Gujarat HC: 498A FIR after 17 years of delay & settlement -Quash against family members

Summary
  • Marriage happened in 1994, Wife started nagging husband & filed maintenance proceeding
  • Husband (about 20 years back) out of possible nuclear 498A weapon (well before Arneshkumar) thought to settle the case and agreed on all demands of wife including cut of all relationship with his family members, staying separately etc.
  • After 17 years of settlement wife woke up and filed 498A & combo IPC in 2015, against husband & his family members who had cut off all relationship (as part of her settlement terms)  and were staying separately.
  • Honorable HC observed ” It is inescapable conclusion to be drawn that the complaint is vexatious in nature and amounts to abuse of process of law. The allegations which are made against the applicants who are aged 75 years and 72 years of age are devoid of element of truth so as to make out the offences alleged. They are shown to be staying at Ahmedabad whereas the wife and the husband are at Gandhidham since long 17 years. The allegations do not inspire credibility to be sustained as valid for alleging the offences and to subject the applicants to the criminal prosecution.”
  • As per SC State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal 1992, Quashing Guidelines category (7), test is satisfied in the present case. The allegations in the F.I.R. in their nature and purport considered with attendant aspects shown from the material on record can be said to be a clear abuse of process of law. Criminal prosecution is a serious thing to continue against any person without any just cause.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD

CRIMINAL MISC.APPLICATION (FOR QUASHING & SET ASIDE FIR/ORDER) NO. 21365 of 2014

FOR APPROVAL AND SIGNATURE:  HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE N.V.ANJARIA

HAGWANSHARAN S/O MANIRAM SHARMA & 2….Applicant(s)

Versus

STATE OF GUJARAT & 1….Respondent(s)

Appearance: MS PRERANA A PANDEY, ADVOCATE for the Applicant(s) No. 1 – 3 HCLS COMMITTEE,

ADVOCATE for the Respondent(s) No. 2 MR MADANSINGH O BAROD, ADVOCATE for the Respondent(s) No.2

CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE N.V.ANJARIA

Date : 28/03/2017 CAV JUDGMENT

The present application is filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

1.1 Rule, returnable forthwith. learned Additional Public Prosecutor Mr.Rutvij Oza waives service of Rule on behalf of the respondent-State whereas learned advocate Mr.Madansingh Barod waives service of Rule on behalf of respondent No.2.

2. The applicants pray to quash the First Information Report bearing Crime Register No.I-59 of 2014 registered with Mahila Police Station, East Kutch, Gandhidham on 03rd September, 2014. The said F.I.R. is in respect of alleged offences under Section 498-A, 323, 504, 506(2) and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. In all four accused are mentioned in the F.I.R. who happened to be husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and brother-in-law of the complainant. The three applicants herein are accused Nos.2, 3 and 4 respectively.

3. It is alleged by the first informant Shantiben-wife of accused No.1 that she was staying at Gandhidham at the given address and that her marriage had taken place 20 years back with accused No.1 who originally belonged to Ahmedabad. No child was born out of the wedlock. It was stated that her husband was serving in a private security agency and father-in-law and mother-in-law as well as sister-in-law were staying at C-206, Panchdhara Plaza, Satellite Road, Ahmedabad. It was stated that she and her husband had been staying at Gandhidham in the house of her HC-NIC Page 2 of 8 Created On Wed Mar 29 00:36:14 IST 2017 brother. The complainant further stated that in-laws had been instigating her husband for taking divorce stating that child was not born from their marriage. As a result, it was alleged, the husband used to quarrel with her in trivial things and used to belabour her; the husband used to threaten her and further that those had been asking the husband that child would be born only if he contracts second marriage. It was stated that she used to tolerate all the harassment.

READ  When offence under dowry prohibition Act is not made out

3.1 It was stated that on 17th June, 2014, the accused No.1-husband left the house and did not return in the night, therefore she informed her brother and on inquiry it was learned that accused No.1 had told one Narendrakumar who was serving with him that he was urgently required to go to Ahmedabad and for that accused No.1 had taken Rs.03,000/- from said Narendrakumar and taking money and also the SIM Card of Narendra, left for Ahmedabad; the accused No.1 had instructed that nobody should inform his wife-the complainant, about his going to Ahmedabad. It was on the set of aforesaid allegations, it was stated that all the accused were abusing her and had been giving mental harassment and were taunting about non-rearing of child.

4. Learned advocate for the applicants submitted that the allegations are false and that the applicants who are father-in-law, mother-in-law and son-in-law have not been staying with the complainant. The complainant and his husband-accused No.1 are at  Gandhidham since years whereas the applicants stay at Ahmedabad and that they do not have any formal relationship. It was submitted by pointing out a copy of settlement dated 11th June, 1997 forming part of record of the petition that both the sides-the in-laws had settled their dispute and reduced the settlement in writing about allowing the husband and wife to stay at Gandhidham and also agreeing upon to settle the question of maintenance for which case was in progress before a Gandhidham Court. Attention was invited to writing executed by the complainant who had accepted all the articles, etc. from her in-laws; similar writing was executed by accused No.1-husband as well. It may also be noted that pursuant to F.I.R. dated 03.09.2014 and in response to notice, the applicants submitted a detailed reply to the Mahila Police Station stating out the facts.

