Wife gets remarried after NRI divorced her in US-498A Quash against Ex-FIL & Ex-MIL

IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
CRIMINAL MISC.APPLICATION (FOR QUASHING & SET ASIDE
FIR/ORDER) NO. 11935 of 2014

SMITABEN AVINASHBHAI PATEL & 1….Applicant(s)
Versus
STATE OF GUJARAT & 1….Respondent(s)

Appearance:
MR GIRISH K PATEL, ADVOCATE for the Applicant(s) No. 1 – 2
MR SATISH A PANDYA, ADVOCATE for the Respondent(s) No. 2
MS NISHA THAKORE, APP for the Respondent(s) No. 1

CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.B.PARDIWALA
Date : 15/02/2017
ORAL ORDER

1 Rule returnable forthwith. Ms. Thakore, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor waives service of notice of rule for and on behalf of the respondent No.1 – State of Gujarat and Mr. Satish Pandya, the learned counsel waives service of notice of rule for and on behalf of the respondent No.2.

2 By this application under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the applicants – original accused Nos.2 and 3 seek to invoke the inherent powers of this Court, praying for quashing of the proceedings of the Criminal Case No.1381 of 2013 pending in the Court of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Court No.19, Ahmedabad for the offence punishable under Sections 498A read with 114 of the Indian Penal Code

3. The applicant No.1 happens to be the former mother­in­law and the applicant No.2 happens to be the former father­in­law of the respondent No.2 – original complainant. The complainant got married on 24th May 2011 with the son of the applicants herein. Within five days from the date of marriage, the husband returned to U.S.A. The understanding was that the husband, after reaching U.S.A., would process the file of the complainant so as to call her to U.S. It also appears that the husband started the legal process in this regard, but something went wrong between the husband and the wife and all of a sudden, the husband stopped the process. The allegations levelled against the applicants herein are that they used to cause harassment to the complainant by telling her four to five times in a day to prepare herself for the TOEFL as well as GMET Exam. This, according to the complainant, amounts to cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

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4 It appears that the husband initiated proceedings for dissolution of the marriage at U.S.A. The complainant received Notice issued by the Court at U.S.A. and opposed the proceedings. The Court at U.S.A., ultimately, passed an order dissolving the marriage. No sooner the marriage was dissolved, the complainant got remarried and has now settled at Mumbai. The learned counsel appearing for the applicants would submit that this application is only for the father­-in­-law and mother­-in­-law. There are no specific allegations of any kind of harassment against the applicants. He would submit that the applicants herein, as the parents of the husband, are in no way responsible for the break­up.

5 In such circumstances referred to above, Mr. Patel prays that the proceedings be quashed so far as the applicants are concerned.

6 On the other hand, this application has been vehemently opposed by Mr. Pandya, the learned counsel appearing for the complainant. He would submit that the son of the applicants ruined the life of his client. The son could be said to have duped the complainant in all respects. According to the learned counsel, the parents are equally responsible for the misdeeds and the acts of the son, and therefore, they should be prosecuted for the alleged offence.

7 In such circumstances referred to above, Mr. Pandya prays that there being no merit in this application, the same be rejected.

8 Having heard the learned counsel appearing for the parties and having considered the materials on record, the only question that falls for my consideration is whether the criminal proceedings should continue against the applicants herein.

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9 I take notice of the fact that in the private complaint lodged by the complainant, in all twelve persons were arraigned as accused. Ultimately, the learned Magistrate thought fit to take cognizance and issued process only against three persons i.e. the husband and the two applicants herein. The complaint was dismissed so far as the other accused persons were concerned.

10 The bare reading of the complaint would indicate that there are no allegations against the applicants herein. By any stretch of imagination, whatever has been alleged against the applicants would not constitute cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. In such circumstances, I have no hesitation in quashing the proceedings so far as the applicants are concerned.

11 Although the husband is not before me, yet I would like to say that he ruined the life of the complainant. Fortunately for the complainant, with the grace of God, she has been able to get remarried, and I am told that she is living a happy marital life, but that would not absolve the husband from his liability. The husband should be put to trial. The question is how to secure his presence in India. It is for the State to do the needful in accordance with law.

12 In view of the above, this application is allowed. The proceedings of the Criminal Case No.1381 of 2013 pending in the Court of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Court No.19, Ahmedabad for the offence punishable under Sections 498A read with 114 of the Indian Penal Code are quashed so far as the applicants are concerned. Rule is made absolute. Direct service is permitted.

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(J.B.PARDIWALA, J.)

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