransom so that he could be squeezed by the wife at the instigation of her parents or relatives or friends. In all cases where wife complains of harassment or ill-treatment, Section 498-A of the IPC cannot be applied mechanically. No F.I.R is complete without Sections 506(2) and 323 of the IPC. Every matrimonial conduct, which may cause annoyance to the other, may not amount to cruelty. Mere trivial irritations, quarrels between spouses, which happen in day today married life, may also not amount to cruelty.
    23. Lord Denning, in Kaslefsky Vs. Kaslefsky (1950) 2 All ER 398 observed as under:- “When the conduct consists of direct action by one against the other, it can then properly be said to be aimed at the other, even though there is no desire to injure the other or to inflict misery on him. Thus, it may consist of a display of temperament, emotion, or perversion whereby the one gives vent to his or her own feelings, not intending to injure the other, but making the other the object-the butt-at whose expense the emotion is relieved.” When there is no intent to injure, they are not to be regarded as cruelty unless they are plainly and distinctly proved to cause injury to health ……..when the conduct does not consist of direct action against the other, but only of misconduct indirectly affecting him or her, such as drunkenness, gambling, or crime, then it can only properly be said to be aimed at the other when it is done, not only for the gratification of the selfish desires of the one who does it, but also in some part with an intention to injure the other or to inflict misery on him or her. Such an intention may readily be inferred from the fact that it is the natural consequence of his conduct, especially when the one spouse knows, or it has already been brought to his notice, what the consequences will be, and nevertheless he does it, careless and indifferent whether it distresses the other spouse or not. The Court is, however not bound to draw the inference. The presumption that a person intends the natural consequences of his acts is one that may not must-be drawn. If in all the circumstances it is not the correct inference, then it should not be drawn. In cases of this kind, if there is no desire to injure or inflict misery on the other, the conduct only becomes cruelty when the justifiable remonstrances of the innocent party provoke resentment on the part of the other, which evinces itself in actions or words actually or physically directed at the innocent party.”
    24. What constitutes cruelty in matrimonial matters has
      been well explained in American Jurisprudence 2nd edition
      Vol. 24 page 206. It reads thus:- “The question whether the misconduct complained of constitute cruelty and the like for divorce purposes isdetermined primarily by its effect upon the particular person complaining of the acts. The question is not whether the conduct would be cruel to a reasonable person or a  person of average or normal sensibilities, but whether it would have that effect upon the aggrieved spouse. That which may be cruel to one person may be laughed off by another, and what may not be cruel to an individual under one set of circumstances may be extreme cruelty under
      another set of circumstances.”
    25. For the foregoing reasons, I hold that if the investigation of the First Information Report is permitted to continue, then it will be nothing but abuse of process of the law and travesty of justice. This is a fit case wherein the inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code should be exercised for the purpose of quashing the FIR. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
    26. The application succeeds and is hereby allowed. The First Information Report being C.R. No.I-87/2015 lodged before the Gotri Police Station, District- Vadodara, is hereby quashed. Rule is made absolute.
    27. At this stage, I may only say that since the applicant no.1 and the first informant are quite young they should dissolve the marriage by initiating appropriate proceedings before the Court concerned so that both can start living their own life.

    (J.B.PARDIWALA, J.)

    ABHISHEK