READ  When to deny default bail

4.1 On the other hand, learned Additional Public Prosecutor as well as learned advocate for the respondent No.2 opposed the prayer by harping that, the F.I.R. in its allegations clearly disclose the offences which should be allowed to be investigated and chargesheet should be allowed to be filed. It was submitted that no case was made out for quashing the F.I.R.

4.2 While issuing notice, this Court granted ad- interim order whereby further proceedings pursuant to the F.I.R. in question were stayed.

5. A plain reading of the F.I.R. in question suggests that the complainant has filed the same against the husband as well as the present applicants- the in-laws. Marriage of the complainant as stated in the F.I.R. itself took place before 20 years, that is in the year 1994. Alleging as above in the F.I.R. filed on 03rd September, 2014, the complainant has stated inter alia that on 17th June, 2014 the husband left the house at Gandhidham and that he had went away to Ahmedabad without informing, which was the event taken as cause of action to file the police complaint alleging the offences against the husband as well as the applicants-the in-laws.

5.1 From the analysis of facts, visualising the allegations and reading the total case with attendant circumstances, the following clear aspects could be gathered.

(i) The complainant married with accused No.1 in the year 1994 before 20 years and they did not have any child;

(ii) Disputes had arisen earlier in the year 1997. Maintenance proceedings were also filed, however both the sides entered into a settlement deed dated 11th July, 1997. It was signed by the members-in-laws of both the sides. Thereunder (a) it was agreed that the spouses would stay with peace; (b) the maintenance issue was settled and it was further agreed that if the settlement is breached, the order of maintenance would be liable to be executed; (c) all the articles, ornaments including stridhan was handed over to the complainant-wife; (d) the same was acknowledged by executing separate writing by complainant-wife as well  as accuse No.1-husband; (e) as per the agreement, complainant willingly went with accused No.1-husband who had gone to take her and both started living at Gandhidham;

(iii) Complainant and accused No.1-husband have been staying and residing together at Gandhidham at the address given in the complaint;

(iv) Applicants-accused Nos.2, 3 and 4 are not staying at Gandhidham with complainant and her husband-accused No.1. They have been staying at Ahmedabad since several years;

(v) In reply dated 24th November, 2014 sent by the applicants to the police authority pursuant to F.I.R., on following undeniable factual aspects were stated.

(a) Marriage of complainant and their son took place on 20th May, 1994 and they did not stay with them beyond 1-2 months. The complainant left matrimonial house. Thereafter in the year 1997 aforementioned settlement was arrived at and since then both are at Gandhidham;

READ  SC explain how to issue Warrants

(b) Both as husband and wife have been staying at Gandhidham. The applicants-in-laws have never gone to Gandhidham during last 17 years. Nor complainant- Shantiben had ever gone to Ahmedabad. Their relationship is virtually snapped since last 17 years and there is no relationship with them;

(c) The applicants have been staying at Ahmedabad since 17 years. In fortification of the fact that the applicants have been staying at Ahmedabad, they have produced documentary proof in the nature of PAN Card and Driving Licence;

(d) They had no relationship even with their son-accused No.1. He had not turned up even when their elder daughter-sister of accused No.1, had died;

(e) Apprehension was expressed that complainant, their son himself as well as her family members had conspired against them to file such a complaint.

5.2 On the basis of the above aspects, it is inescapable conclusion to be drawn that the complaint is vexatious in nature and amounts to abuse of process of law. The allegations which are made against the applicants who are aged 75 years and 72 years of age are devoid of element of truth so as to make out the offences alleged. They are shown to be staying at Ahmedabad whereas the wife and the husband are at Gandhidham since long 17 years. The allegations do not inspire credibility to be sustained as valid for alleging the offences and to subject the applicants to the criminal prosecution.

6. In State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal [(1992) 1 (Supp) SCC 192], the Supreme Court enlisted the categories which would be the considerations and grounds to exercise the powers under Section 482, Cr.P.C. In category (7), it is stated that quashment of F.I.R. would be justified where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/ HC-NIC Page 7 of 8 Created On Wed Mar 29 00:36:14 IST 2017 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”. This test is satisfied in the present case. The allegations in the F.I.R. in their nature and purport considered with attendant aspects shown from the material on record can be said to be a clear abuse of process of law. Criminal prosecution is a serious thing to continue against any person without any just cause.

7. As a result of the above discussion, the F.I.R. in question deserves to be quashed. Accordingly, the F.I.R. being Crime Register No.I-59 of 2014 registered with Mahila Police Station, East Kutch, Gandhidham on 03rd September, 2014 in respect of alleged offences under Section 498-A, 323, 504, 506(2) and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, in so far as the present applicant Nos.1, 2 and 3-accused Nos.2, 3 and 4 are concerned, is hereby quashed. The application succeeds.

Rule is made absolute.

(N.V.ANJARIA, J.)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *