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498a quashed on vague allegations and territorial jurisdiction

HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH, PRINCIPAL SEAT AT JABALPUR

(SINGLE BENCH : HONABLE SHRI JUSTICE J.P.GUPTA)
M.Cr.C.No. 15859 / 2017

Ramkumar Sarathe and others
Vs.
State of Madhya Pradesh another

Shri Beerendra Kumar Upadhyay, Advocate for the petitioners.
Shri Manish Awasthi, PP for the respondent no. 1 / State.
Shri Prahlad Choudhary, Advocate for the respondent no. 2.

Whether approved for reporting : (Yes / No).

ORDER

ad (23.01.2018) M This petition under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. has of been filed by the petitioners seeking quashment of the charge sheet of the Crime No. 266/2017 registered in Police Station Ranjhi, rt District Jabalpur against them and also the proceedings of criminal ou case no. 454/17 pending before the court of JMFC, Jabalpur, under C Section 498-A IPC.

2. Facts giving rise to this petition, in shorts, are that ig the marriage of petitioner no. 1 was performed with respondent no. H 2 on 19.4.2016 at Jabalpur according to Hindu rites and rituals. At the time of marriage, the parents of respondent no. 2 gave household items, motorcycle and Rs.81,000/- in cash and totally expended Rs.12 lacs in the marriage. Petitioner no. 2 is the mother, petitioner no. 3 is the sister and petitioner no. 4 is younger brother of petitioner no. 1, they all are residing in the same house. When for the first time she had gone to her matrimonial house, all the petitioners told her that her father has given fewer dowries. Petitioner no. 1 is in service. He deserves for more dowry and on account of dissatisfaction of dowry, all the petitioners started taunting and torturing and demanded a car more in dowry. However, she came back to her parental house twice and she remained silent but third time she divulged the behavior and conduct of the petitioners. The petitioners were firmed in their demand and tortured her continuously. Thereafter, on 22.4.2017 she made a complaint against them in Police Pariwar Paramarsh Kendra, Jabalpur and when the matter remained unsettled, a FIR was registered in Police Station Ranjhi, Jabalpur in Crime No.266/17 and after completion of all due formalities of investigation, charge sh sheet was filed against the petitioners in commission of the offence e under Sections 498-A, 506 of the IPC and under Section 3/ 4 of the ad Dowry Prohibition Act before the court of JMFC, Jabapur where the

3. Pr criminal case no. 454/17 is pending against the petitioners.

The petitioners have sought quashment of the a aforesaid proceedings on the ground that there is no specific  allegation against the petitioner with regard to demand of dowry ad and harassment. Very vague and omnibus allegations have been M leveled. In the matrimonial disputes there is a general tendency to implicate all the family members of the husband in a false case. In of this case also, all the family members of petitioner no. 1 / husband rt have been roped without making any specific allegation with regard to individual act of each petitioners and petitioners no. 2 to 4 have ou been falsely implicated because they are near relatives of petitioner C no. 1 who is the husband of respondent no. 2. It is further h submitted that in the Police Pariwar Paramarsh Kendra, petitioner ig no. 1 appeared before the Authority and submitted that he is ready H to live along with the complainant / respondent no. 2 but she refused. It is also submitted that as per the allegations, incident took place at village Jamani, Tahsil- Itarsi, District Hoshangabad, therefore, the Court situated at Jabalpur has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the alleged offence. Hence, the proceedings be quashed.

4. On behalf of the respondents it has been submitted that from the material available in the charge sheet, prima facie commission of offence under Sections 498-A read with Section 34 of the IPC and section 3 / 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act are made out against the petitioners and the credibility and truthfulness of the statements of the witnesses are not required to be considered at this stage. Hence, the petition be dismissed.

