Disown Son and 498A quash

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

CRM No. M 12149 of 2010

Date of decision: 10.05.2011

Avinash Chander Jalota and others …….. Petitioners
Versus
State of Punjab and another …….Respondent(s)

Coram: Hon’ble Ms Justice Nirmaljit Kaur

Present: Mr. G S Sandhawalia, Advocate for for the petitioners

Mr. K S Pannu, DAG, Punjab for the respondent – State

Mr. Rohit Verma, Advocate for Ms Deepali Puri, Advocate for respondent No. 2

1. Whether Reporters of local papers may be allowed to see the judgment?
2. To be referred to the Reporter or not?
3. Whether the judgment should be reported in the Digest?

Nirmaljit Kaur, J.

This is a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing of FIR No. 122 dated 16.03.2010 (P4) lodged under Section 498-A/406/420/120-B IPC at Police Station Civil Lines, Amritsar City, and all subsequent proceedings arising therefrom.

The brief facts of the present case are that petitioner No. 1 aged about 67 years is father-in-law of respondent No. 2, petitioner No. 2 aged about 65 is wife of petitioner No. 1, whereas, petitioner No. 3 is son of petitioners No. 1 and 2 i.e. brother-in-law of respondent No. 2. One of the sons of petitioners No. 1 and 2, namely, Sanjiv Jalota was working in Saudi Arabia since long and had been living independently from the petitioners.

The said Sanjiv Jalota came into contact through internet with Deepali- respondent No. 2 and fell in love with her and ultimately got married with Deepali on 27.07.2008 at Amritsar and got marriage certificate from Tehsildar, Amritsar. The petitioners only attended the wedding of Sanjeev Jalota and Deepali mere as guest and had nothing to do with the fixing of the marriage and the same was a brief and simply affair since it had been arranged between the young couple themselves. After marriage, the married couple started creating interference in the life of the petitioners and started raising demands which led to bad blood between the petitioners and the young couple and petitioner No. 1 was forced to issue a notice of disinheritance on 23.08.2008 (P1) in the daily newspaper NAYA JAMANA and UTTAM HINDU. However, the notice of disinheritance further aggravated the situation and the petitioners were threatened by the family of their daughter in law and also by their son which led petitioner No 1 moving an application to the Senior Superintendent of Police Kapurthala and Amritsar that he is being threatened and black mailed by the married couple.

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Thereafter, Sanjeev Jalota and Deepali started residing separately at Jalandhar under the full control of the family of respondent No. 2, whereas, the petitioners continued to reside separately at Kapurthala and had no concern with the married couple after their marriage. Reply on behalf of the State as well as respondent No. 2 has been filed. Preliminary submissions of the reply filed by the State reads as under:-

” That petitioner No. 1 has moved an application on 13.04.2010 before the Commissioner of Police, Amritsar requesting for enquiry as all the petitioners are innocent in the case. Enquiry into the application was conducted by SI/SHO PS Majitha Road Amristar, Amritsar Commissioner of Police, North Amritsar and also by the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police City 1 Amritsar who conclusively declared all the petitioners innocent in this case. Report by the ADCP City 1 has been sent to the Commissioner of Police Amritsar that offence under Section 120-B IPC is not made out and challan under Section 406, 498-A, 420 IPC be prepared only against Sanjeev Kumar husband of respondent No. 2 and be submitted in the Court. That all the petitioners have been declared innocent in this case. The case is under investigation and accused Sanjeev Kumar who has been gone to Dubai is yet to be arrested in this case. The investigation of this case is being conducted by ASI Tarsem Singh No. 1439/ASR City of P S Civil Lines, Amritsar.” It is evident from the reply that the petitioner are found innocent and cancellation report has also been prepared.