5. In this case learned counsel appearing for the petitioners has place reliance on a judgment delivered by the Gwalior Bench of this Court in Misc. Criminal Case No.3658 of 2016 on 9.3.2017 (Parties being Sandeep Singh Bais @ Anshu and ors. Vs. State of M.P. and anr.), in which, the proceedings against relatives of the husband were have been quashed on the sh ground that allegations against them are vague and omnibus and e they resided at different places. But, the facts of the present case ad are different; therefore, the proposition of law laid down in the Pr aforesaid case law is not attracted in this case. However, in view of the facts of the present case, the proceedings of the trial court are a hereby required to be quashed. The facts of the case show that the marriage was taken place on 19.4.2016 and Since January 2017 ad respondent no. 2 is residing in her parental house. She had M remained near about 6 months in the house of the petitioners. There are general allegations with regard to demand of dowry, car and of harassment and nothing has been disclosed on which date or time rt and month by whom the alleged demand was made and the manner ou by which she was subjected to cruelty and how she was tortured and harassed. Therefore, the allegations are extremely vague and C omnibus and appear to be leveled on account of fit of anger because h of matrimonial differences with petitioner no. 1/ husband as in the ig Pariwar Paramarsh Kendre she refused to settled the disputes H amicably with the petitioners.

6. The object of the provisions of Section 498-A of the IPC is to prevent the torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband to satisfy the demand in connection with demand of dowry. But if the proceedings are initiated by the wife under Section 498-A of the IPC against the husband and his relatives, to settle her differences and if the husband and his relatives are punished it would amount to misuse of process of the court. In view of this court, in the present case, prima facie there is no sufficient material to prosecute the petitioners with regard to commission of aforesaid offence and the parties have another option to settle their disputes in accordance with law.

7. Undoubtedly at this stage it is not required to be seen that whether the allegations are true or otherwise but when the allegations are so abjured, ambiguous or doubtful that no reasonable man would accept the same, the High court could not have thrown its arms in the air and expressed its inability to do anything in the matter. Section 482 of Cr.P.C. is a guarantee against injustice. Hon’ble the Apex court in the recent judgment, Rajesh sh Sharma and ors. vs. State of U.P. And anr., passed in criminal e appeal no. 1265/2017 dated 27.7.2017 as observed in para 14, as ad under :-

Pr

14. “Section 498-A was inserted in the statute with the laudable object of punishing a cruelty at the hands of husband or his hy relatives against a wife particularly when ad such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman as mentioned in the M statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act of 46 of 1983. The expression “cruelty”in Section 498A covers conduct which may drive rt the women to commit suicide or cause grave ou injury (mental or physical) or danger to life or harassment with a view to coerce her to meet C unlawful demand. It is a matter of serious h concern that large number of cases continue ig to be filed under already referred to some of H the statistics from the Crime Records Bureau. This Court had earlier noticed the fact that most of such complaints are filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues. Many of such complaints are not bona fide. At the time of filing of the complaint, implications and consequences are not visualized. At times such complaints lead to uncalled for harassment not only to the accused but also to the complainant. Uncalled for arrest may ruin the chances of settlement.”

8. In view of the facts of the case and the law laid down by the Hon’ble Apex court, if the proceedings of the aforesaid case are kept continued it would amount misuse of process of law. Further if the allegations are taken into consideration then also they do not constitute alleged offence. Further, the alleged act was committed in village Jamani, Tahsil – Itarsi, District Hoshangabad. There is nothing on record to show the fact that any act was committed within the territorial jurisdiction of Jabalpur. In the circumstances, the JMFC concerned has no territorial jurisdiction to sh take cognizance of the case against the petitioners. Hence, the e charge sheet and the proceedings of criminal case pending against ad the petitioner are liable to be quashed

9. Pr Consequently, this petition is allowed and the charge sheet of Crime No.266/17 registered in Police Station Ranjhi, a hy Jabalpur for the offence under Sections 498-A, 506r/w Sec. 34 of the IPC and section 3 / 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act is quashed ad and the proceedings pending against them in criminal case no.M 454/17 before the court of JMFC, Jabalpur are also quashed.

10. A copy of this order be sent to the concerned court below as well as the concerning police authority for information and rt compliance.

ou CC as per rules.

C (J. P. GUPTA) h JUDGE ig Digitally signed by JITENDRA H KUMAR PAROUHA Date: 2018.01.23 17:12:24 +05’30’ JP

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