More over, the allegations in the FIR are vague. It is admitted in the FIR that the petitioners were residing separately. It is not in dispute that the petitioners had disowned their son. Thus, the petitioners were neither in a position to interfere in the matrimonial life of respondent-complainant and nor they had anything to with them. As such, the petitioners cannot be blamed for the act of their son who left his wife to go abroad. The Single Bench of this Court in a case of Divya alias Babli and others v. State of Haryana and another reported as 2006 (4) RCR (Criminal) 322, while relying on the judgment of the Apex Court rendered in the case of Kans Raj v. State of Punjab and others reported as 2000(2) RCR (Crl.) 695 held as under:-

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“22. Another judgment rendered in Shinder Pal @ Kakke’s case (supra) relied by Mr. Saini, this Court while relying upon a judgment of Apex Court rendered in Kans Raj v. State of Punjab and others, AIR 2000 Supreme Court 2324 wherein their Lordships have observed that a tendency has developed for roping in all the relations in dowry cases which ultimately weakens the case of the prosecution even against the real accused.

23. My view is also fortified by the latest judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court rendered in Ramesh Kumar and others vs. State of Tamil Nadu, 2005 (2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 68 in which their Lordships while quashing the proceeding against sister-in-law who was staying at a different place observed that there were bald allegations to rope in as many relations of the husband.

24. Another latest judgment of Apex Court rendered in Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India and others, 2005 (3) R.C.R.(Criminal) 745 where issue of striking down Section 498-A IPC had sprouted, their Lordships observed that in such type of cases the “action” and not the “section” may be vulnerable and the Court by upholding the provisions of law may still set aside the action, order or decision and grant appropriate relief to the persons aggrieved. Their Lordships while dealing with the dowry menace, however, observed in para 17 as under:-

” The object of the provision is prevention of the dowry menace. But as he has been rightly contended by the petitioner many instances have come to light where the complaints are not bona fide and have been filed with oblique motive. In such cases acquittal of the accused does not in all cases wipe out the ignomny (ignominy?) suffered during and prior to trial. Sometimes adverse media coverage adds to the misery. The question, therefore, is what remedial measures can be taken to prevent abuse of the well-intentioned provision. Merely because the provision is constitutional and intra vires, does not give a licence to unscrupulous persons to wreck personal vendetta or unleash harassment. It may, therefore, become necessary for the legislature to find out ways how the makers of frivolous complaints or allegations can be appropriately dealt with. Till then the Courts have to take care of the situation within the existing framework. As noted above the object is to strike at the roots of dowry menace. But by misuse of the provision a new legal terrorism can be unleashed. The provision is intended to be used a shield and not an assassin’s weapon. If cry of “wolf” is made too often as a prank, assistance and protection may not be available when the actual “wolf” appears. There is no question of investigating agency and Courts casually dealing with the allegations. They cannot follow any straitjacket formula in the matters relating to dowry tortures, deaths and cruelty. It cannot be lost sight of that ultimate objective of every legal system is to arrive at truth, punish the guilty and protect the innocent. There is no scope CRM No. M 12149 of 2010 for any pre-conceived notion or view. It is strenuously argued by the petitioner that the investigating agencies and the Courts start with the presumptions that the accused persons are guilty and that the complainant is speaking the truth. This is too wide available and generalized statement. Certain statutory presumptions are drawn which again are rebuttable. It is to be noted that the role of the investigating agencies and the Courts is that of watch dog and not of a bloodhound. It should be their effort to see that an innocent person is not made to suffer on account of unfounded, baseless and malicious allegations. It is equally indisputable that in many cases no direct evidence is available and the Courts have to act on circumstantial evidence. While dealing with such cases, the law laid down relating to circumstantial evidence has to be kept in view.” Lately, a tendency has developed for roping in all the relations in dowry cases in order to browbeat and pressurize the immediate family of the husband. Accordingly, sometimes inflated and exaggerated allegations are made.

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In view of the facts that the petitioners disowned their son and were residing separately thereafter as well as the taking into the fact that the allegation against the petitioners are vague coupled with the fact that the petitioners have already been found innocent during investigation, the present FIR is nothing but a misuse of process of law. Thus, the present petition qua petitioners is allowed and FIR No.122 dated 16.03.2010 (P4) lodged under Section 498-A/406/420/120-B IPC at Police Station Civil Lines, Amritsar City as well as the subsequent proceedings arising out of the same are hereby quashed.

Allowed in above terms.

(Nirmaljit Kaur)

Judge

10.05.2011

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